Archive for Tenkara Gear

Josetsu in July

Josetsu in July . . .

Answer in Hand
(NYC 07 12 2017)

How do you catch a catfish with a gourd?

Tenkara

Catfish like the black bullhead will be a game opponent in summer if one waits for lower light and goes slow on the presentation speed. Evening lifts the direct sun off the lake and Ameiurus melas returns from the lake’s deeper places, the sinks and channeled centers, onto the flats, shallows where lily pads and branches attract diverse creature protein.

Bullhead Abode
(NYC 07 12 2017)

Places storied as the same of the bass and other sunfish. The approach best calm, cautious, the fly, for me my one fly; a Green Guarantee kebari pattern, one that earlier lured a bluegill from the same end of the lake.

This plump pond permit flattened my Green Guarantee.
(NYC 07 12 2017)

Slowed to a crawl, patience through repetition gets to be rewarded by a sudden tug, the shake of the head that compels the wrist to lift, set, find a fish on the line.

July evenings may find the finned to be a black bullhead catfish. Whenever I see this fish family’s end game wrestle about the surface, I see the whiskers, and smile.

We two, this fish and this fisher, are quite alike, even in the face.

Nature. Found. Naturally.

Josetsu and the elder shogunate clans, I hope, approve.

Black Bullhead the size of a zucchini . . . GOURD.
(NYC 07 12 2017)

Arigato gozaimas!

zazen . . .

rPs 07 21 2017

 

Postscript: Revisit my first reference to Josetsu here, at TTM, circa April 2012:

https://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2012/04/20/the-answer-tenkara/

 

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December’s End of the Line

December’s End of the Line . . .

Blue Friday Tapered tenkara line excels with a girth hitch. (NYC 12 0 2016)

Blue Friday
The silk end of a tapered tenkara line excels with a girth hitch.
(NYC 12 02 2016)

 

End of the Line

 

There is no decree,

Always though words far and wise;

An ocean in size.

 

The water is free

When you are lucky as we,

See to shining sea.

 

Pass on the noose knot.

No need to see or see not.

You just have to be.

 

–  rPs 12 02 2016

 

Postscript: Holiday Fishing Forecast is Festive!

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Tenkara Reigns

Tenkara Reigns . . .

Tenkara Reigns Here (05 2016)

Tenkara Reigns Here
(05 2016)

Several thousand words may be contained in photographs from two days in May. Tenkara reigns at such times in such places as this average freestone trout stream fished first under full sun and bluebird sky, followed the next day by a bright gray ceiling of cloud shedding passing short showers.

Ben Feezer from R.D.O. Marketing, Inc. had earlier in the season dropped off a Fisherman’s Combo forcep-nipper-zinger-retractor set that found itself stream tested on the bank besides small glades of blooming Mayapple and in the steady stream somewhat higher than felt over the past few seasons of more feeble flows. The T-Reign nippers came into frequent use during fly pattern tests. Both 6x and 7x tippet require a tight, precise bite, which the T-Reign provided in a baker’s dozen hours on the water.

T-REIGN Pinned In Place (05 2016)

T-REIGN Pinned In Place
(05 2016)

T-REIGN nipper and small retractor (carabiner) clipped the tag end of the knot attached to this size 14 Partridge and Olive. (05 2016)

T-REIGN nipper and small retractor (carabiner) along with size 14 Partridge and Olive.
(05 2016)

The first day, bright, clear, just a bit bit breezy, still allowed dry fly fishing as three different mayfly emerged. The March Brown, what looked to be a Hendrickson best matched by a size 18 Adams, and a very few large Sulphers.

Dry Fly Fished Upstream (05 2016)

Dry Fly Fished Upstream
(05 2016)

Deer and Herl unweighted met many sips from fallfish feeding in the surface film of the flow. The Green Guarantee and one of Ira Hainick’s Killer Bug variations met with steady interest from the same school.

