The Fly Fishing Shop Insider)
Journey to the Forbidden Land (Part-1)
A three part series about Kamchatka wilderness adventure -
by Mark Bachmann
In 1993 I was invited to assemble a group of fly fishermen to visit the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russian Siberia. At 140,000 square miles in area, Kamchatka is the size of the state of California, but largely an uninhabited sub-arctic wilderness. For 100 years it had been the most strategic eastern Russian military stronghold and been closed to outsiders. We would be some of the first Americans allowed to enter this very sensitive area.
|As it turned out, we were on the first foreign aircraft to land at some of the towns we visited enroute to our destination. After growing up with years of cold war paranoia, we were a little apprehensive about how the Russians would treat us. They treated us with great hospitality and in some of the towns where we landed for refueling, we were greeted by dozens of school age children offering tokens of friendship. To Top|
We land in Provedinia.
frozen coast, Siberia
|Kamchatka offers the last true wilderness adventures for wild steelhead & rainbow trout. It is here where rainbow trout (steelhead) were first identified, and is why they have a Russian scientific name, Oncorhynchus Mykiss. In Kamchatka they are called Mykissia (pronounced Mick'-keesya). The natural range of the rainbow trout is the Pacific Rim from Kamchatka to Southern California. In most of their range the rainbow has suffered from hatchery|
|manipulation, habitat destruction and over harvest. I have fished for and studied rainbows most of my life, and Kamchatka offered an exceptional opportunity to study this specie in the raw. Our group of 13 anglers assembled in Anchorage, Alaska, May 4. The next morning we boarded a 19 passenger Beach Craft turbo-prop and flew to Nome where we picked up a Russian navigator. We crossed the Bering Sea and our port of entry was the tiny arctic town of Provideniya. After going through Russian Customs, we||
down the 900 mile long coast line and finally landed in Petropavlovsk,
the largest city in Kamchatka.
From there we flew by Russian MI-8 helicopter back north to our
camp; Cedar Lodge on the Zhuponova River. What a ride. The
flight was spectacular as is all of the landscape of Kamchatka.
We flew over and were constantly surrounded by smoking
volcanoes. Kamchatka is
some of the most volcanic real estate on the planet.
|It has around 200 volcanoes, of which 65 are still active. We landed at Cedar Lodge in the afternoon and one of the guys put together his spey rod and caught a seven pounder almost before the rotor blades quit turning. It was a fitting introduction to a river which proved to be one of the worlds finest.||
The body of this corrosion proof clipper is cut from titanium tubing. Razor sharp replaceable tungsten-carbide blades slice through leaders
|& fly lines
easily and cleanly. This design fits the hand well and is easy
to use. Made in USA.
There are two sizes:
Large: 3 3/4" X 9/16" for people with large hands or heavy duty use.
Regular: 2 3/4" X 7/16" for trout fishing and normal use.
|00023||Fishpond Titanium Clipper, Large Size||$22.00|
|00024||Fishpond Titanium Clipper, Regular Size||$20.00|
|Floating Fly Lines||Reg. $49.95 Now $34.50|
|Full Sinking Fly Lines||Sinking Tip Fly Lines|
|Thomas & Thomas DH1307-3
(The continuing saga...)
This is a very fast action rod designed for casters with sharp skills. It delivers incredibly tight loops and allows the angler to ignore all but the strongest wind. One of the things that makes this rod so appealing is it's low center of gravity. The short lower handle and three piece blank makes this rod feel very light in the tip. The stiff butt gives tremendous lifting power when playing fish. However, this stiff, fast action doesn't cover mistakes. It isn't forgiving while casting either. The DH1307-3 will deliver amazing line speed, but you better be on your game.
(The above was first printed 08/11/02).
I have now landed 13 steelhead with this rod in 9 sessions. During 3 of these sessions 4 more fish were landed with my 7141-4 Sage rod. A session is a morning or evening (about 2 1/2 hours each). Fishing wasn't always easy. Extremely high winds and crowded conditions added to challenge. I have only used two lines with the T&T. Both have been un-cut Windcutter full floating lines. When I asked Simon Gawsworth about his line choice for this rod, he suggested a WindCutter 6/7/8. I tried it and caught several steelhead with it. Then I tried a WindCutter 7/8/9, thinking that loading the rod deeper would cope with the wind better. Actually I changed back after about an hour. The 7/8/9 was alright, but I could build more line speed with the 6/7/8. By using a quick snap with the very tip of the rod, the loops were so narrow that they sliced through the wind with accuracy. Whereas with the greater mass of the 7/8/9 line the rod bent more resulting in wider, less aerodynamic loops traveling at lower speed. The resulting casts were less accurate and more time was wasted while mending the line into position. The reel that I am using with this rod is a #2 Left Kreh built in 1984 by Joe Saracione. It's a small diameter wide spool reel much the same size as an Abel #2 Big Game. It makes you reel fast when a fish is coming at you, but what the heck. It has always been lucky...I'll take lucky over high speed any day. The T&T Company and its rod design philosophy are very new to me. I think this allows me to be unbiased and objective. I am enjoying this position. My first assessment of the rod's clunkyness while playing fish has been revised. At first it seemed over-responsive and stiff. As I was able to land more fish, I have come to love the flawless progressive bend when the butt is held at a 45% to the fish. There are no flat spots in the curve of the blank, which makes the amount of pressure you are putting on a fish very apparent and predictable. No flat spots also means there are no jerks or wobbles that are created by the rod as it flexes under load. You could land one hell of a steelhead with this little rod. So far my best fish landed with the DH1307-3 has been a very strong 12 pound native. It was tailed in fast, chest-deep, boulder-studded water. I don't own another rod which would have been better. It is a great rod...so far it's been lucky...and it is also very high speed. At this point the DH1307-3 is still very demanding to cast. This annoying trait while not relaxing, does tend to focus the mind on the task at hand. Maybe that's why it has been so lucky for me. My next move is to try a sinking tip line and see how this little T&T performs as the all around summer steelhead stick.
|Thomas & Thomas|
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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann & Patty Barnes