Issue Resolved! 2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG…

Awhile back a did a post about the issues I was having with line twist on my new 2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG. It was kind of embarrassing really, since the new Stella had super-slow oscillation and a “twist buster” polymer fin on the rotor. Not to mention this is THE top of the line Shimano reel and is a favorite worldwide. Needless to say, I was getting major line twist. Meanwhile, my wife who has a 2022 Shimano Stella C2000S was happily fishing along without a single issue.

To make a long story short…she was using a 6ft 1in rod while I was using a 5ft rod. Once I delved into rod construction and the proper placement of line guides according to the formulas…it became evident. My rod was too short for the reel I was using and the first guide was placed too close to the actual reel which resulted in the line coils being smashed against the guides while casting. Normally, with proper line guide placement, the line flows through the guides relatively easily.

It is hard to get a picture of this concept so please bear with me. In essence, you install the reel onto the rod and rig the line through the guides. Then bring the line all the way back to the reel without tensioning the rod. If the line does not touch the first 2-3 line guides…you have a good match. If it rubs on the first 2-3 line guides, you will probably have issues.

I’m sure there are exceptions to every rule…but this actually made sense to me from an engineering standpoint. And switching to a 6ft 1in or 6ft 3in rod resolved the Stella line issues. I try hard not to delve into the minutiae of things very often…but when I buy a high-end reel and have issues…I want to know why and fix the problem.

And I learned something during this process, which is one of the main factors I love about fishing…learning something new! And we spent several hours trying our favorite rod and reel combos to see if they were properly matched or not…it was quite the eye opener.

Thank you for reading and I hope that made sense…

Outing 6MAY2023…Back to the River.

After a long work week, we decided to hit the river this morning. We had a few days of rain earlier in the week but it didn’t affect the river level. Also, the temperature took a dramatic uptick and was forecast to be in the mid-90’sF this weekend. All systems go!

I’m not going to lie…I was worried because after almost 2 hours of fishing, I was sitting at ZERO and had lost 3 lures already. Meanwhile, she was up to 3 fish and way up the river ahead of me. She wasn’t waiting on anyone!!!

She caught the biggest of the trip. As usual…
My biggest one of the day. 😦

It took us quite awhile to figure out a pattern. It ended up being the troughs. They wanted an upstream cast to the head of a trough. And all of the troughs that produced were below rapids or choke points. Even changing to a different jighead made a big difference as well. I ended up redeeming myself with a personal total of 12 whereas she ended the day with 8. But it doesn’t really matter…her bigger fish apparently counts for an extra 25 points or something. Well played.

All in all, it was a great day. We both “needed” the outing and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Woke up late, took our time, and still managed a relaxing day on the river. Catching fish is always a bonus and “keeping score” is nothing more than an inside joke between the 2 of us.

We definitely want to go back to the river as soon as we can. Thank you for reading and maybe we’ll see you on the next one.

Outing 23 April 2023…

We took some time today to hit a local lake since the wind was supposed to be pretty mild today. The day started off at 36F so we had a leisurely start and enjoyed our coffee until the temperature hit 45F.

We opted to take our ultralight gear because we decided to target perch/panfish. In all honesty…we fished yesterday morning too with our ultralight gear and caught 6 fish…but the wind was so high we bailed out and headed home and we didn’t take pictures.

Target species

We had a good outing until we walked up to something that made our blood boil. We found 2 Largemouth bass intact and thrown up into the edge of the woods while another one had been hacked to pieces while still alive. To top it off, the dumbassses left their machete imbedded in a log.

We cleaned up the crime scene since getting a game warden out there was practically impossible. Neither one of us had anything nice to say about the perpetrator(s). And of course, per our usual routine, we picked up quite a bit of trash and headed home.

It gets really frustrating when our fellow “fishermen” are complete pigs and leave trash and beer cans all over the place expecting someone else to clean up after them. Not to mention that last weekend there was a party on the boatramp and they burned pallets. Once the fire was out there were nails and screws everywhere. Brain-dead is the only thing I could call them.

