jeudi 28 mai 2015

First evening rise of the season

May has not been a very productive month for me as a tenkara angler, I have not gone fishing a lot because the weather can be summarized by two words: rain and wind. 
The level of water in the main streams of the area have not been so high for long and their waters are strongly stained. During the last days the weather has been a little better than the average so I did my very first evening rise fishing yesterday. This outing was short. We are very close to June which is supposed to be the door to summer but the weather is not sunny as it is supposed to be. 

This outing was only one hour and I did fish several spots that I know very well to be inhabited by a good density of only wild brown trouts but my approach was realistic about fish activity: they are not hungry at all! But I still better results than the duet of dry fly fishermen I talked to after fishing who were leaving the stream skunked because they had been waiting for trouts to rise on hatching mayflies. Perhaps will I practice dry fly tenkara if I were in an area where the stream conditions are favorable to this technique but for now when I am fishing at my local streams nothing can beat the yellow Takayama sakasa kebari I have had tied to my tippet  for three seasons now. 

I was fishing with the Oni Type II rod, a real one of a kind rod about which I will post a complete review later on this blog, whose soft action is really great for the angler who wants accurate casts and a slower casting stroke that allows the use of long light level lines. I was using it with the minimum length, in my opinion, that Masami Sakakibara had in mind when designing his rod: 5 meters. 

On the trail back to home I was smiling thanks to this short hour of tenkara. I had to adapt to the stream and weather conditions but I was rewarded by a little bit of success. When the water level will be lower I will do longer sessions and bigger trouts will be active on food.
Being on the right spot at the right time will be my only matter!

jeudi 21 mai 2015

NISSIN Pro-Square Super Tenkara rods

I will write today a post about a series of tenkara rods that in my opinion is going to very successful in the future: the Pro-Square Super Tenkara rods. 

These are the entry level rods from the world famous NISSIN company and you shall not be scared by the names such as "entry level" or "basic model" because these rods have absolutely nothing comparable to the chinese made rods flooding the market today.
The Pro-Square Tenkara rods come in three lengths (320/360/390) and two different actions (6:4 and 7:3). The collapsed length of the rods is 1.87ft and the handle measures 10.6 inches.

The tenkara market is flooded with many entry level, I would even type "cheap", rods that are just ugly and believe me the Pro-Square Tenkara rods is really above the average with very well executed finishes. It is not the average rod with seventeen layers of yellow paint!
Aesthetic is not everything on a tenkara rod but adding weight to a poorly balanced rod with a flashy paint color will not do justice to this rod. 
The Pro-Square Tenkara rods that I have fished with, and I have intensively tested them in the three different lengths, are very nicely balanced for tenkara rods at this price level. 

When I did receive my first Pro-Square Super Tenkara rods I was surprised when taking it in hand by its weight which is really inferior to other entry level rods.
Here are the weights of the Pro-Square Super Tenkara series:
-320 6:4 (7 pieces) = 1.94 oz
-360 6:4 (8 pieces) = 2.12 oz
-390 6:4 (9 pieces) = 2.47 oz
-320 7:3 (7 pieces) = 2.12 oz
-360 7:3 (8 pieces) = 2.3 oz
-390 7:3 (9 pieces) = 2.82 oz

Having checked these theoretical weights I can certify that they are all exact.

The cork used on the handles of the Pro-Square Super Tenkara rods is of very good quality, I have been fishing with NISSIN rods for almost three years and I must say that their rod handles age well and the filler, when some is used, does not go away by itself. Some of older tenkara rods have deep cracks because of low quality filling used on low quality cork.

The bottom cap is made of aluminium and has a knurled edge and a drain hole, the end cap is made of supple rubber. This small black cap is very well thought in my opinion because its diameter is a little bit bigger than the rod blank and you have to screw the cap into the handle but you are sure that the end cap will not move when in place.

From my experience I would say that the main default of entry level tenkara rods is not their hazardous aesthetic neither their weight but the fact that they are adapted to the tenkara techniques of nowadays. They are not versatile enough and they are working out great with very light furled lines and that is exactly what I was scared about with the Pro-Square Super Tenkara rod. I have fished the whole series with furled, level and tapered lines and the rods did behave very well. 
You can read other articles about these NISSIN rods on the blogs of Chris Stewart Tenkara Bum and Il Muc A Pesca col Muc
This series of rods is without a doubt the best entry level tenkara rods available on the market today, they are not only nice priced but also, and that is the most important, very good tools for a tenkara angler.
European anglers can purchase these rods from TENKARASTYLE.COM and American ones can get it from TENKARA-YA.

mercredi 20 mai 2015

Waiting for better weather...

