September 9, 2020


 I've used a lot of brands of hooks over the past 40 years, some of which I liked and most of which I didn't. Sure, they catch fish just fine, but I like things to be "just so" when it comes to hooks. It's no different with hooks for kebari. 

My favorite hook these days is the Fulling Mill FM5065. I love it's wide gap, gently curved shank and black nickle finish. I also like that it has a straight eye. They are wicked sharp and a real pleasure to tie on. But although I'm a hook snob, I'm also restless. I'm always looking for a new hook to use, and I think I've found one. 

I recently picked up some Moonlit ML062 Competition barbless hooks. I have them in the two sizes I use most, size 10 and 12. They have a standard weight forged wire with a black nickle finish. The eye is straight and the point is needle long, slightly upturned. They look great!

I've tied some of my favorite kebari patterns on the ML062 and I'm pleased with how they turned out! 

At $5.29 for 25 hooks, the ML062 come in at $0.21/hook - not bad. The FM5065 is $12.95 for 50 hooks, which is $0.26/hook. Firehole Sticks 316 come in around $0.20. So the ML062 are mid range in price.

I know there are cheaper hooks, and less expensive hooks, out there, but I think the ML062 is a great hook with a reasonable price. I'm sure it will find a permanent place in my hook case! 

August 16, 2020

TenkaraPrim Professional 315 - tenkara rod review

 A few months a go I was contacted by Vladimir Bushclyakov from Russia. Vladimir is active on the 10 Colors Tenkara forum and is an accomplished tenkara angler.  Vladimir uses TenkaraPrim tenkara rods, a line of rods that I have don't have experience with. Anyway, he asked if I would like to try one of the rods. I of course, said yes!

Vladimir packaged up the rod, but it was just as COVID-19 shut down flights from Asia and Europe, so it sat in Russia waiting to get on a flight. But last month non-commercial flights finally started to move across the Atlantic and I received the rod. When I opened that package the rod turned out to be the TenkaraPrim Professional 315 tenkara rod

TenkaraPrim was founded in 2012 in Vladivostok; the owner is Sergey Guriev. A series of rods were initially introduced, but in 2014 a restyling of rods was released. Sergey designs the TenkaraPrim line of rods. Daniel Galhardo introduced Sergey to Dr. Hisao Ishigaki and he visited Sergey in Russia. Ishigaki’s book was published in Russia, in Russian in 2013.

Vladimir found out about Tenkara 2016 and then met Sergey. He liked this new way of fishing, IE, tenkara. At the initial stage, he had a lot of questions and Sergey helped him with answers. Vladimir told me that he likes TenkaraPrim rods so much that now, he wanted to tell his American friends about these rods. 

The Professional 315 is a beautiful rod and appears to be very well made. The rod is a long nesting rod and only has four sections. The coloration is metallic blue-gray with a glossy sheen. It is very well done. The rod designation is clean and simple. There is no electrocution warning or other stamps/stickers as are common on many other rods. The rod comes with a hard rod tube and a long rod sock. It also comes with a spare tip section. 

The handle is a single hump gourd shape. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Shimano Mainstream ZE (a great, classic tenkara rod). It's 28 cm long and is made of AAA quality cork. The fit and finish between the winding check and butt cap are perfect. There are no gaps or sloppiness.

The tip is made of wood (nice touch) and fits well without being too tight or too loose. The butt cap is golden anodized metal and is also reminiscent of a Shimano butt cap. There is a coin slot to aid in removal, but no knurling or decompression air hole. It is very svelte how it looks on the rod!

The lilian is dark brown material and is fairly thick, similar to a Daiwa rod, but is longer than you get on a Daiwa tenkara rod - it's easier to use than a Daiwa. It joins the tip section with a nicely executed glue joint. 

Here are some of my measurements:

Nested length (with tip cap): 94 cm

Extended length: 320 cm

Weight (without tip plug): 52.6 g

CCS/RFI: 17 pennies/ 5.3

RFI comparison sheet. Click HERE to enlarge. 

The rod casts really well. It feels like it flexes in the upper 1/3 of the rod, but it has a relativity stiff tip. This is similar to the new Shimano Tenkara NR36. I usually fish with a #3 level line, but I used a #3.5 with the TenkaraPrim 315. Both lines work just fine, but the #3.5 seems a little better matched to the rod. There is no overshoot or end of cast oscillation. Dampening, both linear and rotational, are excellent. And of course, the rod is crazy lightweight with an amazing swing weight. 

I fished a small mountain stream that has wild browns and native cutthroat trout. It has a fairly closed-in canopy, making it the perfect test stream for the Professional 315. I fished unweighted kebari. The casts were brisk and dead on target. The hook sets were lightening fast, and fish fighting control was excellent. The rod worked great on the stream I chose. 

Here's a vlog of me using the rod:

I also took the Professional 315 to a larger stream and hooked into some 14-15 inch browns. The current was much stronger than the little mountain stream and so it was a good test of the rod. I didn't take any pictures, but the rod handled those larger fish in stronger current really well!

My son came home from St. Louis for a few days and I took him fishing. He used the TenkaraPrim 315 and thought it was excellent. He caught a large number of trout with the rod and was impressed by its light weight and overall performance. 

Conclusion: I really like this rod! I think that Sergey did a great job designing the rod and overseeing it's production, and I'm grateful for Vladimir for sending it to me to test. It's got power to spare and also has finesse for delicate presentations. I love the handle shape and the excellent swing weight. I'm not put off by it's long nested length as I drive to most of my small stream destinations.  

If you are in the market for a new small stream rod, take a look at the TenkaraPrim Professional 315. It's a rod worth your consideration and is From Russia with Love!

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. Don't just take my word for it.
I have no financial affiliation with TenkaraPrim. I received the rod for testing with no expectation of a positive review. 

August 14, 2020

Tenkara Angler podcast

Recently, Mike Agneta of Tenkara Angler asked if I would join him on a podcast and discuss Teton Tenkara, the Rod Flex Index, my background in fly fishing, and other stuff. I said yes, and so the other night he, I and Matt Sment (formerly of Badger Tenkara and currently of Tenkara Angler) had a real nice discussion about all things tenkara. 

I probably talked too much (which is my modus operandi), but it was such as good discussion that the time seemed to just zip by! I had a great time, and I hope that Mike and Matt, and you as well, enjoyed the final product.

Here is the video version of our discussion: