Badger Tenkara UNC
Through the last five (or so) years fishing tenkara exclusively I developed a tendency to prefer shorter tenkara rods over the longer ones (that's just me)...
So after reading some reviews and opinions here and there I decided to give a shot at the 8'6", 6:4 action, Badger Tenkara UNC rod.
On the Thomas Davis' (Teton Tenkara) excellent review about it, what called my attention was its high penny rating and the fact that Tom said it was somewhat stiff... Well, to my ears that sounds like music cause throwing bulkier flies into the wind is what I do most here in Brazil fishing peacock bass and snook. And those situations call for a slightly stiffer or faster rod...
The UNC came very well packed and survived the long overseas travel as well as a 30 day storage waiting for clearance at the customs office... Out of the box I immediatly liked its short collapsed length and matte finish. But its lightness and delicate appearence stroke me right away: Could it survive a fight with my warmwater or saltwater species?
After wiggling it in the air another question came to my mind: If that's a stiff rod what a softer one is like? To me this rod is soft, not noodle soft, just to my preference I would like it to be just a hair stiffer/faster... Other point was the cork handle, at first i found it way to thin and didn't like it... Now let's see how those impressions were like on the water...
Casting: Along with the rod came a floating (running) line and it was the first I tested.
The Badger light floating line itself is very nice and effortless to cast even into a breeze. Rollcasting is also easily accomplished and I know some places where it can be irreplaceable
I also tried casting my standard monofilament 20 lb 12ft level line with the UNC and perhaps the floating line does really well but to me the level matches this rod better.
Big flies: As previous mentioned, I do cast bigger than the average tenkara flies, that is foam bugs or poppers tied in size #8 SW hooks. Perhaps its somewhat softness to my surprise the rod managed to cast them very well even though I was using a monofilament line. But to work those top water flies properly, I still wish it could be a hair faster.
Handle: After three or so consecutive fishing trips my first bad impression on the handle was gone and now I really liked it.
Fighting power: This chapter will need a future review since I haven't the chance to catch anything really big. Up to now it did very well with some 14" inch snook that are known to be very strong and fast fighters... I got my 3X tippet broken with a 16" inch snook but it could just be me since, instead of holding it up in the power position, I lowered the rod tip to let the fish fight the tippet instead the rod... As most times I use a tippet stronger than recommended I was afraid to break the rod and didn't want to take that risk.
Overall I liked the Badger Tenkara service a lot. Matt Sment is a very diligent guy that is always ready to answer anglers doubts. About the rod it is worth every penny.
I like its color and finish as well as its convenient short length. It does very well with tenkara sized fish and is a joy to cast all day.
To me this rod perfectly matches "MY" idea of tenkara: A versatile, light, goes everywhere, fun rod to fish 8 inchers but with good backbone to fight a unexpected 14 incher. To me that translates into a confidence tool.
And this is exactly what this little rod is all about.
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