Review of the DRAGONtail ShadowFire 365. Tenkara Fishing is new to me and not what I have done in regards to fly fishing for the past 20 years. The things that gets me is the no reel aspect of Tenkara but the simplicity of it is fantastic. I decided to jump into it and reached out to Brent at DRAGONtail Tenkara for some information and guidance. If you are looking for someone that is incredibly knowledgeable and willing to answer loads and loads of questions Brent is your guy to get in touch with. I couldn’t be happier.
The fishing we were doing was incredibly difficult in tiny streams with sometimes massive amounts of grass growing waist high and hanging over the stream itself. See the pictures of the stream I’m talking about and you will understand. When looking at the stream I knew there was absolutely no chance using a traditional casting technique but rather drop and drift. This is where the Tenkara excelled.
So backing up… when the Tenkara arrived it was nicely packaged and came with a great rod sock, rod tube and everything I needed to give Tenkara a shot. What I love about the Rod is that it collapses into itself and makes transport much easier than a traditional rod. You tie on a leader – furled was my choice and then some tippet. Once you are done fishing hook the fly into the small spool and start wrapping the tippet and then leader around. Once wrapped up slide the spoil down the rod and you are ready to go. Nothing to it.
When fishing this tiny stream (pictured) the strategy I used was utilize the 12’ length of the Shadowfire rod. The fish were very spooky and you needed to stay away from the edge of the stream and hidden. I was crawling in my knees and then when still far enough away I would use the 12’ rod to hold it above the water and gently lower the fly, tippet and leader gently into the stream. The current of the stream would take the fly the length of the leader and tippet and then once at the end I would lift and place again. Working with any other Rod wouldn’t have worked as I would have been too close to the water. The Shadowfire worked perfectly and I couldn’t be happier.
Back to the rod itself.. for a $99 rod setup it can’t be beat and especially for someone new to Tenkara fishing. How can you go wrong with a $99 investment into something totally new but still in the area of something you love – Fly Fishing. So with that being said. I can’t recommend Brent and DRAGONtail Tenkara enough. Great company, great products and great customer support from Brent. Guarantee you will be pleased with your purchase. Drop Brent a line and I’m sure he will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Also… Brent also is part of Moonlit Fly Fishing and happens to make some of the greatest Furled Leaders around. I have written a review of his furled leaders a week ago so check that review out as well.
Next up.. I need to pick up a 13’ DRAGONtail HELLbender Zoom Rod for those lake and pond fishing days chasing big large mouth bass !!
Next up – an absolutely beautiful Blue Halo 8’ 5wt Fiberglass Fly Rod by Terry’s Custom Rods.. What can I say except wow.. it’s an amazing Fly Rod and the bright red color is stunning to say the least. The slow to moderate action of this fiberglass rod makes you slow your casting down and allowed for great accuracy and being able to lay down a small hopper exactly where I wanted it to some incredibly spooky browns. While in New Mexico on our review trip the water we were fishing was narrow and tight with over hanging grass so I didn’t really have the opportunity to really put the rod to a full long casting test but the type of fishing I did do it performed perfectly. Once I got back I threw an Abel reel on the rod and took it out and got an opportunity to see what it could do with distance. Once again it didn’t disappoint. Like I said previously it is a slow to moderate Rod so you really have to be patient and slow the cast down but it’s buttery smooth and it’s definitely a keeper. I’m definitely going to take it out in 2-3 weeks again to throw some big poppers at some large mouth and see how it performs giving it a true workout. So… all in all it’s a fantastic rod and if you are in the market for a fiberglass rod give Terry a shout and get him to put one together for you. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed in the rod or your interaction with Terry. He’s a class act and does great work. Check out @Terry’s Custom Rods on FB…
It’s cooler review time. The coolers arrived after we returned from our fly fishing and outdoor product review trip so we didn’t get an opportunity to review while on the trip but this past weekend we tested the KENAI 65 in a much harsher area than we would have had in New Mexico… the test took place at Lake Tenkiller in Eastern Oklahoma. We left the house on Friday afternoon and loaded down the KENAI 65 with lots of cans and bottles of drinks and ready for a weekend in the water. What makes the test more extreme is that New Mexico was a nighttime low of 55 degrees and the highs during the day were low to mid 80’s.. the KENAI didn’t get that type of mild weather in Oklahoma. The low was hot and the high was scorching hot – 101 on Saturday.
Like I said we pulled out with a loaded KENAI 65 around 2:00 PM on Friday and dropped two bags of ice in the cooler and drinks. The cooler was inside of an SUV and we arrived at the lake 2.5 hours later with a full cooler of ice. I would hope this would be the case. We dropped the cooler off on the dock in the 95+ degree temps and as the sun started going down it was directly hitting the cooler for hours. I thought for sure this would melt the ice.
The cooler was opened and closed and opened and closed over and over again during the day and evening. End of Friday and really only a half day – Cooler still full of ice and no need to add any. We left the cooler on the dock all night where the temperatures never dropped below 85 degrees.