This fallfish fell for this variation of Ira Hainick's Killer Bug. (05 2016)

Ira Hainick’s Killer Bug: This fallfish fell for it.
(05 2016)

Some attentive observations prove to happen in repetition in enough frequency to be at least called a pattern. One of my own: selectivity imbues the few scattered trout pods surviving the year’s spring stocking. Such hardy fish may take just two or three positions along a mile’s length of suitable stream. Deep runs or pools may be just as well as the deceptive, flat, moderate runs that get overlooked by angler’s seeking obvious honey holes. This handful of pooled spots  and riffled runs may hold one to several rainbow, brook, or brown trout, but usually rainbow. Fish acclimated to the conditions and natural forage of the given creek, fish able to survive the predator angler in stream as well as  the heron and the hawk spiraling, almost as if wrestling, in the open air above.

One of those naturals is the mayfly. March Brown hatch in May as does the Gray Fox, a variation now lumped in with the former by more formal entomology. To my impression the Gray Fox is the smaller, size 16 March Brown mayfly somewhat translucent of wing sustaining a body tan trending toward the grey.

The Hatch (05 2016)

The Hatch
March Brown
(05 2016)

The Hatch Black Tadpoles (05 2016)

The Hatch
Black Tadpoles
(05 2016)

The Hatch Fish Fry Bait Ball (05 2016)

The Hatch
Fish Fry Bait Ball
(05 2016)

The Muddy Moreblack matched some aspects of the natural(s) encountered. The body color of the March Brown, the overall black of the tadpoles bunched up in still stream side puddles, and the silvered profiles of fish fry gathered in balls as tight as is seen in the salt.

The Match Muddy Moreblack (05 2016)

The Match
Muddy Moreblack
(05 2016)

The wet fly pattern, worked with slow rise and fall motions by the limber Ebisu rod, resulted in two strikes at different times and one trout in net. I attribute this catch to the location, the deep run of the trout’s holding lie beside a submerged boulder and a knot of tree roots in combination along the bank, for it was in just this one place I netted a selective arco iris this time out.

The Trout (05 2016)

The Trout
(05 2016)

Yes, that is a crack in my hardwood Brodin net. Another, out of view, is already bound in duct tape.

Good gear gets used. The Tenkara USA Ebisu continues to be my chief tenkara tool. The Brodin net weathers well and endures to hold humanely the struggles of the fish I have been able to catch. Redington Palix River pant waders and Korkers Greenback boots make my moderate thigh high wades easier, and The T-REIGN nipper with carabiner, new and proven, is attached even now to a vest owned and operated by my wife, Maryann. Happy marriage allows us to take such sharing turns.

“Tenkara Reigns.” The sentence of two words popped into my mind as precise as the bite of of the T-REIGN nipper, the casting action of the TUSA Ebisu tenkara rod, the decisive take of the holdover rainbow trout. There, the pun is left not to be avoided, if I “May” now that it is June.

— rPs 06 03 2016

Postscript: Learn more about T-REIGN Retractable Outdoor Products here:  http://t-reignoutdoor.com/

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“Let Me Go”

“Let Me Go”

 

Home to a Swan Prospect Park Lake (12 30 2015)

Home to a Swan
Prospect Park Lake
(12 30 2015)

The news of the passing of Ian Fraser Kilmister, Lemmy, hit me as hard as his pulverizing yet melodic bass solo on “Stay Clean” – the Motörhead track that has fueled my final kick during many a road race. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, bearing the news of this loss in a year full of it, including childhood role model, Leonard Nimoy, my own friends, John Mutone and Ketan Ben Caesar, and extended family, my uncle Andrew Amici and grandmother Marie Amici, there was only one thing I could do to find peace.

British angler Dominic Garnett helped to point the way. I have just received his new book of stories, Crooked Lines, in the mail and a recent post on his blog of the same name describes “Casting into the Wind” along gray canals lined by dry, tan reeds. That angling image offered me some light.

“Let me go,” I said to myself. “Fishing.”

I decided to repeat last year’s example with a visit to Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn. Unlike the bright and blue day I enjoyed at the close of 2014, the weather this time was gray, cold, with a hanging damp in the air. The lake sat gray and calm, the surrounding woods brown and still. The light tan of the shoreline reeds offered the only warm color to the scene, which was quiet but for the bird song of coots, geese, ducks, and gulls.

With the theme of “Letting Go” floating in mind, the decision seemed natural for me to also relax the rigidity in my fishing approach by bringing along a conventional nine-foot 5-weight matched with a floating line. The idea was to compare and contrast the equipment with my Ebisu tenkara rod with traditional furled line to learn how my casting (and hopefully, catching) may have evolved after four years spent focused on stillwater tenkara.

