I can still hear the rain pelting the bill of my cap as I stepped aboard the water taxi in Ketchikan, Alaska. I had arrived to join a motoryacht delivery to Seattle via the Inside Passage, and I couldn’t wait to see the wild country. Little did I know it would be quite this wild: The September salmon run was on. Fish were leaping everywhere, nearly as numerous as the raindrops that pocked the water’s surface. As the water taxi putted along, I vowed that I would never again be caught near fishable water without a rod and reel.
Since I prefer fly-fishing, it had to be a fly rod and reel. For the latter I chose the Cheeky Mojo 425, and took it out on a warm winter outing to Long Island Sound in hopes of scaring up a resident striped bass. Made in the USA of aluminum and titanium, the Mojo 425 can handle lines from seven to ten weight; it will hold 350 yards of 30-pound gelspun with a ten-weight line, thanks to a wide spool designed to bulk up the backing, and the capacity only goes up with lighter lines. And it feels good in the hand. Weighing 7.3 ounces, the Mojo nicely balanced my graphite Orvis Zero-G nine-weight rod and gave me fast and silent line retrieval thanks to a removable clicker plate. (Some anglers like a click option when they reel but I’ve never seen the need.) The sealed KarbonEVO drag lets the spool turn smoothly and is infinitely adjustable between freespool and lockdown—very handy when you need to deal with lots of line in windy conditions to optimize your casting time. And sometimes that’s the point: to sneak away for a few exploratory casts when the tide is right and the water looks good. Or when it doesn’t.
The 425’s frame and spool are anodized in bright, contrasting colors—the model I tested was blue and gold. That nontraditional palette has at least one advantage: It’s good-looking enough to leave out and rigged in an overhead rod rack, ready to fill your hand when the fish are numerous as raindrops.
Cheeky Fly fishing
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.