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Bougle Contest Winner – Tom Ehrhard’s Steelhead Rig

Posted on January 08 2013

Steelhead - Tom Ehrhard
The winner. Nice work, Tom!  Photo: Kevin Bulley

We’re thrilled to present to you the winner of a brand new Hardy Bougle, courtesy of our ‘Tell Us About Your Steelhead Rig’ contest.  Tom Ehrhard took this one home with his entry that appears in its entirety below.

Before we get to Tom’s rig though, we need to say a few things.  You folks are amazing.  The quality of the entries in this contest – almost 100 of them – was incredible.  Dozens of times while reading your comments we thought to ourselves “yep, this one could win too.”

Your responses have created a fantastic resource for steelhead anglers from all over the world.  Thank you so much to everyone who participated.  There’s more of this stuff to come.

Anyhow, Tom won because

  • His entry was super detailed and helpful, and
  • His entry taught us some stuff (are we the only ones who had to look up the J-knot?), and
  • His entry was funny.  We didn’t put that in the Contest Rules and Tips section, but if we have to pick between two contest entries that are equally helpful, but one’s funnier than the other, we’ll probably pick the funnier one.

Here’s our winning entry.  Thanks, Tom.  Enjoy that Bougle.

The Babine Badboy

  • Rod: Beulah Platinum 8124 “The Tamer”
  • Reel: Galvan Torque T-12 SBD (silent but deadly)
  • Line: Airflo Skagit Compact Shooting Head, 570 grains
  • Fly: The Silvinatrix—it cracks the whip and leads to submission

The Rig

  • 65 pound PowerPro Hi-Vis Yellow backing, tied to the spool with a Uni-knot—PowerPro likes uni-knots when tied to itself.
  • Frog Hair 40-lb. fluorescent orange shooting line tied to the doubled-over PowerPro with a J-knot–very straight knot, easy to tie, rock solid, and goes through guides easily.
  • 570 grain Skagit Compact attached to the running line with a loop-to-loop connection.
  • 12 feet of T-11 (super-clean, strong welded loops by Amy Hazel) looped to the head.
  • 3 feet of 15 or 20 lb. Maxima Ultragreen looped to the tip using a Perfection Loop (I use a King Sling for lighter tippets in lower-threat flows).
  • Black and blue Brian Silvey “Silvinatrix” tied on with a non-slip mono loop, sort of like a noose. Don’t look for it online, you’ll get bad websites. It is a bruiser (black and blue) and demands obedience. It has an evil leather whip strip and a #4 Owner SSW Cutting Point hook that will slice you if you look at it wrong. Submit to your master.

The Explanation

  • Logic.   If I’m going to travel to British Columbia with my closest steelhead friends and swing over 40+ inch stainless reentry vehicles, I want to be ready for that fish on every cast. Could a 7 weight work? Sure. Could 10 lb. Ultragreen do the job? Of course. But on my first trip to the Babine I watched another fisherman hook up with Toad Lesnar and get kicked in the jewels repeatedly until Toad exited the pool with the guy’s manhood. So, I wear a cup; and it’s called the Babine Badboy rig.
  • The Rod.  The Beulah is a smooth-casting rod. A longer rod might allow longer casts on wide-open runs, but that’s not the issue on the Babine. Tough runs are the issue. I want to be put in the bad place where few fisherman tread. Overhang, rocky wades, and fresh grizzly scat equals lightly-fished water. The shorter Platinum and the Airflo help me chuck out casts when no cast is really feasible and let me put more pressure on them when hooked. I’m not looking just for fish, but epic fish, stories that I can tell for years. Epic circumstances make for epic stories.
  • Skating ROE.  The only time I go with a lighter tippet is when I switch to Scandi and a skater I call “The Pontoon.” It’s a topwater party in slow motion—steelhead motor boatin’. My ROE (rules of engagement) is once you land a fish using higher-percentage methods, spend as much time as possible skating. Don’t act like you don’t want to…
  • Loop and Drag.  I hold a longer than normal loop in BC. Lots of funny stuff seems to happen in the Babine and there’s a bit more slippage that has to happen before they get serious sometimes. If they go thermo-nuclear right away, nothing lost, but you still want the whole fish to turn before that Owner finds a home. But, when they get to the reel, I have that drag set tightly so that Owner goes ALL the way home, and so when Zatar the Mutant King decides he wants to leave, you put some serious lactic hurt on him, early and often. There’s no time for adjustment or second chances. This is all about percentages, and I want them on my side.

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