I've spent the past few days preparing for a summer's worth of work guiding tenkara trips for RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service, my second fledgling career, and my second season at RIGS. There's much to do. Gear to be packed, food to be dehydrated, last-minute household chores to complete, equipment to be mended, and new pieces of kit to eyeball for testing.
Ah, gear testing! One of the little tasks that's always in the background. I have a laundry list of gear that I'll be testing over the summer. Gear that fits into backpacking and backpack angling, tenkara style. Lightweight, compact stuff. Purpose-driven, no-nonsense stuff.
First up is my new fixed-blade knife, an ESEE Izula II. I've owned a Becker Necker (model BK11) for a few years, and it's been a great little neck knife. However, even after adding a pair of really nice canvas micarta scales, it still was a little short in the handle and had a bit too much belly for easily slipping the blade into the smooth, wet bowels of a trout.
Enter the ESSEE Izula II. This won't be the full-on review, but I just want to say that this little knife will receive a full summer's worth of testing in the backcountry. It has already impressed me with the size and fit of the handle, which is longer and fits my hand better than the BK11. Last night I started testing it in my kitchen, cutting up all the ingredients for a batch of Patrick Smith's Wild Casserole. That was only the beginning, so stay tuned! I have kindling to shave, trout to clean, fires to spark into life, snowshoe hares to dismember, and perhaps a cow elk to field dress. The Izula II will be put to the task on all of that and more.
My new ESEE Izula II after cutting up two pounds of venison.
The Izula II sliced through veggies like butter. Just right.
ESEE Izula II (bottom) alongside my Becker Necker (top) for comparison.
So, summer is starting, and so is my time guiding tenkara trips and living in the backcountry for a couple of months. I have much to do, high country to explore, and quality gear to wring out. Yahoo!