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Thursday, July 23, 2020

WildStream Searcher 106-3 Rod Review

The WildStream Searcher 10 foot 6” 3wt. is a specialty fast action rod designed for American Tight Line nymphing (also known as Euro nymphing). The construction of the rod is made of IM 10 weave graphite (intermediate modulus) that features a thinner wall for extra sensitivity and a lighter feel. The key to any good Tight Line nymphing rod is a flexible tip that will transmit every tick on the bottom substrate and the lightest grab from a trout. Though it is a 3 weight, the butt and mid-section is of a 5wt. caliber for fighting larger fish.  A Grade 4A cork full wells grip, beautiful reel seat, and a fighting butt complete the operator’s controls of the rod. Single foot guides for even more sensitivity and ultra smooth wraps complete the Searcher. It also has an extremely appealing finish with a pearl accented veneer. 

A longer rod will allow you to reach areas a shorter rod cannot, plus you’ll have better control resulting in a more effective drag free drift. If you’ve never fished with a rod longer than 9 feet, it takes some time to get used to it. You’ll need to be more careful walking down a trial near the river, or bringing the rod inside your house. The last 4 inches of the rod to the tip is very delicate and does not flex that much and can snap. Be extra cautious when pulling on your leader and fly line out from the tip, the more vertical the rod is, and the more the tip is at risk of failure. It’s wise to set the rod down and pull the leader or line straight out of the tip.

WildStream Ambassador Cat Toy
Photo courtesy of  Mike Hinckley Media

While fishing you may have to stand farther away than you normally would with a shorter rod. Netting fish alone with a longer rod also takes a new approach. Reach your rod hand out and up behind you with the reel turned away. When you slide the fish into the net, angle your body to the creature and reach quickly with a fully extended net arm. Ninja warrior style! This gives you the reach you need and will help you from possibly breaking your rod.

I first fished this rod on the Yampa River, in Colorado, and it was very interesting Tight Lining with a size 22 fly. The takes were so subtle, but I could either feel them, or the sensitive tip would make my sighter section dance. A Galvan Rush Light reel with a RIO competition nymphing line was used and I must say I do like the smaller diameter fly lines for this style of nymphing. I hooked several fish that were very big and at first I was concerned the 3wt size of the Searcher would not be able to handle them. Fortunately the over sized butt section did its job and it was an advantage to be able to use the fighting butt while playing the fish. I’m impressed!

A few days later I fished the Searcher 106-3 on the Arkansas River. The trout were not as big as the Yampa River, but there was more water and I got a feel for how well the Searcher performed while nymphing faster and heftier water conditions, plus a heavier rig. Not only is this rod fun to fish, but it is an amazing tool for Tight Lining. If you had to choose one rod and style of fly fishing for consistently putting fish in the net, the Searcher and Tight Lining would be it. I’m looking forward to fishing it as soon as I can, this rod is a winner!

Price for the Searcher 106-3 is $240, comes with an extra tip, case, and rod sock. There are other models available like the 10' and 10' 6" in 2, 3, and 4 wt. For ordering or more information contact James Kissinger of WildStream USA at 775.737.1306, or email him at

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