Trouts Journal

Don’t Let This Happen To You

Ivan Orsic / Feb 26, 2014

When you travel internationally to go fly fishing, things don’t always go as planned. Actually, I take that back. Most of the time something, somewhere, somehow… things manage to go awry. It actually makes sense. You are going somewhere new, fishing for a new species, making tight connections, using new gear and exploring new water. Sometimes… sXit just happens.

And honestly, some of that chaos and uncertainty is what makes international travel, fishing and exploration exciting.

But there is a fine line. Chaos that starts to cut into or negatively impacts your fishing experience? That’s a bad thing. Just about the only way to combat this is preparation and planning.

The shot above of the blown up reel was taken somewhere off the coast or northern Panama or the southern border of Costa Rica. My buddy had just spent 30 minutes trying to put the screws to a ~80 lb tarpon.

Once the fish made it to the side of the boat, his reel malfunctioned.

He could no longer retrieve line. A few seconds later the reel cracked open like a coconut and fly line and backing spilled out like spaghetti. The big fish sensed something had changed, did one massive head shake and… you guessed it… game over.

After inspecting the remnants of the reel back at the lodge, we quickly noticed that it was completely corroded from living in a saltwater environment. It clearly had not been rinsed after use and maintained properly. This reel had been loaned to my buddy for free so there wasn’t really any blame to be placed, but still, it was a stinging experience - especially because my pal had never caught a tarpon before. For him, it was the fish of a lifetime. With proper inspection prior to use, we could have had him using a different reel and that fish could have made it to hand and been safely released. Did the day or trip go completely off the rails?

Nope. We had back up gear.

SXit happens - Rick Mikesell finding out the hard way why a back up gear plan is a necessity

And... we had back up gear for our back up gear. We were prepared.

If you are planning a big trip and making the investment to explore an exotic location, do yourself a favor and bring your gear into our shop before you head out the door. We can spin out your reel and make sure all of your knots and rigging are ready to perform at the highest level. Is your backing properly connected to your reel spool? Is your backing in good shape and free of damage? Do you have a solid connection between your fly line and backing? If you are using loop-to-loop connections between your fly line and leader, do you have a fortified loop in your fly line? Trouts has a factory line welder on premise and we can make your fly line feel like new again in a snap. If you need your rigging rebuilt or replaced, we can do that as well.

We typically charge $10 for this service but if you mention this blog post, we’ll run through the full inspection process and re-rig your reel for free.

Planning, preparation and focus – that is the name of the game when you head out to explore new international destinations and fisheries. Do you have questions about an international location you are thinking about fishing? Call us at 303.733.1434. There is a good chance we have fished there.

Stop into Trouts Fly Fishing before your next big trip and we’ll make sure that get started on the right foot from an equipment and rigging perspective – the rest of the trip and fishing, that’s up to you.

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