4 Ponds - 4 Days - 45 Minutes - 96 Red Wigglers
by Les Albjerg
First Pumpkinseed on Fixed Line
I was bummed on Monday because I really wanted to go up in the Mountains and fish the whole day. Since besides my regular job, I have an internet business, I had too much work to do. So inspired by Tom Davis of Teton Tenkara who often fishes for about 90 minutes on his videos, I decided I would hit the 4 ponds that are around 15 minutes from my house, one pond each day. I also decided to go simple. I took two rods with me the Suntech Kurenai 30 and the Suntech TenkaraBum 40. The plan was to fish the Kurenai unless the fish proved to be too big for it. My self imposed limitation was to fish for either 45 minutes or use 24 red wiggler worms. Whichever ran out first would end the day. The hook used was the Gamakatsu R10-B size 14 with no weight. I fished a level line size 3. The first 3 days I fished with a 300 cm line with an 18 inch 6.5x tippet. Today I fished with a 400 cm line with an 18 inch 6.5x tippet. The goal was to keep it very simple. Fish all 4 ponds with the same bait, the same amount of bait, and the same time restriction. Two of the ponds were new to me.
I hadn't caught a fish on either the TenkraBum 40 or the Kurenai yet! It is always exciting to catch fish on a new rod!
Day one - I fished the Rotary Pond from 2 of the fishing docks. I now understand the "cult" following of the Kurenai! It casts like a dream! That said, the first wiggler was cast off the hook! The second one landed gently on the water and began a slow natural sinking motion. It had gone about 6 inches and then I had the thrill of seeing a sunfish dart up and hammer the worm! WOW instant connection with the 5 inch sunfish with the Kurenai. The bend profile when fighting a fish really makes you feel connected. I didn't count worms lost, but it was less than 5. I didn't count multiple hookups before losing the worm, but 35 minutes of fast action with 2 inch to 5 inch bluegills and I was out of worms! I went home with a smile and ready to get back at it in the shop.
Day two - Topper Lane Pond was new to me. They have a nice fishing dock. The water quality wasn't as good, so I didn't seen any fish taking the wigglers. I used the Kurenai again because it did so well on day one. I caught 3 small bass, one was an 11 incher that made the rod sing! Again I didn't run out of time, but ran out of red wigglers! Sometimes "de ja vu" is a good thing! The worms ran out at the 40 minute mark. I just couldn't get over how strong this less than one ounce rod is! I love the bend progression as you feel the take and fight the fish. Who needs monsters when you feel this connected!
Day three - Caldwell Pond, another new pond to me. There was a friendly family at the first dock, but the second was free. The first fish I caught was about a 3 inch bluegill. On this third day, my casting accuracy had really improved, so I put a wiggler between two clumps of weeds that had about a 4 inch opening and it looked like a school of Piranha going after that poor Red Wiggler! Talk about a feeding frenzy! I pulled nine fish out of that little spot! I had 12 hookups in a row fishing the shadow of the dock! That was fun seeing them dart out and nail the worm. I got to go home after only 38 minutes of fishing!
Day four - Red Top Pond. This is a pond I have fished and knew I would need to get my line out further, so I used a longer line. I also wanted to get a feel for how the Kurenai would handle a longer line. When I arrived there were a couple of spin casters trying to catch bass. They were curious about my "little pole." Red Top was the clearest off all the ponds. I began by fishing the shadow of the dock and several micro fish chased my worm. I am going to bring my micro kit next time! It took about 10 minutes to catch the first fish, but it was about a 3 inch Pumpkinseed! I was excited and it was my first Pumpkinseed of the year. It was steady fishing from that point on. Red Top was different than the other three. I had to let the bait sink out of sight before I had any takers. Again the Kurenai performed beautifully. I could feel the ever so slight tug on the line and set the hook. I had 4 fish slam the hook! This rod has no problem pulling fish out of the deep. It was my most enjoyable day with some bigger sunfish and much more fighting action from the fish. Today I ran out of time and had 5 red wigglers left over.
Thoughts - John Evans, I really wish I had had this rod in Texas! It was 10 times more fun than my Diawa 300cm rod. The Gamakatsu R10-B size 14 are a great worm hook. Most hookups were in the lip (see picture). They hold well, and because they are barbless releases are easy. Ultralight worm fishing isn't only for streams. The Kurenai can cast an unweighted worm well, just don't do a false cast and you will be just fine! Going out for a short time can be a very simple, fun, rewarding and pleasurable experience. I had a blast, and got my other obligations taken care of as well. I love this less complicated style of fishing.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.