Japanese Fishing Gear Fascination…?

I get asked this question all the time. And I try to explain it as best I can but generally it falls on deaf ears. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing or what. But I do like Japanese fishing gear better than US Domestic stuff. It could be that I am just tired of seeing the same old thing. Even the “flavor of the month” brought to us via corporate marketing juggernauts seems lame anymore. I don’t see a lot of innovation outside of anything that is not Bass Fishing related. Even in fly fishing…we are beat over the head by “Influencers” or other “Cool Kids” telling us what to buy and use while fishing ultra-exotic destinations most of us will never go to. And true, there is some of that in Japan, but I see a lot more innovation and craftsmanship in all aspects of fishing.

Take the Abu Garcia Cardinal 3 image at the header. This is a VERY popular reel in Japan complete with an entire cottage industry surrounding and supporting it. This goes for the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 2500 and 1500 baitcast reels as well. I have seen the Cardinal 3 go for over $1250 USD for a completely upgraded reel. I’m sure they go higher than that!

The Japanese anglers love quality and it shows in their gear selection. But at the same time they like to individualize/personalize key components of their gear.

You can find a plethora of handmade nets in various niche tackle shops that are found all over the country. Crafted with care, attention to detail and soul. I like that and can appreciate that.

When selecting fishing vests you might be surprised that the Filson Fishing vest is wildly popular in Japan.

It is an interesting blend of high tech and old school. Handcrafted wood handle knobs for the latest Shimano Stella reel, your choice of fiberglass, bamboo or graphite for a rod blank, custom thread choices and hand selected handle options. When was the last time you saw a bamboo spinning rod? Some things shouldn’t be built to a price point!

Examples of “outside the box thinking”

Lures and lure design are another facet of the Japanese. They aren’t afraid to make wild designs or material choices. All of which piques my curiosity.

I could go “on and on” about this topic but I won’t. I already feel like I’ve beaten the proverbial dead horse, and I’m not trying to convince anyone to switch to Japanese gear. I’m just saying there is a whole new world out there for anyone who is curious about this subject. It will take some research, some serious digging and a lot of translating…but it’s worth it. Cheers!

Classic Fly Tying Framed Flies…

I just received another set of Mr. Nelsons flies! My photography skills cannot do these justice and I apologize in advance.

This series is his 2021 Branson Award-Winning Fly Collection and I am gobsmacked again. These are GORGEOUS and very well tied. The Classic Wet Flies From Ray Bergmans 1938 book “Trout” are incredible and have vibrant colors that pop out and really capture your attention. The Wet Flies From Mary Orvis Marburys 1892 book “Favorite Flies and Their Histories” are very realistic and life-like. Impressive work to say the least.

As an angler, I am not as proficient in fly fishing as I would like to be, nor am I well versed in the patterns and histories of flies and fly tying…but I can darn sure appreciate a well tied and beautiful fly!

As anglers, we should support and encourage one another, so if interested, then show some love to Mr. Nelson over at classicflytying.biz. You won’t be disappointed.

Trout Pond Part 2…

We returned to the trout pond on Sunday morning because the weather was still good, although the winds will be steadily increasing as the next round of storms approaches.

I opted to use my Apia Grandage Lite 61 rod with the Daiwa Presso LT 1000S-P reel on it today. I think it is a really good combo that combines casting distance with fish handling capabilities. And the Daiwa Presso LT might just be one of the best ultralight reels out there.

There were already several people there when we arrived. We weren’t seeing anyone catching trout so we were wondering what was going on. We rigged up the rods and started casting our spoons and were into trout pretty quickly. We were throwing 4 gram Daiwa Crusader spoons since these have turned into the most productive spoons we have.

It was definitely good to catch some trout. We conversed with another fisherman for a few minutes before the mob started closing in and we had to relocate. We still caught trout! I have underestimated trout spoons for a LONG time and they are highly productive…of course these are hatchery raised fish so I’m sure not the brightest portion of the species. Just sayin…

For us, it is not a numbers game, although that does help to solidify/quantify our technique. Rather, just being outdoors and fishing is what we feel is the most important part. We don’t compete with others or even each other. We enjoy seeing ourselves and others catching fish and having fun. Until next time…

It Was A Nice Day To Hit The Trout Pond…

After 4 inches of ice followed by 2 solid days of rain…we finally got some sunshine. And to top it all off, there was NO WIND.

