|Progressing upstream with my new tanago rod|
Tungsten Beads Plus now sells a range of tanago rods, ranging from 180cm (£45) to 450cm (£99) from a company called Kiyotaki. I opted for a 2.7m version from the extensive list of tanago rods available from Tungsten Beads Plus. At £78 I didn’t have much to lose, so why not?
As you'd expect it is like a miniature Tenkara rod: 19” collapsed length, 7 telescopic sections and a red lillian string at the tip for attaching the leader, but the handle was different. No room on such a short rod for a cork handle, the bottom (or butt) section is simply made with a section that is rough and easy to grip, yet comfortable in the hand. Although tenkara rods are very light for their length, I often find them cumbersome and heavy in the hand because of the extra length, coupled with lack of counterbalance reel weight. With my tanago rod being only 2.7m (9’) extended, and very light at that (just 45g or 1 ½ Oz), there was no such weighty feeling in the hand. It’s a term often used to describe fishing rods, but this truly is a wand.
All I needed was a small stream to try it out and right on cue an old friend got in touch asking me to join him on a tiny stream in deepest West Yorkshire. A stream in the heartland of Yorkshire’s industrial, manufacturing and business area. It looked good he said, but he wanted me to go over and fish it by way of an ‘experiment’. I like such ‘experiments’, wherever they may be. They are exciting to fish, running your fly through perfect looking pools and glides, wondering if trout or grayling had found their way back after years of neglect, so I duly obliged.
We met on a busy road near an office block converted from an old mill. Office workers and passing motorists were looking at us in waders and fishing waistcoats like we were from another planet. Regardless, we set up to fish and I pulled out my new tanago 2.7m rod, extended it and attached my leader to the lillian using an arbor knot, instead of the more usual loop method. Flex at the tip was amazing to say the least; I have never seen a rod flex so easily, but then it needs to when you consider its use and lack of loading weight. My leader was 7’ level Daiwa Fluorocarbon Tenkara line, which I’d purchased from Tungsten Beads Plus with the rod. It’s described as “supple, low memory, high casting density for diameter, UV pink tint for visibility”. It looks too thin to cast and fish effectively, but therein lies the reason – high density to cut through the air and load the rod. To this I attached a tippet ring (it’s not cheap so using a tippet ring allows it to be used time and again without losing length through repeated knotting), and then about 6’ of my favourite 2lb Fulling Mill Fluorocarbon with a dropper in the middle.
One of the most useful things you can buy to adorn your tenkara or tanago rod is a couple of Fuji EZ Keepers. They attach to the rod with rubber O rings (about a foot apart), so you can hook your fly to one end and wrap the leader around them until there is a bend in the rod (tensioned leader). You are then able to keep the rod extended as you move from pool to pool and simply unwind the leader and unhook the fly to start fishing again. So with rod extended, leader made, flies attached and the whole thing wrapped round the Fuji EZ Keepers we set off downstream to start the ‘experiment’.
|First fish to tanago|
We fished back upstream and I had another similar sized trout to the same fly, but I decided things were a little slow and switched to a duo set-up, with a Pinkhamer on the dropper. I didn’t get instant success, but I still felt confident that I was fishing well so continued. Upstream of us was a long pool with slightly deeper water than the other areas we’d fished. Access was difficult and I made the decision I could only fish effectively from the bank above the pool. I searched the water with the duo, quite surprised not to hook anything in many likely looking places. Then I did hook into a fish. At first I thought it was another small fish as I played it on the tanago rod, but a sudden lunge into the deeper water made me realise that I was attached to something much bigger and I had to move quickly downstream with it to cushion the ever increasing power it was exerting. There was a fallen tree across the stream near the bottom of the pool and the trout made a powerful run to get under it. There were branches sticking out in all directions so I daren’t let it go under or I’d be sure to lose it. By now I’d seen the fish and put its weight between 1½lb and 1¾lb. A sizeable fish in any river, with any river trout rod, but on a tiny stream like this, on a tanago rod, it was quite a fight! All I could do was hold firm and try to turn the fish with side-strain, but disaster – the hook pulled out. At first I blamed my tanago rod, but reflecting later it was not the rod’s fault, or angler’s fault. That fish could not be allowed to go under the fallen tree so had to be held back. The tanago rod probably gave me an advantage by absorbing more of the fish’s energy without breakage. The hook didn’t straighten and knots held firm so it was just a case of big fish, hooked in a tight spot, with plenty of snags. Chances are that if I hooked it again I’d land it, but I’m still gutted!
|Tanago - perfect for small streams|
Fishing back to where our cars were parked I had a trout from most likely looking spots, sometimes more than just a single fish. There were many missed and pricked fish as well. It was one of the most enjoyable days fishing a small stream I’ve ever had and I put much of this down to the tanago rod. I know for a fact that if I’d used a short conventional fly rod I’d have been hooked up in trees constantly on the backcast, the opposite bank during the cast and by misplaced forward casts due to flycasting in such a confined space - it goes with the territory! Much as I love fishing small streams and becks I do find it very frustrating at times constantly snagging the fly and leader in the surrounding vegetation. I can honestly say I have never used a catapult cast so much in a single fishing session. The tanago rod is superb for catapult casts, not just catapulting the leader and flies easily, it does it extremely accurately. Roll casts and side roll casts are a delight also; the ultra flexible tip flicking the flies out with ease. From now on this will be my rod of choice for small streams with small fish.
|Just what tanago was invented for!|