The lesson learned to my experience is I now cast rod and line better. I find myself entering into that easy rhythm of The Zone much more easily than before tenkara came to my attention. I fished the 5-weight in a fixed line manner, lifting line and leader off the water with very little use of the reel or stripping in of line. Slow swimming lifts were used to bring my size 8 Green Guarantee home to the bank.

 

Ebisu in the Winter Reeds (12 30 2015)

Ebisu in the Winter Reeds
(12 30 2015)

 

What's This!?! Conventional 5-weight for comparative fly fishing. (12 30 2015)

What’s This!?!
Conventional 5-weight for comparative fly fishing.
(12 30 2015)

 

Fishing? Yes. Fish? I missed one light tug on the Ebisu. I switched to another section of the lake where I brought the 5-weight into action. Like last year, during the last hour of light, a connection was at last made.

Not a perch, not like last year. This time something intercepted the fly along the far edge of some reeds where a few sunken branches also projected. Slow and solid, the taker pulled in rippled descending waves of resistance. The rod bent in a deep way as the fish, a large black crappie, rolled, splashed, and at last reached the surface and the mouth of my beaten but unbroken Brodin net.

 

The Best, The Last, 2015 Black Crappie (12 30 2015)

The Best, The Last, 2015
Black Crappie
(12 30 2015)

 

One fish, a nice one, allowed one more catch, photo, and release for 2015. Finished, the fish darted from my underwater grip. The sky had become noticeably darker. Low clouds began to roll in and my breath steamed. As I had been reminded far too many times over the course of this year, time races more than passes. “Letting Go” is necessary.

 

“Let me go,” I said to myself. “Home.”

– rPs 12 31 2015

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The Girth Hitch

The Girth Hitch . . .

 

When Is A Knot Not? 07 2015

When Is A Knot Not?
(07 2015)

 

When is a knot not? The knot of and in itself, an infinite loop object, that meets the immovable object. The Lillian end, the knotted silk tip of a tenkara rod, offers its utility of simplicity to the loop as one meets the other in an essential equally blended architecture.

The Girth Hitch; this one gives traditional tapered line, with its silken loop and double helix weave, an impressive connection to a tenkara rod’s tip. The head yank of the trout and the pounce of the bass all require secure connection: The Girth Hitch.

 

***

“The Girth Hitch Gives Hedge. “

I pointed to the glass countertop, passed an open hand over the open tube with its cap set to the side, the rod, and the rod’s tip plug set aside on the unknotted sock. Father and Son, their eyes followed my hand like two in study of a wily card trick magician. “The tenkara rod held in this travel tube makes a great academic introduction to flycasting types and rod action as it relates to the artificial fly.”

Father and son were entertained. The flybox was clipped closed.

“Tether the three together. Rod, Line, Fly: The Angler Knots, my pun on tethered astronauts. Your main option here out may well be the line. I am on the level when I say I’m happy to see you have started with traditional tapered.”

Father asked for more, suggested as his son hugged a stuffed toy snook. “The black line looks like one on a largemouth bass.”

We knew local pond water offered plenty of largemouth bass and sunfish. “Have fun. Use the pattern your son insisted upon. Yours, right?”

The son hugged snook and raised up his free thumb. Thumbs up.

Several hours later the father emailed a photo: youngster, smiling, tenkara rod perpendicular, line tight to a grip holding up a planed hand of barred brass and blue. “Tenkara Bluegill.”

The Girth Hitch (07 2015)

The Girth Hitch
(07 2015)

 

“Small Fry” . . .

– rPs 07 29 2015

Postscript: Small Fry: The Lure of the Little

The Whitefish Press

http://www.whitefishpress.com/bookdetail.asp?book=87

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Fry-Ron-P-Swegman/dp/0984267700/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260539926&sr=1-3

 

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Trout 3, Ebisu 1

Trout 3, Ebisu 1 . . .

 

Eastern PA Trout Stream (05 2015)

Eastern PA Trout Stream
(05 2015)

 

Streams that for whatever reason hold a sparse number of trout, perhaps two or three per mile, can make even a stocked trout fishery a challenge tenkara can handle.

