Monday, June 13, 2016

MOJO Bass Fly Rod Review

MOJO Bass Fly Rod Review
Bass tournament legal at 7’11”

 First, anyone that knows me knows I’m a trout bum of a fisherman. Though I do target other fish, trout is my mainstay. Also I fly fish 99% of the time and haven’t used a conventional rod in sometime. I decided to target largemouth bass more this year and decided to purchase a fly rod specifically for bass. With that being said I decided “why not get a regulation tournament legal bass rod?” Not that I’m going to participate in any bass tournaments but I figured it would be fun just to see how a short rod would handle with bass conditions.
 There are a few manufacturers that make specific tournament legal bass fly rods and I took the time to research for what I was looking for. The couple of higher priced fly rods were too expensive for my blood. I’m sure they all work well and most likely be fancy but the price was over the top from what I wanted to spend. This left me with two choices, a Heat rod, from White River or the MOJO bass fly by St. Croix. After talking with a representative from both companies, weighing my options on weight, reliability and knowledgeable in the field of both conventional rods and fly rods I went with the MOJO bass fly.
 Being that St. Croix has been in the rod business for ever and makes both conventional rods for bass fishing and fly rods I figured it would be a good bet they would be able to produce a well refined fly rod specifically for bass.
 The MOJO rod isn’t anything fancy. In fact the fanciest thing about it is the lettering on the rod shaft. There isn’t a wooden insert in the reel seat, which I would have liked, it’s just a black machined-aluminum. The dark black cherry blank isn’t anything eye catching but I don’t buy rods because of how the blank looks. It has a gracious full well cork grip with a fighting butt and the double rings on the reel seat is a plus in my book.
 When I talked with the St. Croix fly rod rep. he told me that they use a weight forward line that matches the rod. I fitted the rod with the large arbor 7 weight reel I use for steelhead and took it out for a test run.
 My first outing I used my WF7F fly line that I use for steelhead fishing and also have used it for bass fishing on my 9’ steelhead rod. It was a windy day and I was in open water in my kayak. I have to admit the rod was wonderful to cast. I was worried, because it was stated as a moderate-fast action rod for short to medium casts. I was afraid it wasn’t going to throw a foam or cork popper well with the wind. I also was concerned about distance. Though you don’t have to be too far away from the fish when targeting bass but from a kayak it’s nice to be able to cover a wide area anchored. I’ve mentioned I haven’t used a conventional rod for some time. Well the stiff butt section and finely tuned top section of the blank was no problem in the wind. I could drop the poppers with a sharp tight loop if I wanted to or let the popper drop easy like a frog jumping onto the water with little splash. The distance wasn’t bad either. It loaded well and the forward cast had no wobble in the top section.
 When I did catch a bass I had no problem steering it my way and away from the under water lily shoots. It handled nicely with more control than a flexy longer rod. I didn’t catch any large bass in my first outing but I returned with a better set up.

  Now it was time to refine the rod with a reel and a Bass taper fly line. The St. Croix rep. also said, since I was to purchase a 7 weight rod, that a 5 weight large arbor reel is all I would need. He added that bass aren’t runners so there isn’t a need for 100 yards of backing and, because of the short rod, should balance out nicely. I took his advice, and being cost conscious I went with a 5/6 Hobbs Creek large arbor reel. I figured if White River puts this reel on their own bass fly rods it can’t be all bad. Also I checked the reviews of this reel and they were positive for the price.  A friend happen to mention that Orvis sells a Bass specific fly line. With a gift card I received for my birthday I purchased a 7 weight Hydro bass line. With my line and new reel it balanced the short MOJO rod perfectly.
 I was anxious to test it out but early trout season was still upon us here in Pennsylvania. Dry fly action took off and the weather was still a bit on the chilly side. I leaned the rod up against the wall and waited for a weekend to take it out.
 My second outing I had the rod, reel and line I thought would work the best. On a Sunday I took it out but again was a windy day. I knew it would be a struggle, kayaking in the wind, but I couldn’t wait any longer to try this outfit out.
 The bass taper line gave the rod a better feel when loading and I got plenty of distance. I also was able to sidearm cast the poppers, to cut the wind resistance, without the popper dropping too far on the back cast. I also attribute this to the shorter length. This outing I caught some heavier bass and was able to maneuver the bigger bass without too much of the bass having its way with me.

