Elusive & don’t come easy. Be well prepared to accept the challenge.
They’re in! What are you waiting for? Stoke up your confidence and accept the challenge of a lifetime. Tie on a favorite fly and go catch a steelhead. Experience a staggering surface eruption from an illuminated profile inhaling a skating dry. Feel the power of an arm wrenching wet fly grab that surges straight into the core of your backing. Enjoy the eye- level high coiled aerial displays and electrifying bursts of power that ignites the high pitch of a screaming reel throttling into overdrive. Out of breathe out of control. Oh yeah!!!
At the blink of an eye the 1X departs and line goes limp. Oh Shit! Heart throbbing hands shaking and a sudden haunting silence; you manage to put it together and closely inspect knots and tippit. Disappointment sets in. You discover equipment failure. Last year’s tippit simply didn’t cut it. To lose a fish out of control is one thing but to fall victim to last year’s old tippit material, well there is just no excuse for Dumb-Ass.
Early steelhead of this size/
When steelheading you always need to bring you’re A-game. Opportunities are far and few between and there is little room to falter. Ask any veteran steelheader, a major attribute of a steelhead’s mystical world is if there is anything that can go wrong it will and more times than not to your benefit. So how does one maintain the positive edge and keep the odds in their favor? No better way to begin than to invest the time and effort and follow through with an annual preseason inventory and maintenance punch list.
Waders—Check for leaks and make repairs. No cure for soggy drawers-popsicle toes.
Wading Boots—Check laces, felts/studs. Replace for positive traction. Get a grip! (Rubber soles may be fine standing in a drift boat or wading meadow/still-waters—but don’t cut it on western steelhead rivers).
Wade Belts—adjust for proper fitting for all waders/clothing—especially if not used in a while.
Rain gear—Check for leaks and waterproofing, comfort/dryness enhances confidence.
Vests-Satchels-Chest packs—Make sure waterproof, lube zippers, check buckles, snaps, velcro pockets for tears/holes/wear, organize and always maintain/keep handy current fish licenses/tags, pen.
Gear-Bag/Boat bag— misc. items for single/multi-outings; hats, gloves, sunglasses, wind-cutter, extra fleece, camera, pen, flashlight, knife, snacks, h20, duct tape, wader patch, sun block, insect repel, band-aids/advil, backup tackle/gear, plastic bags etc…If you think you may need it, at some point you will.
Rod Tubes/Scabbards—lube zippers, inventory back up rods, reels. Write (with permanent marker) your name/contact no. on all tubes— Can’t return ‘em if there is no contact number.
Landing hand—great net option that easily stores in vest/satchel or gear/boat bag. You’re third hand!
Wading Staff—Check durability for dependability, lube fold staffs, and inspect all cords, clips, holsters.
Fly Rods—Check wraps, closely inspect tip- tops/ stripping guides for wear, reel seats for loose foot screws, positive grip, wax all ferrules, tape loose ferrules (especially switch/spey rods).
Reels—Check chassis, reel mounts, drag systems, spools, and all working components (lube when necessary—especially non-sealed disk drags)). Smooth rotation with zero hesitation.
Fly lines— Closely inspect for wear/cracks (especially tied/welded loop ends). When in doubt replace ’em. Floating lines dress with high quality line dressing (Russ peak/Aquel) every other time out. Multi-tip lines check inventories & storage wallets for line selections/ conditions, unspool ¼ backing on all reels/spools to ensure no binding/tangles, annually( or whenever needed) replace all butt sections and re-tie all knots to backing, leader up all lines, backup lines and tips with fresh new leaders/tippits.
Flies—inventory and stock in multi sizes/weights (dries/skaters, wets, nymphs, streamers,), organize/label/categorize in appropriate fly boxes (Trinity River-Klamath R.-Umpqua R. etc). You never have too many flies to compliment a variety of techniques water conditions and rivers. Buy or tie Quality flies on quality irons—they don’t come back!
Misc. terminal tackle—Inventory and replace (out with the old) tippit,butt section material/leaders (buy new and quality) nippers, zingers, hook hone, hemos/pliers/scissors, thermometer, tape measure (de-liar), lead-shot, needle tube/bobbin, floatants, reel lube, line dressings..
All this may sound a bit tedious or labor intensive but remember your gear/tackle is the major link to you and your quarry not to mention a vital key to success. Take care of it NOW so it will take care of you later. Sure this punch list isn’t the ultimate answer for steelheading success. However following through with a thorough preseason tune up and being well prepared is sure to keep you further away from licking your wounds and hanging on to loose ends. Get with it & Get Out there!!!
Trinity Fly Shop is filled to the gills for your needs