Fishing Grass

Straightening sets in Bamboo rods

Dealing with sets was something that was a norm during the heyday of cane. Growing up with a Dad and Grandfather who fly fished I was expected to learn a lot of details that where part of the mainstream early in life. I remember as a youngster, fish camps on the Miramichi New Brunswick for example where at the end of the day the anglers would cue up to the pot bellied wood stove with their tips applying heat and flex to work out sets after a day of large fish.

And as my elders eyesight faded the task fell to me. Touch the heated area to your upper lip, if it didn’t burn it it was the right about of heat. Just one of the many average things you did caring for your equipment. Some rods just took a set a lot worst than others. Now adays I use a hair dryer to give me controlled heat.

Sets can be removed using indirect heat such as from a hot plate or heat gun……carefully and bending gently against the set. Sets are common in bamboo rods and typically effect nothing. My free advise is don’t worry about them and unless they’re very bad, don’t bother trying to straighten them. are ‘honest sets’ -they point down and a bit to the left (for a right-handed caster)- I think are best left alone. If the rod is straightened there is a high probability that the set(s) will come back. If you get into the habit of inverting the rod while landing fish you can help offset the potential of developing sets.
Clearing a set now seems to be approached with a  kind of reverence that should be done only by trained pro’s. If you’re nervous about it certainly sent it out, but I drink my own tie my own, load my own and straighten my own.


Fishing Grass
Saturday late afternoon and the Grass is cut, and yard work out of the way. Sitting in the back yard with the wife happy bored.  She knows me better than I knowmyself. Get outta here she says. There’s probably caddis on the water. Yep she knows me all right. Gave her a kiss and headed out to my inner sanctum in the garage. This is my bat cave where  I tie flies, pretend to oil paint  try to fix things and generally hang my heart. Figured it should be a soothing evening on the water. Decided on a Bamboo dry fly evening. Took down the Montague Red wing Bamboo and a Pflueger Medalist reel. I had picked up a 5 wt. Silk Fly Line from Zhu, a manufacturer in China (although it feels more like a 6 wt). Good time to test out the line . I had spent some tine wiping the line down last week with Red Tin Mucilin as a dressing my personal favorite. The line is fairly well made. There where a couple of roug spots but nothing that a vit of care and com pumice didn’t take care of easily.  It did come with a tin of it’s own brand of Mucilin but I’ve used the  Red Tin for almost 50 years so I tend to stick with what I know.

Loaded waders and the rest of the goodies into Bessy the fishing van. Grabbed my Dad’s old fedora as a good luck charm. Not time for a long trip so I headed for the North East of Calgary to a stretch of river I often hit for a quick fishing fix.

Funny when I was younger the trip to the water was usually one of speed to hit the water. Now a days I take my time, time to get there and assemble equipment, to get my waders on. Time to assemble the rod and think about leaders and flies. Added a nice 5 foot braided leader to the front of the silk, greased it up, and added a leader section in front of that.  The walk down to the water was great. It was about 6pm and I ran into a lot of birds and a couple of bunnies, but not one person. It was fairly hot so I opted to have a seat on a comfy log and kick back to watch nature and the impending hatches. Couple of squirts off to be on the safe side as there was the odd skeeder crusing around.

The water is great with about a foot and a half visibility very fresh looking, but high, so much for the flood. It was the start of a pmd hatch, that and a few yellow sallies in the air.  Once it cooled a bit I decided on a Compendium. Worked my way upstream in a classic manner. The Zhu silk line casted very nicely, laying out soft on the water. I quite like the line. Missed the fist two strikes as I was concentrating more in the casting than the catching. Picked up two small trout in a row. Then a very hefty beautiful white fish that was really fat that took me out to my backing.

The fly line was really performing well and floated high even after hours. Had no problems with floating through the evening.  I would classify it as a good line for the price.  I could lay out loose coils with it and mend it well. Not quite as good as a Terenzio line, but very respectable. I do like silk as it gives you nice solid hookups with no stretch in the line.

Switched over to a small skid bitch of my own tie and addressed a nice long riffled run. It took some prospecting but I found a nice snout poking up. The brown was nice and eager to play and sipped the fly lazily off the surface almost without a riffle. Snapped the strike and I hit a nice brown. The bamboo handled the fish nicely bening and dampening the runs. The fish decided he wanted to be a helicopter. Spent more time spinning in the air a couple of feet above the river with head shaking jumps. What a gas, I was in heaven. It was a great fight. He peeled off line in 4 great runs. Finally got him calmed and into the net. I was lucky enough to find a repeat of the first fish at the end of a small pool no more than 20” from shore. Another jumper, that fought really nice.

Sun was down and I was shaking mosquitoes out of my ears (be sure to pack some dope when you go out there). It was time to make my way back to Bessy and pack up. Couple of white tails walked by me on the trail back to the parking area.  Cracked down the rod and headed home.

The other thing about silk is you need to put in the time for maintenance. Wound up my silk line on a line drier to get the line bone dry and in shape for the next outing. It will need a careful application of Mucilin before hitting the water again. You can destroy a line like this with mold if you don’t dry it properly. The aarea of the sport is certainly not for everyone in this fast paced throw away world. But it’s a part of my sporting life.

Take care all and respect our resources..

I was asked to add some pictures of the reel a 1495 Pflueger Metalist


3 responses to “Fishing Grass

  1. nice write up Doc , been awhile since i check your site , wonderful and some great reading
    we should get out for a day and try swinging a couple meiser for browns

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