The Long and Short of It
by Les Albjerg
I debated and debated about getting a rod around 3.3 meters. To be honest, several of the creeks I fish locally are just too brushy for my 4 meter rods, and they have too many larger fish for the Kuranai 30.
I looked hard and long at the TenkaraBum 33, and maybe that should have been my choice, but instead, I bought the Shimano Pack Tenkara 31-34ZW. I really do like zoom rods. On my first outing, I caught two scrappy pike minnows on the way to work using the upstream worm method. The rod performed beyond expectations! On the second outing, I caught my first two trout! Both of these adventures were sneaking a 20 minute session in before work on Indian Creek. Again, the rod performed beyond expectation. There is something special about the fuller flex rods. The 11 and 13 inch trout gave a great fight, and the flex really subdued the fish!
However, I was rushed. I got sloppy. I didn't follow the great technique instructed for collapsing a rod by Chris Stewart, and I ended up breaking section two. The good news is that a replacement was on the way quickly. The not so good news is that it wasn't inexpensive! The shorter the sections the more delicate they are! Another factor in purchasing this rod is that it has a hollow tip. I really like the Tenyru rod that I have that has a hollow tip. This rod is no different. I like the dampening effect of the hollow tip. So, I add my accolades to others who have praised this rod!
It got me thinking however about my crazy lifestyle of getting 15-30 minutes sessions in on the way to work or running errands. The Shimano wasn't the perfect rod for that. One of the other rods that has been on my radar for a long time is the Nissin Royal Stage Honryu 330. It doesn't really split the difference in the two lengths of the Shimano as there is only an inch difference at the longer length, but it only has 4 sections verses 10 for the Shimano! That makes it much harder to break a section! The penny rating for the Shimano at the 10' 11" setting is 15 and for the Royal Stage Honryu it is 12.5 at its one length of 10' 10". Personally, I find at this point that they cast very much the same. Given time, I'm sure I will discover nuances, but the Nissin Royal Stage Honryu performs just like I want it to! With only 4 section it is silky smooth. The Shimano Pack Tenkara 31-34 is nice and smooth as well.
Here is the big difference. With the Nissin Royal Stage Honryu 330 and the Fuji E-Z keepers to hold my line, I can slip the rod and line with the cap on into the protective sleeve. I can jump out of the car and have the rod ready to fish in less than 30 seconds. When it is time to leave (I usually don't give myself enough time!), it takes less than a minute to collapse the rod, wind the line and put it into the protective sleeve. I haven't compromised the quality of the rod I'm fishing, and can still enjoy short session fishing.
As John Evans talked about kids and Tenkara, I also feel that this will be an excellent rod to do instruction with as again with the longer sections it is a more stout rod than a standard or short length rod. One of my last thoughts on this rod is that it is really beautiful. The Shimano has a a subtle beauty. The Nissin has a very nice paint job and accents.
So the long and short if it is I am very glad to have both rods. I do a lot of hiking in to fishing places, and the Shimano Pack Rod will be getting its fair share of action. However, at only 2.5 ounces and considerably less money, the Nissin Royal Stage Honryu 330 is a sweetheart! Don't let the long section rods scare you! In some ways you get more bang for your buck, and for me less breakage! I would encourage you to give them a serious look! I now have my ideal commuter rod.
“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