 One large mouth did make a sweeping run towards me and kept on going pass me. I didn’t have the drag set very tight. As the bass took line out, from the reel, I tested the strength of both reel, rod and line by trying to slow it down. The hook let loose and the bass kept on without a glance of the big creature. I could have played it better but I was willing to sacrifice losing the bass by seeing what would happen by trying to stop it quickly.
 Overall I feel I got a good combination and if anything I may change later is getting a better reel but for now the Hobbs creek reel works just fine. I also wish the rod came in a 4 or even a 3 piece so I can take it with me on my motorcycle but for now the MOJO Bass fly only comes in a 2 piece. I have no better reason to go back to a longer rod for largemouth.
 The MOJO BASS FLY rod also comes with a 5 year warranty. You can check out the specific models on the St. Croix web sight.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fishing, Kayaking and more Fishing.

Fishing, Kayaking and more Fishing

 Jeff called and told me he was wanting to come North and fish till he drops over the weekend. He wanted to fish Friday after work and we planned on kayak/fishing on Saturday. Sunday was wait and see due to the possible rain. He showed up Friday evening and, though it was after 5:30pm, he wanted to get some late fishing in before dark. We headed to the Allegheny Nation Forest and deep into the forest along a hard packed dirt road that dead ended at the creek. We applied bug spray upon us and walked through the high brush to the water. 
 Our most productive offerings were woolly buggers to the rainbows, browns and brook trout while we took our time wading and fishing down creek. We also made a few trout rise with a small selection of dry flies including beetles and ants. We caught some very frisky trout before the sun went down below the tree line and walked back to the vehicle, along the dirt road, in dim light.
 It was a good quick outing ending with a pizza and beers at the Kelly Hotel before returning home.


 Saturday we were up early. I made us a bacon and egg breakfast while Jeff checked out the weather report. We were still debating where to kayak and as time went be we decided to hit the lower part of Tionesta Creek for trout. We tied down my kayak, next to his, on his truck and headed North for some more trout fishing.
 After leaving his vehicle down creek at a campground we returned to our yaks and started our journey down creek. Our fishing was mostly done stopping and wading out to trout fish. There were sections of the creek I was familiar with and other sections Jeff was more familiar with. When we found a section the looked trout fishy we stopped and gave it a shot. 
 We caught some nice broad shoulder rainbow trout throughout our journey. Some extra, high jumping, tough fighting rainbows and a few brown trout. Most were taken on streamers but we did catch a few on nymphs, wet flies and a few on dry caddis. We practically had the creek to ourselves. The only wading fisherman we seen was where we put in and came across only two canoes on our way down creek. We didn't take count but we had an awesome time pulling in trout, kayaking downstream and enjoying the warm and pleasant weather.

 We arrived at our take out location around 4:30pm. This is where I discovered my only mishap. I found a burnt hole in my shirt that was evidence that an ash from one of my cigars must of fell on to. It was a pretty big burn and I don't recall ever smelling the fire or feeling the burning.
 Once we got our Kayaks on the truck and gear inside, we returned to my vehicle up creek. By that time it was only around 5pm or so. Not feeling beat up or sore we were still in the mood to fish. Jeff got out his binoculars and glassed the surface water from our vehicles. Sure enough, he assured me, there were fish rising in the calmer water just before flowing over a row of rocks that stretched across the creek. We put on our vests and grabbed our rods and headed back out for some more trout fishing.
Let me just say it was an extra bonus of an awesome day to finish off catching surface rising trout.
 After a long day of kayaking and fishing we were pretty hungry. A venison roast and a bottle of red wine awaited us at home. 

Sunday morning was overcast and the weather was predicted to have passing showers and in the 70's. I made us a quick breakfast sandwiches and we got in our vehicles and headed North West for some cold tail water trout fishing. I guaranteed Jeff we would get into some dry fly action. 
 The water was about 58 degrees when we arrived in the morning. The sky was overcast for the first couple of hours before the rain started. Once it started to pour we both met back at the vehicles to wait it out. When it let up, with our rain gear on, we headed back out to the stream. It was mostly streamer fishing as the rain dotted the water. After noon the rain ceased and the sun came out for just a bit. With that we found a few trout rising and finished off fishing top water till Jeff decided he was wet enough and cold enough to call it a day. 
 While Jeff headed back to Pittsburgh I stopped at the Dam Inn and got a burger and a couple of Yuenglings before heading home. All in all it turned out to be a pretty good weekend of trout catching with a good friend.