Notes from Castapalooza with Jerry French
Jerry French was one of the presenters at Castapalooza 2017, which was held today at Happy Valley Park along the Grand River in Madison, Ohio.
Please put any inaccuracies or omissions you discover in the following down to the three-beer lunch I had at Grindstone Brewery. The Evil Entity session Cascadian dark ales is worth $5 of anybody's money.
In no particular order of importance:
1. He's approachable and a good egg.
2. His presentation was mostly about the history of skagit but in his closing remarks he assured everyone that skagit will continue to evolve. The word "skandit" caught my ear but I was unable to hear the rest of what he said and he left to try to find fishable water before I had a chance to talk to him.
3. Casturbation is a sin. He is first and foremost a fisherman. Even on the biggest rivers, almost all of his fishing is done between 60 and 80 feet, with most of it closer to the 60' end of the spectrum.
4. The best rod he has ever guided is an elderly lady named Barb, who was featured in one of the videos on OPST's Youtube channel. He put her success down to wading ankle-deep and focusing on fishing, not casturbating. He said that many time he's seen her follow a top-notch angler who got skunked and pick up fish.
5. OPSTs are made from PVC which allows them to sit lower in the water which, in turn, makes them better for waterborne anchor casts.
6. He believes the ideal action for a skagit rod is progressive. When I asked if he meant a rod with a stiffer tip that forced the load further down the blank, he said no.
7. Twelve feet is the longest a rod can be and still offer the level of efficiency he likes.
8. His and Barb's favorite of the new Renegade lineup of skagit rods is the 11'6" 8wt.
9. Grips on most rods are too long.
10. The Renegade rods are true to the stated weight. He finds trout speys in particular to not to be true to weight.
11. OPST Commando heads have a thick end and a thin end. For whatever reason, it has never been advertised that the thin end is meant to be used with polyleaders, and the thick end with MOW tips.
12. In the next year, he will be bringing out his own range of lines, including ones with integrated lines for the trout rods and ones for longer rods.
13. He hopes to be able to offer a complete outfit (rod, line and Einarsson reel) for about the price of a Sage rod.
14. He sees the Great Lakes region as an emerging market and plans to make many trips here in the future.
The Facebook page for Castapalooza can be found at jdcastapalooza.