Some of my JDM Spinning Rods and Reels.

Daiwa Presso LTD 1025 reel
MajorCraft Finetail Banshee FBA-602L rod
Shimano Vanford 1000 reel
MajorCraft Troutino TTS-562L rod
Shimano Stradic FL 1000S reel
MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler FTX-46/505UL rod
Shimano Soare Ci4+ 500S reel
MajorCraft Finetail Works Tune Area Spec FTA-582UL rod
Shimano TwinPower C2000S reel
TenRyu Lunakia LK6102S-MLT rod

Please don’t take this as me showing off…that’s not what I’m about. Rather, when researching JDM tackle, you run across names and numbers without pictures provided. I’m merely putting forth pictures to anyone interested in JDM tackle.

I have ZERO affiliation with MajorCraft but have found them to be good values in terms of quality and performance. There are LOTS of other brands out there and there are higher and lower priced rods and reels as well. As stated before…we are really happy with these rods in regards to price vs performance.

Two of the main places I purchase my JDM tackle from are Digitaka and JDMTackleHeaven. I have found them to be reasonably priced with fast/reliable shipping. Again, no affiliation. Also, Chris Stewart over at http://www.finesse-fishing.com has a selection of BFS rods, reels, lures etc. He’s based in NY so shipping might be faster on certain items.

I am by no means an expert on JDM tackle, rather I try to post stuff I have researched, purchased and used. I hope it might prove helpful to someone…Cheers!

Some of my JDM Baitcast Rods and Reels…

Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel
MajorCraft Finetail Area Stage FAX-B642UL rod
Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel
MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler FTX-B46/505UL rod
Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel
MajorCraft Finetail Stream FSX-B502L rod
Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel
NOT JDM: Shakespeare BMG2SC 46/1 UL rod

I know it sounds weird but recently I have started to become proficient with baitcasting tackle. Late bloomer I suppose, but it has been an interesting new aspect to my fishing.

My Pack Rods of Choice…

I have tried several different makes and models of pack rods through the years and have settled on the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler series of rods.

The species of fish I’m chasing (Micropterus dolomieu velox…Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass) do not require heavy tackle so these rods are more than adequate. I wanted something compact that I could stow in one of my packs and these are perfect for my needs.

I chose the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler Switch Style FTX-46/505UL and the baitcast version, the FTX-B46/505UL. MajorCraft does make shorter or longer versions of these rods.

As you can see, they come in a heavy duty zippered pouch which thoroughly protects the rods. However, that comes at a significant weight- 12.1 ounces for the spinning rod and 13.1 ounces for the baitcast rod. So I opted to ditch the zippered cases and just stow the rods in the cloth sleeves they come in thereby reducing the weight to 3.6 ounces for the spinning rod and 4.1 ounces for the baitcast rods.

How I stow them in my pack. Currently I am using the Yeti Panga 28 or the Patagonia Stormfront Sling pack. They fit inside both without issues.
The reels are a Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS and a Shimano Stradic FL-1000.

I find this setup suits most of my needs for the small streams I have been fishing lately. As of yet I haven’t felt underpowered and have all the leverage I need and my casting distance is on par with other JDM rods I have. As a bonus, all of my gear fits inside my pack during transport so I rarely worry about the rods being broken.

FTX-46/505UL spinning rod.
FTX-B46/505UL baitcast rod.

For open stretches of a river I prefer the spinning rod but when things get tricky with overhanging trees and such, I prefer the baitcast rod since I find it to be more accurate. Plus, it also depends on what type of lures I’m using at any given time. Since these are 5-piece rods, I have the option to remove the 6 inch insert section and go with a shorter rod if necessary. I have yet to have one of these rods come apart while fishing, but I do check the sections periodically to make sure they are still in place.

I’ve caught quite a few fish on these and have been very pleased with their performance.

Cossatot River State Park, Arkansas…

Before we got to the actual river we stopped in Mena Arkansas at an old Walmart. I perused through the meager fishing section there and ended up finding a rod. It was a Shakespeare Micro Series Blue BMG2SC 4’6″ single piece rod that had the action I was looking for. So, $25 and 2 bags of ice and we were on our way.

We drove through Wickes Arkansas until we found the forest road that would take is to the Cossatot River State Park ( South End ) and had a “fun” drive to the river. When we arrived, we instantly bailed out of the vehicle and started scouting out the river before deciding to grab a campsite.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0172.JPG

The tent sites were nice and spacious. They are built on an elevated platform with a railing on the front and steps leading up.

