King Crimson - Kurenai diaries

It's been a slow burn - catching that first wild trout with the Kurenai. Arriving just before total lockdown, it seemed for quite a while that the nearest my new HM33R would get to water would be the old wellhead in my garden. But I love this rod, so I kept the faith and kept a diary for Kurenai & I..


Taking the UK lockdown ban on fishing as an opportunity to invest some time in improving my casting skills, I set out to get to know the Kurenai HM33R. Paired with a #3 NYLON line it's a dream, and I'm enjoying lawn casting for a few minutes each day to dinner plate sized targets. The targets at 20ft are very slowly getting smaller.. but a coffee mug at 30ft is still some time distant..


OMG, the fishing ban is lifted! While still confined to staying local, I'm taking Kurenai down to some very urban edgeland water - the old and industrial Victorian Grand Union Canal. I'm fishing to the shoals of fish that patrol the channel in front of  a grain processing plant. The water here is heated 24/7 by the factory and can  prove productive at all times of year. Flicking a tiny bead head kebari into the clear water, I baptise my new rod with a little silvery roach - not quite what I had in mind when I ordered it from Tenkarabum, but a fish is a fish. Some little roach-bream hybrids follow and then a magnificently striped but tiny perch that punches, as perch often do, well above its weight. 

June through August
Covid avoidance, work commitments, yada yada yada.. the summer has slipped by without Kurenai getting any closer to the river and that elusive first wild trout. But kebari target shooting is getting quite addictive, and now as well as accuracy I'm practising no-tippet-on-the-water touchdowns. The trout won't know what's hit them..     


Finally! Here I am with Kurenai on one of my favourite upland streams, deep within the High Peaks of Derbyshire.   

On a windless day, fishing with the Kurenai HM33R is just so... perfect.

Loaded with 10ft of 2.5 Nissin Oni line, 4ft of 7x tippet and a little futsu kebari, casting is silky smooth. I side cast my kebari low under sweeping bank side branches, so that my short drift travels down the foam line. One second, two seconds.. on the third second a trout hurtles up and turns with the fly. A good fish, and I strike but fail to set the hook. I wonder if the soft tip needs a more energetic flick. No such problems with the next fish, and at last I have connected the Kurenai to its rightful place in the tenkaraverse.   

The rod is delicate in the hand, exquisite in fact, and the smash and grab antics of the hungry little trout coming to the fly are amplified so that every one feels like a lunker when it hits. But there lurks a little more steel in the lower rod than I expected - those energetic little wildies are brought to hand without fuss. I probably wouldn't fancy my chances with a rogue 20 incher though, so my 7x tippet, as well as offering sublime finesse, is a little insurance against snapping off the rod on an unexpected hog. Fish of ten inches and below are the sweet spot with this rod, and boy is that sweet spot sweet. It's probably the most the most fun I've had with a tenkara rod for a long time - and when you reach this level of tackle finesse, on a good day it really does feel like you are placing your fly not by casting, but by the power of mere thought alone. And today is a good day.




  1. That sounds like perfection in every way -rod, fish and location.

  2. As usual brought a smile to my face, thanks.


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