July 21, 2016

Wet Wading

Most of the waters that I fish are relatively cold. They run water temperatures of 48-50°F during the summer. Because of this I don't wet wade too often. But sometimes, when the air temperature is higher that 80°F I'll wet wade.

Wet wading has some advantages over dry wading. The obvious first thing is that is cooler, that is, it cools you down. We don't have much humidity here in the Yellowstone ecosystem (in fact, at the time of this writing the relative humidity outside is only 17%) but it can still get hot during the mid-day hours. Wearing waders, even hip waders can get uncomfortable and sweaty, but not as bad as if it was the midwest or eastern portions of the US. Wet wading can be really refreshing in those situations.

Wet wading gear can also be less cumbersome. Not always but usually. The leg protection is generally less bulky and has less drag, making it easier to navigate through fast water.

But wet wading can be cold, and especially in deeper water it can be very uncomfortable. Some leg protection can be of benefit, to aid in a little warmth and provide some protection from underwater hazards.

A recent article on wet wading was published on Tenkara-Fisher. It was entitled Keiryu Wading Gear, but its main focus was on wet wading. It's brief but contains some good information.

Many of the Japanese leg protection items highlighted in the article are too small for my feet, so I had to go a different route. I wear US mens size 12 footwear and Japanese footwear is rarely larger than US size 10.5. So instead of going with Japanese footwear I had to improvise.

For my feet I wear two layers. The inner layer I use Simms wading socks. They are thin but hold the water against my skin which allows it to warm up a little. Over these I wear Patagonia Insulated Neoprene socks. They have a waffle pattern liner that slides easily over the Simms socks.

On my legs I wear Little Presents Wader Gaiters.  These are designed to go over waders and protect them, but they work just fine over quick-dry trousers or next to your skin. I generally pull my trouser legs up above the Wader Gaiters and they keep them from falling down. If you need a little more warmth you can put a pair of neoprene calf compression sleeves on under the Wader Gaiters. These calf sleeves are used by athletes to keep their tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles warm and supported during strenuous exercise. Over the Wader Gaiters I wear a pair of Simms Gravel Guards. I like these better than the "built in" type guards.

Obviously, these wet wading leg gear are for shallow water situations. If you routinely wade in deep water these will not keep you warm. But when it comes to tenkara, it's always best to stay out of the water, or out as much as possible, so as to not scare the fish. With this in mind, wet wading is perfect.

Your own personal preferences for comfort plays a big role how you wade. Wet wading is not better than dry wading and it doesn't make you a better angler, but it can be used to help keep you comfortable. Some people don't like to get wet, so wet wading is likely not for them. Some people live where it is very humid so dry waders are sticky and uncomfortable. You get the point.

Anyway, that's how I do it. Wet or dry it doesn't matter, just get out there and fish. A word of caution though, there are streams here in the west that are part of city watersheds (used for drinking water), and heavy fines apply for those who wet wade. You must wear dry waders in those streams -- so check before you get wet!

July 16, 2016

Nissin Zerosum Oni Tenkara Honryu 395 tenkara rod -- review

As I stated in my last post, I picked up a Nissin Zerosum Oni Tenkara Honryu 395 Tenkara rod while attending the Tenkara Guides Oni School 2016. This rod is the little brother to the 450 version, but what it lacks in length it makes up in function.

Since I have previously described the 450 version, and that the 395 looks exactly like the 450 version, I'll forgo the usual detailed description. Please see the 450 review for description details.

Here are some of the measurements for the 395 however:

Collapsed length: 63.5 cm
Extended length: 398 cm
Weight (without tip cap): 82.1 g
CCS/RFI: 15.5 pennies/3.9
Rotational Moment: 6.
Tippet recommendations (per Nissin): 5X - 3X

RFI comparison chart -- click image to enlarge.

The rod casts very easily. It has a smooth arc and no tip oscillation. I used fluorocarbon level lines from #3 to #4 and they all cast equally well. Accuracy was very good as well. Even though this rod has a Rotational Moment of 6 it does have some increased startup inertia. It's a stout rod for designed for larger trout.

I fished the rod on a typical freestone mountain stream using a weighted #8 Utah Killer Bug. It threw this fly just fine. I caught trout ranging from 6 inches to 14 inches. The stream current was moderate to fast. Fighting any of these trout was easy, even the larger rainbows in faster water. The 378 cm length gave excellent reach and despite the 82 g weight I experienced no arm fatigue over my usual 2 hours of fishing.