Anyway, we’ll keep fishing and cleaning up trash no matter where we go. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch you on the next one.

Outing 15APR2023…

Time was of the essence today. The weather forecast called for winds out of the WNW at 25mph with gusts over 35mph starting at around 11am. We were at the local lake by 0830 and were into the fish right away.

We managed to catch 6 fish total, 3 Largemouth Bass, 2 Crappie and 1 Perch. I’m sure we could have caught more but I stopped fishing to pick up trash and ended up talking to another fisherman for almost 2 hours.

Truth be told, the real reason we went to the local lake was two-fold, 1) to test out two new rods and 2) to find out if the fish had moved up and started spawning. The Largemouth Bass were indeed on the beds and starting to spawn. We will avoid them for the next 2 weeks and let them propagate the species. I am not so sure what the Crappie are doing because their bites were so subtle that I couldn’t tell if they were guarding nests or not. Our temperatures here have been in the low 40’sF at night until this past week where they climbed up into the upper 50’sF and low 60’sF with daytime highs in the 70’sF and 80’sF. With that data I figured the fish would be biting and was correct.

Her new TenRyu rod. The TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS61LL.

I bought her a TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS61LL rod for an early wedding anniversary present. And she ended up buying me a TenRyu Rayz RZ632S-L rod for the same reason. Crazy I know, but that’s how we are!

TenRyu Rayz 632S-L with a 2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000

We are unabashed TenRyu fans and now have a pretty good spread for various situations we find ourselves in. She has a TenRyu Rayz RZ6102S-LML which is a bit too much for most of what we do and had shown interest in a lighter action rod. I have the TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZ51LL so figured the 6ft 1in version would be ideal for her. She absolutely loved this rod and I could tell while fishing this afternoon that it would be a keeper. Meanwhile, I had the 5ft 1in and a 6ft 10in TenRyu Lunakia ( which is a great Sand Bass rod) and wanted something a little longer than the 51LL rod so she got me the 6ft 3in rod. Since it is almost always windy in Oklahoma, I wanted a rod that could punch into the wind and this proved to be the case this afternoon.

Although I am not a huge fan of cork…TenRyu gets it right.

It was a good day to get out and fish for sure. But we have a neverending list of chores we have to do so we left the lake around noon. We made a quick run over to our favorite garden lady and bought 8 heirloom tomato plants from her and planted those in our garden. The potatoes are already up and growing so hopefully we will have some homegrown vegetables and produce this year.

Anyway, I’m going to close here as I feel like I’m rambling and I’m sure nobody wants a play-by-play from us lol. Take care and THANKS for reading.

Richland Creek Recon…8-9 APR 2023.

We saw a post on Instagram and decided it was worth driving over and taking a look at. It’s a curious thing how one picture can get your mind turning, maps pulled out and plans laid.

The blue lines refer to this trip. It was exactly 500 miles round trip from our doorstep.

With this being a fishing blog, and a stream fishing blog in particular, we wanted to see if the creek was viable for us to fish over a week long camping trip. So that also entails checking out the camping opportinities, which we did. There are approximately 16 campsites at this Recreation Area and a few more scattered out on the drive in. There is no water other than the creek and a single vault toilet, so the accomodations are pretty Spartan.

Just past the tent and down the little hill is the river!
Campsite #10

Once camp was set up and we were satisfied, we donned our wading gear and headed to the creek.

Upstream view

We fished for about an hour with nothing to show for it. The water temperature was 51F according to my thermometer, and we were glad we decided to bring the waders. It’s probably still just a bit early.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip without Zip.
A well earned adult beverage.

Later in the afternoon after lunch, we decided to explore further upstream. The trail we followed was sparse at best so we opted to bushwhack down hill and just follow the creek. If I was a betting man, I’d say this was prime Copperhead territory so our eyes were peeled and we left Zip back at camp. Boulder hopping quickly became the norm as we made progress along the creek bank.

Around every bend was a good pool.

