The Best Big Stream Big Fish Fixed Line Rods Available
I don't understand Ayu rods that the fellow posted mentioned. So expensive and yet, unless I am mis-interpreting their charts on the rods, the rods are meant to handle tippets in the range of most tenkara rods. If anyone knows what makes an Ayu rod so special, please tell us. Chris?
After watching a Diawa vid of one of their fishermen out for steelhead on the Kalum (Kitsumkalum) River - a trib of the Skeena - I went looking to see what Diawa and Shimano offered in a rod that handled a Japanese size 2 or better tippet line. I found Diawa's "Salmon Hunter SR," which handles a Japanese size 2-4 (10-16 lb) tippet, here:
SRP is yen 68,000 - which is today about $690.
Shimano has the "Super Game Salmon Special NK," which also handles a 2-4 tippet, here:
But at yen 99,000 it retails at almost a third more - $1003.
Each is an 8.3 m/27+ ft rod that weighs about 14 ounces.
Maybe some day - again. I fished the upper Skeena one September of 1986 during a coho run and managed a pair of 7-9 lb fish on a medium-lite spinning rod that was probably more appropriate for bass and with my then midwestern inexperience with cold-water fisheries. That is one amazing area for fishing. But I think I took more pictures of spawning salmon, coho, sockeye, and big, almost 100lb chum (in far southeastern Alaska), than I did fishing on that trip.
BTW, I like my Diawa 43MF. It can handle a weighted wooly bugger and the bass that strike 'em.
My reason for putting up the link to the Big Water/Big Fish Thread did not include or consider salmon and steelhead fishing, but was aimed at big trout and fishing for them. But hey, if steelhead and salmon fishing is what rocks your boat, I say more power to you and go and get them. But 20 to 27 plus feet of rod length is a lot of rod to handle, and would surely require two-handed casting and fishing techniques to be effective and successful. I believe most of the Japanese anglers who go after these fish do it with bait but that does not mean that flies couldn't be used to catch these same fish on the same rods that they are using for bait fishing, as we have also seen in trout fishing with any number of Keiryu rods and trout flies used with Tenkara lines and fly fishing techniques.
I haven't really studied the Ayu rods, but my impression is that the cost is driven by the very large amount of very specialized material that goes into making a 9 or 10 meter rod that is still light enough to fish with - even two handed. The rods are designed for light lines - even lighter than tenkara lines - and tippets comparable to tenkara tippets. The reason the rods aren't beefier and more capable is that the Ayu is really a pretty small fish. Although they do get larger, the length commonly caught is 15-20cm, about 6-8", and they are caught in streams with modest current. There is no need for stronger tippets.
Originally Posted by LynnMCF
Makes sense, thanks, Chris. I guess the rods that are promoted for salmon are simply upscale keiryu rods (at least upscale as compared to what you have offered up to now and they are in Daiwa's keiryu section). The Diawa Salmon Hunter SR is an 8.3 m rod weighing 355 g and is for a Japan #2 to #4 tippet. One of the top-of-the-line Daiwa Ayu rods is the Silver Shadow Competition Special MT (at least that is Google's translation) and has a whole range of special attributes listed about the rod. It's also weighs only 230 g over its 9 m length and is for Japan #0.15 to #0.8 tippet. But the Silver Shadow retails at Y390,000 nearly six times that of the Salmon Hunter's Y68,000.
At those prices for Ayu rods, you could buy a boatload of keiryu/tenkara/seiryu rods in the size range America is now purchasing them.
Yes, it would be a lot of rod to handle and need two hands just to cast it. I find the Kiyose 45MF needs two hand especially with a fair-sized fish on. But I have a weak right wrist since I broke it a few years ago.
Originally Posted by Golden
But since I saw that vid of the Japanese fellow fishing for steelhead and the occasional Dolly Varden on the Kalum with just such a rod, I flashed back to 1986 when as a foolish midwesterner I set out to catch some salmon, steelhead or just anything near where the Kalum joins the Skeena. How I did manage to pull in two 7-8 lb silver salmon on a soft 4-1/2 foot ultralight spinning rod (fiberglass at that) and 6 lb test mono might have been a minor miracle. But it was one of the thrills of my life. Wonder if one could pull in a steelhead on a 5x tippet when Rio suggest nothing less that 3x (8lb)? Doubt it.
Because of the added leverage big fish have to use against you on the longer fixed line rods, using a two-hand hold while fighting big fish was necessary for me even with the 12 foot Iwana and 13.5 foot Amago rods. One of the things I really like about the Diawa 43 MF is the bigger diameter of the butt blank that the corkless gripped Keriyu rods tend to have, which is much more comfortable to use in the two-handed fish fighting mode. Another added advantage is the additional hoop strength that the fatter butt blank automatically picks up over the skinny butted cork grip rod blanks on the Tenkara rods, which are far more likely to break right above your upper hand if the rod is gripped tightly and a big fish makes a lunge for freedom and no line is given.
On big fish on light tippets with fixed line rods and what may be possible, Lee Wulff once got a 150 Lb. Sailfish up to the boat on 4Lb test line. The deck hand grabbed the shock tippet with his gloved hand instead of gaffing the fish outright, and the fish broke the line just above the shock tippet with a sudden lunge that nearly pulled the deck hand into the water. Granted this was with a rod with a drag equipped reel on it, and plenty of line to let the fish run. But 4 Lb. test line bringing a fish of that type and size up to a boat is still a huge accomplishment. I believe some far bigger fish than is believed possible can be brought to net or hand than is commonly believed with fixed line rods. Steelhead on 5X? Probably not. On 3X and heavier up to the limit of what the above mentioned rods can handle, I believe much more is possible. Steelhead and salmon may not be out of the realm of doable with those rods.
Last edited by Golden; 06-18-2013 at 06:26 PM.
Danny, send me your contact info and I will put it on the Used Rods page of my website. No fee to buyer or seller.