The following is an occasional series exploring the quiver of rods that John Larison fishes throughout his season. Stay tuned for further installments.
John Larison’s Quiver The Burkheimer 9145-4
No rod quiver is complete without a big water, big wade, big fish canon. How often have you been on a run that demanded a belly button wade and a long cast and found yourself struggling to deliver the fly? A fourteen-foot nine weight is the solution; the extra length functionally lowers the river to your knees and the extra mass in the line effortlessly lifts even a heavy winter tip and bulky fly from the surface. The Burkheimer 9145-4, unlike other fourteen-foot nine weights, preserves the grace found with the best thirteen-foot seven-weights, thanks to the optimal blend of deep-loading progressive taper and instantaneous recovery.
REEL: Hardy Salmon Marquis 3; a heavier reel balances this rod well.
LINES: In Summer, I load my 9145-4 with Nextcast’s 55’ Fall Favorite 8/9. In Winter, I prefer the dart-like precision of Nextcast’s 45’ Winter Authority 8/9 matched with 12.5 feet of T-11. For heavy water King Salmon, I fall back on Airflo’s 660 Compact Skagit or, if I’m still not getting down, Airflo’s 630 Intermediate Skagit. Both of these Skagit heads turn over T-14 like its nothing, and can be persuaded to turnover T-17 if the water demands it. With Skagit heads, I loop to Airflo’s Miracle Braid. With Nextcast heads, I loop to Airflo’s Ridge Running Line, as it offers the extra mass the Nextacast heads desire for turnover.
NOTES: I first fell in love with the 9145-4 while fishing Kings in BC with Wally of the Spey Lodge. The fishing frequently demanded waist-deep wading and long casts with heavy flies, and the 9145-4 got the job done with grace. The next winter, I put the rod to use on my coastal rivers and discovered a whole new level of control; I could cast to the far side seam and steer the line with precision around a boulder or two before dropping the fly into the bucket. The 9145 caught fish I otherwise would have missed.
But another reason I find myself reaching for the 9145-4 is that it allows me to cover water about 40% faster than I can with my conventional tip set-ups.
Often to catch Kings or Winter Steelhead, I find myself needing twelve feet of T-11 or T-14. To turnover a tip of that mass, we need a heavy line, most anglers use a Skagit head. However, if you’re casting long with a Skagit head all day, you pretty quickly get worn out stripping back the running line—then managing all that line in the current around your knees.
The 9145-4, when coupled with a Nextcast 45’ or 55’ “inter Authority 8/9, will gracefully single-spey T-11 all day long. With each cast, you’ll strip in twenty of thirty less feet of running line—that’s four to six pulls of line!—and have that much less line to manage during the cast. As a result, you’ll cover a run in less time, meaning you’ll have more daylight—and energy—remaining to try an extra few runs during the day and show your fly to that many more fish.