Here’s Dana’s rig for a typical day on the Lower Dean.
- Bob Clay Riverwatch River Series 13 ft 8/9 Bamboo – “A classy rod for classy fish.”
- Nautilus Spey Reel
- 550 grain Rio Skagit line
- 200 yards of 50 pound gelspun backing attached to the spool with an arbor knot
- Double surgeon’s loop in the fly line end of the backing
- Loop to loop connection from the backing to the full Skagit spey line. “I’m not a big fun of using mono as a running line. I don’t think it’s necessary. The disadvantages of handling and tangling outweigh any advantages in distance.”
- Braided mono loop attached to the back of the fly line, secured with a nail knot.
- 15 ft type 6 sinktip, attached via a loop-to-loop connection to the factory loop on the Skagit line
- 3 feet of 15 pound Maxima Ultragreen for leader, attached to the sinktip with a loop-to-loop connection and a double surgeon’s loop. “Sometimes I’ll use a perfection loop because it has a lower profile – depending on the size of the tip top on the rod I’m using, I may opt for the lower profile of the perfection loop, even though it’s not as strong.”
- Big bunny leach or intruder-style tube fly for ocean-fresh fish. “I always fish tubes. One of my favorite flies to use is a Tyler Kushner General Practitioner tube – a black one called the Voodoo Child or an orange one called the Raging Prawn. I like tubes because they allow me to have a very small hook size but vary the size of the fly. The smaller hooks minimize damage to the fish and I want a short shank hook for easy release. If the hook is going into a holder on the back of the tube, I use a standard clinch knot. If I want to tie the hook on as a trailer, I use a double surgeon’s loop because that provides some bulk to snug the hook to the fly, and it allows me to vary the position of the hook relative to the fly.”
- “If people are fishing for wild anadromous fish, I really advocate using stout enough tackle to manage the fish and get the fight over as quickly as possible. I’m not a big believer in ultralight tackle for wild salmon and steelhead. I tend to really put the muscle to a fish so I can get the fish in quickly and get it back on its way. Get the big sticks out!”
- “I pay a lot of attention to the factory loops on fly lines. I’ve learned over the past few years that I can trust the loops, but I’ve found that after some use they start to crack, so I keep an eye on that and if I see any sign of wear, I cut off the factory loop and create a new loop by folding the line over on itself and whip-finishing a loop.”