Tag Archives: Review

Tenkara – The Book Review

I received my copy of Daniel Galhardo’s tenkara:the book last week and was surprised to open it up to find I got copy 18/200 from the Kickstarter campaign with a nice personalized inscription on the cover page.  I then set about reading it since, at the moment, I have been unable to get out fishing due to weather.   Finally, a book about tenkara the way tenkara was meant to be fished, not a book about fly fishing with a tenkara rod.

First, the book is absolutely beautiful.  High quality paper, great photography, and even better illustrations.  I love the illustrations in the Learning Tenkara section that combine line art with photographs, hats off to Jeremy Shellhorn who was the designer and illustrator for the book.   Secondly, I love the fact that you can read the first 7 pages (plus see a few photo pages) and really get the bulk of what you need to know to get out and fish tenkara.  These pages are basically a higher quality rendition of the materials that come with TenkaraUSA rods showing you the basics of fishing tenkara.   Third, I like the QR Codes scattered throughout the book that you can scan and go see material on the TenkaraUSA site that adds depth to the topic at hand.

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Oudachi line review

Oudachi line and beaded kebari

Oudachi line and beaded kebari

Today the Middle Fork was high and cold, still dropping from the rains last week. This have me the perfect conditions to try out another new line from Moonlit Fly Fishing – the Oudachi, a specialized tenkara nymphing line.    I knew I was going to throw a beaded GRHE Kebari today so decided to fish the Amago which I figured could better handle the heavy fly and the long nymphing line better than the Sato.    It took a few casts to get used to the line, though I got a trout on the first cast, but once I did it was easy to cast the length and get good, deep drifts with the line.

 

This is a specialized furled tenkara line made specifically for fishing nymphs deep.   It has a  butt section of gray that is very thin, a heavier and hi-vis “indicator” section to help turn over the weighted flies, a tapered tip section made of fluorocarbon to help sink the fly better and finally a tip ring or micro-swivel connector for the tippet.    On the 20′ line I used the tip section was a little over 4′ long and the indicator section was also a little over 4′ long, leaving about 11.5′ for the butt section.  I found I was fishing with the indicator portion partly into the water so really holding about 13′ of line off the water and letting the rest dredge deep where the trout were hanging out.    I know I was deep because I hung on the bottom a few times, that rarely happens to me when fishing tenkara.

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Katana line review

Katana Hi-Vis Orange Line

Katana Hi-Vis Orange Line

A few weeks ago I knew this day was coming.  Our weather was turning into more typical PNW fall with 3-4 days of rain forecast and a few breaks before the next rain would start.  The rivers had been in perfect shape but I knew that by the time it cleared up again they would be higher and, with any luck, clear up before the next rains hit.   Yesterday that finally happened.  The Middle Fork, which had been fishing at about 180 cfs rose to over 800 cfs just a few days ago and then began a quick drop.  It was at 430 yesterday morning which was higher than I would prefer but it gave me the chance to test a new line out – the Katana from Moonlit Fly Fishing.

I had been wanting to fish a longer line once the rivers rose and I personally do not like level lines.   I had used  20-24′ level lines on my Amago for sea run cutthroat fishing in the Snoqualmie before and also threw a long level line at the pond at the Freestone but I was never too happy with it.  I tried an 18′ furled line from Cutthroat Leaders a few weeks ago on the Amago, it cast well on that rod but I couldn’t cast it well on the Sato.   Just in time, Brandon Moon contacts me and asks if I’d like to try out some new lines.   Oh, it comes in 20′ lengths, perfect.  When the line arrived a few days ago the rivers were brown and still going up.   I just had to wait and hope they dropped and cleared before the rains began.

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Sato Review

photoI finally got the big brother to the Rhodo that I love so much, the Tenkara USA Sato.   When the rod got delivered I took it out within an hour and caught a trout in the backyard.  Granted, it was a bit big for my little river but I had to give it a shot.  I went out a few days later on the South Fork with it and unfortunately the rod broke on the second or third fish when I set the hook, just snapped in half.   Luckily Tenkara USA has THE BEST customer support in the industry, it was a Sunday and a quick email had a new section in the mail the next day.