Handle of pine: the Ebisu this time out. The 12-foot rod’s more limber 5/5 flex allowed tighter casts within side channels the width of city sidewalks. Runs walled by spring green, everything from tenacious native saplings to the shallow-rooted immigrant Japanese Knotweed.

 

Side Channel Drift (05 2015)

Side Channel Drift
(05 2015)

 

The traditional tapered line with six feet of 6X tippet landed soft hackles and nymphs with stealth along promising seams. The pine handle gives the Ebisu the feel of a baseball bat tapering to a 1-weight graphite tipped with a matching fly line.

 

Pointing In The Trout's Direction: Ebisu, Line Holder, Traditional Tapered Line (05 2015)

Pointing In The Trout’s Direction:
Ebisu, Line Holder, Traditional Tapered Line
(05 2015)

 

The Philadelphia Phillies, hosting the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, in that order, brought me to Philadelphia for a few days. Valley Creek, French Creek, and Pickering Creek were nearby. The Wissahickon, The Schuylkill, and The Pennypack were within range. Waters borne on the pages of Philadelphia on the Fly and Small Fry: The Lure of the Little.

What mattered more than destination this time was the full fishing experience with all of its supporting details. Spring fishing offers riparian zones flush with wildflowers and songbirds and streams, some marginal at other times of the year, now with trout, holdovers, survivors from the weeks following the opener.

Reports of “little black stoneflies” were replaced by the actual witness to a few scattered rising Hendricksons approximated by a size 14. Forage of the moment took many, more meaty, forms: tiny black tadpoles, parent frogs, crayfish, and earthworms all were sighted in and along several streams. The flows were solid, clear, and warmer than expected given the long winter that had encased the Northeast in snow for three months.

My India Hen and Herl and Silver Ribbed Deer Hair and Black soft hackles in size 12 fit just as well a hatchling tadpole. They were that small; the squiggling creature’s head and tail resembled a comma.

 

The Ronnie Cash: Soft Hackles Dressed In Black (05 2015)

The Ronnie Cash:
Soft Hackles Dressed In Black
(05 2015)

 

Both patterns worked.

Trout, the simple fins to face direct encounter, were few. Again, these were scattered survivors of the opener. Natural forage was on their menu. Artificial colors and sweeteners had been by now learned to be avoided. Imitation, a general for the surveyed stream forage, called for some personal combination of thread, feather, perhaps fur and various glitter of some material, the blacker, the better.

Tussles on the Ebisu were strong, yet static, a kind of slow motion take that saw trout drop the fly three out of four times along two wades of a mile and back.

One rainbow in the net serves posterity enough. One rainbow a caudal fin short of a foot. The fish landed, and all the fish lost, were appreciated in light of the effort involved to lure their strikes.

 

Rainbow Trout (05 2015)

Rainbow Trout
(05 2015)

 

Insights on fly pattern awareness, as well as sightings of Baltimore orioles in full song and flight, wildflowers like the Mayapple, wild Mustards in abundance, plus a single Jack-in the-Pulpit, made a satisfying spring weekend of baseball and fly fishing that ended: Trout 3, Ebisu 1.

– rPs 05 13-14 2015

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Yamame Yama-MAY

Yamame Yama-MAY: A Tenkara Rod Review . . .

Yamame and Bluegill (photo taken 05 21 2014)

Yamame and Bluegill (photo taken 05 21 2014)

Discourse on my equipment folds into most of my written accounts of tenkara fly fishing. One has seen new water, new species of fishes, and why not, now a new written form on an important subject: the tenkara rod: a review.

Yamame
Tenkara USA
12 ft; 360 cm
7/3 flex
$139.00 US
http://www.tenkarausa.com/shop/product_info.php/products_id/35?osCsid=2d00b1ec198ec793a2d8703aefad9f14

The Yamame provided my fishing with three new doors to open and explore beyond:

One, the grip of cork
Two, the 7/3 flex
Three, the matte finish

The third of the three is my preferred place to begin. The amateur photographer I am has come to prefer prints on matte paper. Softer, impressionistic: depth is felt as well as perceived. The similar texture of this rod, along the grain of sanded wood or smooth limestone, breaks up the light, softens the reflection. Yamame appears much like a curved branch overhanging the water. I am convinced the glint from a gloss finish meeting direct sunlight creates an attention target for at least the alpha fish, focused forward on alert, often already because of insect hatches. This telescoping graphite fishing tool has the color of a dark olive; a limber summer stalk, one attached to a string.