We ended up having a lazy morning waiting for the temperature to warm up from its starting point of 22F. It was a nice way to start the day and we never felt rushed.

I took the Stella today and it performed flawlessly. Maybe all of the issues previously were because of me and how I fish. I ended up catching 2 Rainbow trout and the Mrs. caught 3 Rainbow trout. She did really well and looked like a pro out there.

This one was fun! Put up a great fight and made the drag on the Stella sing.

The main thing is that they stocked trout and we don’t smell like skunk. I will admit that I have never really fished for trout with spoons and I’m beginning to enjoy it. Forces you to slow down a bit and focus. Hopefully we will be able to get out a few more times before Trout Season ends at the stocked ponds. I’m definitely ready to go again tomorrow!

New Veles Handcrafted Lures Arrived Today…

I can’t get enough of these lures! They swim well and are easy to fish. After my first couple of purchases, my wife decided to get some for herself. Can’t say as I blame her. So we will start with the 4 she ordered!

Personally, I REALLY like the lure that is second from the left. Stunning.

I ordered 2 more myself just to increase the variety in my arsenal.

I think now, we have a good range of colors and shapes. These lures handle and track very well in the water.

We were pretty excited to get these lures. After a week of ice and cold temperatures followed by several days of rain…it was nice to receive fishing related items in the mailbox, but it will be awhile before the rivers and lakes settle a bit. Hopefully we will be able to wet a line sometime this weekend. Catch you on the next one!

Happy 2nd Blog-versary…And Things I’ve Come to Learn.

I would like to sincerely thank each and every one who has visited the blog. It means a lot to me. And maybe by reading this blog it will help you pass the winter months!

It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since I had the idea to try a blog as opposed to making videos on YouTube. It has been a lot of fun thus far and I will continue to interject information and humor as often as I can. It has been quite a learning experience, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

We started on the Japanese Domestic Market fishing tackle journey about 3 years ago. We were tired of the same old gear selection found in our area. I happened to stumble upon a couple of YouTube fishermen out of Japan and that was the impetus for me to do more research on their tackle. What an effort that turned out to be! With translation apps and some heavy-duty web searches, we managed to get the hang of it.

So I mention the backstory to bring us forward to where we are at now. As far as reels go, the 2022 Shimano Stella is an amazing reel (despite me having a couple of line issues) and is loved the world over. For my needs and our original intent of paring things down and going lighter, the 2019 Shimano Vanquish would have been the best option in a reel. Super light, felt drag washer and silky smooth…it suits our needs very well, and I could’ve saved money. Lesson learned. The 2022 Daiwa Exist is phenomenal and I feel it was worth the money spent but it isn’t necessary for our type of fishing. I’m not the type of person to bling out or swan around and I was genuinely curious if those reels were really that much better. Honest answer…NO. There! I paid the “stupid tax” for you. You’re welcome.

The rods have their own caveats. There is light, ultralight and then stupid light. A 44 gram rod requires too much protection and looking after to suit my taste. Lightweight comes at a cost in regards to durability. I ended up really settling on either the TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI 50L 4-piece or the TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS 51 LL 2-piece rods. They are durable, extremely well made, sensitive and most important for me…they have larger rod guides than other rods in the same category. I tie my leaders on with an Alberto knot and some of the rods we used had 1-1.5mm eyes which always caused an issue, however minor. At 50+ years of age, threading those micro guides is a struggle!

Lures? I’m not going to bother with that one because everyone has their own favorites and their own style of fishing. Use what you are confident in. I will say that the Japanese market has a bewildering array of various lures.

Wading gear. It is what it is. Reviews are ALWAYS all over the map which makes it difficult to make an informed decision. With manufacturers warranties being what they are these days…just get what suits your taste and price range. I’m a middle of the road kind of guy and the Simms Freestones have worked well.

Boots? Ha! The same thing applies. 2 years is a standard warranty/longevity period. Get whatever fits and hope for the best.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that for the past 2-3 years, I was blindly chasing “perfection” when I should have been focusing on “ENOUGH.” Close enough, good enough etc. Don’t misunderstand me here…we have found some really amazing gear that turned out to be worth the expense and I would not purchase a lesser/cheaper version for any reason. It’s that “grey area” where the real gems are found and that zone is where the fun lies and the real learning takes place. I used to fish just to relax and get outdoors, now it has become a “thinking mans” game which I really enjoy.

Live and learn. Some things are cheap and other things cost a lot of money so do all of the research you can and really sit down and think about it beforehand. If there is anything on this blog that you have a question about then feel free to get in contact with me and I will try my best to answer any questions and give you an honest opinion on it. There are ZERO sponsors here and I am not afraid to tell the truth despite what the marketing hype tells you.

Here’s to a great year of fishing and hopefully more years ahead for the blog. Cheers EVERYONE!

24 Hours Makes a Difference…

Yesterday morning I decided I wanted to practice more with my baitcast set ups. From previous blog posts you may remember that I came late to the baitcast game, so I practice as often as I can.

The weather was 61F and partly sunny, but the wind was a steady 18mph with gusts to 30mph. Not ideal for practicing but I have to take advantage of any window of opportunity.

I was doing pretty well once I adjusted the reel to match the weight of the lure I was throwing. I even managed to catch a small largemouth bass in the process.

The problems started when I got cocky! I started throwing for distance as well as casting into the wind. Huge fail that resulted in a birds nest the likes of which I have never seen before. I ended up having to cut the line off the spool so that pretty much ended the outing. Yes…I can be a dummy sometimes.

Fast forward to this morning and everything had changed. The winds had switched out of the north at 20mph and the temperature had dropped to 26F with a steady ice mist coming down. (Here I will encourage the reader to revert back to the last sentence of the previous paragraph)

I decided it would be a great idea to go trout fishing first thing in the morning. We arrived at sun rise and headed to the pond and started casting. We fished for about 30 minutes before we (meaning ME) were forced to retreat. Two of my fingers on my right hand began to freeze and the pain was making it impossible for me to fish. If you’ve had frostbite before then you know how susceptible you are to getting it again. And yes…I was wearing gloves! I could see it in my wifes eye’s that she was cold too but apparently we were playing a game of “chicken” to see who would quit first. Grrrrr.

So the end result was that we didn’t catch any trout and I had to concede defeat according to the rules of the game. Oh the shame!!!! And to top it off…she coined a new term…SKUNK CHICKEN!

Not sure how I will recover from it all, but my honor is at stake now. I’m already beginning to hate 2023.

Random Musings…

2022 was a great fishing year for us. We were able to explore a few new areas with success. We’ve been pouring over maps as well as searching through various online posts seeking new areas to explore in 2023. We have found 2 areas that have a high potential for our type of fishing.

As far as prospective new gear purchases go…we haven’t seen much that really trips our trigger. I had high hopes for the new 2023 Shimano Vanquish but they added the super-slow oscillation system to it. I have that on my Stella and the jury is still out on that. I haven’t given up on my Stella, but I’ve had line issues that I haven’t resolved yet. I plan on re-spooling it with braid to see if that fixes the issue. If anyone follows “Angler Saito” over on YT enjoyfishingchannel, then you would’ve seen how he preferred the 2022 Daiwa Exist over the 2022 Shimano Stella…and I couldn’t agree more!

The 2023 Daiwa Airity does look interesting and I might pick one up. It’s a good looking reel in my opinion. We will see what the street price ends up being. I tend not to be an “early adopter” or “influencer type” and prefer to wait a bit so the kinks get ironed out.

There are a couple of rods that I’m curious about from M&N and M-Aire as well as TenRyu but I’m in no hurry to research them further. And lures…I’m trying hard not to become a collector. I have a thing for handmade lures but if I can’t bring myself to use them, then there’s not really a point in buying them. We spent a lot of time stream-lining our gear to make it lighter and more efficient so I don’t want to undo that effort.

