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Tenryu Rayz Spectra - First Impressions

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

I emailed Chris yesterday and told him he forgot to say the Spectra has "backbone." He informed me that he hasn't fished with one yet! I now understand what "native stream" rod means in the description.

I tossed spoons for about a half-hour and didn't catch anything at the "south pool" at Wilson Springs. I put on a Soare Skiphead and a Red Wiggler. I bounced it along the bottom and caught two nice 11 inch planters. The rod casts like a dream! I also felt the subtle pickups of those two fish. They were not hitting hard at all!

As I was walking back from fishing the large pool at Wilson Springs, I spotted the illusive 17 inch holdover trout in his lair in Wilson Creek that I haven't been able to get a bait or fly to without scaring him off for the last 3 months. This part of Wilson Creek is the definition of brushy. I backed off, put a Red Wiggler on the Skiphead jig, and pendulum cast through the trees about 4 feet upstream of him in the riffles. With a little manipulation, I was able to work the rig down to his lair. He showed immediate interest, but backed off. The second time he came to look, I gave it a twitch up stream, and he took it! A flick of the wrist, and I had him on! He turned on me and hit the current hard! That is when I felt the backbone of the Spectra, and began to understand what it means to be labeled a "stream" rod. I was able to turn him, and he headed toward me. I couldn't lift the rod because of a tree and couldn't reel fast enough, and he managed to get going fast enough that I had slack in the line. Since I always pinch my barbs down, I was outsmarted, but wow was it ever fun!

The lesson learned was to make sure you re-position when you have the chance. On the run downstream I could have taken 3 steps to a clearer area. I never thought he would race upstream like he did.

The rod doesn't throw the .4 gram spoons very well. Chris sells a rod for those, the Diawa Iprimi 56XXUL-S. The lightest the Spectra is rated for is 1 gram. It throws the .8 gram spoons quite well. The 2.5 gram Crusader spoons cast like a dream! I paired my rod with a high end Shimano reel, and it deserves to have a nice reel! The feel of this rod is incredible. One of the things I love about fixed line fishing is the connection with fly or bait. This is the closest to that kind of connection I have ever felt with a spinning or casting setup.

At first, this rod feels a little stiff. Once you get the line (I fished 2.5 pound line) and lure on the rod, it feels perfect. Throwing a .8 gram - 2.5 gram lure you can feel it loading, and casting is intuitive after about 5 minutes. On the two fish I caught, the bend in the rod was a very nice smooth progression right into the handle. During my epic 40 second battle in the creek, I could really feel the power in the lower section, and I was able to turn the fish 3 times keeping it out of the downed trees.

This is a beautiful rod. The craftsmanship is impeccable. The reel seat reminds me of a bolt action on a rifle. I love the way it locks the reel in. The cork is perfect, and the woodwork on the butt and reel seat was done right. I used to make custom reel seats for a small premium fly company, so I know what I am looking at. My only complaint is I still have to work, and I wish I could get out and do more fishing!

I thought my Loomis rod was a premium rod. Now I know what one really is!

Comments for Tenryu Rayz Spectra - First Impressions

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Dec 20, 2017
For those .4 gram spoons...
by: Chris Stewart

Actually, Tenryu now has a rod for those! The Tenryu Rayz Alter is an "area" or lake rod, as is the Iprimi 56XXUL-S. The difference is that it has the Tenryu build quality! It is new this year. I just got them in and I haven't even had a chance to get one outside yet, but they are rated down to "almost zero" lure weight and 1 lb line weight. To cast the .4g spoons you probably would want to use a line almost that light.

I haven't done a page on them yet, but they are in the shop.

For stream fishing, though, you won't do better than the Rayz Spectra!

Dec 20, 2017
by: Les Albjerg

Chris, you spoil us! I was thinking as I tried to cast the .4 gram spoons, that it sure would be nice to have a Tenryu rod that would really put them out there! The TenkaraBum 40 and the Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63 work really well with the .4 gram spoons, and now you put a new temptation on the roster of rods!

The Wilson Springs area near my house is about as close to "Area" fishing that you may find in the USA. There are four major natural springs and Wilson Creek running through it. Across the road and to the south is a large state run hatchery. One pond is a catch and release trophy rainbow pond with large trout. It is often poached. Two ponds are stocked with 6-12 inch rainbow trout on an almost weekly basis. The other pond has warm water fish, bass and bluegill.

