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
"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653
"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
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma