Ajing Rods, Mebaru Rods

Ajing Rods

"Ajing" is fishing for Aji, or Horse Mackerel, which are a common Japanese salt water fish that are generally about 8-10". The Japanese often fish for them at night with very light jigs, using very fast action, very sensitive ultralight spinning rods, and very light lines to be able to feel the strikes. Not only do anglers have to feel when a fish takes the jig and stops or turns, they have to feel when a fish takes the jig and continues swimming towards them. They have to be able to feel the weight and resistance of the jig - and when they no longer feel it, set the hook. However, they are fishing with jigs that may weigh less than a gram (1/32 oz) and have sharply pointed heads - which produce almost no resistance on the retrieve.

The rods feel stiff - surprisingly stiff for a rod rated for no more than 3 lb test line. They have to be relatively stiff to transmit the slightest tic of a bite - or even the sudden lack of the minimal resistance the jig causes coming through the water. A softer rod will absorb rather than transmit that delicate sensory information.

It is a bit surprising at how sensitive they really are. You can clearly feel the strike of a three inch smallmouth bass hitting your jig.

With a somewhat larger fish on the line, though, they bend and they protect the light line!

They are truly amazing rods.

Daiwa Ajing X 68L-S <br>(Solid Tip)Shimano Soare BB Ajing S610LS

Shimano's Soare BB series of rods are entry level, but entry level does not mean low quality. The most noticeable difference between the BB series of Ajing and Mebaru rods and the next level up is that the BB rods weigh a fraction of an ounce more. They are not expensive rods and they offer great value. Where else are you going to find a solid tip JDM rod for $160?

Tenryu Lunakia LK6102S-MLT (top) and LK632S-LMLS (bottom)

At the opposite end of  the spectrum from the entry level Shimano, Tenryu has recently released the 2018 Lunakia rods. They are light, sensitive rods that will register the slightest tap from a fish taking your lure. The LK632S-MLT is a light medium light solid tipped rod for lines up to 3 lb and lures up to 3 grams (about 1/10 oz). The LK6102S-MLT is a medium light tubular tipped rod for lines up to 4 lb and lures up to 5 grams.

Interestingly, Tenryu does not label these rods as being specifically ajing or mebaru rods. They list them as rods for the "Rockfish game" or "Light game" and indicate they are for both aji and mebaru. The solid tipped rod has the very fast, tip action one would expect of an ajing rod, while the tubular tipped rod has the mid flex action one would expect of a mebaru rod.

Tenryu Lunakia LK6102S-MLT grip showing the Nishijin weave.

The Lunakia's Nishijin Weave carbon fiber reel seat is unique to Tenryu. It looks great and provides a nonskid finish.

Mebaru Rods

You will see these rods referred to as Mebaru, Mebaring, Meval and Light Rock Fishing.

Mebaru is a type of salt water fish (actually, three different species of the genus sebastes). Mebaring is fishing for mebaru, just like Ajing is fishing for aji. Meval is a common Google translation of メバル, which is how mebaru is written in Japanese. Light Rock Fishing is a British term for the type of fishing that would cover mebaru fishing.

Shimano Soare BB S700SULS Mebaru RodShimano Soare BB S700SULS Mebaru Rod

In contrast to Ajing rods, which are very fast, tip action rods, Mebaru rods are more mid flex and tend to be softer rods. I note that one American panfish angler who has a number of Ajing and Mebaru rods writes that "Mebaru rods are excellent for crappie and gills. Ajing rods are great for gills but probably really too fast for crappie."

He catches more crappies than I do, so I can't disagree with him regarding aging rods and crappies, but I will definitely agree with him that mebaru rods make excellent bluegill rods. The Shimano Soare BB S700SULS is a sweet rod, with enough backbone to get good hook sets, but a soft enough flex profile that it is just a lot of fun with modest sized bluegills.

Even though the rod is plenty sensitive enough to feel the slightest tap, it has a feature that I really like. The windings for the tip-top and next four guides are painted bright orange. Mebaru fishing is often done at night, but even when fishing for bluegills in the daytime, the bright windings make it very easy to see the rod tip bend even a little from the lightest bite.

Mebaru rods would also be great for trout if someone wanted a longer rod. JDM "area" trout rods range from roughly 5'6" to 6'6" while mebaru rods are generally from 7' up to 8'6".

Not long ago, a guy on the Tackle Tour Ultralight Fishing forum asked for a recommendation for an 8' light or ultralight moderate action spinning rod to fish night crawlers, without split shot, on trout streams. Perhaps he had read my Ultralight Worm Fishing article. The Shimano Soare BB mebaru rod might be just about what he was looking for. It would have the length required to keep much of his line off the water's surface and would have a light enough action to transmit the tap of the bite without alerting the fish. The bright orange windings, combined with a hi-vis line like the Sunline Troutist Area Meister or Troutist Wild would make strike detection easy.

If you want a 7' rod for crappies, this might be the ideal set up: Shimano Soare BB S700SULS rod, Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S reel, Troutist Area Meister 2lb line, Shimano Soare Skiphead or Draghead jigheads and Shimano Soare Momoaji plastics.

It is still a sensitive rod, but you will feel comfortable hooking modest bass as well as crappies.

Shop for Ajing and Mebaru rods.


Warning:

The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.