I was able to field test some excellent fly equipment in New Zealand's South Island waters recently and I'm pleased to report that it came through with flying colours.
I took the opportunity of setting up a six weight G.Loomis Stream Dance Metolius four piece fly rod with a G.Loomis venture 5 reel plus Snowbee XS Delicate Presentation fly line (WF6) for the trip.
First job was to see how much backing the Venture 5 reel would hold and I managed to fit around 120m of 50lb Bionic Braid onto the arbor before attaching the fly line via a braided loop connection. Some people think that minimal backing is required for trout fishing but in NZ, especially when fishing a lake or wide fast running river, an entire fly line will be out of the runners in a couple of seconds when a decent fish takes the fly.
I've owned the Metolius six weight for over two seasons and used it with a fair few lines ranging from 5 through to 7 weight. That said, a short cast in the back yard once the backing was installed confirmed the Snowbee XS DP floating line was going to make my trout angling trip a pleasure. It cast very smoothly without the belly of the line sagging or overpowering the fine tip section.
Our first morning on the river saw the dry fly in action and the G.Loomis Metolius/Snowbee line combo in full swing. The combo impressed me with its ability to cast long distances with ease, such was the balance of the rig. The noted characteristics of the Snowbee XS DP line was that it delivered a dry fly very gently and floated high enough to ensure the take of the trout was rewarded with a set hook.
I also found the fly line would load the rod with only a minimal amount of line past the rod tip. This reflects equally well upon the rod, and the well-matched combination was just as effective for close-up dry fly work.
Casting upon double nymphs set up at the end of a 4.5m leader is, of course, a deadly method of catching trout, but one that needs a perfect combination of rod and fly line for success. The leader is simply a continuous length of mono or fluorocarbon line, and if fly rod and line are not well matched it's frustratingly difficult to cast.
The pale green colour of the Snowbee XS SP made the line very visible when nymphing, but was by no means obtrusive enough to worry the fish.
These well made reels, in my view, are worth every cent one pays for them. And they don’t even come at a premium price when compared with some of the other top quality fly reels on today's market. The G.Loomis Venture series reels (sizes 3, 5, 7) feature an aluminium frame and spool and are fairly light at only 140g for the size 5.
The reel features a fully enclosed roller clutch bearing, adjustable composite drag disc plus a counter balanced handle. The large, click graduated, drag knob is at the rear of the frame and I found it worked very smoothly, with minimal drag through to near lock up.
I greatly admired the low inertia set up of the drag. When fishing with 1.5kg tippet for ultra fussy, but quite large trout, the reel would start to revolve on a very light drag setting as the rod started to bend. This avoids disappointing break-offs that can occur if a sudden lunge from a hooked fish fails to set the reel in motion.
Complete with anodised gold finish the Venture 5 looks, and performs, quite impressively. I just loved the high pitched hum the drag made when a feisty rainbow trout bolted down river with all of the fly line in it's wake. A rainbow ran nearly 100m down river before I finally got the silver sided missile under control.
In my opinion, quality tackle that gives one full confidence can only make the fishing experience more enjoyable.Reads: 1966