Saturday morning… got to the dock and opened the cooler – full of ice.. as the day went on and on the cooler was opened and closed numerous times. Full day in the 100 degree temps with no relief from the heat. The cooler was a trooper! Last half of the day the cooler was once again bombarded by direct sunlight and the heat. End of the cooler we definitely should be adding ice – opened the cooler and NOPE.. the ice was starting to melt but it had plenty.
Left the cooler on the dock again Saturday night in the heat.
Sunday morning – opened the cooler and still had ice.. although it was starting to get down to ice and water it was still amazingly cold and easily keeping the drinks cold. All day Sunday the cooler was opened and closed as usual numerous times.. by Sunday afternoon the cooler was again in the direct sunlight and amazing heat. Car showed 103 degrees. At 3:00 PM it was time to bring the test to an end and see what we had left. Shockingly 48 over hours later we still had some ice left and everything was still cold.
50 hours and 2 bags of ice and everything was still cold. Truly amazing.
The KENAI 65 easily surpassed my expectations and this cooler is definitely priced much lower than coolers that are equal or lesser coolers. Currently the website shows a retail price of $299.99 but on sale now for $249.99. You won’t find a better cooler at that price point.
So… get over to the Kenai website and pick up a cooler. You won’t be disappointed. Link to the different coolers below. The Kenai line is manufactured by Grizzly Coolers.
Next up – Review of the giant Grizzly 165 Cooler !! Check back in a week for the results!
In the mail yesterday came a couple coolers from Grizzly.. pics are of the first cooler and the largest one I picked up – the Grizzly 165 retailing for $499.99 on their website. They come in the pictured tan that I got and white is the other option available. After unboxing I noticed these coolers are solid, heavy and well built. The closures are easy to use and seem to be manufactured to last a while. The sides are equipped with very sturdy rubber handles.
The second cooler is Grizzly’s other line – Kenai. I picked up a Kenai 65 cooler in tan as well. Website shows full retail as $299.99 with a sale price as of the time of the post of $229.99. This cooler comes in far more colors than the larger Grizzly 165 which is expected. Colors are: Grey, Lime Green, Deep Green, Orange, Red, Sandstone type color, Mint Green, Tan, Aqua and White.. great color selection. The Kenai 65 is built just about like the Grizzly – they seem to be nice high quality coolers. Impressed so far.
I haven’t tested them yet but will this weekend and will post a full write up. So far I’m impressed with the build quality but as we all know it comes down to the ice.. I’ll post the results on Sunday evening.
You can check out the coolers on the Grizzly Coolers Website of:
Trust me when I say – GO BUY SOME FURLED LEADERS!! After using Moonlit Fly Fishing furled leaders I’m sold. I have stayed away from furled leaders in the past and used mono or fluro tapered leaders but those days are over. If you haven’t tried furled leaders I would challenge you to give Moonlit a try and see what you are missing. Some advantage of furled leaders – They come out of the package limp with absolutely no memory. This can’t be said about mono leaders. Moonlit also attaches a tippet ring to the end of the leader which makes it simple replacing your tippet. I used these leaders 100% of the time this past trip (when not using a Tenkara set-up) and was dry fly fishing. The drift on a furled leader is phenomenal…. and they can lay a fly down incredibly soft. Like I said do yourself a favor and pick some up from Moonlit Fly Fishing.. guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Check them out at www.moonlitflyfishing.com
One of our set-ups for the upcoming gear review trip. Picked up a fantastic 0 wt fly rod from Mark at RDP Fly Rods and a Redington Zero 2/3 Fly Reel with 1 wt. Rio fly line. Should be great for a little dry fly fishing on those tiny streams in the Valles Caldera.. Go see Mark’s work at www.rdpflyrods.com.
Next product up – as they say on their website – The Fly Boxes Everyone’s Talking About.. so what’s the big deal?? Isn’t it just another fly box.. well it doesn’t seem so.. they boast an “Innovative Patented Silicone Anchoring System”. Gone are the days of crappy foam falling apart in your fly box. I’m looking forward to using these new style of boxes that have come out. Let the fly box review begin! – the big fly fishing gear review in the Valles Caldera National Reserve, New Mexico starts in about 2 weeks. Wonder if Tacky has anything else that’s cutting edge we need to try out…. check back in a couple weeks for in use photographs and reviews… Tacky Fly Fishing
UPDATE – Our new Tacky fly boxes are set up and ready to go tomorrow. First review of the trip – first time using a Tacky Original Fly Box. Very light magnets on the four corners which easily hold it closed but not too tight where it’s difficult to open. The silicone back is beyond superior to foam. Foam falls apart and has a memory where the silicone doesn’t at all. The hook easily slides and it doesn’t tear at all. Absolutely no reason to ever purchase foam boxes again. We will give an end of the trip update on how the Tacky Boxes held up after a few days of fishing. Fantastic product so far Tacky Fly Fishing.