April 11, 2011

The Japanese Invade Valley Forge

Yesterday was a pretty fun day on the water. No, not because the fishing was great (it actually wasn't too bad, but more on that later), but because I was going to try out a new (to me) piece of equipment.

I've got two borrowed Japanese tenkara rods at my house this week, and yesterday I took one of them, the Sakura Betuatsurae Kongo Tenkara (Clif can translate that for you HERE), out to Valley Creek to put it through the paces.  This post isn't a review of the rod by any stretch, just a bit of context.

The trip started on a nice note, as I ran into a friend, "Flyguy" from the PAanglers.com forums (he was pulling fish after fish out of the pool below the covered bridge).  We chatted for a bit, and then went our separate ways, bumping into each other on the creek from time to time.  He's a really good guy, one of those folks you could just talk fishing with for a long time if the opportunity presented itself.
Zug Bug

As far as my own fishing experience, I ended up catching 4 browns on Zug Bugs & Griffith's Gnats, and then 5 more at the end of the session on dries.  I actually used Ben from AZ Wandering's Sparkle Parachutes to catch the rising fish - I had won them in a contest at his blog last year and I've been waiting for a good opportunity to use them.

The feeding frenzy presented that opportunity & a short window of chaos ensued.  At around 11:30, the fish just started going nuts rising (& even leaping fully out of the water) to eat some sort of small mayflies.  BWOs perhaps?  (I'm no Entomologist).  It was like watching Jiffy Pop popcorn pop, one splash after another after another.  It only lasted for about 15 minutes, and then the water went glass smooth, but Ben's flies did the job.
Like my bracelet?

Oh yeah, the Sakura Kongo...I almost forgot.  Well, it handles quite a bit different than my Tenkara USA Iwana.  It took me about 15 or 20 minutes to find the right stroke (and a feel for the ergonomic grip), but once I did, the rod sang.  It's got a stiffer feel than the Iwana, but because of that also snaps much crisper casts and is very sensitive...and very light.  Very, very light.  I'm not sure what to compare it to, but I liked fishing it quite a bit.
The fancy bamboo-like Betuatsurae finish

When I got home to eat lunch, Lilly said she wanted to go to the local park and go fishing.  We went, but unfortunately only lasted 15 minutes.  It's still a bit cold for sunnies, and there was no bite at all...so we went to the playground instead.  You know, limited attention spans.  No sense in dragging things out.
She tried valiantly...but the swings & jungle gym ended up being much more fun


  1. Morning Mike. The limited attention span lasts a long time, like the time I took my Granddaughter to the baseball game. It lasted all to two innings and then she wanted to go to the game area. She was 12 at the time.


  2. Thanks for the post. Sounds like it was a good day all around.

  3. I really need to try a Tenkara rod. Sounds like it's a blast! Glad you had a good day on the water.

  4. Great Pics and fish. Glad to hear the rod worked nice. I know all about the attention span deal. Many a good hole has been spooked by my son or daughter chuckin rocks. Oh well. I love every minute..

  5. Way to get at them Mike. Sounds like you had a great day. Lily gave it effort what more can you ask. Hope you enjoyed your time on the jungle gym.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

  6. Sounds like a great day....daddy fishing time and daddy/daughter time.

    And yes, what a lovely bracelet you have there. You don't seem like a "teal" color kinda guy, but you wear it well ;)

  7. Dad, there will be other times to fish.
    Great effort Lilly.


  8. Cool! Great pics! I got out with my Iwana today on some water that was made for it and I was lucky enough to get two foot long wild rainbows( big for our area, measured in the measure net). And best of all the tenkara rod performed amazingly well, despite a strong wind. I may not use it all the time, but it's def. going to find alot of water under it's belt come a year from now!

  9. @Sanders
    They're fun, but no reason to give up the reel.

  10. @Trout Magee
    I enjoy it too. The fact SHE wanted to go fishing is the best part.

  11. @Passinthru Outdoors
    The playground was awesome, but a bit muddy. Little boys might like the mud, princesses...not so much.

  12. @Brk Trt
    Yeah, no concerns on my end. I was just sad because she was the one who wanted to "catch a fish like daddy". When I could tell it wasn't gonna happen, I figured a swing set would be a much more entertaining alternative.

  13. @Owl
    Sweet! Nice to see you enjoying your $150 cane pole. It is fun. BTW, that rod I was fishing in the pic was about 9 foot. Not the 6 or 7 footer you're looking for, but a bit shorter than what us Americans are accustomed to seeing.

  14. Well I'm convinced... Trout may not speak Latin but it looks like they know Japanese!