Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Last week I test drove the Scott Centric, Orvis H3D, Winston Alpha+, and Douglas Sky, using the MED #6 on all. The casts were PULDs, basic overhead extending line from 35 to 55 feet or so, 65-foot double haul, offside horizontal cast, and shooting line to 80-85’. I wasn’t on water but rather a mix of snow, ice and asphalt in the shop’s parking lot, and I’d forgotten my roll cast tool. As such, I didn’t test with roll casting much and when I did, it sucked. Not wanting to embarrass myself in front of the shop as though I’d wet myself, I refrained from that cast.

I found that the Scott Centric to be softer in the mid-section than the Radian, but a more even flex than the Radian overall. Despite that, I didn’t like it. The Orvis H3D was a gem until about 50’ when it lost its guts. I find it ironic that the “D” is for “distance.” In a Facebook presentation Orvis had about the Blackout version of the rod, I asked how it cast at 70’. The answer was “Who fishes for trout at 70 feet?” That response said two things to me: 1. It likely doesn’t perform that well at 70’, and 2. They must not know that many UK anglers who fish lakes/reservoirs. The Montana-made Winston Alpha+ made me want to sing. Talk about smooth flex. OMG. And it did everything I needed. That was followed by the Douglas Sky, which was a close second in my preference and given my casting ability. I then learned that the rod designer for Douglas formerly was the designer for Winston. That made sense since the feel and flex is fairly similar in my hand.

I’ll be going back this week to retest the Alpha+ and Sky and to test a couple others. This time I’ll remember my roll cast tool. Also, I marked my line yesterday so I can tell what distance I’m actually throwing.

I’ve made it 2/3 of the way through Borger’s “Presentation.” The latest section was on leaders. I’d been looking for the Harvey Leader formula, and now I have it. I’ve been tying some leaders of late because I’ve heard it said many times that it’s the most important piece of terminal tackle. I never really understood why until I started thinking about fly line tapers when reading a SL Board topic. Extrapolating that to leaders, I now “get it” and know that tying/fishing different styles is like trying different lines. I don’t enjoy tying blood knots and certainly don’t like fishing a leader with five of them in it, especially in weedy water. I also don’t like how the knots grab dry weeds in practice areas. All whining aside, I’m going to give it a whirl for a while.

One thing I’d gotten for Christmas was a $25 gift certificate to Cabella’s, a sporting goods chain that rarely carries anything I’m interested in. But one thing they do carry is Maxima monofilament. I’ve wanted to try some Ultragreen and on Sunday blew the entire gift card on Ultragreen spools. Of course, on Monday I read an article about how the IGFA tests tippet strengths. It tested 8-pound Ultragreen, which over-tested and broke at 10.75 pounds. Some poor guy had thought he’d secured a world record smallmouth on 8-pound Ultragreen but didn’t when the line over-tested.  The article went on to discuss testing other sizes. When it tested 2x mono, the average breaking strength was 10.48 pounds while the Ultragreen broke at 7.74 pounds. Over-test and under-test. Wish I’d read that article before spending the money on Ultragreen.  That said, I’ll use mono to tie some Ultragreen leaders anyway since I don’t suspect I’ll catch an 8 pound trout any time soon.