Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

BottleKeeper

Now and again things jump out as being just the right tool for the job. In this case it is keeping beer in bottles cold and safe.

BottleKeeper_silver_square_large

Image courtesy of BottleKeeper.

Cousins Adam and Matt decided to solve a problem vexing beer drinkers; warm beer in unsafe containers.
Quoting from their website:

 “a golden light flashed above Cousin Matt’s head as if Zeus himself had sent a bolt of lightening from the heavens above; ‘what if we could leave the beer in the bottle and put the bottle in something that would keep it cold, like one of those stainless steel water bottles?’ and BAM!, BottleKeeper was born.”

The BottleKeeper has a neoprene sleeve (4 mm) inside a stainless steel container. Add a padded bottom and the bottle is protected from errant mishaps. The screw top, while not creating a vacuum, seals in the bottle keeping the beer fresher and in the bottle while open in transit.

While I enjoy my PBR’s in a can, the ability to keep a bottle of some of my favorite craft beers safe and cold has made me a fan.

Check out the BottleKeeper website. It has lots of entertaining info. The link should get you a 10% discount code on your first purchase.

 

Rhodo and Sato Reviews

New_Tenkara_Rods

Rhodo (L) & Sato (R)
Tenkara USA Image

In my review of Tenkara USA’s new triple zoom rods the Rhodo and Sato, I included links to a couple of reviews. As folks get their hands one these rods more reviews are popping up.

In order to have reviews handy they are listed and linked below. I will add more as I find them.

The Fly Line: Fly-Fishing: Tenkara rods don’t have to be long to be effective

Troutrageous!: OMFG! Two New Tenkara USA Rods

Tenkara on the Fly: TenkaraUSA’s new rods: the Rhodo and Sato

Discover Tenkara: Exciting New Tenkara Rods and Field testing the Sato

Tenkara Talk: New Sato & Rhodo Rods from Tenkara USA

Teton Tenkara: New Tenkara USA rods: Sato and Rhodo — review  and Tenkara USA Rhodo — review on You Tube.

Tenkara USA: New Tenkara Rods Sato and Rhodo Triple-zoom with “Keep Your Plug”

If you have a review you would like included, let me know in the comments and I’ll post it here.

Want one?

You can get the Rhodo and Sato in the store or online from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and there is no charge for shipping!

Adding to the Kromer Collection

A while back I decided I needed an alternative to a ski hat for the winters here in the Valley. My first Stormy Kromer was a nice refined green wool one (it has even been to the White House). I later added a waxed cotton one to use when guiding in the rain.

At some point this fall/winter I mentioned to MRS that I fancied a buffalo plaid one. To my delight Lily gave me one for Christmas.

A Kromer for all seasons

A Kromer for all seasons

If you don’t know about Stormy Kromer hats you should. They are classics.

The Tenkara USA Rhodo and Sato

Two new tenkara rods

Tenkara USA recently brought out two new rods, the Sato and the Rhodo, earlier this month. I picked up one of each this week at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and celebrated a 60+ degree winter solstice giving them a work out on one of our local spring creeks. You can get the Rhodo and Sato in the store or online from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and they don’t charge for shipping!

While it was warm, it was also breezy, giving me a chance to see how these new rods handled in the wind, a common tenkara nemesis. I took along my two current favorite Tenkara USA rods, the Iwana and the Ito so I could compare the new against the tried and true. I am not a level line guy (Tenkara Talk has excellent level line review here).  I like lines that let me feel the rod load and level lines don’t do that for me. I fish the tapered tenkara lines and some lightweight, narrow gauge, fly lines that we have been using at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for a year or so. The lengths are noted in each rod review.

Rhodo

Fish long enough in the mountain streams and you find yourself in tight cover. If you are fishing an 11’ or 12’ rod it can be challenging. TUSA invokes the pretty but incessantly fly grabbing rhododendron bush when it named the shorter of the two new rods.

I can relate…

The Rhodo is a “triple zoom” rod letting you fish it a three different lengths, 8’10”, 9’9” or 10’6”.  This is a great option for our mountain streams. Over the years I have taken as many as three rods on trips to my favorite streams; a 12’ Iwana, a 9’3” Iwana and the Ito, using each as conditions dictate. Many times however, I didn’t want to hassle with switching rods, lines and flies and instead “just make do.” The ability to change lengths at will is fantastic, giving you a variety of presentations at your fingertips. When I saw the rods I was amazed at the difference in profile. The Rhodo is much slimmer than the Iwana. I was surprised because I had expected the rod to be thicker not thinner given that it was a zoom rod.

here’s the skinny…

I noticed this slim profile was an advantage in the wind. Switching between the Iwana and Rhodo there was a marked difference in the feel of wind resistance casting the Rhodo. This translated into better casting accuracy and increased confidence in choosing tenkara in windy conditions. The Rhodo feels lighter as well. It is listed at 2.1 ounces and the 12” Iwana is listed at 2.7 ounces. The difference is even more pronounced when you cast them. The Rhodo “feels” lighter.

There is a logical, scientific explanation for this I’m sure having to do with weight, balance point and centers of gravity, but I never paid much attention to that stuff in school so I’ll leave that to others (Teton Tenkara does a great job here). What I did notice was that it didn’t change appreciably at the different lengths. From the start, defining action with tenkara rods has been a challenge and there are a variety of measures used these days. So far nothing has emerged as the standard and TUSA has avoided labeling the actions of these rods.

