Tenryu Rayz Spectra - First Impressions
by Les Albjerg
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!
“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.
Beware of the Dogma