The Large Dark Olive (L.D.O.) is one of the first flies to hatch on the river in spring. Often you can get L.D.O.s hatching on the opening day of the new season if the weather is mild enough. Other times it can be as late as April before they start hatching. Weather conditions will dictate when they start hatching. It is the most important fly for the dry fly angler for the months of March and April and again in September. A must have fly for any dry fly angler in Ireland or the UK.
A classic Iron Blue imitation. One of the best early season spiders there is but it will without doubt take trout all year round.
I’ve been wanting a dedicated nymphing rod for a while that could effectively handle all aspects of modern and traditional nymphing methods. There’s only really a small handful of dedicated nymphing rods available on the market and some come with ridiculous price tags! I decided to try the Táin SST nymphing rod not because of the relatively cheap price but because of the good reports I had been hearing from people who had the rod.
At a length of 10 foot and a line rating of 2/3# it ticked all the boxes for what I was looking for. 10 foot I figured would be a good length for Euro-nymphing , traditional upstream nymphing and also at a push if I found myself in a situation where I needed to cast a dry fly. At least that’s what I was hoping for anyway!
I tried the rod over the whole season of 2018. I tried all nymphing methods with it as well as dry fly fishing and I tried it out on all kinds of rivers; small , medium and large. This a review based on my findings throughout the season.
Aesthetically it’s quite pleasing on the eye with its matt black finish, gunmetal carbon insert reel seat, no frills lightweight single foot eyes and stripping guides and the half wells cork felt very comfortable in the hand. My initial thought was that it felt a little more heavier in the hand than I would expect from a dedicated nymphing rod and it felt a little stiff and less whipy in comparison to other nymphing rods on the market. Wether that would be a good thing or not I wasn’t sure until I tried it on the river.
On the river my initial concerns about it being a little heavy, stiff or not whipy enough were instantly dismissed. The first method I tried was the euro nymphing method as that’s the method I use for the majority of my nymphing. It handled flicking nymphs at distance quiet well while euro nymphing. I had no trouble with keeping in contact with my nymphs even in windy conditions. It tracked the nymphs beautifully and effortlessly throughout the drift both at distance and in close. It’s very responsive too and you can practically feel through the rod what your nymphs are doing subsurface. And you can feel any takes very easily, even the most subtle of takes. Holding the rod high all day wasn’t an issue either.
When it came to setting the hook on the take I found it very good because of how the rod allows you to keep good contact with your nymphs and the light tippet is cushioned well by the rod when setting the hook.
While playing the fish there was a couple of things I noticed. When playing small juvenile trout they have a tendency to come off the hook easier than usual with this rod compared to other rods but for all other sized trout the opposite was true. Losing the odd small juvenile trout certainly isn’t a bad thing and it was only the small juvenile ones that I had this issue with. But for all other trout I caught on it I found the rod bent into them well and even with it being a 2/3# rod I never once felt undergunned when playing a big trout. I found it an absolute pleasure to play fish with. I hooked a large trout over 5lbs from a pool in the upper river Suir with the rod and the rod was very impressive at handling it throughout the fight and absorbed the pressure well protecting the light tippet. I did lose the fish at the very end of the fight but it was through no fault of the rod. The fish was beaten but the hook straightened and just before I went to net it the hook came out of the trouts mouth. I was gutted with losing the fish but delighted with how well the rod performed while playing such a good fish.
Another test for the rod was how it perform on smaller rivers. Smaller rivers present their own set of challenges and as I love fishing small streams I was eager to see how the Táin SST would perform on a small stream.
Again it lived up to all expectations and performed very well. I mostly do traditional style upstream nymphing and the dry dropper method (aka klink and dink, aka New Zealand style) but I also tried some high sticking and euro nymphing with it on the smaller rivers and I was very impressed with it. I found I could get a very good presentation with the rod and using very light tippets for wary small stream trout wasn’t a difficulty with this rod. I also found I could get good accuracy with placing my nymphs where I wanted them at close range and at distance in tight spaces while crouching down.
Overall it handled all nymphing applications well. I then tried fishing dry flies with it to see how it would handle that method. I had my reel loaded with one of my favourite lines, the Barrio small stream dt 3# line. I couldn’t quite get it to load the road to cast a dry fly effectively. It was close but not quite there so I decided to give it another try another day with a 4# line and see if it could reasonably cast that. I used a Cortland 444 4# line and it made a huge improvement. It’s not a dry fly rod and it’s not supposed to be so it would be unreasonable to expect it to cast a dry fly well but it did fare well enough to be able to use it if I ever find myself in a situation where I need to cast a dry fly with it. And that’s good enough for me.
If you’re looking for a dedicated nymphing rod and are on a bit of a tight budget or simply don’t want to spend big money on a nymphing rod I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Táin SST. At a price tag of €175 it’s well worth the money.
If you’re interested in buying one here’s the link to order one directly from their website: