[img2="left"]http://www.landbigfish.com/images/articles/dm-brunsellstream3.jpg[/img2]Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair:
“Bob Brunsell’s Li’l Streamer: A Great Little Rod”ã
by Doug Macnair
Are you one of those folks who has wandered down a path overgrown with vegetation and wondered whether or not the gurgling stream you could hardly see contained any of our finny friends? Did you peer through brush and determine that beautiful fish awaited your fly? Did you do something stupid, such as cast to the fish only to find that you loose those expensive flies on snag after snag? Did you give up in frustration … and in the distance, hear the laugh of The Ancient Fish Gods? Crestfallen and embarrassed, did you wonder what does work? After all, there must be some way to go about catching these fish?
If you haven’t been there, I have … been there, done that. I’ve left little streams in frustration playing like they didn’t exist. Humiliated! Sure, you can take your 9-foot rod apart and use the top two sections laying the remainder of the rod on the ground. Ever stepped on your $500.00 dollar fly rod? Want to hear The Ancient Fish Gods laugh and laugh…
The ultimate lesson is simple: rods of 9-feet, or for that matter, even 7-feet, do not fit into the places where nature has seen fit to restrict the cast. There must be a better way … That’s why when I heard of the Li’l Streamer I was eager to take a test-drive. It made sense to me: the Li’l Streamer was claimed to be a little rod for little waters.
If you never heard of the L’ll Streamer, I take pleasure in making the introduction. The L’ll Streamer is built by dorbeR in Flippin, Arkansas. That’s right: the name is dorbeR out of Flippin, Arkansas. The proper name for the company is the Global dorbeR Group; but, anyway you cut it, dorbeR comes out loud and strong as a name you aren’t likely to forget.
Let’s talk first about the rod I have had the pleasure to review. When this 2-piece, 5-weight is assembled, it measures all of 5-feet. I nicknamed it “Two-Feathers” because that’s about what it weighs. The first thing that struck me as I opened the package were the guides – lots of guides – nine to be exact including the tip-top and a single size 20 stripper. Frankly, a lot of 9-foot rods don't have that many guides. The Li’l Streamer is an innovation of Bob Brunsell, a veteran fly fisher who operated out of Bull Shoals, AK. Seems that he believed “sag is drag,” meaning the more sag in the line as it passedbetween the guides, the more drag inhibits the shooting qualities of the fly line. What he sought was a little rod that could shoot lines a reasonable distance with only a very short backcast. While Bob Brunsell is no longer with us, his name lives on in the Li’l Streamer. Two-Feathers is but one of several available. Once you learn to handle these little rods, those places you bypassed will be bypassed no longer.
During the evaluation afield, Two-Feathers and I were inseparable for several weeks. It became a constant companion. When I drove by one of our many ponds and creeks, it was almost impossible not to stop for at least a few casts. And as the weather warmed, the fish increasingly were willing to strike.
Two-Feathers is fabricated of second-generation 36-million modulus graphite. As Ray Bauer, dorbeR’s spokesperson stated, “We chose low modulus/high strain graphite for its strength. This material is more durable and a lot more flexible than material with a higher modulus.” Ray went on to say that the secret of the rod's ability to perform comes from the guide placement rather than “any hi-tech stuff we did to the blank.” And perform it does! Every time I pickup Two-Feathers, my thoughts turn to those small mountain streams in the Smokies where native Brook trout still swim. What was once almost impossible is now probable, that is to say – “catch one.”
I am still experimenting with Two-Feathers but here is what I’ve learned to date about rigging and fishing the little rod. I recommend you experiment with, and abbreviate, the leader’s overall length. My current favorites run around 4-feet in length including the slender 12 to 18-inches of tippet. Any longer, and it’s tough to shoot line accurately in very close quarters where the backcast cannot be more than 8 to 10-feet. At Ray’s suggestion, I cut the head away from an old Mastery WF-5-F at a point just before the belly, formed a loop, tied it off, and found happiness. If you try this, smooth the transition of power to the tippet by starting with a leader butt of about .019¢¢ with quick & short tapers though .017¢¢ to .013¢¢. With this rigging, I can shoot about 25-feet with only a very short backcast. If you must use a standard fly line, the best I’ve tried to date is the Mastery WF-5-F Headstart with its abrupt head.
Now for a surprise: you may want to carry an extra line because when you stumble into areas where a longer backcast is possible, Two-Feathers will throw 50-feet comfortably; in fact, my line of choice to date is a Mastery WF-4-F, not a 5-wgt. Assuming I change to a more conventional leader length, the WF-4-F delivers both a gentle presentation as well as distance. Is this a fun rod? You bet!
Because of its downsized length, I suggest you use a sidearm cast to maximize the advantages the little rod has to offer. It is very important that you allow the rod to do the work. If this isn’t your current style, you may want to review my booklet entitled Excerpts©, and especially that part that deals with The Drill.
You can, of course, find rods with better cork or more expensive guides; however, the materials used by dorbeR are more than serviceable and will serve you well for years to come. And at dobeR’s prices you cannot complain: the series ranges from around $106.00 to $143.00. Originally, Two-Feathers retailed for a whooping $75.42 equipped with cork seat & rings. In keeping with everything else, prices are now a bit higher. The entire series offers you a choice of either a fixed reel seat or cork seat & rings. You also receive a rod sock and a PVC case with screw-on cap. Amazing!
Of course, it turns out that dorbeR offers far more that the Li’l Streamer fly rods. Among other things, they also manufacturer a line of standard fly rods of the sort you and I are more accustomed to discussing. DorbeR goes even further: they carry a line of inexpensive fly reels and fly lines. Down the road, and with dorbeR’s support, I hope to feature their fly reels in another article. All of their rods, by the way, are made in the good old USA, the lines in Canada, and the reels in Taiwan.
Frankly, if you don’t check out dorbeR at their web site, http://www.dorber.com you are making a big mistake! I think you will enjoy the experience. For more information on dorbeR and the Li’l Streamer, contact The Global dorbeR Group, Inc., PO Box 1196, Flippin, AR 72634. Telephone 1-888-483-2780.
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© Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2003-2006.
The content of Excerpts is exactly as the title purports: a compilation of extracts from my book, The Fly Cast: Concepts & Comments soon to be available for downloading as an ebook in convenient Adobe PDF format. (Adobe Reader is free to one and all: simply go to Adobe.com and download the program.) Excerpts can be downloaded from http://www.douglasmacnair.com.