The Apia Grandage Lite 61 Spinning Rod…

This is an Ajing (Horse Mackerel) rod and as such is relatively stiff. I ran across this rod while looking at UL Saltwater rods and decided to give it a shot. If you remember, my TenRyu Lunakia rod is also a similar rod. There are a couple of categories besides Trout that I look at such as Rockfish, Light Game and Ultralight Saltwater rods.

When it arrived and I removed it from its zippered case and put it together, I was concerned that it might be too stiff. After casting it for over an hour I can say that it is fine and casts a long ways. I’d put it right there with the TenRyu Lunakia as far as casting distance.

What drew me to this rod was the reel seat. As you know, I prefer minimalist style reel seats. The fact that it weighs 56.5 grams was another factor. It does have a solid tip for the last 3 rod guides and that tip is very thin.

Specs
The knurled ring on the screw down reel seat is metal. Handle is very firm EVA foam.
My preferred style of handle.
Shot of the included protective cover for the tip.
Another shot of the tip protector.
Partitioned zippered rod sleeve.

I can definitely see myself using this rod a lot. I paired it with the Shimano Vanford 1000 and it balanced nicely. The Vanford is loaded with 6lb Daiwa J-braid which created a lot of noise throughout the rod. I will more than likely respool the Vanford with nylon line soon. Some Japanese rods are line specific…nylon, ester, fluorocarbon and braid. Something to be aware of when looking at JDM rods. This rod was an absolute joy to cast and even using a 2 gram trout spoon, I could feel the lure flutter as it was retrieved. To say I am impressed with this rod is an understatement!

Apia (Anglers Utopia) makes a wide range of rods in the Grandage series. I noticed they make the Grandage Lite in a 6ft 8in 5 piece rod too. Hmm…..

Finally! The Replacement Sections for the Rod Arrived…

They’re here and my rod is complete again. I’ve been waiting impatiently ever since I received shipping confirmation.

Shipped in an 18 inch PVC tube. Padding not shown!
2 Replacement sections.
Complete rod and case. For reference: the handle section is 14.75 inches.

Since I spent a large portion of today running errands and getting chores done, I plan on going fishing tomorrow. Supposedly the local trout pond was restocked this morning so I plan on heading there tomorrow morning.

If all goes well and the weather holds…I have a surprise for tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Chasing Perfection…

So many rods and reels…so little money. Being a curious person by nature isn’t helpful at times. With the multitude of technological advancements happening in the fishing industry, it is difficult to choose that ONE rod that does it all. It doesn’t exist and never will. I know this and yet I keep fighting it and keep searching for the perfect setup.

Honestly, I could spend weeks just doing research and refining my needs and wants…but that doesn’t catch fish. But with all of the “Graphite Wizardry” coming out of Japan, It’s hard to settle on one rod anyway. In a land of specialization and variety, the choices are endless. And that doesn’t help my cause. The concept of “perfection” is very subjective anyway.

And as I learn more about JDM fishing rods, the wider and deeper the “rabbit hole” gets. Area Trout, Native Trout, Ajing, Mebaru, Rockfish, Light Game etc etc equals more options, more decisions. Factor in lanquage translation and videos, for an outsider, it appears to be an obsession.

I plan on doing a group photo of all all the JDM rods we have, which might be a bit disconcerting once we actually have them layed out. The plus side is that we do use every single one of them. And we haven’t bought a bad rod yet, which is nice. How’s that for rationalization?

And I will state emphatically that this gear has definitely made our fishing better both in catch-rate and fun. And I haven’t even started looking at Japanese made fly rods! Hmm…Beware the Rabbit Hole!

Daiwa Presso ST 62ML Spinning Rod…

I had pre-ordered this rod back in December and it arrived today. I’ve been hearing good things about the Presso ST rods and decided to try one for 2022.

Specifications: Daiwa Presso ST 62ML

  • Length:6’2″
  • 2 piece rod
  • 97cm break-down length
  • Weight: 75grams
  • Line weight: 2-5lb
  • Lure weight:0.8g-5grams
  • 8 rod eyes
The wood reel seat is a nice touch.
The handle isn’t too long.

Fit and finish is decent and the rod feels good in hand. The accents were nicely done without being too over-the-top. The balance was excellent with the 2021 Daiwa Presso LT 1000S-P. The Daiwa Presso LTD 1025 balanced well also.

I believe the Daiwa Presso rods are designed for Area trout fishing in Japan. These types of rods are designed for light lines and have a more limber/parabolic action to them as opposed to the stiffer Native trout fishing rods that are designed for stream fishing. This was the reason I opted for the ML (Medium Light) action rod to increase the stiffness a bit. This rod has a good action for our type of fishing. I would say it has a Moderate Fast tip with a stiff butt section. That will help fight fish in current better.

Now I need to find time to test the rod out!

TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L…

This rod was a surprise Valentine’s gift for my wife. We were talking awhile back and she casually mentioned that she could use another rod for her pack. We both routinely carry a backup rod in our packs for various reasons.

