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Jordan Sly’s Early Season ‘Low Bow’ Rig

Posted on July 19 2013

Lower River Rainbow Trout
Lower river rainbow trout caught by Jordan Sly. Photo: Wade Blackwell

Time for more trout rigging detail!  Here’s how Jordan Sly chases the big boys at Alaska West.

Jordan Sly’s Early Season Lower River Trout Rig

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the dilemma “upriver for quantity, or downriver for quality” here at Alaska West, but it is a common one. This question is referring to our rainbow population on the Kanektok River, where the numbers tend to be greater above camp, but the big guys tend to hold out downriver in the bigger water.

Between upriver and downriver the river is different, the fish are different, the presentation method is often different, so I tend to fish a different setup. Early in the season I like to use heavy sculpin flies that can quickly reach depth in fast moving water, and a rod/line combination that allows me to get a cast quickly out of the boat, plus is long enough to high stick around those snags.

The Summary

  • Sage 796-4 ONE
  • Ross CLA #4
  • RIO Power Fly line, 7 weight

The Details

  • 200 yards of orange 20 pound dacron tied to the spool with an arbor knot. Bimini twist in the fly line end of the backing to create a loop.
  • Fly line attached to the backing with a loop-to-loop connection.
  • Leader is 2-foot sections of Maxima Ultragreen in 30 lbs, 25 lbs, 20 lbs, and 15 lbs, creating a leader that is 8 feett in length. The leader is connected to the factory loop with a perfection loop, and each additional section of Ultragreen is connected to the next with a 7 turn blood knot.
  • Fly of choice is Sly’s Bleeding Tube Sculpin with a size 6 B10S pulled into a little section of junction tubing so the hook point rides up.

The Commentary

“Yeah I like a 9’6” 7 weight – it might seem big, but I like to throw some nasty sculpins, plus I like the extra backbone when I hook into that 30” plus rainbow so I can get it in quickly and release it before too much lactic acid builds up in its muscles.”

“I know, orange backing might seem weird to some, but I also use this reel in Andros and I prefer a brighter backing when fishing on the flats. The loop on the front makes it super easy clean and change lines between seasons.”

“This is my first season using the RIO Power Fly and I like it so far. I was a big fan of the Coldwater Clouser, but with it being discontinued I needed to try something else out. I’m really happy with the short head on this line – it helps turn over big flies, and it is really nice when shooting that quick cast from the boat.”

“If I’m not getting deep enough I’ll often slip on a small bullet weight before the fly to help get it down, or maybe a Polyleader instead of my tapered Ultragreen one.”

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