We have pre-planned for 2023 and have purchased plenty of hooks and jigs as well as plastic baits. I’m sure at some point we will have to replenish those, but for now we are good to go. We really don’t see a reason or need for any drastic changes.

Mrs. VeloxSeeker will probably order a pair of custom waders since she has had a hard time finding a pair that actually fits. Simms offers a custom service so that will allow her to upsize her stocking foot booties yet retain a petite wader size. She’s a size 4 which equates to a Womens Small but to get her foot size correct she would have to order a Womens Large. That’s NOT gonna work. Last time I checked the price to do that was reasonable so 2023 will be the year we get it done.

All of this is probably not very exciting to read but we are excited for the 2023 fishing season. Plans are being laid as we speak and we hope nobody does anything stupid on the global stage that wrecks everything. Time will tell. See you on the next one.

Outing to Local Trout Pond…

We got up this morning and decided we wanted to fish. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we welcomed a new Grandson into the world. He’s a healthy, happy boy and we are so grateful.

The weather has been up and down and both of us have seen an uptick in our work schedules. Squeezing time in to go fishing has been tough.

I had ordered a Valkein Breakthrough Zero Verge BTZV-62GL rod awhile back and decided I wanted to try it out. I paired it with the Shimano Vanford 1000 and off we went. It was 38F, cloudy, cold and damp, as well as windy. We managed to catch 3 before the cold made us head home. My hands cannot take the cold anymore, even wearing gloves, they still started to hurt quite a bit.

As always, it was good to get out. I think we both needed an outing no matter how short it was. Spring is still quite aways off but who knows…so far the winter here has been relatively mild. We hope to log more outings soon. Stay tuned and be safe out there.

New Lures…

I was over on Instagram scrolling through my feed which pertains to all sorts of fishing. I follow mainly Japanese anglers but there a several from all over the world that I follow as well. There are also several lure makers who show their wares and I was impressed by one in particular…Veles Handcrafted Lures based in Serbia. I sent a message asking if he sold on Etsy since I’d seen his site but there was nothing for sale. He replied that he indeed did sell on that platform and would be uploading items very soon. Fast forward a few days and I bought two lures as soon as they were available. To keep this short and stop rambling, I will just post the pics.

I am very impressed with the quality of these lures. Attention to detail is amazing. His prices are reasonble with lures running from $20-$25 apiece. From the amount of work that goes into each one, I would say that is more than fair. If interested, his store can be found on Etsy under “veleshandcraftedlure” and on Instagram at #veles_handcrafted_lures. Catch you all on the next one.

A Morning of Trout Fishing…

We started the morning at an infamous trout pond because their website said they were stocking trout last night. After fishing for an hour and the wife managing to catch only a small largemouth bass, we opted to try another location. Once again, the people administering this pond are patent liars. Charging people $60.00 to fish here and not stocking is a fraud and we will most likely never fish here again. We KNOW how to catch trout! Stop blaming the fishermen.

But I digress, we changed locations and immediately started catching trout. (Notice: Sapulpa Parks Administration-see above.) This is only the second time we have fished this pond, but we like it since it actually has trout in it. Can you tell I’m a little bit peeved?

All told we caught 8 trout and that one Largemouth bass, so not a bad day at all. We would’ve had a few more but they came unbuttoned before we could get the net on station to receive them. The bonus was that this trout pond is free to fish as long as you have a State fishing license. We were both using trout spoons and they performed well until the bite switched off.

My setup: TenRyu RZI51LL with a Shimano Vanquish C2000S.
Her setup: TenRyu RZ6102S-LML and Shimano Stella C2000S.

We were tempted to try a third location but Mrs. Velox Seeker wasn’t feeling up to it. She had surgery yesterday and is recovering but the drive to fish is strong in her. She did really good with everything that has transpired in the last 24 hours.

She’s a Trooper for sure!

Hopefully my little rant didn’t derail this blog post but I felt it needed to be said. We did manage to have a good outing and accomplished our objective. AND…we didn’t get skunked! Now I will make her rest like she’s supposed to, and don’t blame me for this excursion, it was her idea!