Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet … anything that is thy neighbor’s.”

Well, I totally blew that one … you see, back in February I went on a grand adventure with two good friends - Peter and Darrin. We went to the mountains of Colorado, and it was there that I was introduced to fly fishing. We had a great guide, plus my two friends were already quite experienced - so I had a fantastic time. I was the first to catch a fish that day, and several more would follow. You can definitely say I was hooked. Pun totally intended.

Managing the rod and the line was something that demanded practice. I seemed to get the hang of it in fairly short order, but experienced random newbie-type gaffes - and know I missed several opportunities due to lack of experience and technical expertise. A day or so before hitting the river, Peter showed us one of his latest rods. It fit in his bag because it was only 18 inches long or so. He showed us how it telescoped out to something ridiculous like 15 feet. But where was the actual fishing line? It didn’t even have any guide loops for the line. Or a reel. Peter said the line would be tied directly to the end of the rod, onto this little wiggly bit of material which was permanently attached. And the rod was so skinny. And light. And wobbly. There was no way you could catch a fish with this that was bigger than, say, a sardine. Or so we thought …

Peter of course caught fish with that skinny little thing, while we watched. And it was simple to use. Almost nothing to think about. No coordination needed between left and right hands, no worries about how much line to pay out, no way to accidentally let loose of the line and have it get away from you. This seemed to be perfect for a newbie like me. So once we made our way back to Denver, I started googling for this tenkara thing. It was neat and I was interested, so of course it was going to be expensive. I found what I was looking for on Aliexpress and ordered it. It was going to take weeks to arrive, but I was excited.

And when it did arrive, I was thrilled. It was simple. It made sense. It was beautiful. And it was broken. The second section from the end, the next-to-skinniest section, was split. Not broken into two pieces, but split right about the middle, parallel with the rod - about an inch or so total. Suddenly I wasn’t quite as excited. I contacted the seller through the Aliexpress app on my phone, and despite them being in China I got an almost immediate response. I explained the issue as best I could, and was told that a replacement part would be shipped back to me as soon as I paid shipping. Which I did. But the whole Chinese/English thing wasn’t so easy, and it took a few days of going back and forth before the seller understood which piece was broken. That was more than 3 months ago, and I still haven’t received a replacement part. The tracking number shows it on the way, but …

A month or so ago, Darrin and I took the boys for a little weekend adventure and part of that included fishing. So of course I wanted to use the tenkara rod. I figured it was already broken and I couldn’t make things worse by using while I waited for the replacement part, so I checked [netknots] and figured out how to tie a line to the end and I took it fishing. And I caught a 10-inch smallmouth bass almost immediately. It wasn’t until after I got it off the hook that I realized that the split was definitely a big deal and that the rod had given up right at that spot. It was somehow still attached, though folded all the way backwards - otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to bring the fish in. But I caught the fish. And I loved how easy it was to use the rod. So I ordered another cheap one, this time through Wish. It still hasn’t arrived yet, either.

Apparently Darrin was very interested after seeing Peter and myself both have success with this fantastic little telescoping thing. I was at his house last night and he proudly displayed his new tenkara rod. And it was a beauty. And it was made in America. And he was holding it in his hands, not waiting for it to float across the pond in a shipping container. And it had an actual warranty. That’s when I decided that paying a premium was totally worth it in this case. And yep, I coveted that rod. And its sleeve, and the hard case that it went in, and the sock that protected the hard case. It’s kinda funny that there was protection for the protection for the protection for the rod, but I still want one just like it.

And there you have it; that’s how I blew one of the ten commandments - over something as silly as a fishing rod.