Sunday, September 28, 2014

How do they rate Stren?

When I was exchanging lines on my reel last night, I felt a little strange. "What the? This new line seems thinner than what I used to use before, doesn't it?" Immediately, I checked all of my spare lines and compared their diameters.

Now, it's all starting to make sense. I find the Hi-Vis Gold line I've recently used is one of the exporting products from the US! I was thinking it was strong enough, but it is only 10lb-tested as a US norm. I should have paid much more attention to that; as sizes differ between countries, strengths of lines are also differently rated.

In the US, a line comes in the strength (lb test) by which the line is never broken when it is pulled in both directions. In other words, it is shown not by the strength of line itself, but by the strength of the weakest 'tied part (knot)'.

In Japan and the IGFA standard, a line is shown by the strength by which the line is surely broken when it is pulled. When you tie it, the connecting part becomes weaker, even if you use a strong knotting method. I've once read that a Palomar knot (one of the most popular knotting method in the US) shows up to about 90% strength of the original line, and others show worse results, suggesting that exporting products are one or two-class thinner than domestic ones.

For my future reference, in Stren lines:
  14lb (US rated) = 20lb (outside US), 0.014" dia (=0.36mm, #4.5 or 5)
  12lb (US rated) = 17lb (outside US), 0.013" dia (=0.33mm, #4)    
  10lb (US rated) = 14lb (outside US), 0.012" dia (=0.29 or 0.30 mm, #3 or #3.5)

I mostly use 12lb or 14lb lines (US rated) when I bass fish with my topwater lures, but the line I was using when I lost my lure last time is now found 10lb. Of course, a 10lb line is strong enough to fish with and for fishers who recognize it as 10lb, but I had used it as a 14lb tested line in weedy areas. A complete failure of mine. 


I must therefore resume my fishing style, and went fishing early this morning. All in all, thicker lines are stronger and more dependable, though I could not catch a big fish.

Today's tackle: ABU Ambassdeur Royal Gold LE, Mr Don MW59N (Dog Fighter) w/ Fuji wood grip, Stren Low-Vis Green 12lb, Heddon Zara Spook, Chugger Spook, Hedd Hunter Minnow (w/ prop), Southbend Nip-I-Diddee, Smithwick King Snipe, etc. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Variations in GRA color

Black lip, Clear lip, Green lip (Heddon 1030, Magnum Tiger)
Black lip, Clear lip, Green lip (Heddon 1020, Tiger)
Black lip, Clear lip, Green lip (Heddon 1010, Tiger Cub or Tiny Tiger)

Another variation, no black on the back (Heddon 1020, Tiger)

I don' think this no-black one is an imperfect product made by mistake, as I've seen some more in the same color pattern. An old Heddon catalog shows a very similar one. It has no black on the back, either, but the color of eyes is BLACK (w/ red pupils). I've been looking for this variation for many years.
from a 1980 Heddon catalog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New fins

I recently picked up a pair of new fins. They're travel-sized, and I though they would be good for fishing in small ponds around us. Today, I wanted to try them, and went fishing.

They're very compact and easy to wear, but I could get much less propulsive force unless I used thigh muscles. I also felt difficulties to move an inch using my ankles. I knew this would happen, but I decided to keep them a backup.

Fishing was slow. I got skunked in the first pond I visited, and drove to the second. There, I caught a few bass, but all were small. The sky was totally clear, and I was too late to move.

I used ABU 4600AL and Fenwick XC-554 today, and I find this combination super. Very light and good to cast with. I had not paid much attention to ABU 4600AL and 4500AL reels, but now I think they should be rated more highly. Only one thing I don't prefer is their handles (a little long). I like shorter ones for ABU 1500C or 2500C, so I replaced them. I also put an old-fashioned decals (which I made by myself) on the rims of one of my 4500AL's. It looks cosmetically beautiful, doesn't it?


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Got cool

It got cool today. I went fishing in the same pond as last week for only a short time. One of our daughters had a sport meet at school, which we planned to go, too, so I had to get back before it started. 
I caught several cheerful bluegill and several small bass. I'm afraid north wind has been blowing these days, and fish got slow due to it.


Today's tackle: ABU Ambassdeur 4600AL (This is also a good and light reel), Fenwick LGX -38C (a little long for a small pond), Stren Hi-Vis Gold 12lb, Heddon Wounded Spook, Hedd Hunter Minnow (w/ prop), Pico Pop, etc. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tactic? Strategy?

When I decided to run the ultra-marathon again in April or May, I carefully re-examined my record in 2013 using the official record book sent to me. I first checked my pace in each 10 km, and compared mine with two groups of runners: one consists of 20 runners who finished at very similar time to me (similar group), and the other of 20 runners who finished about one hour earlier than me (faster group). I calculated the means and standard deviations of the two groups, and considered how I should train to run in 2014.


I clearly found that I ran too fast in 0-50 km and too slowly in 50-100 km. I faced a great challenge to improve my stamina in the latter half, so I tried to run as long as possible in each chance, especially on weekends in summer. I also tried to learn how to run slowly. In reality, I'm still very bad at running slowly (it is much more difficult than running fast), but I took conscious efforts.

I also found my paces on slopes were too slow. I like slopes, but my paces slowed down there. I thought trail- or cross-country running in hot seasons would work fine, so I practiced often. It was very fortunate for me that there are a lot of mountainous areas around my place.