If you go, remember that there are no other amenities. No water and they only have pit toilets. Fees were $15 per night. We carry a 6 gallon water jug and have a pump filter to resupply our water as needed. During summer, A LOT of people show up to the swimming holes during the day. We only encountered one other fisherman during our entire trip. The rest of the people we met were trying to escape the heat.

Staying in a place like this during summer is a trade-off. We had lots of shade to get out of the direct sun, but there wasn’t much of a breeze to speak of. I rarely use insect repellant but the biting flies were a nuisance so I applied some. We encountered a few mosquitoes and never saw a tick on our entire trip.

J W Young & Sons LTD Beaudex 3.5inch Fly Reel…

Just thought I’d share a few pics of this vintage fly reel. Very impressed with the shape of this reel considering its age. I especially like that it is simple, has a full cage and even has line guides. Very well thought out and build quality is great. Sometimes simple is better!

Full cage with line guides

Simple design with minimal parts
Pairs well with the Hardy Palakona “Halford Knockabout”

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the pictures…

Vintage Hardy Palakona the “Halford Knockabout” 9ft 6in 7WT

Introducing the latest acquisition to my collection. I have been looking for a vintage bamboo fly rod for quite awhile. I hadn’t been able to find one that was in great shape at an affordable price until now.

For its age…it is in great shape!

My hat is off to the fisherman/woman who cast this rod. It is heavy, but with the slower action I’m sure you could get used to it.

I was absolutely stunned when I removed it from its protective shipping tube…this rod is gorgeous! I’m guessing this fly rod was built somewhere around the late 1960’s-early 1970’s. Hope you enjoyed the rod pics…

Loop Evotec Cast 3wt…

The wife and I went to a local lake in-between rain showers this morning. I really wanted to try out the Loop Evotec Cast 9ft 3wt rod. The gusts of wind made it difficult at times so patience was the order of the day.

This rod has great action…

My casting stroke needs a lot of work, but it was fun using this rod. The Evotec casts far better than I do and I definitely have room to “grow” with it.

I was surprised when I caught this Crappie…

I enjoy grabbing a fly rod and reel and a small selection of flies and hitting some local water. It’s a bonus when we have the entire lake to ourselves.

We each caught 2 fish and then the wind kicked up and the rain started moving in. We decided to pick up some trash before heading home. We do this every time we go out. I know it sounds like a broken record, but if word gets out and everyone leaves the waters cleaner than they found them…we’d have stellar fishing areas.

4 bags of trash!

I made it a point to pick up as much broken glass as I could. We fished bottles out of the water and beer cans out of the weeds. It really ticks me off since there is a trash can RIGHT THERE!

Welcoming a New Addition into the Family…

Melodramatic to be sure…but I’d like to introduce the Hardy Ultraclick 4000 reel and the Loop Evotec Cast 9ft 3wt Medium Fast fly rod.

But with any new addition…it deserves a fine cigar and a decent Whisky to welcome them into the family! And yes…that’s the first whisky bottle I’ve ever bought! And I couldn’t think of anything better than one made as a tribute to one of my heros… Ernest Shackleton.

My Dad and I have a thing for good cigars. We used to own a cigar shop together and had a blast with it. Every time I light one up, I think of him. The first COVID shot damn near killed him but he’s back to his normal self now. I can guarantee he’s probably smoking a cigar at this very moment!

Now back to the rod and reel. I enjoy using 3wt rods for contact fishing and opted for the Hardy Ultraclick reel because it’s one of the lightest reels made today. Standing in a stream with your arm outstretched as you’re nymphing through a run all day can take a toll on your arm. Lighter is better. Long leaders (16-22ft) are the norm as is 6X tippet. This reel fits my needs to a “T”. I don’t really need a high-tech disc drag so a simple click check reel works just fine. I’m using RIO Trout WF3F fly line and I can add a RIO Shorty and a long leader, I can connect a regular 9-12ft leader for dry flies, or I can run a Mono Rig if I so choose. Pretty versatile in my book.

Did I mention that this reel is LIGHT? On my scale it weighs 63 grams empty! Anyway, thank you for reading. I must get back to my Scotch and good cigar, and make plans for using this combo…Stay Safe Out There!

How Many?

I routinely catch “flack” about my fishing tackle from family and friends. Comments like “how many rods and reels do you really need?” or “why can’t you pick one and call it good?” And my favorite…”I can’t believe you have a “fishing room” in your house!”

I usually shrug it off or try to explain, but it never makes sense to them. The reality is that as a person gets older, other hobbies fall by the wayside. After a major back surgery and three shoulder surgeries…it’s not a good idea to continue rock climbing and mountaineering! Even kayaking and canoeing takes a toll. So I’ve essentially been left with camping, fishing and amateur radio. I only have one teenager left at home, but soon he will move on to start his life. And I have plans for my retirement that involve a lot of fishing.

