December 26, 2016

Czech nymphing, did you say? Here's the rod for you -- Daiwa Keiryu-X 33.

Before I started fishing tenkara, which I do 99% of the time now, I was into Czech nymphing. I had a 10.5' rod designed for Euro nymphing, and was enjoying this technique immensely. I started Czech nymphing after following the competitive fly fishing teams.  I generally used two heavy nymphs and would catch fish only 12-15 feet away. It was pretty cool.

Czech nymphing is an amazingly efficient form of fly fishing. It may not have the beauty or aesthetics of long distance casting, or the romance of classical dry fly fishing, but it is far more effective. Competitive fly anglers usually don't fish dry flies, they go where the money is -- nymphs. 

Tenkara rods can be used as Czech nymphing rods, but they are usually to soft to cast heavy nymphs. It can be done, but not the way Euro nymphing techniques require. Faster or stiffer tenkara rods are better, but are still lacking in the stiffness needed. Keiryu rods are better.

Keiryu rod are long, light and many have the stiffness needed for effective casting of heavy nymphs and proper hook sets. Of  the keiryu rods available, I think the Daiwa Keiryu-X series would be some of the best. They have everything you'd want: lightweight, compact when nested, stiff enough but not like a western rod (broom stick), and they are designed by a Japanese company. 

I have the Daiwa Keiryu-X 33. What a rod! Its length is perfect for reaching anywhere you'd want. Combined with a thin fluorocarbon line, you can flip cast heavy flies perfectly to perform flawless Czech nymphing. It's a blast fishing deeper riffles and runs with this technique. 

The Daiwa Keiryu-X 33, sporting a blue/black coloration, is only 39.5 cm when nested. This is compact enough to fit in your travel bag. It's a full 330 cm when fully extended, yet is only 64 g (without the tip plug)! This rod will not tire out your arm when doing the horizontal reach position required for Czech nymphing. The rod has a very attractive "visible X pattern" of carbon fibers on the handle section that makes the rod both very strong and beautiful. 

The rod is stiff by tenkara standards, coming in at 46 pennies on the Common Cents Scale. That makes it a whopping 14 on the Rod Flex Index chart. The rod has a recommendation of no stronger than 5X tippet, but unlike western rods which need a reel to protect the tippet, this rod flexes just enough to provide protection, even in fast currents. Besides, smaller diameter tippets get the flies down faster than heavier tippets. And after all, that's the name of the game with Czech nymphing. 

So, if you like the Czech style of fishing, or would like to try it, then I'd recommend the Daiwa Keiryu-X 33. Another recommendation is if you throw larger flies, like streamers and want a rod you can easily take anywhere, then this is your rod too. You can get one from TenkaraBum

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 receive advertising revenue from TenkaraBum, but this does not imply a favorable review of their products. I was loaned the rod and it was returned to Chris Stewart.


  1. Hi Tom, I fish just the opposite of the way you fish – 99 percent of my stream fishing is done with dry flies. So I take exception with your statement that nymph fishing is always where the money is, which may be true enough in International Angling Competitions and during the winter and high runoff periods, but does not hold true everywhere and all the time. The statement that nymphs make up 90 percent of the trout’s diet is not correct.

    In THE DRY FLY, New Angles, by Gary LaFontaine, the last section of the book is titled The Postscript, where he gives information on the percentage of the time that trout feed at the various water levels contrasted with the percent of the food eaten at the top two levels. It works out to be, Surface: 10%; Just Below The Surface: 10%; Drift Level: 60%; The Bottom Level: 15%; and Random Levels: 5%, which roughly agrees with the 90/10 nymph feeding rule so often quoted. But when the stomach samples were identified by insect type, stage, and counted, it turned out to be that 35 to 50% of what the trout were eating consisted of adult and emerging insect forms taken at or just below the surface of the water, which is a long ways from 90 percent figure often quoted. It turns out that trout are designed to feed with the upmost efficiency looking up, at or close to the surface of the waters in which they live.

  2. How many pine bark beetles does it take to kill a pine tree? I have no idea but it must be more than a thousand. Here in the Sierra, we have lost more than 100,000,000 pines (or 85%) to the drought and pine bark beetles, so it would appear that dry beetle patterns should be very effective fishing flies, and it turns out that they are.

    The weight of all the ants on earth exceeds the weight of all the people on this planet, as a result dry ant patterns are also very effective flies to fish. 95% of the flies found in angler's fly boxes fish for aquatic insect food forms, while the aquatics make up only 5% of the earth's insect populations. And while the trout live in the water where the aquatic insects come from, through the summer and fall months 50 to 70% of what small stream trout have available to them to eat is made up of land based insects - bugs such as ants, beetles, spiders and hoppers. A couple of seasons ago I did all of my stream fishing with only dry terrestrial patterns, and I caught more trout than I did in previous seasons when I fished with both aquatic and terrestrial dry fly patterns. With all the close stream side bushes and over-hanging trees you have on the streams you fish, they ought to be made to order for dry terrestrial fly patterns. Give it a try next season when its warm, sunny, windy and with plenty of bugs about and please let us know how you do....Karl.

  3. Dang, Karl. You're a blast at parties, I bet.