A brook trout I pulled out of the Kearsarge Lakes many years ago...
I have a good deal of experience fly fishing. I used to be quite a junkie, actually, getting up at 3AM every weekend, even just to fish for tiny trout in tiny streams.
After many years, I got tired of it and slowed down...
I expanded from targeting trout to chasing steelhead and salmon in Northern CA. I did that for a few seasons, but living in SoCal, I can't do it often. And it's expensive.
So I moved into saltwater fly fishing in the surf. Perch, croaker, shark, but mainly targeting corbina. No offense to the freshwater fly fisherman, but pound for pound, the corbina has to be one of the fastest fish alive. I've never come across anything like it in freshwater. It's not uncommon to nearly get spooled by one in less than 30 seconds on a 6-7wt. setup. Sink tips, shooting heads, giant flies, and horrendous wind...saltwater is a whole different beast. I've spent more time fly fishing saltwater than anything else.
But out of all of it, my overall favorite fishing was in tiny streams for tiny fish. Getting into stalker mode, doing very "quiet" fishing in tiny local canyons and areas that nobody else fished. My favorite rod is a 7'6" with 2 wt line. I actually had a wine bottle holster for my belt and would stand barefoot in summer streams all day...A bona fide fish-chasing drunken Zen lunatic.
And then I just got tired of chasing fish. And then I got to thinking a lot. And I got tired of harassing fish for fun. I started to seriously question the ethics of catch and release. (I now spearfish in the ocean. I only spear what I will eat)
And I quit fly fishing. It's been a few years now.
And now it's calling me again. I miss sitting and tying flies. I miss walking quietly in streams. My father (who is no longer alive) taught me to fish. I miss fishing with him. Those were good times, good memories, and very much a part of why I don't want to turn my back completely on stream fishing. I think I'm looking to rekindle that connection with my children, to take them fishing in the High Sierra this season.
All of this is my roundabout way of saying that I'm thinking Tenkara is the answer.
I just want to fish. No fooling with tons of gear, line, flies, gadgets...
I think I'd be willing to fish again if I had a setup so simple and light that if I were inspired I could break it out at any small stream or lake in the Sierra and fish for a few minutes and move on. And Tenkara looks good for kids. I just took my son to some local casting pools and he enjoyed it quite a bit. But he was free of the nightmares of snagged backcasts, overhead branches and bushes, wind knots, and obstacles everywhere. I think Tenkara would be a sure bet for him in the Sierra.
I'm bummed I missed out on the Daiwa Soyokaze, I think that would've been my rod.
I'm looking for something that will be primarily for small fish. 12" would be epic where I'll fish for trout (local and in High Sierra lakes).
I don't need brand names.
Even with the ability to cast, all the trout I typically catch, at home and in the Sierra, are caught at 20' or less. So I'm not sure I need an 11' to 12' rod.
This line on the TenkaraBum site stood out:
"For a backpacking rod intended for larger trout, I would suggest the Shimano Kozuka. For a go-anywhere rod intended for micros, or at least relatively small fish, I would suggest the Kiyotaki."
I'm considering the 8'10" Kiyotake27 kids package at Tenkarabum for ~$100.
It seems like a good way to get into UL Tenkara for fairly cheap. This sounds like it could fit the bill for tiny High Sierra brookies and goldens.
Or the Daiwa Kiyose 27? It seems to be the slightly smaller brother of the old BPL Tenkara Hane.