My Most Used Fishing Gear of 2021…

I prefer to fish streams so all of my gear is generally tailored for that application. As such, we fish out of backpacks quite often so the rods are usually multi-piece for portability. Also, we specifically target our indigenous smallmouth bass which rarely reach 3 pounds so we don’t need heavier tackle.

The rod I used the most was the Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler Switch Style FTX-46/505UL.


My favorite spinning reel of 2021 turned out to be the Shimano Stradic FL 1000S. This reel blew the Vanford 1000 out of the water! Price to performance was exceptional.

Shimano Stradic FL 1000S

The Yeti Panga 28L waterproof and submersible backpack was outstanding. Expensive but extremely durable and useful for my needs. Worth every penny and holds everything I could need for a day or two on the river.

Yeti Panga 28L

My baitcast rod of choice was a tie this year. I used both the Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler Switch Style FTX-B46/505UL and the Majorcraft Finetail Area Stage FAX-B642UL. Both were great rods.

Majorcraft FTX-B46/505UL
Majorcraft FAX-B642UL
Majorcraft FAX-B642UL

My Baitcast reel of choice was the Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS-HG Left. An expensive reel, but it worked really well and I had a lot of fun fishing with it.

Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS-HG Left

We had a great year of fishing and managed to explore some new water. We had arbitrarily stated we wanted to make 25 trips during 2021 and according to my fishing journal we reached 27 trips. We spent a lot of time researching gear and tackle but managed to escape without any duds for the year. Everything worked perfectly for our style of fishing.

I can HIGHLY recommend for reels and for rods.

Here’s to 2022 possibly being a better year of fishing! Cheers…

My Pack Rods of Choice…

I have tried several different makes and models of pack rods through the years and have settled on the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler series of rods.

The species of fish I’m chasing (Micropterus dolomieu velox…Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass) do not require heavy tackle so these rods are more than adequate. I wanted something compact that I could stow in one of my packs and these are perfect for my needs.

I chose the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler Switch Style FTX-46/505UL and the baitcast version, the FTX-B46/505UL. MajorCraft does make shorter or longer versions of these rods.

As you can see, they come in a heavy duty zippered pouch which thoroughly protects the rods. However, that comes at a significant weight- 12.1 ounces for the spinning rod and 13.1 ounces for the baitcast rod. So I opted to ditch the zippered cases and just stow the rods in the cloth sleeves they come in thereby reducing the weight to 3.6 ounces for the spinning rod and 4.1 ounces for the baitcast rods.

How I stow them in my pack. Currently I am using the Yeti Panga 28 or the Patagonia Stormfront Sling pack. They fit inside both without issues.
The reels are a Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS and a Shimano Stradic FL-1000.

I find this setup suits most of my needs for the small streams I have been fishing lately. As of yet I haven’t felt underpowered and have all the leverage I need and my casting distance is on par with other JDM rods I have. As a bonus, all of my gear fits inside my pack during transport so I rarely worry about the rods being broken.

FTX-46/505UL spinning rod.
FTX-B46/505UL baitcast rod.

For open stretches of a river I prefer the spinning rod but when things get tricky with overhanging trees and such, I prefer the baitcast rod since I find it to be more accurate. Plus, it also depends on what type of lures I’m using at any given time. Since these are 5-piece rods, I have the option to remove the 6 inch insert section and go with a shorter rod if necessary. I have yet to have one of these rods come apart while fishing, but I do check the sections periodically to make sure they are still in place.

I’ve caught quite a few fish on these and have been very pleased with their performance.

3 July 2021 Outing to Local River…

We left the house at 0535 and entered the river at 0725. There was a fog in the river valley and the temperature was 63F. It was a beautiful start to the outing. Considering that we had been inundated with rain for most of the week, we were really looking forward to some actual sunshine. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the sun came up and the fog lifted.

With all of the rain recently, it was interesting to see how much the river had changed. Pools had shifted, gravel bars had moved, the river had split in a couple of places. What used to be an easy walk is now precarious. As the old saying goes…”no man steps in the same river twice.

My main intention for this trip was to try out a new rod. It is the Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Travel FTX-B46/505UL.

It is a 5-piece baitcast rod with a stiffer action. I kind of like the fact that I can stash 2 rods in my pack. One is a spinning rod and the other is the baitcast rod.

Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Travel FTX-46/505UL. Picture taken just as the sun was coming up.

We had a really good outing with 34 fish being caught with about 8 of them being decent. Neither one of us took fish pictures since we were releasing them right away. For 3 hours we had the river to ourselves before a few other fisherpeople showed up. It was well worth the drive.

On the way out we ran into the Game Warden and he checked to see if we had our licenses…which we did. He thanked us profusely after noticing all of the trash in my sling pack I was digging out while getting my license. We talked for a bit and we thanked him for doing his job and for caring about this river. We also ran into a few other people that we chatted with and in the end we all had similar thoughts about this river. “Mum is the word” and none of us mention it, instead preferring to keep it hidden for as long as possible.

Have a great 4th of July and stay safe…

Ditch Water…

That’s what my friends call it. I call it an opportunity.

Oklahoma has a few trout streams and they usually contain too many people for my taste. I prefer my own company and hence, try to find overlooked or ignored places to fish. And catching trout is fun, I just prefer another species at this moment in my life.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars chasing the Micropterus dolomieu velox or Neosho-strain Smallmouth bass. I don’t see an end to it in the foreseeable future. Sure, I could go to the North Country and catch really big Smallmouth bass, and I’ve done that many times, but there’s something special to seeking out our native Smallmouth bass.

I don’t go with the “societal flow” or “social norms”, in fact, I could care less. I am on this Earth for a certain period of time and plan to use as much of that time as I can wisely. So I prefer to chase whatever species I am interested/fascinated in. And if I do it right, you will never know I was there. Since I enjoy my solitude and “soul time”, I don’t always give trip reports or name locations of where I’m fishing…and I think most readers understand the WHY behind it. It’s my way of recharging my internal batteries.

I enjoy fishing immensely and hope to continue doing so for years to come. I don’t care if its a really small creek leading to a stream. And if I’ve never been there…that’s a bonus.

So…Ditch Water huh? You never know what you’ll encounter. You will never know what’s around the creek/stream/river bend unless you go. And I WILL GO.