Zen Tenkara Taka review

patrick62

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A couple weeks ago I was plumbing the depths of a warmwater lake with a gigantic, heavy, clunky and inexpensive Goture 15 footer and caught a couple of impressive largemouth. But after a few hours of that I thought, as I rubbed my sore shoulder, that there must be a similarly long and strong rod that doesn't feel like a slightly supple broomstick.

Enter Zen Tenkara, which specializes in rods for big fish.

After email consultation with Karin Miller, (prop.) I opted for the Taka 13-15 zoom plus an extra performance tip, which stiffens the whole thing up.

I am thinking of this as a lake rod but yesterday the fishing window was narrow and the Housatonic the best option.

Fishing first in relatively tight quarters at the kayak gates downstream from the power plant in Falls Village, I used a 10 foot sink-tip line, about 2.5 feet of 2X fluoro tippet, and an assortment of streamers, mostly Wooly Buggers in various sizes. It was a sidearm affair as the guy wires for the kayak gates are numerous and directly overhead. They are festooned with bits of fishing tackle. Caught several dinker smallies before moving downstream to a wide-open spot, where I deployed a 15 foot furled line (no sink tip) and slightly lighter 3X fluoro.

Much to my surprise caught several decent rainbows, even when I switched up to more bassy flies. And dinker smallies. (Water temperature around noon was 72 degrees.)

Also experimented with wind-resistant poppers.

Pros:

The rod performs well at both settings. The rod stays put when in the 13 foot mode (not always the case with a zoom rod).

I have no doubt the rod will turn over a much longer line if necessary.

When you've got something substantial on the line, the rod sings. Or hums, really. It's pretty cool once you get used to it.

The handle is quite long and you can cast it two-handed.

Zen uses a fly line weight equivalent system, and they call this an 8 weight. My test involved Moonlit furled lines, and I will try it with #4 level line at some point. I don't think it matters much, the rod is strong enough to hurl whatever you are likely to have handy.

You get the rod with extra (softer) tip sections, a sock, and a travel tube, plus one of those rubber things for gripping stuck sections. My package also came with a uni cap.

Cons:

It's lighter than the Goture, and easier to grip. But it's still a substantial piece of equipment, so either learn to cast with your off hand or consider taking a break every so often.

At a collapsed length of a hair under 27 inches, it's not as packable as some rods.

It's not cheap at $275.

Karin Miller was very helpful and the overall experience was excellent. I will report back in a couple of weeks when I have put the rod through its lake paces, but as of right now I am delighted.

 

patrick62

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^ No, my point and shoot took a dunking and I fear it is beyond the rejuvenating powers of the bag of rice.

ANd I never carry my phone fishing, because a) I'm guaranteed to drop it in the water and b) the whole point of fishing is to get away from the %$#! phone.
 

dpnoll48

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^ No, my point and shoot took a dunking and I fear it is beyond the rejuvenating powers of the bag of rice.

ANd I never carry my phone fishing, because a) I'm guaranteed to drop it in the water and b) the whole point of fishing is to get away from the %$#! phone.
Amen. I keep a waterproof compact clipped to my bag.
 
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patrick62

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Tested the Taka yesterday on the lake. Three hours, four smallies, a couple of perch and two largemouth in the 16-18 inch range, which I am guessing is 3-4 pounds. I don't know how to estimate fish weight. I think in terms of a smallish meatloaf, enough for two people and sandwiches the next day. These were about two and a half meatloafs.

I used the performance tip and a Moonlit 16 foot line with a sink tip and two to four feet of 2X fluoro tippet. I found myself casting it two-handed at times, not a spey cast, more of an orbit. Remember I'm in a pontoon boat.

The next test will involve a somewhat shorter line, 12-13 feet. Actually landing a fish with the longer line and using the 15 foot setting was more awkward than usual, and the only other option I can think of is adding three feet to my arms.

The rod functions beautifully for this kind of fishing. Which is why I bought it in the first place.
 

patrick62

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After further review I am happier with the longer line despite the fish-landing difficulties. But either 16 or 13 feet works fine, it's just fine-tuning.

Last week I caught what I suspect was the same lunker. I have named it Mongo, for it is only a pawn in the game of life.
 
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