That was the birth of my good race in 2014.
I was not sure my training was good enough, but it was time to cash my chips.


I ran with my GPS watch (Garmin 910XT) on Sunday, which provided me unofficial records of myself. I retrieved the data yesterday and checked how I ran this year. 

My paces in 0-50m legs were almost the same as last year, but those in the latter half were pretty successful. I could keep running tenaciously to the goal, and even build up the pace in the 80-90 and 90-100 km legs. 

The GPS records can also be analyzed with altitude data. I could run almost constantly excluding rest breaks or slopes. Now, I notice some more challenges for future trail considering this chart. If I decide to run this ultra-marathon again, I'd like to address them.   

Monday, September 15, 2014


Yesterday, I finished the same ultra marathon (100km = 62miles) as last year. My record was 11h 24m 04s, about one and half hours shorter than last year. I'm very happy with the result, and it was a wonderful race. It is always a lot of fun to find 'something new' inside yourself even after you've grown up.

I got up at 00:50 am, grabbed 2 rice balls and 4 rice cakes, and left the hotel at 02:00. I wanted to eat two more rice cakes just before the race, but I had a stomach upset the day before and I passed them (I ate a banana instead). I had prepared almost everything in advance, so everything went very smoothly.

This time, I repeated two mantras while I ran the race.

(1) Ultra-marathons are sports of self-management, which consist of 70% mental control and 30% physical training.   

(2) Ultra-marathons are "eating and drinking contests with a little exercise and scenery thrown in".

0-10 km:  1h 00m (5m58s/km) 
   It was very cool and we sometimes had misting rains. I felt very comfortable to run, but I tried to save energy for later legs of the race.

10-20km:  0h 59m (5m55s/km) 
   I felt other runners around me very fast, but I still tried to save energy. I started to feel a strange pain on my toes, but it was mild enough to be ignored.

20-30km:  1h 00m (6m01s/km) 
   I kept almost the same good pace. Just before the first control gate, I noticed my shoelaces were not tight, and thought the pain derived from loosen feet inside the shoes. I temporarily tightened them.

30-40km:  1h 06m (6m38s/km)
   This leg includes steep slopes, and I slowed down when I climbed. I first planned to run at 6m35m/km pace, so I could run just as scheduled.

40-50km:  1h 11m (7m07s/km) 
   I took a good rest at 44km point, where they served noodles. I had a cup of them, some snacks and pickled plums, and several cups of coke. I kept going.      

50-60km:  1h 16m (7m38s/km)
   The second control gate was placed at 56km point. I ran through it and exchanged my shirts, re-laced my shoes, and applied pain relief cream on my legs. I had a large meal there, and be able to relived. As the sun rose higher, it was getting hotter and hotter.

60-70km:  1h 24m (8m22s/km)
   There was a mountain about 400m (444yds) high. My plan was to climb it at 9m/km pace combining fast walking. I finally got to the peak.

70-80km:  1h 13m (7m19s/km)
   I ran through the third gate just after the peak of the mountain (74km). I was OK and still had energy enough to finish the last 20km.   

80-90km:  1h 09m (6m57s/km)
   I felt I passed through something. When and after I ran down the mountain, I resumed faster speed and streaked (at least for me). However, it got blazing hot, so I poured cold water over my head at every resting station. I also never forgot to eat and drink a lot.

90-100km:  1h 05m (6m29s/km)),  Total (100km):  11h 24m 04s
   I streaked harder. When I reached 90km point, I had a strange melancholy feeling. "Only 10km were left?? I even want to keep running a little more!" Different from last year, I passed through many runners before the goal. Anyway, I reached the goal, and I'm glad to run this race.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Really messed up

I took a day off today to prepare for a marathon race on Sunday. The starting time of it is extremely early (04:30 AM), so I've been trying to go to bed and get up as early as possible this week. I also got up early today, and went fishing for only a short time in the morning.

The first failure I made was that I lost an old lure. I seldom lose lures, and the last time I did so was more than 10 years ago, as far as I remember. The lure I lost today was a Heddon Wounded Spook in L, which I recently got from an auction. I cleaned it, changed hooks and props, and was looking forward to fishing with it.

I started fishing with the lure. When I cast it to small spot near a bank and waited for several seconds, a nice fish (I could not catch it but I saw the green back of it) grabbed it with a big blow-up of water. I set a hook hard, but I felt almost no response. Yes, the fish had gone with my lure on the mouth. I'm afraid my line was tangled with a prop before I set a hook. I should have been much more careful. I was totally discouraged, and hoped the fish would successfully unhook the lure to survive.

Soon after this unlucky accident, I caught a couple of bass, but all were small.

The second one was that my float tube got a hole presumably by a lure hook. I remember it got hit just after I started fishing, but was not thinking it got punctured. About 10-15 minutes later, I noticed the air inside the tube come out little by little. I did know it would take hours for my tube to be flat (it is a well-made tube using a good rubber), but I stopped fishing just to be safe. 

Now, I'm hoping these bad lucks will bring good luck on Sunday. 


Today's tackle: ABU Ambassdeur 4500AL (another good reel), Daiko Prestige PBC-56L, Stren Hi-Vis Gold 12lb (I used 12lb, not 14lb, on this particular day!), Heddon Wounded Spook, Chugger Spook, Hedd Hunter Minnow (w/ prop), etc.