Rainshadow REVOLUTION 9010-4 — The test

The finish of my REV 9010-4 had barely cured when a freight train of work hit me. A week later, I packed it without having tested it… My first stop in the road to Ireland was in Beauvais. It’s a rather uninteresting small town, but you’ll find there (a) cheap planes for Shannon ; (b) Ed. Ed is my dear friend, and the closest thing I know to a perfect fishing buddy. Simple, fun, kind, very competent with a rod, at ease with beers and whiskies… Paying him a visit is always a joy for me. He knows my obsession with casting and is more than willing to oblige. So the night I got to his place, we hit the lawn for a first test.

the lawn

Ed, going for the backing

Ed, going for the backing

We were testing the REV 9010 paired with two combos: a Sage 2210 with a RIO Depthfinder 400 gr.; my old’n trusty Okuma Airframe 7/9 with an older 9wt Aircell Supreme which will simply not die. I love this last one, it flies like a champ. I like to underline a rod, I think it’s a good test on its ability to convey information.

On the lawn, things are easy. There’s no trees to bother you, you don’t have a friend just where the line is supposed to fly, the ground is not moving with the waves or with said friend casting frenzy. No snags for the line lying on the ground. And even if my casting fly for such rods has some bulk, it’s nothing compared to a pike streamer. I take out 20m of the Depthfinder,

50m of backing is plenty for pike, but the reel could take 300m more

50m of backing is plenty for pike, but the reel could take 300m more. Easy.

make a false cast to take the head out of the tip guide, shoot… dang. That’s the sound of the line straighteneing out. Massively overpowered, the line’s end lands at a familiar left hand 90° angle. Well, I think. This is going to be fun. I take the whole line out, with a good meter or so of orange backing hanging out of the reel and I proceed to go berzerk. Second cast, there’s easily ten meters of running line out of the tip when I try to shoot. I land a pile of crap in front of me… Damn sinking heads!

Then I remember Marc-sensei severe frown. I take back most of the line, and focus on proper loop shape at 12m. The rod reacts rather well at short distance, despite the fact I’m basically casting lead core. Not pleasant, but it remembers me the mechanics of fly casting, and the motto:

l e s s  p o w e r !

And watch your backcast.

And watch your backcast.

A dozen of short casts later, I’m back to distance. Take the head out. But not to much. Smooth application of power. Get speed, but no jerk. First try, most of the line is out. Second try, remember to reach far back for the frontcast haul. Zwooof-tak! Backing. I feel a rush of stupid teenager thrill&pride…

Many casts later Ed and I are getting the backing out of the tip guide. What I like most? Very low tip bounce. The loop zooms out without ugly rod-leg waves. I’m thinking: this is gonna work well on the pikes.

The rod is heavy (it’s a 10wt), and so is the line. Those ultra fast sinking things are not made for anything delicate. But with a nice, controlled double haul, you will reach out to that border over there with little fatigue. A side note: the Sage 2210 I’m using with the rod is just perfect for the job: the rod balances just shy of the grip’s end, the drag is great (doesn’t matter much for pike, but could come handy the hypothetic day I’ll find myself on the flats chasing tarpons).

let’s fish

The guns, and our blood. Pike do have many teeth.

The guns, and our blood. Pike do have many teeth.

A short week on the lakes around Corofin, Co Clare, Ireland, taught me what I didn’t know already about the REV 9010-4. Let’s break it down in three points:

  1. the rod is a casting machine. It really works well. And I’m talking about huge streamers in strong head winds. Ireland did its thing on us: gales, hail, pouring rain, bright sun, soft grays, we had it all. There’s more power than you need in the blank’s butt to punch a super heavy line and half a chicken through aggressive guts of wind. And as far as I can judge it, it will make things easy for you: it’s not the kind of rod that require concentration to operate it properly.

    Big. Streamers. This guy is 10".

    Big. Streamers. This guy is 10″.

  2. the rod fights well. I caught 10 pikes on the REV 9010-4 during this trip. Modest count, but enough to draw some conclusions. With 1.20 m of 80% fluoro as a leader, I did not bother with finesse. Strike. Lock the line. Let the rod work. It’s a very fun way to fight. I guess a really big fish would have forced me to use the reel, but we’ve had no luck with that. Anyway: superb rod behaviour under heavy load.

    You're going nowhere, my lad.

    You’re going nowhere, my lad.

  3. the rod is not tiring. of course it’s heavy, but is it heavy for a 10wt? A Sage Musky is 145g, this one is 172g. But the grip design (very big fighting butt and relatively heavy seat) and the huge stripers accounts for most of the difference. It feels a tad heavier in swing weight than the super champs of the category. But just a tad. You can wave it all day during several day. I did it. It will leave your arm sore after 10 hours, but I’m yet to see a rod that won’t. It’s not sight fishing, with all the wait and rest. It’s fishing the borders, cast after cast after cast, all day long. And if you’re not fit and well warmed up (I’m neither) you’ll pay. But I really cannot imagine much harder work with a flyrod, and this rod impressed me. The last day, I still was eager to grab it.