It is pressured water, but it is close to the house. The trout that make it past the first few days of planting get smart, so there are some nice holdover trout if you work at it. The water is very clear as it is really a very large freshwater spring. Yesterday when I was fishing as I pulled in my second fish, a little boy who was fishing with his grandmother came up to me, and said, "Mister will you help me catch a fish?" Nobody with any heart could have resisted that request. I'd guess he was about 6 and out fishing in the 34 degree weather showed commitment! He had a "Walmart Special" rod and at least an 8 pound test leader with a size 6 hook and Powerbait. I put a size 22 snap swivel on his rod, and took out one of my pre-tied Gamakatsu R10B size 14 hook set-ups with 7x line. I put on 2 Dinsmore #10 split shot, and rigged him with a 5/8" Nakazima Ball Float. I showed him how to put a red-wiggler on. He had to do some of the work! There are several places where I know trout hang out, so I showed him where to cast. I fished the south side of the platform, and he fished the north side. He actually out fished me, and caught 4 fish! (His were the little 6-8 inchers that always hang out in that hole.) The squeals and shouts of excitement was just as fun as the new rod! His grandma thanked me, and she said, "I have brought him here 7 times, and this is the first time he has caught a fish." I explained the clear water requires light gear. I gave her two more hook set-ups and let her keep the gear on the rod. I gave her some mummy worms, and told her they worked almost as well as Red Wigglers. I also gave her my phone number. I'd like to fish with that little guy again! All of this to say, I often see lots of people fishing, and very few catching any fish. Pressured water requires finesse.

The big difference between my "Area" fishing spot and those in Japan is I fish on my annual licence, and I have been able to see watching YouTube that our Japanese counterparts are paying anywhere from $10 - $20 plus dollars a day to fish just a portion of an "Area." I usually keep 2 fish between 8 and 12 inches. If they are bigger, they are holdovers and I let them go. I like to eat fish too, and that is why they are planted.

We are blessed to live here. I would venture to say, even New York has less pressured fishing than Japan. Before I began graduate school at the University of N. Dakota, I joined up with one of my college room-mates and spent 2 weeks fishing the famous steams of Pennsylvania and New York. I enjoyed the experience of fishing the Ausable, Beaverkill, Upper Genessee, and several others I don't recall at the moment. So we are given an almost unfair advantage thanks to Chris bring us gear designed for high pressured trout. Thanks, but I must practice some restraint on that new offering!

Jan 12, 2018
Further Impressions
by: Les Albjerg

It was 50 degrees today and the sun came out this afternoon. The wind wasn't blowing. I had the day off. An awesome day in Idaho! I was able to get some chores done this morning, and go fishing this afternoon. The road in front of the new hospital that I work at is 4.7 miles from the Boise River. I headed there to finally fish the Tenryu Rayz Spectra on a real river.

I am calling the Spectra the Porsche 911 of fishing rods. It makes me look like a lot better fisherman than I am! It is also easy to be cruising along, and getting yourself into trouble. My fishing lessons today cost me two 2.5g Crusader spoons.

I am new at this. Spinning in a river isn't the same as other places. I began by working up stream casting the edges next to the shore. I was really good at it right away. I learned that my premium Shimano reel is amazing too. I was reeling too fast. I spent an hour working 3 different eddies. I was getting some great action from the spoons. I worked a pool where a creek came into the river. This is the only place I got a strike. Yes, it was a no fish day, but it was a great day of learning the Spectra.

So, I worked my way to where the riffles ended in a nice pool. Over confidence, and not knowing my rod, I thought I'll just cast out as far as I can and work the spoon through the pool. I wasn't paying close enough attention, and the spoon kept going and going, and it was in the tree across the river! I tried several times to get it off. I then decided a spoon wasn't worth damaging the rod. I rigged up again, and enjoyed many casts in the pool working the spoon many different ways.

I went about 400 yards upstream and became over confident again! There was a nice back eddy across the river. Using an underhand cast, I was sure I would be safe. The spoon was 10 feet up in the oak tree across this narrower part of the river.

I changed to a .8 gram spoon. I had 3 follows with the .8 gram spoon. The Tenryu is rated for a 1 gram lure. It handles the .8 gram spoons well. The lighter spoon kept me out of trouble too.

This is the most amazing spinning rod I have ever owned. It is so light and balanced. It has awesome manners, but there is power waiting to be unleashed. Way more power than is suggested by its length and ultra-light weight.

I ended the day casting into a large pool right by the car in the parking area. I didn't expect to really catch anything, but I was working on my
technique. A couple of guys who were flyfishing down river came back to their car. They hadn't caught any fish. We talked. They fish this area a lot. They said with the rain we had yesterday they didn't expect the fishing to be very good. They were nice enough to share some river knowledge with me. It was a great afternoon on the river. The Tenryu Rayz Spectra is a fine rod that really makes fishing pleasurable. It was well worth the investment.

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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.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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