We ended up only catching 3 fingerling Ouachita-strain Smallmouth Bass so we didn’t get skunked. I do wonder about the viability of this stream in the summer months. I don’t know enough about it yet to determine if it’s spring fed or relies on a rainwater runoff or a combination of the two. We had A LOT of fun and the scenery was spectacular. The 500 mile drive was worth it!

Landslide is taking the road.

Jeeps of all sorts seemed wildly popular and we received some strange looks in our Subaru, but there were some similar vehicles to ours and we didn’t encounter anything that required 4WD. Not knocking Jeeps so calm down lol. The Subi is capable, within limits of course, but it has a 400-425 mile range which is what we like the most and it hauls everything we need.

Richland Creek is definitely going in the fishing journal. Hopefully we can make it back that way come summer. It certainly has potential.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you again soon!

Back Surgery…25 Years Later

I have told this story in a previous blog post…so I will do a brief summary for those who haven’t read it.

I was hit head on by a drunk driver on Feb 14th 1996. I was pretty banged up but seemed to function. I progressively lost my ability to walk and after finally getting an MRI…the orthopedic surgeon informed me that my back was broken in 2 places and was astounded that I had made it 2 years (April 1998 is when I couldn’t take the pain anymore.) We’re talking broken bones and blown discs! Sciatica SUCKS! The 2 damaged discs had blown out into my spinal cord and the broken vertebrae were smashing my sciatic nerves badly. Not to mention that I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis…which means your backbone is sliding off the pelvis and could snap your spinal cord.

I ended up having surgery and it was a long one, at about 7.5 hours. I had a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon working side-by-side to fix me. I was informed by them both that I was a “1 percenter” which meant that of all the back surgeries performed, mine was in the top 1% of the worst damage and the most repair work. Don’t I feel special! All I can say is that those two saved my life and got me back on my feet. It slowed me down some, but not much. So if you notice that I stand funny in some of our fishing pictures, that’s the reason why lol.

L4, L5 and S1 fused and bolted.

So these X-rays are from last week. They show that everything is holding up well but they also show that I have degenerative disc disease between L3 and L4. It will require another surgery to add more hardware to further stabilize the spine. I plan on putting it off for as long as possible. Besides, the 2023 fishing season has just started and I don’t want to waste it!

We’ll catch you on the next one.

April Fool’s Day Outing…

After working overtime this past week and not even seeing the sun for 3 days…I had to go fishing. Friday the temperature reached 82F and the winds were blowing 35mph plus. Saturdays forecast was calling for cooler temperatures and only 5-10mph winds. It seemed like the perfect day to go fish one of the rivers.

As you can tell from the pictures above…we were bundled up more than usual as the temperature was 45F and the winds were around 18-20mph. We stepped into the river at around 0730 and we were both shivering. Once the sun was fully up, it wasn’t too bad as long as you kept moving. Even Zip would start shivering if her and I stopped to talk and make a game plan.

We stopped at 2 places along the river. The first was quite a bit further upstream and we wanted to see if the smallmouth were active or even if some sand bass were that far up during their spring spawn. We didn’t see any fish nor did we catch anything but a chill.

Second stop was much the same except a lot windier. We fished upstream about a half mile and about a mile and a half downstream without so much as a bite. Water temperature was holding at 52F so we were a bit early this year. With time being limited and opportunities being rare…we took the chance.

We ended up taking the scenic way home since we quit fishing at about 1030. My pedometer showed we covered about 4.86 miles so at least we managed to get some exercise. I will add this entry into the fishing journal for future reference so eventually perhaps, a pattern will develop.

Sorry there are no fish pictures in this post but it was out of my control. We did manage to test a new rod and 2 new reels so that’s always a plus. It’s fun to keep trying to get our setups dialed in and both of us are pretty satisfied with where we are at.

Thanks for reading and we hope to have some fish pictures in the near future!.

Interesting Rod from AliExpress…

Some of you may remember that I have been wanting a fiberglass baitcast rod for quite awhile. I have tried the usual BassPro and Shakespeare stuff that was available locally but they weren’t built well enough to hold up very long. I do have a MajorCraft fiberglass baitcast rod but it is quite stiff and designed as a river rod.

