I hit the water rigged up with a 12 foot BADGER Line, 6-7 feet of 5x, and a #12 bead head Killer Bug. I typically prefer the BADGER-LITE line on the BAD AXE, but wanted to give the heavier line a try to see how it performed on this rod while nymphing the bottom. It ended up casting as well it needed to, and since I typically leave a few feet of line on the water when nymphing, its added weight didn't create any disadvantage. The advantage of using the heavier line played out in the cast, which allowed me to fish a longer tippet. The extra weight translates into added momentum, making it easier to turn over a fly out on the far end of the system.
Since I spent most of the summer fishing foam terrestrials and Pass Lake wet flies, switching over to sub surface takes that I can't see has taken some getting used to. After a while, I managed to shake off the rust, and got back into the habit of using a few techniques that work well for my sub-surface game:
1) I lightened up my grip to the bare minimum it takes for my fingers to hold the rod. This gives me increased sensitivity to bumps and pressure shifts on the system.
2) When drawing the system back to make the next cast, I begin by making a few tiny, upward twitches. If the resistance seems greater than I'd expect from water and current, I immediately apply a firm hook set. The twitches sometimes trigger a reaction from the fish, because they only then realize they have been hooked!
3) While dead drifting is just about always my opening tactic, I typically shift into various patterns of action on the next drift. Swinging and stripping a nymph through current, or on the surface, can be very productive!
All and all, it was great day of fishing, on a section of water with lots of variance and character!