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First Fish of 2008 and First Field Test of Split Grip Rods

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First Fish of 2008 and First Field Test of Split Grip Rods

My first fish of the season was an unintended consequence of field-testing my two new rods.  I finally got a chance to field-test them in an on the water situation.

The Lightning rod was tested first.  A ½ oz football jig was dragged along the bottom with a sweet beaver as the trailer and the reel was a Curado 101D with 10# Sufix Siege mono.  The Rapala rod was tested second.  A ¼ oz drop shot weight and a flat, 3 brown FX Roboworm were used in conjunction with my daughter's 1500 Daiwa Sweepfire spooled with 6# Stren mono.

My expected findings for the rods were:

Berkley Lightning Rod

Enhanced sensitivity as a result of palm in contact with blank

Bottom piece of cork, although small, should be sufficient for making two-handed casts without the fingers touching the blank.

Findings: True.  Contact with the blank did result in receiving clearer feedback.  I was able to paint a good picture of the grassy bottom.  The set up is extremely comfortable to wield.  Two-handed casts are very easy to make without the bottom hand touching the blank. Alright!

STA74205Large.jpg

Rapala Spinning Rod

No significant increase in sensitivity even with split grip because no part of the palm is in contact with the blank with hand in default position.

Findings:  Holding the rod was very comfortable.  As for my expectations, it might possibly not be true.  I have mentioned in other threads that the sensitivity of this rod was unbelievably poor, but I was able to get a good read of the bottom almost as well as the lightning rod.  However here is the kicker

[img width=500 height=375]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v395/alemax15/CopyofSTA74182Large.jpg

I just learned from four other folks fishing that the lake had recently been stocked with rainbow trout.  When I heard that, I knew I could nail at least one rainbow with the drop shot.

After a few casts and retrieves to get a feel with the Rapala rod, I made a cast where the trout were.  No rocket science here.  The trout anglers were getting bites with the Power Bait.  On the first retrieve I felt two little hits on the dead stick.  The second retrieve I felt a couple hits on the dead stick and on the third retrieve, I knew I got one.  Yee ha! First fish of the season and although it wasn't a bass, I'll take it.  The last fish I caught was in August 2007.  Don't know about you, but that is a long time.  I am glad to get the funk off.

I really don't think my ability to better feel the bite is a direct result of the split grip conversion.  Yet, in 40-degree weather with cold hands and being pelted by intermittent rain and hail, I was still able to feel those hits and the eventual strike that hooked a little trout, and on monofilament to boot.

I am inclined to believe that my perception of improved sensitivity might be more a function of knowing I put some time and effort into converting the rod and therefore psychologically it is a better rod in my hands.

Here is a picture of the little trout.

[img width=500 height=375]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v395/alemax15/CopyofAlexfirst2008fish04-08-08.jpg

I started fishing at about 5:15 pm and was back in the car all packed by 5:45 pm.  It was definitely a sweet evening.  Not only did I catch the first fish of the season and used the converted rods for the first time one the water; it was the first fish I ever caught from this lake (0 for 5 initially).  Bass beware I'm coming after you soon.

I am very happy with both rods.  The lightning rod will get more use this season, and I think I found a new trout rod.

-ib

Conditions:

Overcast Rain and Hail, 40 degrees Fahrenheit = UGLY

Location:

Five Mile Lake, WA

April 8, 2008

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