Trip Report - 5-5-13

This was a day for lots of bluegills, a few bass, one blue fly and a revelation.

We can take care of the bass and the blue fly right from the beginning. There was one of the blue flies from a recent Trip Report  and I hadn't fished and wanted to see if it would work. So far, I've been able to catch fish on all the blue flies I've tried.

Lefty's Deceiver tied with blue bucktail and saddle hackle over white bucktail

I think the Deceiver is primarily a salt water fly, and in blue and white it certainly would be (of course, it is normally tied with white saddle hackle feathers rather than Kingfisher Blue ones). However, I also think bass and bluegills will hit about anything that (A) moves, and (B) fits in their mouth. It should work. It did.

Largemouth bass with the blue over white Lefty's Deceiver.

Not a huge bass, but representative for this pond. I mostly catch bluegills in this pond, and I strongly suspect there are two reasons for that. The bass seem to be tight to the shoreline, at least wherever there are overhanging tree limbs or bushes. Those are places I find it hard to reach with a tenkara/keiryu/seiryu rod given that I cannot make a low sidearm cast from the bow seat of a canoe without smacking the guy sitting in the stern seat square in the face, or at the very least getting tangled up with his rod and line.

Largemouth bass on a canoe paddle

The second reason is that I generally fish flies that I suspect are a little too small to interest the bass.

Most trips I manage a few, though.

I have caught yellow perch here, and there are a two big koi (and on our last trip, for the first time I saw micros of some sort). For me, though, this is mostly a bluegill fishery.

Bluegill on a canoe paddle

There's something about bluegills that makes them just ideal quarry for tenkara. I guess a lot of that "something" is that like trout in small mountain streams, they'll hit about anything, they're big enough to be fun and they're not so big that they'll overpower a light rod.

Bluegill and Nissin SP 450 on canoe paddle

The Nissin SP rods, both the 390 and the 450 are really soft, light rods. They'll cast a very light line, and they'll make even a modest bluegill feel like "Jaws."

Now for the revelation. For years - maybe decades, actually - my spinning rod of choice has been a 6 1/2' ultralight rod. For all those years, it never even crossed my mind that the "collapsed length" of the rod was too long. It has truly never been a problem. I've fished with it out of boats and canoes, taken it in cars and cabs and subways. Didn't even think of it.

When I first saw the collapsed length of the Nissin Honryu rods, my first thought was I could never use one of those, they're much too long. I have made disparaging comments about the collapsed length of the Shimano Mainstream 40-45 ZE and the Shimano Keiryu Tenkara 34-38 ZL, and they collapse to a much shorter length than the Nissin Honryu.

It struck me while sitting on the train this morning that the Honryu must be about the same length as my trusty 6 1/2' ultralight when broken down. And sure enough, it is. It is actually a few inches longer, but it's not enough of a difference to make a diffrence. The 3.8 meter Honryu 3804, pictured below, is a few inches longer than the spinning rod, and also a few inches longer than the Nissin 4.5 meter 4505. And the 4505? Well, collapsed the Nissin Honryu 4505 is precisely one half inch longer than my spinning rod, which in decades of use has never once caused me to think it is too long or unwieldy.

Nissin Air Stage Honryu 3804 with 2-piece spinning rod for scale

I think I have just taken as a given that tenkara rods should collapse to roughly 22", and that those used by backpackers should collapse to about 15". It is time I do a little out of the box thinking.

I did not have the Honryu 3804 with me today, and I have never gotten a chance to fish with a 4505. The one time I did fish with the 3804 I was really quite impressed with it. Every rod - every rod - is a compromise. Are you willing to give up a little convenience to get a smoother casting rod? For me the answer at one time was a definite no. Now it's a definite possibility.

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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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The fish are slippery when wet.

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