I have loved fishing for decades and have no plans to stop until my body gives up. So how many rods DO I REALLY NEED? There is not an obvious answer to that! If all you do is sit on a bank and bobber fish with worms then you can get by with only one or two rods and reels. But you can’t effectively use a trout rod to catch bass or pike. Big catfish and stripers mean bigger rods and stouter tackle.

Fly rods come in an assortment of lengths and weights for a reason. The 5wt is the all-rounder that almost everyone buys as their first setup. But what if it’s windy…which is all too common in Oklahoma? You need a heavier rod in 6wt-7wt as well. And if you want to try tight-line nymphing then you’ll need a slightly different outfit.

I think tackle of any sort needs to suit the application and therefore I purchase accordingly. Certain streams need certain rods, certain styles of fishing require something completely different. And that’s what I do! THERE IS NO SINGLE MAGIC WAND.

Truth be told, I’m leery and skeptical of a fisherman with only one rod. Unless of course its a young angler just starting out.

If you like fishing as much as I do, in all of it’s vagaries, then you’ll need several rods and reels whether you like it or not…just sayin.

My Wife’s TenRyu Rayz Super Yamame Rod

This is a picture of my wife’s stream fishing rod. It is the 2020 TenRyu Rayz Super Yamame RZ6102S-LML spinning rod. As denoted on the blank, it’s a 6 foot 10 inch Light-Medium Light action spinning rod. Max Lure Weight is 12 grams and Max Line Weight is 6 pound Mono or 0.6 #PE.

Fit and finish on this rod is excellent with minimal filler in the cork handle. It is paired with the 2020 Shimano TwinPower C2000S reel and balances perfectly. I think it is a beautiful rod and I jokingly refer to it as “her Yoda rod” since it has some quirky inscriptions on the blank.

-“A Thing Good Uncommonly”

-“Learn A Lesson From The Past”

That being said, the action is amazing and it fishes very well…

My Current Quiver of Fly Rods…

I was tempted to do a group photo but just couldn’t get a good enough picture to really show the level of detail I wanted to convey. So, we’ll just show them one at a time…

Moonshine Drifter 9ft 5wt with Sage Trout 4/5/6 reel.
Fenwick Aetos 9ft 5wt with Nautilus XM 4/5 reel
Loop Xact 9ft 5wt with Loop Opti Dryfly reel
Fenwick Fenlite 9ft 5wt with Danielsson LW 4seven reel
Echo Ion XL 9ft 6wt with Galvan Rush LT reel
Loop Q 9ft 8wt with Danielsson L5W 6nine reel

Yes, I do actually use all of these. The 6wt is for throwing streamers or when its windy. The 8wt is for bass or pike. The 5wt’s are for general use and I just pick one that I’d like to fish with for the day.

That being said…I am not getting on with 2 of the rods. The Moonshine Drifter and the Fenwick Fenlite. They just don’t suit my casting style so I may move them on down the line. I have an old 2-piece Okuma Magnitude 9ft 5wt I bought years ago just to have a practice rod and it casts better than the Drifter or Fenlite. The others I really like. I just wish we had a decent fly shop locally. Everything is 2 hours away or more.

Also, and I’m probably going to anger some folks, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about when it comes to the Loop Opti reels. In my humble opinion, the Danielsson reels are better made at a cheaper price. Fit and finish is of a higher quality too.

I have a couple of other reels that I didn’t show because I don’t have rods for them. They are a Hardy Marquis LWT 4wt reel, Danielsson Dryfly 5wt reel, a Loop Q 5wt reel and a Danielsson F3W 2six 4wt reel.

I am chomping at the bit to hit some streams soon and am really wanting to fly fish them. Hopefully the weather stabilizes soon…

LOOP OPTI DRYFLY REEL…

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a Loop Opti Dryfly reel. I’m sure it was because “all the cool kids” had them, but still, it’s a good looking reel and I just wanted one. So the other day I was surfing the web and ran across one on http://www.us.looptackle.com and decided to get it.

I like large arbor reels and especially ones with a full cage. This reel is lighter than I expected, but still seems beefy. I definitely like this style of reel pouch as opposed to the plain Jane neoprene cases almost every other manufacturer uses.

I am currently waiting for the fly line to arrive. I opted for a WF5F line which is what this reel was designed for.

On a side note…it did indeed snow this past Tuesday followed by rain and thunderstorms last night. The weather is definitely not doing my fishing any favors. We are waiting for things to dry out a bit and for the water levels to drop before heading out for more fishing. It’s frustrating to say the least, but here in Oklahoma, we’re always at the mercy of the weather. Take care…