Shimotsuke Miyako Tanago Rod Review
by Levi Cain
When it comes to close quarters sight fishing for micros, I have never been more impressed with the performance of a rod/pole than I have with the Shimotsuke Miyako Tanago Rod. Granted I have never had the pleasure of using the Daiwa Hinata or even the Nissin Gokoro Tanago rods to make a fair comparison between the three in regards to performance and durability. That is why my evaluation and comparison of the Miyako rod is only with crappie rods, spinning rods, cane poles, ice fishing rods, sticks you find on the ground, and steel rods.
In past history my primary rod of choice when targeting micros that are within 5 feet of my person has been a telescopic crappie rod 13' in length when fully extended. I would typically collapse every section of the rod until I would have just the 3' butt section remaining. This method did away entirely with being able to detect any bites that I my have and made me rely entirely on sight to detect bites and to know when I actually had a fish on. Now there were times when I would completely remove the tip section from the rest of the rod and just use that, which allowed for a slight bit of detection when I received a bite but was still pretty stiff and was not the greatest way to detect a micro at the end of the line.
The Miyako Tanago Rod however was an entirely different beast when it came to detection and even performance for that matter. I could feel when my size 10 micro split shot would break the water's surface and when it would come into contact with the stream bottom. And when a micro struck my bait I knew exactly when it would happen and be able to set the hook in time. That aspect alone increased my catch ratio and did away with multiple failed attempts at trying to set the hook with a micro that is still willing to bite even though the bait keeps being yanked out from under its nose time and time again.
Oh and the performance, the lightness of the rod allowed me to hold the rod perfectly still for longer amounts of time without feeling muscle fatigue, which would usually bring about shaking and other unwanted movements of the rod when trying to keep it still - something that is always an issue for me when using a crappie rod. I also found it was easy to maneuver my bait precisely where I wanted it when not dealing with a strong current.
The only real down side that I found with the rod is with the lillian and collapsing the rod for transport or storage. When collapsed, the lillian will still protrude from the end of the rod. This makes it impossible to put the wood plug in at the end of the rod until you fold the lillian over onto itself and manually insert it into the rod.
A little proof of the Miyako Tanago rod's performance can be seen by its ability to handle a variety of species all in one evening at a single creek in NE Oklahoma. Species such as Sunburst Darter, Orangethroat Darter, Fantail Darter, Northern Studfish, Blackstripe Topminnow, Western Mosquitofish, Brook Silverside, and even a Banded Sculpin.
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