September 30, 2014

Autumn is the Best

I love autumn. The leaves change, the air gets cold, but the afternoon sun is still warm and inviting. As the water levels decrease the fish become aggressive and are on the watch for any bit of food that passes in the current. They need to fatten up before the weather changes.

I love wandering among the boulders, picking apart the pockets in the stream and probing them for resident trout. A blue sky enhances the beauty of the surroundings and the warm breeze makes it so refreshing.

Here are a few pictures from a recent trip I took into the mountains. Before you know it the snow will be flying and I'll have to leave this stream until June. Like elk and deer, the snow drives me down into the valley where things are little easier.

Number of trout taken on this 2.5 hour trip

Get out there and enjoy autumn tenkara fishing. It's some of the best of the year!

September 27, 2014

White Takayama sakasa kebari variant

Here I present one of my favorite flies. If the water is low, as it often is this time of year in the Rocky Mountains, this fly is stellar! It rides just under the surface and has the qualities of attraction and movement. It is a two thread fly. I'll show you how I start with one color of thread and transition over to another.

I'll also show you how I secure peacock so that it never comes unravelled, without using glue.

September 23, 2014

Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270 -- review

When I fish a small stream (defined as 1-10 feet wide) I usually use a Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 240 or 270 or a Daiwa Soyokaze 270. These have been my go to rods for the streams that tumble out of the mountains heavily covered in trees and bushes. They work great.

Recently I got ahold of another rod that is just as good, and better in some aspects than the rods that I have used. It is the Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270.  Since the Soyokaze is off production it is difficult to get. The Kiyotaki is readily available, but it is a bare bones work horse that is not as pretty as other rods. Because of these issues, Chris Stewart has chosen to carry the Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270 as his main offering for small, brushy streams.

The K-270 (I'll call it this for short) comes in a standard Japanese rod carton with a fabric sleeve. This is typical for Japanese rods. The rod is black in coloration and glossy in finish with deep, rich blue accents on the handle section. The deep blue paint has small metal speckles making the finish beautifully aesthetic. The other segments are glossy black with a tastefully executed silver band on all but the tip two sections.

The handle is the lower part of the handle segment; no cork. There is a very effective non-slip coating that works very well whether your hands are wet or dry. This coating is black. This "handle" is 15.5 cm long.

Since there is no cork, there is no winding check. The tip plug is black rubber and is larger than the opening of the tip of the handle section. It fits very snugly if you rotate the tip plug as you push it into the opening. The tip plug is fluted. The butt cap is black plastic, has a rubber bumper on the inside and a small drainage hole. Fine knurling makes it easy to remove.

The lilian is fine red material and is attached to the tip section via a very small glue joint The glue joint is perfect. The tip section will come through the second section allowing the rod to be fully disassembled for cleaning and drying.

Rod specifications:  Collapsed, the rod is 52 cm. Fully extended it is 271 cm. It weighs a mere 37.5 g. The Common Cents System measurement is 19 pennies. This gives it a Rod Flex Index score of 7.0.

Rod Flex Index comparison chart

Casting the rod is simple easy. It has a wonderful action that propels #2.3-3.5 level lines through the air with accuracy and ease. The action is modestly crisp, similar to my Soyokaze 270. It is such a joy to use.

I fished the K-270 on a favorite mountain stream of mine. It is the same stream that I use to test other 240-270 cm rods, so I can tell if the rod is a good fit for the stream or not. The fish are rainbows and cutthroat trout ranging from 6-12 inches. A 14 incher is not impossible, but rare in the moving waters of the stream. I used the K-270 on some beaver ponds as well besides the heavily overgrown moving portions of the stream.

The rod was perfect. I used a 7 foot #3 line with 24 inches of 5X tippet. I default most all of my fishing to 5X tippet, but I believe that Chris would desire you to use 6X. This combination allowed me to take over a dozen wild trout in less than an hour -- I fished until I was chased off the water by lightning!

Conclusion: I really like this rod! It casts equally well as my Soyokaze 270, but weighs almost 10 g less! Its tip section is just a little stiffer than the Soyokaze. It is much nicer in aesthetics than the Kiyotaki 270 and is just as capable. It is such a pleasure to use that I think that if you are looking for a nice small stream rod, you should seriously consider this one. You can get one from Tenkara Bum.

Here is a short video of me using the rod and catching some of the fish with it.

September 21, 2014

Smith Creek Middle Fork Fly Patch

I recently posted a review on a new product from Smith Creek, the Rig Keeper. As I stated in that review, I like products from Smith Creek. I think they are very well thought out, made with quality materials, and are very functional. Today, I introduce another winner -- the Middle Fork Fly Patch.

The Middle Fork Fly Patch is a lightweight foam patch that is attached to your shirt, or pack, or vest with a pin zinger. It however, is light enough that you could just attach it to a lanyard. The foam is quality closed cell with numerous slots cut into both sides. There are two plastic ribs that protect the flies from getting rubbed off.

An aggressive pin to prevent loss. Great quality zinger, also.

Load up both sides. You can see that the ribs would keep flies from rubbing off.

 This could be an excellent product for tenkara minimalists. Just load up the Middle Fork Fly Patch with a few of your favorite flies -- say, subsurface on one side and dries on the other -- and leave your fly box at home. Now that's minimalist!

Like all Smith Creek products, the Middle Fork Fly Patch is well designed and highly functional. If you're into carrying the least amount of gear with you when you hit the stream, then this fly patch could be just what you're looking for!