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Formerly Wintershope
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At the end of June GrayGhost2 and I headed to Quebec to fish Atlantic Salmon. We went not knowing which rods we would fish. some people had endorsed long rods, which would be our choice, if a choice were granted. We practice casting our 15'-17' spey rods all summer long and for both of us a true joy is found in casting these rods far and well. However, many experienced anglers had cautioned us against relying on these rods, encouraging shorter rods and shorter heads. So we packed short and long rods alike, but we agreed that we would start with our 16'6" 9/10 Walkers by Bruce and Walker, and change from the big sticks when conditions dictated.

To begin with the Walkers were ideal for the big water we were fishing. while Quebec has many smaller salmon rivers, we chose to fish big water for big, fresh salmon. Fishing big water was the easy part, finding big fresh fish not nearly as easy. In 4 full days of sun-up to sun-down fishing through the year's longest days, we (GrayGhost2) found a single salmon, but what a salmon, enough to make a fishing partner jealous. Anyway, and this is where I Get to the point of this post which is the Walker.

This fish was sitting in a current seem that was a good 150 feet out from rocky point on the bank. We could wade out about 20' and and had to throw the fly the rest of the way. Having a 16'6" rod that can create exceptionally high line speeds was very valuable for this job. Indeed, with a 16'6" rod a leader of the same length, and a 67' foot Nextcast 9/10 FF, just casting the head is 100' and 130' is that plus 7-8 strips of line (most of the runs we fished would 9-10 strips and want more (a strip for me is around 4' long, for reference). Length of rod is not everything though. To cast long all day it helped immensely to have a softer, or more full flexing rod to absorb the weight of the loaded D-loop and to store and release that energy on the forward cast. There were spots, we fished on the lower river which called for such long cast as 14-15 strips, which required some creative running line control, but we were able to get the fly out to were we thought it had to be.

Because the Walker has such a full flex, yet quick recovery, it seems to generate some very high line speeds and I think that is what allowed us to reach ridiculous distances.

GrayGhost2's salmon was landed with the Walker which handle the very large (25+lbs) fish very well and the soft tip protected the leader through some high drama as the fish was being landed, which(to be honest) was my fault. Note: tailing a big bright Atlantic is different than a steelhead, at least this salmon was. additionally, I caught a few Trout on the river, the rod was great for these smaller fish

Only once did we switch away from the Walkers on our trip and that was on a very tight bank with a strong down stream breeze on river left. We were on a smaller upriver run. I used a very nice 13'9" rod with a Scandinavian head. it weigh only a fraction of what the Walker but reaching out across the river took alot of work, and I went back to the walker on the next run.

There are not alot of rivers in North American that require a big stick like the Walker 16' 6", you have to search for it, and we did. It is our thing. If you like big water and big fish and casting a long line with a long rod, check out the Walker 16'6" 9/10. Grayghost2 liked his so much, I hear rumor he may upgrade to a Walker 17'6" 9/10.
 

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Thank you for the review on this stick ... very intriguing !!
I bet this rod would tame a DT10 without twinkle ... :smokin:

Also, thank you for those wonderful photos !!

My heart is the same way ... I always opt for the longest stick I can use. Much for the same reasons as you state. The ease of casting and for the line control ... I like to be in control :D

Glad you had the chance to experience the beauty and majesty of the salmo salar ... your life will never be the same my friend :)

P.S - what fly is that lodged in the jaw of the salmon ?? Looks to be of the Green Highlander variety ??


Mike
 

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Formerly Wintershope
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Discussion Starter #5
Both fish shown have a Green Highlander in their jaws a married wing on the trout, that is a 2/0 BTW, and a hairwing on Grayghost2's salmon.
 

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Both fish shown have a Green Highlander in their jaws a married wing on the trout, that is a 2/0 BTW, and a hairwing on Grayghost2's salmon.
Just for knowledge ... what was the size of the hairwing Green Highlander that Grayghost2 used for that salmon ??


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The salmon ate a size 2 highlander.

The trout is what they call a Sea Trout, i think it is a straight Brook Trout that has fed in the salt.
 

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I have caught seatrout before on the Margaree ... brook trout that have been out feasting in the salt ... beautiful really !!

Good on you guys doing your research on places that would suit your style !!
Fishing the way you want to fish is the most enjoyable ... I'm learning that too :)

Would you say the Walker is progressive in action ?? Meaning a soft tip progressing less to the butt section ??
You mentioned a "soft tip" that saved the tippet from breaking while the salmon was in close.
Trying to get an idea in my head what the action is like. Any help is appreciated :)


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Progressive... yeah I think so. the tip definitely absorbs tension. If you look at the image of GrayGhost2 casting above, you can see how the tip of the rod is flexing back to the d-loop. This is the section of rod that was flexing to protect the tippet. It is also the flex of this rod that I believe generates the high line speeds.

As GrayGhost2 pushes the rod into the forward cast, the rod flexes progressively for tip to butt, absorbing the energy between the caster going forward and the D-loop going back, the more the rod flexes, the more energy it is absorbing . Once GrayGhost2 stops the rod's forward movement, the graphite begins its recovery from flexed to it's natural straight position. Now as the rod straightens from it's flex, the resistance of the D-loop decreases, and as this resistance decreases, the speed of the forward straightening of the rod increases, thus increasing the potential line speed once the rod throws the line from it's tip in it's furthest forward position.

This soft, or progressive action is great in that it makes playing small fish more fun,helps absorb the shock on the leader, increases line speed, and requires less physical energy to make a big cast. However, I think that it also demands precision movement and technique in place of the saved energy. i.e. a sloppy anchor can't be corrected with a quick adjustment, as is it can with a 16' CND or Powerlite. which are both stiff by comparison.
 

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I'm glad to hear that there are others out there who appreciate how truly unique and spectacular that 16'6" is to cast.....and fight fish. That is, I believe, the rod that Gene Oswald uses the most on the Clearwater. It's astonishing to see how little effort it takes to reach 150-160' cast after cast! POWERFUL, relaxing and forgiving at the same time. I also agree with you completely with the assessment that running a big rod at a fast idle is much less tiring than trying to squeeze every last drop out of a smaller rod when you want distance. Plus, long rods and long lines are just plain fun!

Looks like great fun and a great trip. If you have more pictures pleas post them as I have exactly no idea what that part of the world looks like.

TMc
 

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Great Piece

That is a wonderful description piece - thank you! I am heading to Labrador in a week for 10 days on a very large river. The quiver will include a Greased Line 15' 8/9 + FF70 "scandi" setup...a mere toothpick. :frown2:
 

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Thank you Steve for posting your thoughts on the B&W 16' 6" 9-10"Walker Rod. It is my "go to" big rod for most rivers. I absolutely love the action and the forgiving nature of this big rod. It's very light in hand and is easily fished all day. It bends so well and loads up so effortlessly that most casters fall in love after their first cast. Again thanks for your post, much appreciated.

Gene Oswald
 

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Walkers....

Want to just support all that has been said above. Forgiving, light in hand, great casting and mending tools. I have a 17'
6/7wt Walker "Light Line Series" model-the first of its kind and it is a real beauty. Casts a 6/7 XLT with finesse and ease and easily mends 70'-100' of line beautifully. This rod weighed 6oz.(!) out of the oven and 12oz. finished. I know Gene has some pictures of it.
If you are looking for a really classic piece of equipment for the long floating line presentation on a large river, the Walker is it. It just doesn't get any better than this; Gene O.and Brian Potter are fantastic gentlemen to work with on a rod build!

Tom
 
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