As promised, I got up to do some high lake fishing with the Nissin SP 390 rod yesterday. And I have to say that I really found the experience quite enjoyable. When you are fishing with a rod that weighs half as much as the rod you are used to using, I can't really tell you how much it adds to your fishing enjoyment but, it is much more than a lot. The biggest brook trout I caught was probably in the 10 inch range, so these were not big fish to be sure. But even the smallest fish I caught put a deep bend into this very soft rod.
Much to my surprise the rod handled wind a lot better than I thought it would. I fished the whole time with Rigs PVC coated Floating Tenkara Line, of which the coated fly line style line makes up 9' 9" of what was a 12 foot long factory line. With the Rigs line HiVis section and my added leader construction, the leader length was about 8 feet long to begin with, including the 3 feet or so of tippet, making a total line length of about 17 feet. I could cast this whole length of line and turn over the fly and tippet into the wind most of the time quite well. Fly pattern sizes used were a #18, a 16, a 14, a 12, and a size 11. All of these were dry flies except for the size 14 Peacock Sheeps Creek pattern.
The fact that I had such an enjoyable day did not mean that there were no problems with the rod and its fishing abilities. The Sheeps Creek pattern is a subsurface fished fly pattern. It is cast out and allowed to sink for a while, and then typically given an inch at a time retrieve, so it is fished rather deep in the water. When you set the hook on a fish strike with a soft 5:5 action rod and the fly is deep in the water, the rod tip and mid sections just tend to bend and do not transmit much force to the point of the fly, causing missed fish and poor hookups. What you need to do is strike with enough power to get the butt sections of the rod into the strike. All of my other rods are considerably stiffer than this rod is, so I had a time period of adjustment to go through before I started hooking fish more consistently.
And even with the highly visible take of the fish to my dry flies, I was having trouble hooking fish in the beginning. But with the application of a more forceful striking technique, my hookup to strike ratio became much better. The first lake I fished is at 9,500 feet and it is only a one acre lake, and the second lake is at 9,800 feet and it is a 1.3 acre lake. Both lakes had recently been fished, so the fish were not as aggressive and easily fooled as they usually are. And yet this was a better than a 170 fish day for me. I believe I gave the Nissin SP 390 rod a good workout for its first outing, and I got in a lot of practice in hooking with this very soft rod. I really love this rod and I intend to fish with it much more in the future....Golden.