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by Bob Banfelder

There are those who seek BIG fish and are only happy when they achieve their objective. Then again, there are those who are more than satisfied with catching and releasing fingerlings (very small trout: brookies, rainbows, browns, along with a plethora of panfish) employing light angling equipment. Working a 3-weight fly rod along with the equivalent of a weight-forward floating line coupled to a 9-foot 7X/1.5 pound or 6X/2 pound tapered leader translates into stealth personified. In our travels, Donna and I often find ourselves somewhere in the middle of a mix between big fish and small fry. When we do encounter miniatures, be they freshwater trout, crappies, or snappers in the suds, we break out our bantam-weight fly outfits and look forward to an hour or so of some solid fun. It's nice to know that should one encounter a fairly decent-sized creature along the way, that the rod has the backbone to battle such a fish.

That's exactly what the Okuma 3-weight SLV Fly (model 4246) wand offers: power when needed in a lightweight, portable 4-piece travel package. It is a medium-fast action graphite rod featuring an aluminum reel seat, full-wells grips, two titanium oxide stripper guides, six stainless steel snake guides, plus tip. It's an easy rod to cast and absolute fun with which to fish, suitable for small streams, ponds, rivers or lakes.

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Okuma 3-weight SLV 4-piece travel fly rod spooled with RIO Trout Series In Touch Perception Weight-Forward floating fly line (WF3F) ~ RIO tapered leaders ~ RIO tippet material.

Coupled to a vintage, but reliable Shakespeare Purist reel (model 7595), I filled its spool with 20 yards of backing, 80 feet of RIO Trout Series In Touch Perception Weight-Forward freshwater floating fly line (WF3F) ~ Green/Camo/Tan, and a RIO Fluoroflex 9-foot 6X tapered leader. Good to go.

The union of a precision 3-weight Okuma fly rod casting a RIO weight-forward 3-weight fly line joined to a 100% fluorocarbon tapered leader is the magic that ensures accuracy and delicate presentations. RIO's Fluoroflex Trout tapered leaders boast high abrasion resistance and are virtually invisible in even a crystal-clear water column. The leader's long butt section ensures an effortless and greater turnover arc in presenting flies to wary trout.

Casting flies ranging between sizes #10 and #14 will ensure a smooth cast and quiet presentation when employing a 9-foot 6X or 7X tapered leader. I generally do not tie or employ nymphs or dry flies smaller than that size. As a matter of fact, a 9-foot 5X fluorocarbon tapered leader is about the heaviest I use for brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Leader pound-test strengths referencing 5X, 6X, and 7X are approximately 4lbs., 2lbs., and 1.5 lbs., respectively. Therefore, you're covered quite nicely for trout in many freshwater streams, ponds, rivers and lakes—from fingerlings to fair-size species—even snapper to cocktail blues and schoolie-size striped bass in the suds.

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Schoolie bass on Okuma 3-weight SLV rod.

Keeping to a 9-foot tapered leader is a good choice whether for a beginner or intermediate angler. As one elects to move up in length from 9 feet to say a 12-foot leader, casting becomes a bit more challenging to control. Staying with a mid-range 9-foot tapered leader covers most waters that you'll likely encounter. If you wish to use larger flies for larger species such as lake trout, or move from freshwater applications to serious saltwater situations, you will want to select a sturdier fly rod, heavier fly line and, of course, a stronger tapered leader. However, in keeping with the theme of this article, enticing and finessing fingerling for fun and sport, it's hard to beat a 3-weight graphite fly rod. Okuma is your ticket.

RIO In Touch Perception Weight-Forward 3F (floating) fly line, joined to 9-foot 6X and 7X tapered fluorocarbon leaders, plus approximate .005 .004 tippet material diameters, respectively, and you're ready for both wet and dry fly fishing.

RIO's In Touch Perception fly lines are constructed with ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology, which translates into greater sensitivity in terms of detecting subtle takes, thereby increasing reaction time when setting the hook. Fly casting is all about timing and technique, which is what world-renowned Lefty Kreh had taught many of us through some of his remarkable demonstrations; for example, getting down on his knees, separating a two-piece fly rod, then using only its forward section to load and cast a fly line some eighty feet. Amazing!

RIO's Perception SureFire series of fly lines provide a tri-color system that offers spot-on visual timing for greater accuracy and distance casting. Especially for nymph and/or dry fly angling, it is essential that you mend the line, creating a drag free drift. You are ‘In Touch,' with RIO's Perception fly lines, making for easy line lift and precise mends. What is also quite neat is that the front loop is permanently marked with the size of the fly line for easy identification: e.g., RIO Perception WF3F. No mixing up lines when changing from one line weight to another.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America

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Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.


The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.
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