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Big Fish Rods

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Big fish rods – Yamame (top) and Amago (bottom)

When I first learned of tenkara I decided it would be great for hiking into small streams so my first rod was an 11′ Iwana.  After I started fishing tenkara on the South Fork and some other small creeks I wanted to fish the Cedar but didn’t want to use a western rod.   The problem with the Cedar is that there are some big trout in there, I’ve gotten them up to 20″ and figured that the little Iwana would not be able to handle it at all.   Thus, I started looking for a big fish tenkara rod.

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Simms StreamTread Sandal Review

simms-shoes-1Much of the year I like to wade wet.  Something about being in cold flowing water on a 75-90 degree day, it just makes me feel more part of the river than having my legs separated by several laminated sheets of GoreTex fabric.   This season my very old Orvis wading shoes finally bit the dust, they were literally falling apart and needed replacement.  Over the last few years I’ve waded in Keens, Vibram FiveFingers, even my Luna Leadvilles but found all of these to be a bit lacking in either traction or protection so I decided to look for something built for the job.  Since I’m pretty loyal to Simms for waders and wading boots I decided to give their StreamTread Sandals a shot.

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ZimmerBuilt Strap Pack Review

strap-pack-1A month ago I went looking for a day pack for longer fishing days and bought a ZimmerBuilt DeadDrift Pack and Micro Pack for the strap.   I was immediately impressed with the quality and thought out design of the pack and ordered a Tenkara Strap Pack a few days later, deciding it would replace my lanyard system for short fishing excursions when I didn’t need to carry water, a jacket and a lunch.   This past week I got to use it a lot when we were on our family vacation and my fishing time was usually a quick jaunt to the lake in the backyard or to a small creek close by to fish anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so.   All I needed was my basic gear and the pack worked perfectly.

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ZimmerBuilt DeadDrift & Micro Pack Review

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On the SVT heading to the S. Fork

For years my small stream setup consisted of a chest pack then few years ago I swapped out the chest pack for a lanyard system which worked pretty well.  I could carry a small fly box, a scissor/plier, tippet and floatant easily and it seemed most of what I needed.  This year I found myself going out for longer days and doing some hiking to access points so I wanted to be able to carry water, a snack or lunch and maybe a rain jacket along with me.  Carrying multiple rods was also desirable since I sometimes will fish a small tributary and a larger river or a creek and a lake in the same day.  I also knew my mileage to stream would only increase as my leg heals so I decided to start looking for a fishing pack to carry my tenkara gear for a full day in the mountains.

I looked at most of the options out there and came down to two to choose from – either the DeadDrift Pack or the Tenkara Sling Lite from ZimmerBuilt.   They had similar carrying capacity, cost and features so it came down to one strap or two.  I opted for the two strap DeadDrift Pack just to keep weight evenly distributed on my shoulders.   I also purchased a Tenkara Micro Pack to attach to the shoulder strap so I could carry a fly box and tippet there.

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Iwana Rod Family Review

The Iwana rods from TenkaraUSA are named after the Iwana, or White Spotted Char, found in Japan.   These small char are probably the perfect target for the Iwana series of tenkara rods which are made for small to medium streams with smaller average sized fish.

Iwana Rod Handles - 12', 11' and 9'3" from top to bottom
Iwana Rod Handles – 12′, 11′ and 9’3″ from top to bottom

TenkaraUSA sells two versions of the Iwana rod – an 11′ and 12′ model and also a conversion handle that will turn either rod into a 9’3″ rod.  The rods share most of the segments and just use different handle sections and a reduced number of sections as they are made shorter.   This is a nice feature, especially if you own several Iwana rods and break a section on one.  I recently broke the tip on my 11′ rod and when I was heading to very small water just turned the 12′ rod into an 11′ rod and went fishing.

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