April 23, 2017

Oregon Tenkara Bug Out

There is another tenkara group opportunity to put on your calendar. The Oregon Tenkara Bug Out. It seems that most of the tenkara gatherings have been east of the Rockies the past few years. But the Tenkara Bug Out gives those who live in the west an opportunity to socialize, and fish together, while learning more about tenkara.

Here is what the website says: "Pack a bag and bug out of town to join us for a weekend in the rain shadow of the Oregon Cascades. We will be fly fishing with traditional Japanese style tenkara rods.

For our enjoyment, there are over sixty miles of rivers, streams, and creeks to explore and fish in this area.

These waters are some of the best trout waters in the Oregon Cascades and are home to wild Redside Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Mountain Whitefish and the prized Bull Trout.

This event is strictly catch and release, fly fishing only and barbless hook.

The weekend will include fishing, gear swap, fly tying, pizza dinner and an introduction clinic to tenkara techniques by Tenkara USA founder, Daniel Galhardo.

Registration is limited to 40 people.

Check out the website to see all the details."


So, if you'd like to try some Pacific Northwest tenkara, why don't you come to Oregon and see the Cascades! It should be fun!

April 20, 2017

Tenkara Times 1st Step tenkara rod -- a very nice entry level rod.

A couple of years ago I reviewed the Tenkara Times 1st Step tenkara rod. I had bought one for my son in-law and he has used it ever since. It was a really nice entry level rod for a very low price. well, The other day I received the latest iteration of that same rod.

The new 1st Step doesn't look at all like the old one. The new rod has had some major cosmetic upgrades and the handle has been retooled, so if you set the two rods side by side I'm not sure anyone would say they were the same rod. Maybe they are, or maybe they are not; maybe only in name.

The new rod is glossy in finish. That right there is a major departure from other Tenkara Times rods. In the past, Tenkara Times has been one of the only tenkara rod companies who designed their tenkara rods to have a flat (not even matte) finish on the blanks. Most of the Japanese rods I have have a glossy finish. A few rods from American companies, like DRAGONtail and Badger, have matte finishes on their rods.

The rod comes with a stretch sock and clear rod tube.

In the past, each of the larger sections had a purple paint accent near the tip-ward end, but this new rod doesn't have that. Instead, there is a glossy black paint accent. It's hard to see in a photo, but its really there. That's much more subtle than the old purple accents.

The rod designation has a carbon fiber cross-hatch that is seen on a lot of other rods. It is done very nicely and is quite handsome. The classic Tenkara Times purple accent is on the rod designation area and is also nicely done.

The handle is a major departure from past rods as well. The handle on the new 1st Step is mostly very good quality cork sandwiched between two rings of cork composite. That's not what's new. It's the shape that's new. The shape is almost cylindrical excepting a very slight taper on the leading edge and a scooped out contour near the upper middle of the handle. I think this design makes the handle look clunky, and less elegant than other Tenkara Times rods. I really like the cork (better than foam); I just don't care for the shape. The handle is 28 cm in length.

The tip plug is wood with rubber insert. The tip plug on my rod fits snug, but not too tightly. The butt cap is similar to other Tenkara Times rods. It is black anodized metal, has a coin slot, very slight knurling on the thin edge and no air hole. The rubber bumper in the inside has been redesigned and works well.

The lilian is bright red, has a pre tied knot, and is attached to the tip section by a very nicely executed glue joint. This joint just barely slides through the second section, allowing complete disassembly of the rod for cleaning and drying.

Here are some measurements:

Fully extended: 365 cm
Fully nested: 56.5 cm
Weight: 88.3 g (without tip plug)
CCS: 20 pennies
RFI: 5.5

As far as action, the rod has a 6:4 flex action. It is pleasing to cast and handles light level lines very well. I used a #3 fluorocarbon level line and unweighted fly for lawn casting. There is no overshoot or tip oscillation at the end of a casting stroke. The blank taper is designed to give a smooth casting action and I feel that it achieves this goal. I didn't have to "push" the forward stroke to properly propel the fly to its intended target.

