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A Dominating Combination - Ish Monroe's Tatula Elite AGS Equipped Frog Rod

SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster


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Fly Rod Review

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth with the G.Loomis Shorestalker (continued)

Retrieving: Smallmouth bass really are an ideal species for flies, in many cases they will readily take flies on the surface or right below making for an exciting fishing experience. I fished with a number of different flies and had the most success right on the top with flies that created more commotion on the surface, similar to fishing with conventional poppers. Some of the most realistic looking flies looked great in hand but proved less effective than those that splashed and churned on the surface.

Where the ShoreStalker excels is getting flies positioned in tight spaces near structure

Once a cast is made with the ShoreStalker I would start stripping line in a variety of different styles ranging from a steady retrieve to a strip and pause or even popping and straight dead drifting. With flies that mimicked frogs or floating minnows the action is really what drew strikes, but the further up the Sacramento River and the clearer the water got the more finicky the Smallies became and the more I turned to a pop and drift retrieve. In most cases the Smallies struck the baits on the pause rather than during the actual retrieve, and while I got fish to follow with a steady retrieve I wasn’t able to draw any actual strikes this way.

A traditional hook hanger is included to stow flies

Stripping line with the ShoreStalker is easy and while I could have used a bucket to better manage my line I found stripping right onto the deck of the bass boat was easy enough as I didn’t have all that much line out since I was making short precise casts for the most part. I had to reprogram myself to fish for Smallies with a fly rod as I am so used to imparting action on the baits with a jerk of the rod tip, in this case the Shore Stalker helped maintain the right presentation and line tension but all the action came from a combination of stripping line and the design of the flies themselves.

We fished with Scientific Anglers Sharkskin lines during our tests

Sensitivity: The ShoreStalker FR1026-4 is an enjoyable rod to fish and while you will enjoy every bit of the fight this is not the most sensitive fly rod out there, and honestly I didn’t expect it to be given the price. I’ve fished with a lot of GLX based rods in the past and while this rod isn’t able to compare to GLX when it comes to that unique crisp sensitive feel it is by no means a “dead” feeling rod either. In fact it is more sensitive than many competing rods at the 400 dollar price range.

The ShoreStalker rods feature a blend of a number of G.Loomis graphites that are lower modulus than GLX

Power: The ShoreStalker FR1026-4 is designed for “stream-sized” smallmouth but we found it can handle decent sized smallies with a surprisingly powerful backbone that lets fish run without stressing the rod, all the while protecting the leader. This is a great choice if you are like me and you relish the fight. Basically any smallie or largemouth over three pounds feels like am absolute lunker on the end of the fly line with this rod, but you will feel outrodded if a 4lb largemouth takes your fly.

A crayfish fly that we fished during tests but was not as effective at drawing strikes as topwater floating flies

If you want to horse bass back to the boat or solely want to target largemouth then the FR1027-4 (7 weight) will offer more power in the butt-section to turn fish quickly before they get tangled up in structure or may even consider the FR1048-4 (8 weight) which can pull fish out of structure but is still light enough to cast all day long.

One of the most productive flies during our tests was a swimming frog which we stripped and paused like a popper

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