So something I don't like about the AirStage 390: the part where I snapped it in half.
I was fishing in gusty conditions, in full sun, casting to dozen or so feeding stocked trout in a large slow moving pool. This was a rare opportunity to fish dries if I could reach them. I was using the 4.5m Midi line + 6' tippet. This is not a "match the hatch" stream... I think they were after whatever presented itself.
Fishing a parachute Adams, I caught 3 browns and one smallmouth bass. The fish 10-12" were typical for stockers and were big enough to be fun but clearly within the capabilities of the rod to keep them under control.
Taking advantage of a swing in wind direction, I put a small unweighted kebari in the film at max casting distance, right on the nose of a feeding trout. Bingo! I set the hook, and *SNAP*!
I stood there stupefied, half of rod in one hand... the other half swimming its way across the stream. I quickly came to and resigned myself to getting wet (I had been fishing from the bank... wading gear was tucked away in the car.) I pulled off socks and shoes and waded in... the water looked shallow, but the mud was deep. I was in up to my waist before I managed to get ahold of the top rod section. I made my way back to shore with the fish still on the hook. I sent him on his way before sadly collecting the pieces of my rod and heading for home.
The #5 section (right in the middle of the rod) snapped in two places, right at the #6 junction, and somewhere right in the middle of #5. I think the break was due to a number of factors... the biggest being that my hooksets might be a touch on the heavy side after a Summer of targeting larger fish with deeply submerged flies. I was also managing to keep most of the line off the water. I think when fishing wets there is a more progressive loading of the rod on the hookset. The trout made matters worse by taking the fly and turning sharply away from me. So, no slack, no drag from the water, and a fish moving in the opposite direction resulted in a sharp shock that was more than the AS 390 could handle.
So Chris is popping a new #5 section in the mail today for me. I'll be back in business for the weekend. One bummer is that my uncle was visiting today, and I was keen to have him try the AirStage. I was interested to see if a less experienced tenkara angler would see the same dramatic improvement in casting that I did. On the other hand at least I won't make him green with envy.
The SOB that broke my rod: