First Trip of 2014 plus first time out with the Tenkara Customs Rod


Date: 2/23/2014
Not all fishing trips are “epic!” In fact if your fishing trips are anything like mine they’re almost always just regular size. And sometimes they are downright unassuming and completely un-noteworthy. Sometimes just a shadow on the cave wall. Or a shadow on the snow. You’re probably not usually catching giant brook trout on mouse patterns in Northern Quebec, or taimen in Mongolia, or Golden Dorado in Bolivia or Mahseer in India with tigers stalking you. But that’s okay. In fact I rather like small and quiet and unassuming.

Last fall – the Monday after Thanksgiving I think…that was the last time I was out fishing. And it was a good day – with plenty of good small stream trout and it was epic enough for me.

On that day my fishing shadow and I parted company. I’ve missed him. And now he’s back. Sometimes he follows me and sometimes I follow him – and I can’t help but have a nagging feeling that he contains a part of my fishing soul.


Snow was on the ground and melting – and the water was cold. Fishing was slow as I figured it would be. I caught 2 small brook trout. This trip was more about getting out than anything – it had been a long time – I was gonna take whatever I could get.

first fly

I needed to get out. And it’s the slow days that make the good days feel so good – the slow days that allow you to earn those epic says. The first fish of the season came on a peacock and pheasant sakasa kebari. It was small – but it was a long time coming.

first fishco

I’d fished this fly, and others very similar all last year, so I switched flies – I had a kebari based on an old wetly pattern that I wanted to try out. Frankly I didn’t have very high hopes for a largish, light colored fly on this cold winter day. I hate to say it – but I often fish flies just for the sake of trying them out – common sense be damned. I’ve caught plenty of fish on this stream – so I’d rather give a new fly a chance. This fly is based on an old wet fly pattern called “The Queen of Waters”. I think I may spend a lot of time fishing flies based on old wet flies this season.

fish 2

Another reason to get out was to finally put to water the Tenkara Customs rod that I put together (read about that HERE). So what about the new rod? It’s a Tenkara Customs 5:5 12′ rod. They call it a 5:5 – but it is not a soft full-flex 5:5. I’d call it more of a tip-flex 6:4 – with enough backbone to make it a good all-around trout rod. I was on a small stream so I didn’t get to try long lines and I didn’t get to land any large fish – those tests will have to wait. I did try 3 lines though: a 12′ #4.5, a 12′ #2.5 and 10′ DePuys Spring Creek furled line from Moonlit Fly Fishing.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I thought that the 12′ #2.5 would be a little light. But I actually found that the Tenkara Customs handled the #2.5 line like a dream. I could load the rod easily with the light line (even without a back cast) and roll cast or flick cast when needed. The rod also cast the #4.5 well – with a bit more tactile feedback from a heavier line. Some folks might like the heavier line, but I really preferred the lighter. Keep in mind I was tossing small unweighted flies with no wind at all.

I also spent some time tossing a large bushy dry fly with the 10′ DePuys Spring Creek Furled line from Moonlit Fly Fishing. Not because I expected any surface action but just to see how the rod handled it. And it handled it fine. This is a very light furled line so I didn’t expect any trouble. For folks that have never tried furled lines on their tenkara rod – and especially if you want to fish large dry flies on long tippets – you should give a furled line a try. They are a joy to cast.

So far I’m very happy with the Tenkara Customs rod and I look forward to putting it through its paces on some bigger water.

4 Comments on First Trip of 2014 plus first time out with the Tenkara Customs Rod

  1. Anthony nice read as read as always. Knowing that you like light lines I’ve been working on one, and I think you’d really like it. For lighter line handles well in the wind. I’ll be in touch on this with you.

  2. Anthony, have you had some more time on the water with the Tenkara Customs rod? They will be vending at the Tenkara Jam, I can’t really find any reviews other than yours. Any new details or comparisons? What’s the weight of the rod fully assembled and how’s the balance (tip heavy?).

    • Jim – I have fished the rod a bit and I still like it. Mine was a 5:5 – I took a quick look at the site and it looks like the kit is now a 6:4 – so i can’t say for sure how that blank compares to the one I have. My finished rod came in just a bit over 3 oz. And is a bit tip heavy – but compared to other rods in the price range and some others even a bit more expensive – it is not excessively tip-heavy. You can get lighter less tip-heavy rods – but you’re going to pay more too, for the price I still think it’s a nice rod. I wouldn’t hesitate to take it out for a day on the stream.

what say you?