Conclusion: I like this rod. It is really well balanced and a joy to cast. It feels quite a bit different from the Daiwa LT39SF that I have, and consider my "big" trout tenkara rod of choice. The Oni 395 has a softer tip and throws lighter lines easier. I like the Oni 395 better than the 450 version (so much so that I'm selling my 450 - it's more rod than I need).

Update - July 18, 2016: Three Rivers Tenkara now has this rod on order. You can get one from Anthony HERE.

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 purchased this rod and have no formal affiliation with Nissin or Masami Sakakibara.

July 8, 2016

Tenkara Guides Oni School 2016

Last year I was able to attend the Tenkara Guides Oni School for one of the three days, the last day. I enjoyed it so much that when the same opportunity came this year I jumped at the chance. But true to my life, I once again could only attend one of the three days. This time is was day one.

We met at Sundance Resort and as we waited for everyone to gather we introduced ourselves to each other. It was great to meet, and in some instances, meet again, friends from the tenkarasphere. The gathering was small and intimate. That makes this "school" a real treat. I knew many of the participants by their names, from forum posts and from communications that I had had with them via Teton Tenkara.

Masami Sakakibara and his wife came, and through an interpreter, were introduced to us. I have met and fished with him before, but it was still fun to be introduced again and have a chance to discuss rods and casting. While we were gathered as a group Robert Redford walked by, but he didn't seem that much interested in what we were about.

Sakakibara-san (Mr. Sakakibara) talked to us about everything from love and respect for the outdoors, to how he choses and configures a line, to rod use and casting. We spent about an hour and a half having one-on-one casting sessions with Sakakibara-san, where he would instruct, encourage, collaborate with each attendee. For some the instruction was hands on with Sakakibara-san putting his hand on the participants and guiding them through the mechanisms of a cast. For others, after he watched some casts, he would just say "nice" or "good", then move to another attendee. He speaks very little english, so most of his communication was with gestures or by example, but sometimes instruction through an interpreter.

From http://www.oni-tenkara.com/oni-blog/7684.html

After the casting sessions, we drove to the lower Provo River and broke into little groups for fishing. True to form, I went off by myself. I caught 6 browns in the 45 minutes that I fished before lunch. Unfortunately, my phone was nearly dead so I didn't take any pictures of them. They ranged from 10 inches to 14 inches. They were beautiful fish. The water temperature was 58°F, so I wet waded. The river flow was 51cfs, which was nice -- enough for the fish, but not enough to wash you away.

From http://www.oni-tenkara.com/oni-blog/7684.html

One of the attendees was Luong Tam, owner of Tenkara Tanuki. I briefly met him at last years school, but this year we had plenty of time to converse and share each others experiences with different types of tenkara rods. He is very knowledgeable and willing to share,  and we pretty much agreed on what makes an outstanding tenkara rod. He let me fish with one of his prototypes for a small stream rod. More about that in a later post. One funny thing though, Luong wears bright orange when fishing; I wear camo. Standing side by side we looked like a couple of deer hunters -- high powered rifle in his case, and archery in mine!

Luong Tam's prototype small stream rod. 

At 1300 we had lunch. We talked more, made new friends and refreshed more old acquaintances.

After lunch, about 1445, everyone was getting ready to hit the river again. I needed to get home as I was going on-call, and it was a 3.5 hour drive, so I left.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day. There was a great group of tenkara anglers, with some that I will hopefully be fishing with again soon (Alan Luecke and Jacob Johnson, I will be calling).  Thanks again to ERiK and John of Tenkara Guides, LLC for sponsoring the Oni School and making it happen. It was great to see them again as well. Of course, we miss seeing Rob at these meetings, but he was there last year.

BTW, I picked up from Sakakibara-san one of the first Nissin Zerosum Oni Tenkara Honryu 395 tenkara rods that has made it to the USA. It is a very nice rod, somewhat similar to its larger sibling, as you would expect. It was interesting to see him take it out of the plastic, carefully inspect it, cast it, and then give it his approval. I'll have more to say about the rod after I fish it. The 395 should be commercially available from Nissin in August of this year.

July 7, 2016

Tenkara Successes -- July 1, 2016

As I mentioned in my last post, I don't always land the fish I hook. Some days the percentages are high than others. On July 1st I "long line" released quite a few nice trout, but I did manage to net a few.

Here is the video of some of those other fish -- the ones that did come to hand or net.