Wrapping up 2021

Although I did not fish tenkara much this year I thought I would end 2021 today with a trip to a small river. To my disappointment the water levels were crazy low and I thought for sure I would blank. This river is marked as wild but gets a ton of pressure. I am lucky to get a fish on most trips. Today started slow and I had one strike and thought that would be the highlight. Then I put on a tiny futsu grave digger and I was able to catch 5 bookies. Most of them were less than 5" and one was 8". The trophy of the day!!!

This year I spent more time in the surf. Targeting Striped bass on the fly and with a spinning outfit. This was my first year with a fly rod. I like it, but I definitely need to take some casting lessons. I can get a 70’ cast out without much issue, unless there is a good headwind(anything over 15mph)…then it is half that…which is often not good enough for the spots I fish. I also stuck the fly in my head a couple times. I am told if I improve my form, I will be able to handle wind much better.

On the spinning rig I did pretty well and got into some decent fish. The plug in its mouth is 11". This kind of thing has pulled me from tenkara a bit. In general, having fun in the salt.

I hope 2022 is a repeat on the fun. I hope to fish my tenkara a bit more though…if I can wish for improvements.

Happy new year everyone. Be safe and I hope you all get your lines singing!!!


Great way to close out 2021. Those brookies are true jewels of the stream.

I can see why the striper bite might pull you away from tenkara. Certain the learning curve with the fly rod will flatten in short order. Some people are just “fishy”, you’re clearly one of them.


I think the older I get the more fishy I become. Like, I am really getting into more diversity in my fishing. Last couple seasons I have also been doing some clamming and squidding. There is one place I go in the summer that I use a snorkel and fins to clam. Definitely having fun.


The weather around here certainly has been mild. In fact it has been colder in some parts of southern California than out here in New England. Seems the mild weather woke the fish up some! I would like to get into surf fishing. Got any recommendations for a good beginner setup?


So, I had to ask around a bit as the outfit I use is over 1500…and it has been a while since I have been in the market for new equipment.

So, starting with a new sport there are many things to buy. The rod and reel is part of it, but wading gear, lures, and bags to carry lures, all stack up to $$$.

stripersonline is a forum for a lot of info and they have a buyselltrade area. This forum has mixed information, not all of it is good or valid. There is also some chest beating that occurs, but it is a good resource if you can tolerate that sort of thing. Buy/Sell/Trade Forums - SurfTalk

Two options: The first option is if you wanted to keep things simple with your first outfit. and less expensive. Like all fishing, most success has to do with skill not equipment.

My recommendation to keep it light on budget…bang for the buck.
In general, the saltwater environment will absolutely destroy everything. So with an unsealed reel it is good to take care and make sure that water and sand does not get into your reel. It is also good to have a reel that you can maintain and potentially pack with grease. Simple is better. There are some oldschool penn designs that are no frills that you can buy used. The penn 704z, the penn 710z. these are old classics and probably will never fail you. I had a 704z, but actually gave it to a new fisherman I did not know. For the 3 seasons I had on it is was like new. I maintained it myself. I would not suggest that reel because it was big and heavy and would ballance with a heavier rod. I would highly recommend a really light setup. Perhaps look into a 710z, how to maintain etc. No matter the reel you pic, it is good to look into the maintenance. Taking it apart, cleaning, and rebuilding. Fancy Japanese reels are super smooth but have 100s of parts. I can tell you from real experience that they are difficult to maintain. here is some info on the 710 z. You can get one on ebay for around 75 dollars.

here is a pair that went for $50 each

For a surf rod you want something to start with that is in the 9-10’ length and something that throws 3/8 - 2.0 oz well. Most rod ratings are not very accurate. I recommended a salmon steelhead rod to a buddy of mine years ago and he always said he liked it. This is super budget, and the guides/components are not top notch but the rod is extremely functional and does the job. I have casted it and thought it was a winner. It is a 9’ uglystick steelhead rod, and runs around 70 dollars.

Option 2 new gear.
Rods: tsnunami airwave elite surf rod 9’6 or lamiglas carbon surf 9’ 1/2-2/1/2.
Reels : Tsunami Shield, Diawa BG , Penn slammer…
These options plus others will be under under 500.00.

The top recommend would be the penn slammer 3 and the lamiglas carbon surf . The slammer would be in the 3500 or 4500 size. Penn Slammer III Spinning Reels - TackleDirect
the rod in the 9’6" size…either the medium or the light. The light might be more fun and allow for targeting smaller species. There are fluke, porgie, black sea bass, blackfish, bluefish, shad, and weakfish to target. Heavier outfits will overpower these smaller fish. It all depends what you are targeting. If it is striper only then go medium.
Lamiglas Carbon Surf Rod - The Saltwater Edge

saltwater edge is awesome and fast.
tackle direct is reliable as well but I like the guys at saltwater a little better.

I do not have personal experience in them, but other folk use them and like them. I suspect these setups will be heavier and are more geared to striped bass. My setup is a van stall vs200 matched with a lamiglas GSB 1321M. For lighter tackle which is what I recommended above, I use a steelhead setup and will throw I use a lamiglas g1311 series 8.5’ rod that used to be 150 dollars but has skyrocketed since. I have it matched with a Van staal vs100. If you compute the weight differences you will see how much lighter the setups become. I have landed striped bass to 15# from the surf in my steelhead outfit and from the kayak, fish to 25#. Salmon steelhead outfits are capable.

I recommend bucktailing to start and hell, 50-70% of my fish come on bucktails. I caught fish to 46" this season on bucktails. this one is not that size, but 40". I rarely take photos but this one was so fat…i couldnt resist. It is twice the girth of a normal fish.

get john skinners book, it is the only book that has radically changed my understanding on how to fish the surf.

I like jecks and andrus bucktails. Get an assortment of 1/2 oz through 1.5 oz.

other lures…the daiwa sp minnow and yo zuri mag darter - crush barbs and remove the rear trebles. Look on youtube on how to rig these.

Use a dive belt and surfcasting belt bag or pouch. The dive belt you can buy anywhere. In the past I just used a plastic buckled one, I have a different setup now, but something like this works fine.
For the small lures i listed you can just get a bucktail bag or a small tube bag. These are made of sailcloth and hooks cannot stick into them.
gearup bucktail pouch. GearUp has a web page

flatlander blitz bag - you may need to order form facebook

simms freestones are the best and will last a decade in the surf if you take care of them.
I have stocking foot waders, wetsuits and also wet wade with the freestones. definitely pm me with details on these boots and spikes to put in them.
when I wetsuit of wet wade I use the simms guide guard socks…they are the best as they keep rocks and sand out.

For each of these I could go into a lot of detail, but tried to keep it breif. feel free to call or pm me with questions.