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In defense of the long rod

by Robert D.
(Woodbridge, VA)

The Kurenai Long 61 over the Rappahannock River

The Kurenai Long 61 over the Rappahannock River

For any of you debating picking up a long two-handed rod, don’t.

Early last year I purchased a Kurenai Long 61, intending to use it on the local rivers for redbreast sunfish, smallmouth, and such. Those of you who live in the mid-Atlantic know what happened next. It rained, and continued to rain for the entire year. It would have been suicide to try to wade any of the rivers, so the Kurenai got set aside for drier times. It took to this July, but the rain finally started to slow down. I took a day off from work and made plans to be in the lower Rapidan soon after dawn.

On stepping into the river, three things immediately became apparent: 1) The water was about a foot higher than I was expecting. 2) The water was much swifter than I wanted to wade in. 3) The water was incredibly murky. I slogged through for a few minutes in water up to my liver, my wading staff finding all the deeper holes I couldn’t see but was about to step into, before giving it up.

Fortunately, I had a plan B. Ten miles to the north was the Rappahannock River. I reasoned that whatever little summer storm had flooded out the Rapidan would be better handled by the larger river. Amazingly, I was correct, and the river was lower and clear (and about 15 degrees warmer). Here I was finally able to get a line on the Kurenai and put it through its paces.

With a #3.5 line and a big size 4 popper the rod cast well, but the wind resistance of the popper proved a bit difficult to turn over. The smallmouth proved utterly uninterested in the popper, and the wind was starting to pick up a bit, so I tied on a #4.5 line and a size 6 Clouser minnow. The rod cast this setup like it was made for it.

I’m right-handed, have had surgery on my right shoulder, and have a left shoulder that acts up from time to time. Despite this, the 20’ long Kurenai casts like a seiryu rod for me. If one applies power from the hips, the shoulders aren’t hardly used at all. It’s easy to get the hard stops at the ends of the back and forward casts. In fact, the rod is so easy to cast that I found myself casting it one-handed occasionally. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it works well enough.

I’d like to fill the rest of the picture slots with all the fish I caught, but it was not to be. The sum total of the day was two 5” bluegill (come to think of it, it may have been the same bluegill). The rod was sensitive enough to feel the light hits, and while the fish weren’t even close to a match for the rod, I was still able to feel them fight.

At one point I saw a school of some kind of small silvery minnow holding in the main current, darting here and there to pick off tiny morsels. I rummaged through my box until I found some little size 22ish midge pattern. The rod cast this tiny fly equally well, and lightly set it down on the surface. The fish attacked it, but it was apparently too big, as not a single one managed to even hook itself.

At the end of the day three large carp cruised by me in a deep eddy. I thought about how much rod I’d have to fight with, how much power there was to spare when fighting the little bluegills, and the 4x tippet, and cast at them without another thought. I didn’t hook any, but didn’t spook any either, even when a gust of wind collapsed my cast on top of a fish.

If your water has the overhead room, there’s really no reason not to consider a good two-handed rod.

Comments for In defense of the long rod

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Jul 07, 2019
by: Chris Stewart

After that positive review, I'm going to take the "don't" to be don't debate rather than don't pick one up.

Jul 07, 2019
thanks for the review
by: bill piatek

I also have issues in both shoulders. So thank you for the perspective on longer rods and two handed casting. Most river banks here are pretty brushy. I could see fishing two handed on our lakes though.

Like Chis I think you mean don't hesitate. :-)

Jul 07, 2019
Great Review
by: Les Albjerg

I love my 6 meter rod, the Keiryu Sawanobori! One technique I find works well with brush behind is a roll cast. Chris' recommendation on fishing a short line on a long rod works well too! Collapsing a couple sections of the rod once the fish is tired makes landing the fish much easier.

Last, be glad you didn't hook one of those carp on your Kurenai! If the line didn't break, you in all likelihood would have broken your rod.

Thanks for your report, and am looking forward to hearing more fishing adventures!

Jul 07, 2019
The things that make perfect sense...
by: Robert D.

...until you hit the "submit" button.

In addition to roll casting, as Les mentions, I find that I spend a lot of time with a slingshot/bow-and-arrow cast. Most of my time is spent fishing little suburban streams in northern Virginia, where the brush and limbs on the shoreline and overhead preclude any kind of "normal" cast. It's tough to get good accuracy, but the sunfish, chubs, and shiners I'm chasing don't much care.

Even knowing it wouldn't be the best idea to go for a fish that large, I still wish I'd hooked one. I'm not above doing borderline stuff with my rods. I've got a Kyogi 21 that I haven't had out yet, but bought for the main purpose of taking it out on the tidal Potomac here to see if I can't try to catch some of the snakehead we have. I'm also planning on taking it to the Florida Keys later this year to take deep into Everglades National Park to chase snook, seatrout, bass, and maybe a baby tarpon or two. It'll make for a good story at least.

Jul 07, 2019
Taking Risks
by: Les Albjerg

Robert D. - It is fun taking risks, but carp are not forgiving! I've hooked into 3 on the Snake River while fishing for smallmouth bass with my Suntech Fieldmaster 2H 81. It is a 4x rated rod too. Talk about a bend in a rod! Eight meters wasn't enough to stop all three of them from breaking me off! The last one just took me into the current and never looked back!

By the way, Chris is right, anything over 6 meters turns into real work to fish. The inertia that it takes to cast those extra two meters is substantial. Chris kept telling me that over 6 meters takes a lot of the fun out of fixed line fishing. He was right, but he did give me what I wanted! I can reach out with the Kyogi 21 by fishing a longer line. That said when fishing the large riffles on the Snake next month, the Fieldmaster is just the perfect rod for those smallies that are hanging out there!

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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