Showing posts with label Tenkara Bug Out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tenkara Bug Out. Show all posts

August 12, 2017

Gear Review Update: Tenkara Times TRY 360 Tenkara Rod

A few years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the TRY 360 tenkara rod from Tenkara Times. I wrote a fairly thorough review about it HERE if you'd like to go back and read it. However, you don't really have to... in short, I thought the rod was great - lightweight in hand, an accurate caster, and able to handle fish of many sizes and species. The only criticism was the rod's questionable cosmetics, which I didn't think were all that attractive...

Okay, I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I thought the rod was ugly.

Fast forward to this year, I was given the opportunity to test drive an updated version of the TRY 360.

I was able to fish the rod during some outings this summer in Pennsylvania and Oregon, and I'm happy to say that the rod maintains many of the qualities enjoyed in the original version.


The rod still feels incredibly light in hand. I never weighed the first version on a scale, so I can't compare the actual weight side-by-side (I no longer have the original rod), however, this new version is very similar. I think it feels perhaps a smidge heavier, but that could just be the influence of time on my memory. Either way, this rod remains super light for a model in this price range, (currently  $149.99 at Three Rivers Tenkara).


One of the features of this rod that I really enjoy is the grip, which seems slightly revised. Visually, you'll immediately notice a composite cork accent at top and bottom, which I think looks sharp should it serve no other function. Meanwhile, the handle maintains the 2 noticeable humps at top and bottom, and similar to the weight, they appear slightly more pronounced than before. The reason why I enjoy this grip configuration is that I prefer to "palm" the butt of the tenkara rod in my hand when I cast if the overhead clearance allows it, and this larger bump makes it very comfortable to hold in that fashion.

That said, should I need to choke up on my grip for whatever the reason, be it for increased control or to achieve a shorter overall rod length, the upper handle hump allows a very natural feeling grip as well.


As for performance, the rod is essentially the same. Crisp, perhaps a bit stiff, and casts a beautiful level line. I used a Tenkara USA 3.5 level line during the testing and it made for such an easy cast with both weighted and unweighted flies. A quick, compact flick of the wrist dropped cast after cast into the desired pocket or riffle on command.


So I guess it's time to address the elephant in the room, the cosmetics, especially when looking back at the prior review. Now I know cosmetics aren't the most important thing when it comes to a fishing rod. There could be a cool looking rod that casts like junk (and vice versa), but it would be foolish to think they don't play any role in the buying decision.

Well, I'm happy to report that while the majority of the rod blank maintains the same matte paint job, the largest section by the handle has been upgraded tremendously. Glossy black, silver printing, and a nice band that serves as a backdrop for the Tenkara Times logo while adding a splash of color. Is it perfect? No. But, in my opinion, it's light years more attractive than the original TRY. A classier, more premium look in so many ways.

Original TRY (Top) | Updated TRY (Bottom)

In closing, I believe the many updates included in this latest iteration of the Tenkara Times TRY 360 further cements this rod as an excellent option in the mid-price point tenkara rod range. I'd have no reservations recommending this rod to anybody seeking an "all around" model while still expecting extremely high-value & performance for the money.

The Tenkara Times TRY 360 tenkara rod tested in this product review was provided to me at no cost by Oleg at Tenkara Times. As mentioned in the review above, it carries a retail price of $149.99 in the United States and can be purchased at Three Rivers Tenkara. I currently hold no professional affiliation with Oleg, and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

August 3, 2017

Wandering Around The Willamette Fish Hatchery

On Sunday afternoon, driving back from a third straight day of fishing, I decided to make a small detour and see what was down the "Fish Hatchery Road" I'd kept passing all weekend. Set back a little bit from Route 58 in Oakridge, I found the Willamette Fish Hatchery... and well, I was pleasantly surprised with what I encountered.

Before we get to the fish, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has clearly set up the Willamette Fish Hatchery as an educational destination. The kind of place you could take kids (especially small ones) and easily spend half a day.

There's a very nice picnic area...

Wonderful landscaping and sculpture...

Educational mini golf (no, that's not a typo)...

Upland bird exhibits...

And a small museum speaking to Oregon wildlife and the history of the hatchery...

