Archive for Tenkara Kebari

Three of One

Three of One . . .

 

Three Three Three 2016

One of Three: Green Guarantee! (NYC, 2016)

Tenkara = One Fly
Three of One? I can agree to that.

One pattern I may agree upon with allowance for three copies of said one. Three copies: one to fish, one as a backup if the first finds itself lost on fish or, to be most avoided, a snag. The third may be a gift for another angler met along a stream, or around the pond. That third one might also be the one to act as charmed third attached at last to a fish photographed and released humanely, else dispatched humanely, promptly, for shore lunch on or off the water.

Reasonable Compromise.

The one I carry most often remains the Green Guarantee, here displayed in trio with fun flea market finds. The American Buffalo nickel and Mercury dime circulated America in general when weighted hair streamers held simple and effective reputation. Archiving and philosophizing and tying attentive to all strata of the legacy from the vise remains complemented in parallel to the interest in the age of bronze, silver, and gold American coinage

Fly patterns and numismatics both share a small scale, a quality of materials rendered artfully within the frame of little physical space. Minor major wonder the two connect for me, this coming from the guy who penned Small Fry: The Lure of the Little.

Connected hobbies, activities: similar investments in a happy future on and off the water. The two tethered today make one happy indoors during a span of almost extreme weather; a cold rain drenches the city this day after sustained surface winds set at the speed of storm. Strange how the frigid air blew below an almost white sun above a bluebird sky filled with cloud of the purest white condensation, cloud marching as well, yet seemingly slower than the headlong gale off the Hudson River.

Actual angling must come later, sometimes.

 

– rPs 04 04 2016

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Minted in March

Minted in March . . .

 

Two for a Cent (NYC 03 2016)

Two for a Cent
(NYC 03 2016)

“Two for a Cent” is an early short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The author describes with a mannered eloquence the ember at the end of a lit cigarette. That scene from a mellow night remains one of my favorite descriptive passages in American Literature.

My essential pattern, the “one fly” for the tenkara fishing I most often do, begins with The Green Guarantee, two of which are pictured above with a wheatie from Fitzgerald’s era. Coins and fly patterns model well together and give me a chance to combine two of my interests in a single frame. As for the pattern, its universal color and shape viewed from a fish’s underneath perspective, dressed in fur and feather activated by motion though water, attracts all of the pond’s residents at some various points in the season, including season’s start.

 

Fifty Cents for a Quarter Dozen? (03 2016)

Half Dollar for a Quarter Dozen?
(03 2016)

 

“Half Dollar for a Quarter Dozen” is a possible title of three Muddy Moreblack arranged with an American half dollar to scale. The Muddy Moreblack continues the use of the double consonant and offers a pun on the mirrored famous last name of an acclaimed guitarist whose band’s music I hear played on fly shop playlists all the time.

This pattern matches tan and black on a size 6 or 8 streamer hook and, being weighted, smokes under the water. The effect conveys the colors of late winter, something waking, emerging from the water bottom’s silt and leaf litter. The dobsonfly nymph, hellgrammite, crayfish, and stonefly all the Muddy Moreblack may be. The pattern worked along banks, within the sticks that dropped those bottom leaves, can produce the one earned fish of a day when sudden sun chases the fishes from more open areas.

Freshwater fishes may suspend in tough spots as a defense mechanism. The clustering of various species of Centrarchidae also brings to mind an expression of conscious social interaction. May such gatherings be a fishes’ summit to plan the following growing season? Perhaps territories within the pond’s perimeter are hashed out here with the whiskered bullhead given free reign along the bottom and the entirety patrolled by a few scattered schools of carp prone to basking just out of conventional and fly casting distance.

Carp have been nowhere to be seen during the Ides of March. Sudden sun and warmth during the winter to spring transition has pushed New York’s sunfishes down or into what dense shaded cover may exist so early in the season. Fallen trees and a nest of limber overhangs then present the long fly rod throwing a line a more complex scenario. The fishes, still hovering, appear to challenge:

“Catch us if you can!”

 

"Catch Us if You Can!" (NYC 03 2016)

“Catch Us if You Can!”
(NYC 03 2016)

 

I did.

 

Bluegill (NYC 03 2016)

Bluegill
(NYC 03 2016)

 

Minted in March Black Crappie (NYC 03 2016)

Black Crappie
(NYC 03 2016)

 

Sunfish the color of a penny nestled in the sticks. Black crappie as iridescent as a silver coin.

Minted in March: Season’s Start

– rPs 03 18 2016

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Flies in February

Flies in February . . .

 

There sits on one of my windowsills a squat glass jar capped in gold. February finds this once full glass filling again.

 

Interests and the path spreading like branches follows evolving passion even in the face of an other’s suggestions. I do incorporate experiments and techniques from and with friends, yet I avoid the net of orthodoxy by remaining as much as a lone cat as I can.

