Friday, 11 May 2018

favourite rod/s?

Everyone has I think, a favourite rod. In tenkara the rod is so much an extension of the self that the rod may become a fellow traveller, a much loved companion, imbued with the little successes and failures of the stories of our time on the water.  
This is my reasoning for restricting  myself to just a small collection of rods, to find the special few, and then to love, cherish and really get to  know their nature and character. I believe I may in this way become a better angler, because it is so often the tiny and subtle details that make big differences in how and what we catch and our peace and enjoyment on stream. Isn't simplicity of choice at the philosophical heart of tenkara? 

There are many reasons we may choose a rod. We may listen to a friend's (or an expert's) recommendations. We may be seduced by marketing or by good value. Rod choices can also be geographical - what is easily available in the US may not be so readily accessible here in the UK or elsewhere, and vice versa. It may be the aesthetic or brand loyalty that appeals - all of these and a host of other reasons are perfectly valid. But in the end, whether a rod continues to accompany us to the water or just gathers dust in the rod stand - that is down to something else altogether, something that is entirely subjective, entirely personal and has little to do with any of the aforementioned criteria. And that little special something can only be discovered through time spent fishing, and is something that exists solely between you (and only you) and the rod. 
So no one should tell you that you are wrong in some way to like this rod or that rod because it not as 'good' as some other rod. The space you have created between you and your favourite rod is personal and exists only for you, and as such is unknowable to anyone else.     
I know many tenkara anglers have large rod collections, who knows, perhaps in time so will I. But I can't see that happening right now, because the four rods I have (yes just four) already cover for me a lot of bases. They all have different personalities and I love them all for different reasons.

Eso 245 - 206 zoom from Esoteric Tackle on The Isle of Man

This was my first tenkara rod. Unconventional because of its short length -  a severe handicap on many waters - but perfect for the tiny overgrown brooks that it's designed for. It is incredibly sensitive and handles a 7x tippet and little trout with aplomb. It has a special place in my heart for catching my first wild trout on tenkara.

Diawa Enshou LL36 S-F

Now discontinued but still available here and there - a lovely light line rod with a classic tenkara action, designed by Yuzo Sebata. A full flex 5:5, I love the grace and elegance of this rod and the tactile feel when casting and manipulating flies. For me the comfort zone on this rod is with fish up to 15". Ironically, I broke the tip  when I collapsed the rod to minimise (or so I thought) the chance of breakage while climbing through a tree that had fallen over the stream. I've drawn a blank in sourcing a new tip section but I may well purchase another one (or two) editions of this rod while I still can. 

Karasu 360 from Discover Tenkara

A very different rod to the Enshou, with an action described by its designers as 'tip-focused progressive'. I would say that it has an atypically fast action for a tenkara rod with top quality carbon and a very clever taper. For me this means fast tip recovery, great feedback and accuracy with the lightest of lines, and some authority with powerful fish. Like the Enshou, I would say I feel most comfortable with fish up to 15" with the Karasu. It's also a great fixed line nymphing rod and I've had a lot of fun with the Karasu and winter grayling on beaded bugs. There's so much I love about this rod.

Hellbender 390 - 340 zoom from Dragontail Tenkara

Classic tenkara anglers look away now, this is nasty! The Hellbender is a powerful, big fish rod with a 7:3 action, very much in the American tenkara style. I love this rod! Great quality, and actually still with surprising sensitivity for smaller fish (although I wouldn't go lighter than a 5X tippet). I've had so much fun with this rod and really only discovered the full breadth of its versatility recently when I used it for some delicate dry fly presentations to a range of trout, hooking and playing everything in the 6" to 20" plus range. I can happily cast 2/0 streamers, heavy jig flies or tiny kebari. Not a conventional, classic tenkara rod by any stretch, but very capable across the whole range of fixed line fly styles. So, if like me you like to pursue a wide range of fish species with a fixed line fly, this rod is highly recommended.

So, which is my favourite? I honestly couldn't answer. Perhaps I just need to spend more time on the water with all of my rods..  

No comments:

Post a Comment