And then there were fish. Lots and lots of fish. Starting immediately across from the museum were two large swimming pool sized pens. They held some nice sized trout (that were noted for show, not stocking) as well as some big sturgeon. I'm not sure I've ever seen a sturgeon before, they were freaking huge!

Up next were the trout ponds. which consisted of about 10 raceways placed side by side. They were full of rainbow trout of various sizes.

A bit of a walk led to the main hatchery building and the salmon ponds. There had to be at least 40 individual ponds, and they were all filled with fingerling sized salmon. It was a sight to see, so many fish in one place, quite remarkable.

According to a brochure I picked up, "The salmon hatchery was established in 1911 to compensate for the loss of spawning and rearing areas in the middle fork of the Willamette River. Willamette Hatchery, in conjunction with other state-operated fish hatcheries, releases over five million spring Chinook salmon smolts annually into the Willamette River and its tributaries."

Saving perhaps the best for last, tucked behind the main hatchery building are the adult salmon holding ponds. Accessible from a viewing platform, this heavily secured area holds dozens of full-sized Spring Chinook salmon. These fish were collected and brought here, where later this Fall, the staff will collect the eggs & sperm from the adults to fertilize eggs to be incubated in the hatchery building. Each female salmon will yield approximately 4000 eggs.

Whether you're a fan or not of hatchery-raised fish, this little trip to the Willamette Fish Hatchery was an interesting and educational detour. I feel like I left understanding a little bit more than I knew about Oregon's fish and wildlife than I did prior to arrival. Plus, the grounds are really quite beautiful to walk through. With so much to offer, it's definitely worth a few hours of your time if you happen to be in the area.

For more info:

Willamette Fish Hatchery: 
76389 Fish Hatchery Road
Oakridge, OR 97463
(541) 782-2933

August 2, 2017

Sunday, July 23: Another Morning At The North Fork

"Sunday. North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River. Tenkara Bug Out Section 14."

That's what I had scribbled in my notebook the night before while planning my fishing agenda. I'm not exactly sure what drew me to that section of the river... perhaps it the was fact that it was really close to section 15 that fished well the prior morning... maybe it was the way the entry point was perilously described in the Tenkara Bug Out materials:

"Park and follow flagging just up the road from parking. The "trail" down is a bit rocky and slippery at this spot. Please use caution!"

Whatever it was, off I went, however, I did sleep in a little bit and didn't hit the water around 9 AM, about an hour and a half later than the previous day.

Much like section 15, the wading was more difficult than I was used to. I don't think it was the speed of the water so much as it was the depth. There were A LOT of deceptively deep holes and gaps between boulders that made keeping my wader waistline above water a real challenge.

That said, it was a beautiful morning. The temps were quite nice in the mid to upper 70s, and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds overhead.

As for the fishing, I'm not going to lie, it wasn't quite as good as Saturday. While I did have success with the same kebari I used the prior day, the bite wasn't near as consistent. There were definitely some longer than I liked stretches of little to no action. (I know, cry me a river...) Now I don't want to make it seem like the fishing was awful, as I did manage quite a few nice rainbows, one of which put up an almost 4-minute fight while running in and out of some deep and fast current.

A little bit further upstream, the water began getting much slower. At one point reaching a stretch that was about 30 yards long and super deep; not really wadable. I'm not certain how deep it got in the middle, but I'm guessing it had to be at least 15-20 feet, probably more. Looked like a killer swimming hole - either figuratively or literally - as I'm not sure if people would recreationally swim there or not. It's Oregon, so I'm sure they do.

Steep drop off

Anyway, at the foot of that stretch was some really nice moving water. First, I approached it with some of those yellow sallies on top to some level of success...

And followed up using one of the few tungsten bead prince nymphs I brought to try to tempt the bottom dwellers. A few fell for it, including this one...

After that, the fishing pretty much stopped. Realizing it was almost 1 PM and the same thing happened yesterday, I called it quits. Ok, that may have been part of it, but who am I kidding, I was hungry and wanted lunch.

And about an hour later back in town, I was happy with my decision.

The "58" Burger
Local grass-fed 1/3 ounce beef patty, Stewart's 58 BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar, Swiss, 

lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and Jalapenos