This was the first rod that I have ever pulled out of our mailbox. Usually they are in a box and the postal carrier stashes them in the bushes behind our fence. I received delivery confirmation via text message and headed outside to get it. I searched the usual spots and didn’t see anything. But upon opening the mailbox…there it was. I was quite surprised.

Nicely trimmed,
Individual sleeves for each rod section.
I’ll never understand Japanese rod names.
“Learn A Lesson From The Past”
Very nice cork!
“A Thing Good Commonly”
Length was 18 inches, Width was 5.75 inches.

I apologize for the lackluster photos. It was late and “someone” really wanted to play with this rod. From what little time I held it…the action seemed pretty good with some whip in the tip sections and a nice parabolic bend into a stiff butt section. I think it will make a great stream rod. It should pair well with a 1000 to 2000 size reel. The deep blue rod blank was different, almost all of our rods are black/grey.

I can confirm that it fits inside her Patagonia Stormfront sling pack…as that’s the last place I saw it. I think it will be a good fit for her and that she will really enjoy fishing with it. And just so everyone knows…she is not the type to go fishing with me where she ends up reading a book or sunbathing. No, she’s wading rivers and streams, tying her own lures on and handling all of her own fish. She fishes hard and manages all of her own equipment. She is a valuable asset to this fishing team of two!

I am a lucky man!

Quick Outing With the Tailwalk Troutia 55L…

I managed to get out for about 2 hours today. I was using the Tailwalk Troutia 55L with the Shimano Stradic 1000S-L. For a “Light Action” rod, this one is pretty stiff and makes for a great stream rod. And I’m going to have to call it a DRAW! I hooked a bass and got it to the shore but upon grabbing the bottom lip, the fish whipped around and ended up embedding the hook in my thumb while making its escape. It’s only fair afterall. Well played my friend!!!

The temps were in the upper 40’s to low 50’s and partly cloudy. The wind was up and I could feel the chill.

Below are random shots I took:

Nice curves!
Shells…Then and Now.
Fossils everywhere.
Rusty Gig.
Lazy Pigs Were Here.
Ended up filling four by the end of the outing.

This is the last day to fish for a bit. We have another front coming through tonight and temps will drop. It is always good to get out and I definitely got my exercise in today. Thanks for reading…

The DUO Tetra Works React 50, 55 & 65 Spinning Rod…

I was surfing the web this evening and ran across this rod. What caught my attention was its weight! It comes in 3 iterations…the React 50 weighs 36 grams!!!! The React 55 weighs 38 grams and the React 65 weighs 44 grams. To me that is incredibly light and it started the gears in my head turning.

It’s pricey but opens up quite a few possibilities in regards to my type of fishing. I definitely like the minimalist handle and the 0.6mm tip diameter is “uber thin” and tends to make me think that this is a specialists rod, possibly targeted towards Ajing fishers.

The gears are definitely turning and I will have to mull this rod over…

Fishing Gear That I’m Interested In for the 2022 Season…

Right out of the gate I will state that I don’t NEED any new rods or reels. These are purely WANTS/WISHES…(this statement WILL come back to haunt me!) And I am not saying that I will purchase any of these items, I’m just curious about them. I’m sure my wife is biting her fingernails and worrying because she knows I tend to “gear up” during the winter months in preparation for the upcoming season. But these are a few items that have piqued my curiosity…

Daiwa 2021 Presso LT reel

First up is the new Daiwa Presso LT reel. This is the “update” to the Daiwa 2017 Presso LTD series. Unfortunately this reel is no longer made in Japan but has been outsourced to China. I like the idea of the monocoque body and I really like the color scheme of this reel. It seems to be a bit more muted compared to the Presso LTD 1025 that I own. Bearing count (12+1) is the same so it should be smooth. The 2021 Presso LT 1000S-P weighs 145grams(5.1oz) while the Presso LTD 1025 weighs in at 155grams(5.47oz). A 10gram difference. Probably too minor to really notice.

Tenryu Rayz Integral RZI50UL-4

I have a “thing” for multi-piece rods since it suits our style of fishing. I was curious about the next level of these style rods and looked to Tenryu for an option. I own a Tenryu Lunakia 610 and know that they make high quality rods. This Rayz Integral is definitely a contender.

Timon TCC-S62L

I know nothing about Timon rods but this one interested me especially at this price point. I have yet to buy a bad JDM rod. A rod worth considering.

Smith Multiyouse TRMK-504UL

I hear great things about Smith rods so I thought I’d take a look at their offerings. Again, this is obviously a multi-piece rod and seems quite interesting.

NOTE: This is where my wife needs to stop reading this blog post!

If I win the lottery or if money were no object…I would seriously entertain buying this rod. I like the looks. I really like the components, especially the rod guides.

Daiwa Presso LTD SGA SMT 62L. Pie In The Sky!

As I’ve said MANY times before, I am curious by nature. And after owning several mid-tier JDM rods, I am wondering what the next level up would be like. But it’s really hard to justify an expenditure of that size. Safer to just drool…

Tailwalk Troutia 55L Spinning Rod…

I have been curious about this rod for quite awhile. I like the price ( $137 shipped ) and the hardware. The fact that it has a screw-down handle is a bonus.