Since the beginning of the month the weather has been really terrible with loads of rain that make fishing very hard, that is the reason why I did not post a lot lately. The few outings I did were shortened by rain and that is why I have started working on some plans I had for next fall: tamos.
I have already made one that I use when fishing but I want to improve some aspects of my production while respecting what is in my opinion the authentic aesthetic concept and the original process used by Japanese craftsmen. 

It is very pleasant to work these pieces of wood and it is a reward to feel the need to make your own tamo and I must say that I am positively surprised by the number of anglers (mainly French ones) who get in touch with me to obtain informations about the making of tamos, the wood species used, nets, etc. 
This shows that in this country a small community of really passionate tenkara anglers is growing thanks to people who want to push their tenkara experience further than buying gear. I understand this viewpoint because it is a real great satisfaction to have a trout caught on a home tied kebari in the tamo you did make by yourself. 
I will try before the end of the trout season to post a complete step by step article about making a tamo.

samedi 9 mai 2015

Zimmerbuilt Tenkara Guide Sling

Since I have made the good decision not to use a fishing vest anymore I have been a satisfied user of Zimmerbuilt tenkara gear. Zimmerbuilt packs are very high quality, they are the result of great craftsmanship and they are not more expensive than what is offered by big outdoor gear companies and their functionality and quality is way higher in my opinion.

When the trout season started I decided to give the "Tenkara Guide Sling" a try and as its name says it is a sling pack, the kind of bag I had never tried yet. This cling pack has not been name "Tenkara Guide Sling" by chance or to match the growing interest for Tenkara in the West but because it has been co-designed with John Vetterli, Rob Worthing and Erik Ostrander of Tenkara Guides LLC
This is not the average cheap fishing backpack! It is totally made of dyneema, cuben fiber and cordura. 

This ultra light pack (10.25 oz) has been designed to carry what a tenkara angler needs for a day on the stream. It is divided in two compartments. The bigger compartment measures 19.5"x10"X"3 and this one is designed to contain your non fishing equipment. I personally put in it my rain jacket, keys, Go pro spare battery, etc. There is a cuben fiber zippered pocket to contain these small objects safely. It also features a hook to hold a water tank. 
This compartment is definitely enough for a day on the water. 

 There is a slot at the top of the compartment for the water duct to go through and the shoulder strap's daisy chain  features an elastic loop with a stopper for one can easily interlock his drinking system to the sling pack. 

The shoulder strap has a daisy chain on its  length for the user can easily add accessories or a Tenkara strap pack for example. The buckle can be moved easily and has an emergency whistle and what is more important the buckle strap is adjustable so the Tenkara Guide Sling is adaptable to any morphology. 

The front compartment (15"x8.6"x1.4") is designed to contain the fishing gear needed by a tenkara angler during a day on the water. It also has a zippered mesh pocket (7"x5.9") and its size is enough to carry your fishing license, a camera or a portable GPS. 

The two compartments have waterproof zippers.

The front of the sling pack has two sleeves that can hold 4 tenkara rods with their tubes and up to six tenkara rods without the tubes. The upper part of the pack front has a daisay chain with elastic loops to easily interlock tenkara rods to the Tenkara Guide Sling. This system is very functional yet simple. 

When you bring the pack on the front of your body the access to the contents of the two compartments is very easy. Compared to the Tailwater backpack that I also have the main advantage of the Tenkara Guide Sling is that I do not have to remove it or put it anywhere for example when I need to put on my rain jacket; thing that happens often in my area. The Tenkara Guide Sling is also going to be more handy for wading fishing because it is always a problem when you are wading and have to remove your backpack to take something within and keep your tenkara rod in hand at the same time. 

This great fishing pack is not ultra light, it is very comfortable and functional, it is one of the very rare fishing pack designed by tenkara anglers for tenkara anglers. One other good point is that they are made in the USA and not imported from where you know. 
European anglers can purchase this great piece of gear at TENKARASTYLE.COM and American tenkara enthusiasts can get it directly from the maker, Christopher Zimmer, on his website:

The Zimmerbuilt packs are very high quality pieces of gear which is not the case of imitations sold by fake tenkara "experts" so do not forget to check that the label shown on the picture below is sewn on your Zimmerbuilt pack.