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Thursday, February 11, 2021

WildStream 105 Searcher Light Steelhead Rod Review


Though I’ve had the highly anticipated Searcher 105 (10 foot 5 weight) Light Steelhead rod for 3 weeks, I finally was able to do a thorough test and fish it last weekend on the Lower Yuba River. Compared to its younger siblings in the 3 and 4 weight ranges, the 105 is a much beefier rod that really surprised me by its performance. The 105’s design was intended to be a Euro nymphing rod for large trout/steelhead, but in reality, it is a very versatile and efficient tool for big water like the Yuba.

Construction: like the other Searcher models, the 105 is made of IM 10 graphite which is a weave that offers superior modulus of elasticity and the some of the highest grade graphite material available for rod manufacturing. The characteristics of IM 10 is one of being extremely lightweight with crisp responsiveness which delivers pinpoint accuracy, and a thinner side wall in the tip section for extra sensitivity that will transmit every tick on the bottom substrate, or the lightest grab from your quarry. The butt and mid-section is of a 7 weight caliber and you could most likely pick up a small toddler off the ground. Now that’s some serious back bone! In fact this rod reminds me of the older Scott Power Ply fiberglass 7wt. that was made in San Francisco. 

Action/Fishability: The action of the 105 Searcher is much different than your standard fly rod and takes a little bit to get used to. The butt section is very stiff, and the mid section has a medium flex, while the tip is soft, but not as whippy as the 1063 or 1064 Searcher. Because the 105 is so versatile, I’ve broken down the specific uses in sub categories that the user will be fishing it with below.

Euro Nymphing: Because the tip section is not as whippy, the 105 struggles with lob casting lighter weight jig flies, but to compensate for that, one must use a heavy anchor fly with the multi fly rig. The sensitivity though is still great and allows for the user to feel their flies tick the bottom, or see the sighter on the leader twitch and dance when a strike occurs. As I stated before, this rod was designed for big water and large trout/steelhead, and if Euro nymphing is your thing it is the perfect tool for that medium. Though the 10 foot length is not exceedingly long, it’s still plenty enough to reach out, or to keep the leader off the water while keeping a good angle down to your flies.

Dry Flies: When I first held the 105 Searcher and flexed it, I had a feeling that it would be a decent dry fly rod. Well, I was kind of right, but I did not realize it would surpass my expectations for such. I attached a Sage Spectrum LT 5/6 reel spooled up with a RIO Perception 5wt. weight forward floating line and fished the Skwala hatch making near to far presentations. Wow! I was impressed to say the least. For far off targets, it could shoot out line with a high level of accuracy in the 50 to 70 foot range. The coolest aspect of the 105 Searcher when fishing dry flies is the fact that the softer tip protects light tippets during the hook set, and while fighting fish. That’s a real bonus. 

Indicator Nymphing: Because the 105 Searcher excels with a heavier rig, it is the perfect boat rod when fishing multi fly indicator rigs with added split shot on big rivers like the Lower Yuba, or the Lower Sacramento. It is able to mend large amounts of line effortlessly, and water loaded casts are a breeze to present. The more I fished the 105, the more I realized that it truly is in a class of its own and very unique compared to the rest of the Searcher line.

Streamers: I did not get a chance to chuck big heavy streamers with the 105 Searcher, nor did I get to test it with sink tips, or full sinking lines. Though, I have a feeling it would be good for such. The 105 is just plain strong, and with the hardy back bone it employs, it could well be a very effective streamer rod, especially out of a boat. I’m also betting it would make a really good stillwater rod as well. I’ll keep testing it for these latter techniques and venues in the near future.

My overall opinion of the 105 Searcher is good to great. It can do it all for large fish/steelhead, and because of its lightweight, you’ll be able to fish it all day without much fatigue. It fights large fish very well allowing the user to have complete control of the situation, while reeling in the prized catch quickly. If you fish the big tailwaters or the coastal rivers of the west coast, you might want to have this rod in your arsenal. $240, comes with an extra tip and a case. 

It's Chinese New Year, a 2 week celebration of family and friends in China. This has caused a black out on communication with WildStream owner Jack Gu. We are working on rebuilding a non hackable website as the past one was destroyed by hackers. We only use PayPal for funds so never accept any other offer to pay. PayPal protects the seller and buyer. You can still order at wildstreamfishing@gmail.com, Attn: Jack Gu, or call James Kissinger at 7757371306.

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