I was talking to a friend from Virginia who specializes in ultralight fishing and has tried or owned a lot more rods than I have. He suggested I look at this particular rod since he has fished with it and told me that it had the action I was looking for (I love the fishing community! Especially the ones who are knowledgable and willing to help and offer solid advice based on experience.)

You will find that Chinese rods usually have several different company names on them which makes locating them difficult at times. This particular rod I have was listed as an Angler Stream brand, but when it arrived, the bag says FishPeak while the rod says TEUCER. YMMV!

Anyway… this is a fiberglass rod that is referred to as a Catapult rod or Flick Cast rod designed for throwing light lures and minnow baits by using the natural parabolic flex inherent in the design. It breaks down into 4-pieces with the longest section coming in at 17 inches in length and has a double down-locking reel seat built on a wood handle. Total length is 140cm/1.4m or 4.6ft. The rod weight is 3.1 ounces or 89 grams. Not bad!

Fiberglass blank.
Interesting wood handle. It actually feels pretty good in the hand.
Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel.

I have enjoyed practice casting with this rod. It’s different than what I’m used to, but it sure is fun. I haven’t been able to locate a consistent sweet spot in the rod and for all I know, there may not be one, and that’s OK. For small stream fishing like we do, and smaller fish like we target…this rod will be a lot of fun.

And the best part is that this rod only cost around $36.00 with free shipping. It took about 3 weeks to get here but that wasn’t a big concern. I have cast it for about an hour total so far and have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. I will do an update on it later so stay tuned for that.

As always, thank you for reading and have a great day!

Outing 4 March 2023…

It has been awhile since anything has been posted to the blog and I apologize. Life has gotten in the way. I’ve been working 16 hour shifts which leaves little room for anything else.

We did manage to get out to a local lake to fish this morning even though the odds were stacked against us. We came off of two days of solid rain and wild temperature fluctuations. And of course, around here, when the sun comes out and the temperature starts to climb, the end result is always WIND.

I ended up buying a 2023 Daiwa Airity 2000S-P spinning reel after all. This was the only contender that I’ve seen in the latest 2023 releases. And in my opinion, this is one classy looking reel.

Daiwa did this reel right!
TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L-4 rod.
Good looking combo.
Casts and reels like a dream.

The Airity is every bit as good as the top-of-the-line Daiwa Exist at a substantial savings. Keep in mind that this is a Bass reel and NOT a Trout reel, so if youre looking for minimal start-up inertia, you need to look elsewhere. The Airity has MagSeal so it does possess some start-up inertia. However, it is VERY smooth when turning the handle. I am not a Trout connoiseur so certain key features don’t mean much to me. I am a river fisherman who chases smallmouth, and this reel weighs 147 grams and has 5kg of drag which is more than enough to handle what we’re chasing. The magnesium frame with the bigger gear is a feature that I prefer and this reel is built to be solid. All in all, I really like it and will put it through its paces soon I hope.

I did spend quite a bit of time throwing minnow baits with my baitcast setup. I can honestly say that I’m getting the hang of it and actually enjoy casting it.

I have become a huge fan of the Veles Handcrafted Lures and have been throwing them almost exclusively. I can’t wait for Spring to get here so we can get back to fishing more. We have sorely missed fishing the rivers.

Until next time…take care and be safe. Hope everyone is able to get out and fish. If not, I’m sure it won’t be much longer.

Feb 19, 2023 Outing to Trout Pond…

The weatherman lied and said winds would be calm. Hah…10-15mph is anything but calm. We waited a bit until the temps climbed above 40F and then headed over to the trout pond.

We arrived at 0835 and had the first Rainbow trout in the net by 0844.

First trout of the morning.
Second trout a few minutes later.
Third trout shortly after the second.

Here is where it gets interesting! Off to my left, my wife was fishing, and she LOVES to fish. Everytime I hooked a fish, she would have to reel in and run over to take pictures for me. And I do the same for her. Except THREE trout in a row before she had caught one was starting to grate on her nerves. DANGER DANGER! I heard her “loudly mutter” in my general direction, “Am I gonna get to fish today?” So the image below instantly popped into my head…

Even though I don’t think this is necessarily a bad idea, I do however like being married!

