March 23, 2013

More Micro-fishing -- Utah style

I visited and fished a little stream today. It is just about 3-4 feet wide and is in a very tight canyon with lots of trees and Red Twig Dogwoods to frustrate casting. I have fished this stream before, but not in winter so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Small waters -- this is an open section

The stream is so small that my Daiwa Soyokaze 27SR felt really long! This rod is classified as a tanago rod but it makes a great tenkara rod for short casts in tight places. It love its easy action too. I started with the Soyokaze 27SR but after working my way upstream I got into an area that it, combined with a #3, 7 foot (without tippet) line was just too long to cast. This is where I switched over to the Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24.

Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24

The Kiyotaki 24 is also a tanago rod. It is stiffer in action than the Soyokaze 24SR but that is OK because it also has nice backbone for working the fish. At first I thought that I would want a flexible rod, like a 5:5, for tight small streams. I thought that I would need that flexibility for casting light lines in tight places. But what I have learned is that for my streams, and the size of fish in them, that I prefer a rod that has more backbone. When my fish are hooked they immediately shoot for the nearest obstruction, like tree roots, snags, boulders, etc. Since the average fish is about 10 inches, a rod with little backbone can't stop the fish from winding itself up in the obstruction and thus breaking off. Since this stream is so tight, there is very little room and time to stop the fish running. You have to be able to stop the run immediately! The Kiyotaki 24 can do just that.

Casting the Kiyotaki 24 in such tight quarters and with such a short, light line is different than casting a regular tenkara rod. First of all the Kiyotaki 24 is stiffer than a tenkara rod and since the line is so short and light there is no appreciable rod loading. The casting style is a short and quick flick. Your backstroke is a little slower but the forward stroke is sharp and deliberate. It's all with the wrist; essentially no forearm at all.

Here is a 30 second video of what the water is like. I wasn't wearing my GoPro today; this was taken with my regular camera -- no fishing action, just the water.

Despite the full contact fishing, I caught a number of browns today.  The smallest was 6 inches and the largest was just over 12 inches. They were all healthy and full of fight. They came out of surprisingly small lies where the cast had to be spot on. Of course, with such a short rod and line I was hitting 6-8 inch lies only 10 feet away!

Here are some of the fish. I didn't image all of them, but these will give you an idea of what the day was like:

The smallest of the day

Red hook UKB firmly imbedded

The largest brown of the day.

The fly of the day was the #10 Utah Killer Bug. This seemed appropriate since I was fishing in Utah!

Fly of the day; well chewed after catching many fish.

As I said, this stream is full contact fishing. I lost over 6 flies to the trees and snags, but I didn't break the rods, so that is good. I'm sure I'll be back to this water, but it won't be my first priority. All this climbing over rocks and under low lying trees makes my back hurt!!

BTW, you can get this little Kiyotaki rod from Chris Stewart at TenkaraBum.


  1. Tom isn't this the rod Chris likes as introduction with kids? I have kids ranging from 11-4 and they want to fish with me and looking for best rod for them to handle. What are your thoughts?


    1. BTW, take them to Johnson reservoir near Preston. It has bluegill in it and is a great place for kids to learn how to fly fish.


    2. This is a great rod for children. It is light and easy to swing.


    3. I've never caught Blue Gill before that would be a lot of fun. I have a few spots that aren't difficult and produce fish, the more ideas the better! Really appreciate all the information your blog provides in a unbiased manner.


    4. I bought a Kiyotaki 18 for our yr old and he does as good as you could expect casting it. It has landed a 12" stocked Rainbow on one of it's first trips out and handled well.


    5. Good to hear someone else experience witj a younger child as my youngest is 4.


  2. "...I prefer a rod that has more backbone. When my fish are hooked they immediately shoot for the nearest obstruction, like tree roots, snags, boulders, etc..."

    The story of my life!

    Another very nice post Tom.

  3. Very good post Tom ..... congratulations on fishing ...