As fishermen we fish when we can. There are times we know it's better to get out than others. Lately I have been unable to find a good combination of weather and timing. I was tired of reading how good the bass fishing was over the weekend. I ran over to the local lake before it got dark. There was a chill in the air and I was afraid it might have put the fish down. I tried various retrieves near the bank. One thing I have to say is the Eagle Claw Featherlight handles 30-40ft casts amazingly well. Even with heavier flies like a cone headed bugger. I was using 5WF line and never had an issue of the cast not going where I wanted. When I tried to get some extra distance the cast started getting sloppy. I think it was more of my casting technique than the rod. Even with the great casting I was ready to catch something and see how this rod feels when fighting a fish. I noticed I could feel more of what was going on with this rod. I could feel when the fly hit a rock or some debris. It has been awhile since I've fished streamers and I had to remind myself to keep the rod tip down and point it at the line. Then I felt what was like a rock that stopped the fly then let go. I cast to the same area and near the same spot and felt the feeling again. I thought maybe it was a snag so I tried one more time thinking if I feel the same thing it's definitely a log or a tree branch. The next cast I didn't feel anything. This got me a excited. I cast 5-6ft to the left of where I had cast before and started my retrieve. Again I felt the rock feeling but this time the rock started moving. It was the first fish I had on this year and I couldn't have been happier.
I decided to try out the other cool little feature on this rod.
I really don't understand why more rod companies don't add a ruler to their blank. It seems so simple and it's very useful. I think it would help in the practice of catch and release.
In the same area where I caught this bass I brought a few more to hand. The key was a small 1inch strip retrieve that has worked well when the water is cold. The strips are very quick and work best when your line is a little slack. When you do the strip the slack line should tap the rod. So the whole time you're doing the retrieve you'll hear tap, tap, tap, tap... If you feel any resistance do a strip strike. I've found sometimes what's good is even if you don't hook a fish when trying to do the strip strike let your fly die and just sit on the bottom for 5 seconds. Then continue the retrieve. I picked up several fish once I start the retrieve again. What I think happens is I pull the fly out of the fishes mouth too early and the fish is still interested but confused. Once the fly just sits there on the bottom the fish thinks it's and easy meal and picks it up. There's definitely a trick to fishing the bottom of the water column which I haven't figured out yet. There's a factor to how fast the flies sinks and your retrieve.
It was great to get out and I'm happy to have gotten the 2014 skunk off my back. I was impressed with how the Featherlight handled these fish. This rod has by far outreached my expectations. I see it as the perfect rod for someone who is just getting into fly fishing or just needs a 5wt to fill a gap in their rod collection. I don't think it would be very good for nymphing or casting small dry flies to finicky trout. I'll test that theory more this spring.