I’m not going to say that I slacked off or anything to let her catch up…but I slacked off lol. And it didn’t take long until she hooked a nice rainbow. We were even parroting the TroutMagnetMan! “This joker is cutting up” and “simmer down” as well as “shoot fire.”

And another.

So it ended up being my turn for awhile to cast out and hear her drag go off, followed by a speed retrieve and a mad dash over to get photos. This went on for over an hour before things calmed down. I managed to catch 6 and she caught 5 so neither one of us is really complaining. I just thought how things played out was funny. As I’ve said many, many times before…I am blessed to have a wife who is a true ANGLER and is very competent. We make a good team and have a lot of fun.

Her setup. Shimano Soare XR 58UL rod with a Shimano Soare XR 500 spinning reel. She had FUN with this combo!

And as always, our area started getting a wee bit crowded so we opted to head home, calling the outing a success. Thanks for reading and hope to catch you on the next one.

Japanese Fishing Gear Fascination…?

I get asked this question all the time. And I try to explain it as best I can but generally it falls on deaf ears. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing or what. But I do like Japanese fishing gear better than US Domestic stuff. It could be that I am just tired of seeing the same old thing. Even the “flavor of the month” brought to us via corporate marketing juggernauts seems lame anymore. I don’t see a lot of innovation outside of anything that is not Bass Fishing related. Even in fly fishing…we are beat over the head by “Influencers” or other “Cool Kids” telling us what to buy and use while fishing ultra-exotic destinations most of us will never go to. And true, there is some of that in Japan, but I see a lot more innovation and craftsmanship in all aspects of fishing.

Take the Abu Garcia Cardinal 3 image at the header. This is a VERY popular reel in Japan complete with an entire cottage industry surrounding and supporting it. This goes for the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 2500 and 1500 baitcast reels as well. I have seen the Cardinal 3 go for over $1250 USD for a completely upgraded reel. I’m sure they go higher than that!

The Japanese anglers love quality and it shows in their gear selection. But at the same time they like to individualize/personalize key components of their gear.

You can find a plethora of handmade nets in various niche tackle shops that are found all over the country. Crafted with care, attention to detail and soul. I like that and can appreciate that.

When selecting fishing vests you might be surprised that the Filson Fishing vest is wildly popular in Japan.

It is an interesting blend of high tech and old school. Handcrafted wood handle knobs for the latest Shimano Stella reel, your choice of fiberglass, bamboo or graphite for a rod blank, custom thread choices and hand selected handle options. When was the last time you saw a bamboo spinning rod? Some things shouldn’t be built to a price point!

Examples of “outside the box thinking”

Lures and lure design are another facet of the Japanese. They aren’t afraid to make wild designs or material choices. All of which piques my curiosity.

I could go “on and on” about this topic but I won’t. I already feel like I’ve beaten the proverbial dead horse, and I’m not trying to convince anyone to switch to Japanese gear. I’m just saying there is a whole new world out there for anyone who is curious about this subject. It will take some research, some serious digging and a lot of translating…but it’s worth it. Cheers!

Classic Fly Tying Framed Flies…

I just received another set of Mr. Nelsons flies! My photography skills cannot do these justice and I apologize in advance.

This series is his 2021 Branson Award-Winning Fly Collection and I am gobsmacked again. These are GORGEOUS and very well tied. The Classic Wet Flies From Ray Bergmans 1938 book “Trout” are incredible and have vibrant colors that pop out and really capture your attention. The Wet Flies From Mary Orvis Marburys 1892 book “Favorite Flies and Their Histories” are very realistic and life-like. Impressive work to say the least.

As an angler, I am not as proficient in fly fishing as I would like to be, nor am I well versed in the patterns and histories of flies and fly tying…but I can darn sure appreciate a well tied and beautiful fly!

As anglers, we should support and encourage one another, so if interested, then show some love to Mr. Nelson over at You won’t be disappointed.