All in all, the REV is one damn fine blank. A pleasure to build, even better to cast and fish. The price is good, and if you’re in the States, for little more than $200 you’ll have a truly excellent 10wt. It will not fear a twenty pounder pike, I don’t think it would lack power for the flats or reasonable glanis (up to 170cm or so).

inchiquinn

Having fun in Irish hell with the REV 9010

Proof of the pudding.

Proof of the pudding.

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Summer feasts

I’ve spent a couple of days last week in Cyril’s beautiful house in Montrozier, in Rouergue, one of the very beautiful parts of “this best garden of the world, our fertile France“.

Cyril, of Mouching global fame, was to get married there on the 21th, in that rather impromptu fashion that he seems to like well, and I definitely love in most compartments of my life. Much had to be organized for the party to be a proper wedding, I had a blast transforming a centuries old barn into a banquet room, while meeting many great people and eating tons of meat and tons of cheese. I even had a couple of opportunities to get the Babe out of her sock and have a go at the Aveyron river’s chubs, just under the medieval bridge. They were willing to take a sz 14 ant.

montrozier1The party was a blast indeed. I wish Elizabeth and Cyril every bit of the good fortune they deserve. I love you both, you beaming crazy guys.

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[Casting log] Kids as trouts

A long ago I wrote about a casting game I played with the kids. They loved it so much that they took advantage of my taking up some serious lawn training to ask for more. But they are two years older, so they wanted it a little more interesting, so they invented new rules. Here’s for you a great way to mix your casting routine with your parental duties.

lego15

 

Take your gnomes out for a picnic somewhere you can cast. Many city parks offer good options. It works best if you’ve got more than two littluns. I’ve got three, I think four would do also, more would probably result in chaos, which may also be good. Rig your favourite casting rod with something flashy and big on the business end of the line. Your goal is to catch the kids by touching them with the fly. When you touch a kid, (s)he should freeze. The other ones may free the prisonners by crawling between their legs and tapping once on their head. (Weird, I know, but they came up with that and it seemed to make plenty of sense to them, and judging by the bursts of laughter, they probably know what they’re doing). You score a point each time you manage to freeze all the kids. You’ll work accuracy on moving targets, line management, and speed, which makes it the perfect drill before a trip to the salt. It’s huge fun, and I think you should try it.

I’m off to Sarzeau, on the Golfe du Morbihan, for a Rodhouse seminar, basically a gathering of terminal-stage tackle geeks for 48h of silly talk, misdemeanor, putting livers to the test, fiddling with as much rods as possible, and possibly catching some good seabass in the process.

sarzeau2

I reckon there won’t be much happening, flywise… Let’s hope that two days of spinnning will not ruin my fly karma.

Rudd test, the roll and the tail

Tuesday I got to see some water with actual fishs in it. It was cloudy, and rather windy with pretty decent gusts around 40kph. There were lots and lots of stuff growing on the banks of the pond, so the practical thing to do would have been to bring the 6wt.

But I’m not a practical man.

As you know, I’ve just built a tadpole. ‘So’, I thought, ‘today will be the day where it will become a proper rod’. Which means: where it will start to smell like fish. Casting a 5’10” 3wt glass rod among the bushes in the wind made up  for an interesting training session. It turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought (even if sometimes it was just impossible to cope with the conditions, I had to resort to the old “light a smoke and let go” trick.) I lost flies to bushes, I tangled line, I filled a boot with water, but man, I fished, and I fished glass.

rotengle

And I caught a handful of those lil’ guys, which I love because they are really into surface feeding and they won’t give you more than the blink of an eye before spitting the fly, so you need to put your nerves on overdrive.

But let’s talk casting now, I’ll go back to the tadpole in a later post.

I realized something interesting, castingwise. In the whole session, I tailed exactly once. As you may know, I had a serious tailing loops habit, and I really struggled to understand where it came from. And now the tails were gone (or at least quite fewer), and that was a bit of a surprise. Especially because last year I did not train that much. So I wondered where the progress came from. And what I found is refreshingly odd: indoors roll casting. You see, the only serious training I did with a rod since a long time was roll casting in my flat with the MPR. I suck at roll casting, and it’s not an option, so I concentrated on it (plus, you’re less prone to domestic disasters when roll casting at hoome than when you cast overhead, unless you’ve got a really big home.) Anyway, a couple thousand casts later, I have made some progress on this front. Apart from what I could call (probably inadequately, but Marc will hopefully correct me) anchor management, my problem with roll cast was power application. So I concentrated on late rotation and smooth acceleration.

The problem when you carry line in the air is that all the components of the cast must be dealt with more or less simultaneously: timing, power, casting arc, stop, etc…. You can simplify things with the PULD, but it’s with the roll cast that you can really focus on power application. Especially indoors, since you don’t have to deal with current. So, here’s my casting tip of the day: roll casting is good for tails. And here’s some fantastic footage with Carl McNeil explaining the roll, how to do it and why it’s important.