Over the past few years, there has definitely been an increase in demand for longer rods when targetting trout and grayling in running water. The control that the extra length affords you is unquestionable. The popularity of French and Czech Nymphing styles have acted as a catalyst for these longer rods' popularity. I have been using longer rods for nearly all of my fishing; all except the very most tree-lined and overgrown streams. For nymphing, a 10'4" #3 rod has been put through its paces - and I am without doubt my catch rate has increased due to the better fly presentation, hooking potential and better take indication. So when a Maxia MX4 10' #2 rod arrived here this week, I was itching to get out and get a feel for it.
The build quality is very high, with the blank sporting carbon-wrapped guides and matt, stealth finish. Cork is high quality with a solid up-locking and ported reel seat. When nymphing, holiding the arm outstretched whilst tracking flies through a run is often essential. So fatigue can play an issue. This rod is whisper light but remains stiff and very much tip-action. Balance is essential and my older style Orvis LA1 reel balances the rod perfectly.
The perfect balancing act:
With the recent (and very welcome!) rain, my first view of the river tumbling beneath the Bridge looked promising. We may be some way off proper levels, but at least there was a healthy push down the weir pool. There was a slight stain to the water - certainly very inviting. I am always happier approaching the river when targetting grayling when there is the sound of crisp frost under foot. Not today! There ground was very soft and in places, thick with mud. I started by flicking the nymphs into a very promising run, working the flies through the foam line. It wasn't long before the hot orange tip of the furled leader flickered and then stabbed fowards - a neat lift being met with the bouncing rod tip and a small grayling showing itself.
Starting fly choice was a slim, heavy-weight caddis imitation and a pink-beaded biot nymph:
Each pool and run was finding plenty of small fish. The delicacy and accuracy of this rod was immediately obvious. The nymphs could be flicked onto a penny piece. When lifting into takes, the rod tip was immediate and highly effective. A quick turn of the wrist easily set the hook - and although it is a stiff rod, the soft tip forgave every twist and turn of the fish.
However, finding the better fish was proving rather difficult. Indeed there were times the fish seemed to be getting smaller and smaller:
Moving up through the next pool, several very quick takes resulted in a small but very pretty out of season brown trout.
Time was short today, but what a pleasure to be out on the river and casting with such a delightful rod. Lots more to tell soon - watch this space!