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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Silent Pursuit

This ride is coming to an end, and a new era in blogging is starting to take place.  About a year ago I mentioned starting a project called The Silent Pursuit.  I launched a site and started adding content...a few weeks later I ran into some issues.  I ended up putting that project on the back burner until recently, when I had time to fix the issues at hand.

This has been something that I have wanted to do for a while.  This blog project will take a look at the outdoor lifestyle.  It will still heavily feature fly fishing but other areas as well when it comes to the great outdoors.  I hope that you will start seeing this badge around.  This will be my last post on this site.  I will keep this site up for the time being because of gear reviews that I have posted that people still frequent.

I encourage you to check out The Silent Pursuit Facebook Page as well as The Silent Pursuit on Instagram if you do not already.

Head over to the site and take a look around.  I am going to be realistic about content being added.  As a wise blogger once told me...take your time.  That is exactly what I plan on doing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth and Cascade Review

Tenkara!  By now you have heard of this.  If you have been into fly fishing for the last few years, you would have heard this japanese word which means "from heaven".  There are those that love it and those who have never tried it.  I have been fishing tenkara for a few years now and had the opportunity over the last few months to test drive two rods by the Tenkara Rod Co.

Tenkara Rod Co. busted out on the scene with their Kickstarter campaign that saw them meet their needs and then some.  This was one of the most successful outdoor Kickstarter campaigns.  They graciously sent me their Cascade and Sawtooth Rod packages which include a tin of kebari (flies), a furled line, and a line holder.  There are some similarities between the two rods - both have a swivel tip and include a wood rod plug.  The end cap has a rubber insert that helps keep the rods silent when they are collapsed and a small drain hole off to the side.  Both also include an awesome rod tube.  The tube looks black, but when the light hits it, it seems to be a deep, dark brown.  The end cap is a nice brushed aluminum with only one end actually unscrewing.  The rods also come in a nice rod sock.

The Cascade

Coming in at 8ft long, this little rod is a bunch of fun.  The rod itself is a stunning blue that just looks great.  The end cap and the winding check are a matte black.  I found myself grabbing for this rod more often than not when I decided to go hit the trails and streams where I live in Pennsylvania.  It worked wonders on some tightly covered Brook Trout streams.   This rod collapses down to 18 inches and fits great on the side of my Topo Designs Klettersack.  The rod tube it comes with is a smaller version of the rod tubes that ship with the other rods.

I had one minor complaint with the rod.  It is on the stiff side and the line that comes with the package is on the light side.  For me to get the rod casting well, I found that I needed to use one of my furled lines that had some more weight to it.  While the rod is on the stiff side, it is still fun when you get hooked up to a fish.

The Cascade package comes in at $159 or just $129 for the rod.  This is a great deal for a tenkara package.  This rod would also be an awesome rod for a child.  Not only am I going to have a great time with this rod, but it will be a rod that my daughter and son (here in only a few more weeks) will be able to handle and enjoy in no time.  The rod is really lightweight and caused no hand fatigue after fishing all day.  If they could make the rod softer they would have a real winner on their hands, but it is still fishable despite being stiff and can somewhat be fixed with a slightly heavier line.

The Sawtooth

This was the rod that started it all for me with Tenkara Rod Co.  When they first hit the Kickstarter scene this was the rod that caught my eye.  The rod looked stunning with the earth tone orange and brown color scheme with a fish graphic working up from the cork handle.  Like one other review stated....this looks like a vintage fiberglass rod.  It reminded me of the old glass rods I used to use when I was younger.  The rod also has gold accents for the end cap and the winding check.  This rod measures out to 12ft and in my mind is a great all around tankara rod.  The rod by itself runs $129 with the package costing $159.

This rod cast well with the supplied line and was ready to go out of the box.  If you have never fished tenkara, the reach with one of these 12ft rods with a 10.5ft line is great.  You can keep the drift going longer because you are able to keep the line off of the water which helps limit the amount of drag.  I had no real complaints with the Sawtooth.  It was a fun rod to fish and just a blast to pull it out of the rod sock and string up.  Rigging up a tenkara rod takes no time and you are fishing in a matter of seconds.

This rod is stated as a 5:5 but reminded me more of my Tenkara USA Iwana 12ft. that I used to have when I first got into tenkara fishing.  It handled all kinds of flies that I tied on the end, from tiny dries to some weighted nymphs.  This is a very versatile rod.  It handled all kinds of fish well, from small four inch wild browns to some stocked rainbows that were pushing fifteen inches.  The rod balances well and does not feel tip heavy as some other tenkara rods have felt in my hands.  It puts the fly right were you want it, and it recovers well.  This is an all around good rod.

I think what I enjoy more than being good rods for the money is the fact that the people behind Tenkara Rod Co. are just great people.  They were so easy to work with and a pleasure to chat back and forth with.  I would recommend looking into these rods if you are interested in getting into tenkara or are just looking for more rods to add to the quiver.  Are there nicer rods out there?  Sure but you will also be paying more.  These are good, all around rods and are worthy of your consideration if you are in the market.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eta Express Review

This is a review that I posted on Backcountry.Com.  I have been using this stove and another Primus stove pretty extensively over the past month. I have tested out the stove with other pots than just the included one and have landed on some thoughts that I would like to share with those interested in buying a new cook system. When you get the box and open it you find inside a user manual, the stove, the pot, a lid, a separate bowl, a stuff sack, and a windscreen. All the pieces fit nicely together. The first thing I noticed was the overall quality of the product. The stove seemed well made with a piezo starter, the pot has a nice non-stick surface, the windscreen is brilliant, and the bowl nestles in with the pot. 

Before I took the stove out into the woods I did a boil test in my kitchen with various pots to see what the different times would be depending on the pot you took. I achieved a 2:15 boil time with the supplied pot, a 2:36 with a .6L Brunton kettle, and a 3:00 boil time with a GSI Minimalist .6l pot. The stove was very controllable and easy to simmer with. The output of the stove was not as high as the Primus Express Stove I have (that thing sounds and looks like a jet), but it got the job done was there was no flame creep on any of the pots on full blast unlike the Primus Express. I really enjoyed this stove for that reason 

In the field it worked great. I achieved a super fast boil time (under 2:40) and was able to simmer to keep my meal warm. The nonstick pot worked great and made clean up a breeze. Nothing burned to the bottom. To clean all I needed to do was splash around some water and it all slipped out. The lid was great to help strain some extra water that was left and made it easy to see what my food was doing while it was cooking because it is clear.  

All in all this is a great system.  I will update this review as I use the stove more and push it to it's limits.