Fit and Finish was nicely done.

We finally had the time to go fishing this morning so I took this rod along to test out. I paired it with the Shimano Stradic FL 1000 and I think they compliment each other quite well. It is a 2-piece rod with 6 eyelets and it casts as expected. The reel seat and handle consist of nice hardware and geometry.

The lake was calm and quiet.

We managed to catch 11 bass but didn’t bother taking pictures since they were only about a pound in weight. The rod performed well and I really liked using it. I am impressed with the Tailwalk quality and might look into some of their other offerings.

The rod and reel balanced well.
Sun starting to come up over the ridge.
The obligatory trash pickup that we always do.

Epic Day Out 11JULY2021…

When I got home from work Friday, I was chatting with the wife trying to figure out what we were going to do this weekend. She wanted to go fishing on Saturday and I reminded her that it was going to be 95F and sunny. I mentioned that Sunday was supposed to be cooler with a high of 82F. We both decided to go fishing on Sunday! What we didn’t count on was a thunderstorm Saturday night. As we went to bed, I was checking the stream gauges and noticed the river was rising. Outside, thunder was booming and lightning was flashing. Rain was coming down in sheets. But it was moving fast so we called it a night. I decided to check in the morning to see if we could actually fish this river.

Upon hearing my alarm at 0430 I immediately grabbed my phone and checked the stream gauges. The water had risen but was dropping fast. Sunday was a GO! After a 2 hour drive we were standing on the riverbank by 0720. Temperature was at 69F with a slight fog. We were the only ones there.

I’m going to diverge a bit here and try to explain this river. The last time we were here we noticed that everything was different. Looking back over my notes I noticed that on May 28th, 2021 the water level in this river was almost 18ft high. That amount of water and flow drastically changed the riverbed. I mentioned that in a previous post. So I had the wife take a photo to give you an idea of what occurred.

I’m 5ft 9in and my rod is 5ft long…so lets call it 11 feet. The water level was at 7.3 feet when this picture was taken. No wonder everything changed.

We stepped into the river and began casting and trying to locate some fish to develop a pattern. It didn’t take long and we had 5 fish to hand. They were in their summer pattern so would be hanging out in pocket water amongst current. If there are stretches of slow water you might catch some little ones, but generally, only perch and gar are hanging out there so we skip those sections.

Slow water…
Any obstruction or seam in the river is a top spot for us to cast to.
All of the fish we caught today were healthy and feisty.
This one put up a great fight!
Last Spring this gravel bar had 3 branches flowing through it.
This Cottonwood didn’t stand a chance.
Best fishing partner EVER!
Beautiful coloration.
We covered 3 miles of new water on this river.
82F with a breeze and good cloud cover. Perfect day to be on the river.

We fished for 5 hours and covered 3 miles of new water. Last Spring we did a reconnaissance trip to this area and realized we would be swimming a lot to cross several sections. This time, we were able to wade across everything so it was a lot more enjoyable.

All told we caught 101 Neosho-strain smallmouth bass on this trip which is a new record for us (We are 100% Catch and Release and use barbless hooks) I would estimate that about 40% were dinks, 40% were decent and the remaining 20% were above average. We were very happy and had a great time. The only downside was that we noticed the Owner Cultiva JH-85 and JH-86 2.2 and 2.0 gram jig heads didn’t seem to be as sharp as we prefer and we ended up losing quite a few fish. Definitely considering switching to the Gamakatsu Round 211 3/32oz jig heads.

She was trying to get a picture of a big Velox but he had other ideas and escaped. The look says it all!

Thanks for reading!

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.

3 July 2021 Outing to Local River…

We left the house at 0535 and entered the river at 0725. There was a fog in the river valley and the temperature was 63F. It was a beautiful start to the outing. Considering that we had been inundated with rain for most of the week, we were really looking forward to some actual sunshine. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the sun came up and the fog lifted.

With all of the rain recently, it was interesting to see how much the river had changed. Pools had shifted, gravel bars had moved, the river had split in a couple of places. What used to be an easy walk is now precarious. As the old saying goes…”no man steps in the same river twice.

My main intention for this trip was to try out a new rod. It is the Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Travel FTX-B46/505UL.

It is a 5-piece baitcast rod with a stiffer action. I kind of like the fact that I can stash 2 rods in my pack. One is a spinning rod and the other is the baitcast rod.

Majorcraft Finetail Trekking and Travel FTX-46/505UL. Picture taken just as the sun was coming up.

We had a really good outing with 34 fish being caught with about 8 of them being decent. Neither one of us took fish pictures since we were releasing them right away. For 3 hours we had the river to ourselves before a few other fisherpeople showed up. It was well worth the drive.

On the way out we ran into the Game Warden and he checked to see if we had our licenses…which we did. He thanked us profusely after noticing all of the trash in my sling pack I was digging out while getting my license. We talked for a bit and we thanked him for doing his job and for caring about this river. We also ran into a few other people that we chatted with and in the end we all had similar thoughts about this river. “Mum is the word” and none of us mention it, instead preferring to keep it hidden for as long as possible.

Have a great 4th of July and stay safe…