ACTION: We’re phasing out the Tenkara rod index system. We have decided that we will make the best tenkara rods around and the flex of a tenkara rod is not a crucial aspect of selecting a tenkara rod. If you have been tenkara fishing for sometime and want a frame of reference, the Rhodo is a fast 6:4.

When compared to the Iwana, this description seems fair. At all three lengths the rod feels a little crisper and more precise regardless of which line I used. I tested the Rhodo with an 11’ TUSA tapered line and 12’ fly line. I used the fly line to cast the bigger flies we fish on our Valley spring creeks. In the mountains fishing for brookies I fish the tapered line almost exclusively. I fished a size 16 parachute BWO, then added a size 18 bead head hares ear, a very typical combo in our mountain streams when chasing brookies.

I cast into, across and down wind at all lengths. Both rods delivered the fly to target but as noted above, I noticed a big difference in the wind resistance of the Rhodo. The ability to change rod lengths on the fly as I worked across seams made me an instant fan. I made some casts to tricky lies, like under overhanging branches, and the Rhodo was as precise as I could have wanted. Changing lengths allowed me to sneak the fly into those lies without changing positions or try contorted casts.

The “fish the close water first” mantra is a basic fly fishing tenet. With a long tenkara rod we sometimes have to stand back or shorten our casting stroke to hit the close water. Not so with the Rhodo or Sato. You can start with a shorter length and cast close with the full advantage of the rod action. Bottom line, for the mountain streams I will be packing one rod and that is the Rhodo!

Sato

As a Mossy Creek Fly Fishing guide I spend a lot of time on the glorious spring creeks here in the Shenandoah Valley. Those spring creeks hold browns and rainbows from 16” to 24”. Big fish eat big bugs and I need a tenkara rod that can turn over big flies. My tenkara rod of choice for our spring creeks has been the Ito. That is until I fished the new Sato.

more skinny

The Sato, like the Rhodo, is a “triple zoom” rod letting you fish it at three different lengths,10’ 8”, 11’ 10” and 12’ 9”. While not as long as the Ito, it has a much more agreeable casting feel. Like the Rhodo the Sato is light in the hand at all lengths, a noticeable difference from the Ito that feels softer and tip heavy when fully extended. I’m not dogging the Ito, the extra length can be important. The Sato’s more refined feel is much more to my liking.

The Sato’s profile is significantly smaller then the Ito and this was advantage in the wind. The Sato weighs in at 2.6oz compared to the Ito’s 4.1oz or the Amago’s 3.5oz. Sato/Ito pix In the summer, the beetles, crickets and hoppers make for some of the best dry fly fishing around. Big fish eating big flies. Unfortunately level and furled lines have trouble turning over big terrestrials.

To start I fished a little bit bigger fly than I did with the Rhodo, running a size 12 parachute Adams and then adding a size 14 bead head pheasant tail. The Sato fished this combo with ease. Like with the Rhodo, the ability increase and decrease rod length was a terrific advantage. In order to see how the Sato handled big flies I put on one of our 14’ flylines with a size 8 PMX. This would be a typical rig for summer. Fished at all three lengths the Sato turned it over easily and accurately. I added a size 10 CK nymph as a dropper and the Sato handled it just fine. Upping the ante with a 17’ line the Sato still put the fly on target and with a much crisper feel than the Ito.

The take away

These rods are impressive. They provide tenkara anglers with options that static length rods just don’t have. If you are new to tenkara I envy you. You get to start with these rods and save yourself the multi-rod hassle. Tenkara veterans are going to want to give serious thought to adding these to the quiver.

They will be what I reach for first in the coming year! Remember the Rhodo and Sato available in the store or online at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and there is no charge for shipping!

Rhodo and Sato now have a place of honor.

Happy Anniversary S.C.O.F.

Meeting the rascals behind the great quarterly online journal Southern Culture on the Fly this summer at the International Fly Tackle Dealer in Reno, NV was one the highlights of the trip. Dave and Steve have an infectious spirit of  mischief that was right up my alley. So having a chance to see them in action was a treat.

This latest issue marks the 0ne year anniversary for the enterprise and it is chock full of great stuff, including a look at the fun that was IFTD and a couple of tunes to download from a Dispatch favorite, the Wrinkle Neck Mules. Here at Dispatches we raise a glass of Knob in their honor to mark this great milestone.

With its terrific photos and great writing S.C.O.F. is like a mini vacation to a sweet fishing spot right there on you computer screen. In between issues you can keep up with the latest news on their blog, Those of us who fish and guide in the southeast are fortunate to have this excellent journal around to chronicle the special magic of fly-fishing in this neck of the woods.

Give S.C.O.F. a read and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out in the future!

 

Tenkara Rod Caps Are EZ To Lose

Tenkara anglers know that the most likely thing to lose when you go fishing is the end cap on your tenkara rod. The end cap protects the rod when it is housed and keeps things from falling out or getting in.

Dang handy little item.

But there in lies the challenge. Little. Like easily misplaced little.

So having spent some time thinking about ways to keep the little rascal from disappearing I came up with this idea.

Since I have a lot of old fly line lying around I decided it could be put to good use.

I grabbed my power drill and a 1/32 drill bit and made a slight modification to the end caps of my collection of Tenkara USA rods. Then I slipped a short length of old fly line through the hole and tied a figure-eight knot at the end.

Here is how it turned out.

Tenkara USA end cap MK 1 Mod 1

Since I wear a Fly Vines lanyard, I will just stash it there. If I drop it, the bright green line will be much easier to find as well.

Hopefully this will keep the rod caps from wandering off…