The Lillian on the Yamame is dark brown, unlike the Ebisu, the red Lillian of which resembles a San Juan Worm. To it I use traditional tapered line in all but the most challenging situations, such as line shy trout on a low and clear freestone creek. The simple girth hitch, a knot that knots itself, connects this woven line to the Lillian. The color of the Tenkara USA brand I use casts the same color field as many trout lines by RIO or Royal Wulff. The additional few feet of 5x, 6x, or 7x tippet I use is slip knotted to a short butt of end knotted 12 lb. Trilene. This line and leader formula provides casting and connection capable of reaching and holding strong fish, an insight collected during some tests of the rod’s stiffer flex.

The 7/3 on this 12 ft. rod conveys feel comparable to a fast conventional nine-foot 4-weight of your choice. A noteworthy bluegill can give the PhD defense in landing a strong fish on this tackle. You can also feel a spirited pumpkinseed sunfish holding in its corner of the water. Two visits to my regional heavyweight sunfish lake revealed the extent of the Yamame’s action. I have come to call this time . . .

Yama-MAY

The lake, like most, really, does not give up bigger sunfish except during one period, the pugnacious before and after the spawning time when sunfish’s redds dot the still shallows like polka dots.

My kebari connected first in conjunction with the Yamame is one I call a silver tinsel and natural deer hair simple bucktail. Tied on a Mustad size 12 or 14 streamer hook, dressed sparingly; I use two batches of deer hair, one less than a classic Mickey Finn recipe; my initial role model.

The concept of mini (and micro) streamers includes the Mickey Finn, an idea documented previously at The Global FlyFisher for one example, which involves only a reduction in the standard fly recipe’s size of hook. Streamer meets nymph in scale and looks to match the tightly schooled fish fry that appear like tiny dark squiggles in the shallows.

The simple bucktail kebari knotted to the end of my Yamame rig riled one large female bluegill. The lady sprinted thirty feet three times in three directions like a permit scaled to a farm pond. My left arm high, left palm upturned, in this position began the arm wrestling. I did note the bend of the rod reached a shallower root, not because of the fish, which fought strongly; it’s just the final flex of the Yamame does fall along the third section rather than near the grip as on the 5/5 Ebisu.

Several sunfish added their opinion, many coaxed by a green caddis pupa featuring a sparse soft hackle paired with a bead. This one came courtesy of my colleague, Edwin Valentin: a tyer known more for his saltwater patterns, yet just as adept on the artificial fly for trout.

Mature males (brick red and moss green in hue with strong shoulders) and females (somewhat pale and barred with bellies full of eggs) reached my little Brodin net and lengths adjacent to a foot. Some were two–and-a-half inches (6.5 cm) broad. Pumpkinseed sunfish, smaller, still engaged well in the fray. The catches were released vigorous from my grasp.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Lepomis gibbosus. (Photo taken 05 29 2014)

Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Lepomis gibbosus. (Photo taken 05 29 2014)

The grip of the Yamame features sanded cork at the length consistent with the current standard. Cork is new to my tenkara experience. My own fishing in this style has centered on more of a one-off piece: the short, pine handle and 5/5 wisp of the Tenkara USA Ebisu used exclusively between April of 2012 and April of 2014.

Consistency. Simplicity. Each is the other.

Less pressure resistance from the cork in hand brought the matter of the grip up less than when I used the harder knocking pine of the Ebisu. There is as much, if not a little more, cork in play with the Yamame grip, shaped in a kind of extended yet slightly off-center manner, like a variation on the full wells familiar to conventional salmon and saltwater fly fishers. The shallow concave off-center sits in a sweet spot. Fishing in hand makes easy; I even forgot the difference in grip as an issue before my first outing with the hugegills was over.

Tenkara Impressionism, May

Tenkara Impressionism, May

– rPs 06 06 2014

Postscript. Read about min (and micro) streamers and the Mickey Finn at The Global FlyFisher by following one of these two links:

Mickey Finn

http://globalflyfisher.com/patterns/mickey-finn/

Mini (or Micro) Streamer

http://globalflyfisher.com/streamers/swaps/mini/

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