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Here’s a bit from my first experiences I’ve had with OPST’s Commando Micro-Skagit lines I’ll share.

After deciding to put a couple back-up rods to use by adding bottom handles last year, I decided to fish a 9’ 5wt St Croix Imperial converted with a 4” bottom handle. Previously, I’ve used this rod with a Wulff Ambush 295gr head and #25 OPST Lazar running line on an old Young & Sons Pridex reel.

My first experiment was on the upper Guadalupe river near my home in TX. I used a 200gr Commando line, a standard 9’ mono tapered line w/4’ of extra tippet and a foam bass popper. Using standard Spey, Skagit (sustained anchor casts) and overhead casts it performed exceptionally well. Overhead casting required no extra false casts and shooting line to 60’ was no problem. I found this setup incredibly accurate. I found myself single hand casting most of the time. In a couple hours I managed to catch a dozen small bass and blue gill that are common the this stretch of the river. My only other thought is to find an appropriate floating front tip as opposed to using a longer mono leader.

My second experiment was trout fishing on three separate sections of the South Platte river near our cabin in Colorado. The South Platte is mostly public water and is heavily pressured by anglers. As such, the fish, Rainbows, Cutthroats and Browns tend to be leader shy and highly educated. Using the same rod and reel, I decided to use a 175gr Commando.

Day one was spent short-line nymphing a standard two fly rig w/ and w/o split shot and/or a bobber in Eleven Mile Canyon. For this set-up I used a 5’ cheater from my steelhead stuff before a 9’ 5x tapered fluorocarbon leader. Short tension casts and Skagit casts worked very well turning over the leader and flies. I found the less I muscled the cast the better the turn over. Several trout came to hand in a few hours.

On day two on the South Platte I decided to commit to this rig and hike several miles into the famed Cheeseman Canyon section. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been humbled in Cheeseman Canyon over the years. However on this day I spent less than four hours on the water and had three fish to hand with three more come unbuttoned after a few minutes. Again, I used the 5’ cheater and 9’ 5X fluro leader. My two fly rig included a size #18 pheasant tail and #22 RS-2, with and without splitshot and/or a bobber. The Commando line again had no problems turning over the rig. However, the level line cheater made mending a bit of a challenge. It’s mass made it tricky to not move the flies too. I’m now considering sacrificing one of my old fly lines to make a 5’ tapered floating tip. I’ve also ordered Airflo’s 5’ and 8’ floating poly leaders.

On day three I fished the “Dream Stream” lower section of the South Platte. I’ve spent extensive time here downstream swinging flies for trout coming up out of Eleven Mile Reservoir. So I decided to try this 175gr head and several types of streamers. These included a weighted 4” bunny leach tied on pro tube micro tube, a #8 Barr’s Slumpbuster tied with a Fish Scull and Mayer’s Micro-Leach. All three flies turned over well to 60-70’. I caught fish on all three flies in four hours on the water.

In conclusion, the Commando heads are very versatile. I’ve never short-line nymphed with a Skagit head. But catching fish in Cheeseman gives me great confidence to continue using it to short-line nymph. These small CO waters don’t really need sinking/intermediate tips. I prefer floating tips and a sinking fly. The Guadalupe was fun and will sometimes require a sinking tip for bass. I’d like to find a 5’ tapered floating tip for this rig. Maybe even figure out how to upstream dry fly fish with the OPST Commando line.

Tight Lines,
Mike A.
 
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