I fished the rod using a tungsten bead squirmy wormy (the water was high and murky, due to run off). The rod handled this fly well. I had to use an open loop, but I would have used this casting loop with any rod throwing such a heavy fly.

Conclusion: I think this is an excellent choice for an entry level tenkara rod for anyone who prefers a rod that can handle lightweight level lines. So many of the entry level rods I have reviewed seem to be stiffer and more 7:3 in flex action that they fish better with heavy lines or furled lines. That's just fine, but I personally believe that the essence of tenkara (moving water tenkara) is keeping as much line off the water as possible. This is much easier with level line tenkara. This rod achieves this goal well.

This new iteration of the 1st Step is a very good rod for the money. It's a couple grams heavier than its predecessor and I'm not that taken with the handle contour, but other than that, I think it's a winner.

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod then make up your own mind.  I receive this rod from Tenkara Times to review, but this does not imply a favorable review of their products. 

April 16, 2017

A Walk on a Windy Day with some Fishing

A few posts back I showed a way to carry your rod and small gear pack while on a short walk.  Well, the other day my wife and I did just such a walk. The weather was very fine and quite warm, for this time of year. The sky was clear and the sun bright, but there was a front coming in causing 20-25 mph wind gusts. The canyon we were walking in seemed to intensify the gusts as well.

The path we walked was along side a freestone river that I occasionally fish. Since the wind was pretty crazy I had not planned on fishing, but I took my gear anyway. I took along my Zimmerbuilt Srap pack and TenkaraBum 36, just in case the opportunity presented itself.

As we walked up the path we came across areas of the river that were approachable without getting into the water. I fished here and there and, despite fighting the wind, I was able to catch a number of fish.  All were browns. All were taken on heavy beadhead nymphs. The beadhead helped keep my line in the water despite the wind. As we walked along, my wife used her phone to capture some of my fishing and the trout I caught.

Fishing the diversion dam

We had a wonderful time. Even with the wind it was a very nice afternoon, just being out in the spring weather. The TB36 handled the heavy beadheads really well. I like this rod the more I fish it.

April 14, 2017

The Book! -- Congratulations, Daniel!

I'm sure that most all my readers, if not completely all, have ordered and have patiently been waiting for their copy of Daniel Galhardo's book on tenkara. Well, I received mine the other day, but I was out of town. I arrived home to open it today. What a joy!

I'm not going to say much about the book, other than it is a wonderful work of art -- a true joy to behold and to read. This should come as no surprise, as everything I have ever bought or used from Tenkara USA has been very well designed and executed. This book is no exception.

The book, "Tenkara", is 211 pages of tenkara information -- from lore, to personal journal, to equipment and gear, techniques and philosophy.  I'm not the first to buy just any book, but this is one book that I really wanted to have.

From Page 185

I met Daniel years ago at the Salt Lake City Tenkara Summit and I was impressed with how knowledgable, friendly, and personable he was. He was very free with his knowledge, never seemly unapproachable, and always made me feel like I could be a part of the tenkara revolution. I haven't always agreed with some of his philosophy, but that's not because of him, it was because of me. But the more I have grown in practicing tenkara, the more I have come to appreciate his thoughts, methods and philosophy.

So, with that, if you haven't already ordered the book, I would highly recommend that you do. It is a great read and packed full of knowledge, techniques and history regarding tenkara that anyone who has anything to do with tenkara outside of Japan should buy this book, and support Daniel. After all, if it wasn't for Daniel, most of you wouldn't be reading my blog, or have bought that tenkara rod, or be selling those tenkara rods with your name on them, or have ever had as much fun catching fish as you do! Yes, we really owe him that much!

Thank you, Daniel, for all you have done for us, and for this labor of love. It is truly a treasure!