 

Two patterns from the vice beside the windowsill are small enough to fit a few on the cap of gold:

 

Partridge and Olive

 

Partridge and Olive Size 12 (2016)

Partridge and Olive
Size 12
(2016)

 

Heerl and Deer

 

Herl and Deer Size 12 (2016)

Herl and Deer
Size 12
(2016)

 

Tenkara Kebari all but for orientation of the hackle. As the remainder of the recipes fall in line with orthodox Tenkara Kebari I pause, side with majority rule in regards to the fundamental composition of each pattern, and I acknowledge there exists a kind of “Reformed Branch” of Tenkara, too. This branch I do practice with attention to balance.

 

Both kebari patterns fish well in my favorite waters; confidence driven by the constant elements: sparseness, natural speckled hackle, and body iridescence.

 

— rPs 02 05 2016

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One Fly for the Tenkara Holidays

One Fly for the Tenkara Holidays . . .

 

TTMP Clan Green Guarantee 12 2015

“Six Green Guarantee!” (NYC 12 2015)

1.

Gift giving. Among anglers the act can be a delicate wade on slippery surfaces. Some people may even take offense as far as viewing an offer as a hard press unwanted.

Gift giver I may be. The acceptance of a fly pattern example, a kebari, perhaps as a holiday present, a simple gift from a friend or acquaintance who ties is, when from me, an act and an artifact of interaction akin to a card: business, birthday, or holiday.

If the gift offered comes in duplicate, or more, fish the fly! Mix the gift pattern with your own for the classic swing or two in a flow’s current seam.

“Tenkara is One Fly Fishing” has been offered as a koan, as well as a sales absorbing orthodoxy, yet I have met masters who swing tandem soft hackles on a long furled leader with the grace of every other magician who has penned a trout treatise.

One Fly. The inquiry begs an absolute or other from every voice. Is there an answer . . . yet?

Meanwhile, fish that gift fly, or deconstruct the recipe for future fun with one fly on the water.

 

2.

When the good wine flows as fast as a pocket water flow, one knows many more than expected have arrived. Plenty of guests made a party for the NYC Tenkara Club in Manhattan, New York City. A table appointed well greeted the second floor guest at Orvis, 489 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. Saddle hackles hung in rows and a white screen displayed slide show views of tenkara fisheries and fishers employed with a variety of matched tackle. Adam Klag displayed tenkara rods short and light along longer models capable of tangling with major Cyprinidae.

Respected voices filled the space with Q&A and useful demonstrations of tackle management.

“What About One Fly?”

There it was, then. The Question.

I refer to my Tenkara Fly Code first shared in May of 2012:

https://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2012/05/01/a-tenkara-fly-code/

That is my “Fly Box Flashback” for the close of December, 2015.

Time since New York City’s tenkara public meeting has since been spent with irony tying multiple patterns. So far from One Fly has been in part inspired by this recent gathering of tenkara angling kin. If I were a cub reporter and copy editor in attendance on December 8, I would have titled my reportage:

Tenkara Takes Manhattan

. . . the i-RON-y.

– rPs 12 14 2015

 

Postscript: My 2015 holidays season’s tenkara gift suggestions and recommendations in random order:

Crooked Lines by Dominic Garnett

http://dgfishing.co.uk/product/crooked-lines/

Nissin Flying Dragon Carp Rod at Tenkara Bum

http://www.tenkarabum.com/nissin-flying-dragon-carp-rod.html

Simple Flies by Morgan Lyle

http://www.amazon.com/Morgan-Lyle/e/B0196QS5OG/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Tenkara Flies by Anthony Naples

http://www.tenkarabum.com/anthony-naples-tenkara-flies.html

fallons angler issue 4

http://fallonsangler.net/product/fallons-angler-issue-4/

 

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Late Autumn Is December

Late Autumn Is December . . .

 

The Creek in Late Autumn 2015.

The Creek in Late Autumn 2015.

 

They are like memories, ghosts now, some of my friends living still in mind. I see them there when walking a floor of brown leaves over cold mud in misted woods. I see them as well along the gravel path beside a pond reflecting fluttering gold foliage beneath an international blue sky.

I go on, move on an impulse, a grip on the day for a run in the park, some park, somewhere. One time I went into the clear air, saw brown bark of trees, and a blue sky as it does remain bright at autumn’s end. Here, where the fall season is near to being spent, rests in December. The last annual living color breaks away on a breeze. Time shifts, accelerated states, dressed as the city in colors of stone and bark and cloudless sky. Wind more braced blasts through, some days, after a few drawn in mist quite still.

Fishing would present a passage of challenge as I waded along and into browning fields. Stands of trees, copses, work one’s way in patches to a bank worthy of a skater’s exercise. I followed animal’s trail in misted early light. I tracked hide and seek with a young buck of four points. My camera provided one blurred memory.

The stream banked in brown, tan. Stands of Teasel crowned at the end of their bloom offered regal spiked silhouettes drawn by rising sun. The pool stretched long and slow, a rare section of a creek running low at the base of a still hollow. I swung the Green Guarantee along the seam where drowned brown oak leaves met clean gravel and small stones. Water not too tannin, though low, far lower than in past years.

Fishing. A Fallfish struck with two shakes of the head above water. As silver as a tarpon and strong. Three runs up and down flashing copper fins and white belly. Drawn to the net, wet, for a fifteen second photo session before release.

Scales of the Fallfish reflect light as off an uncirculated silver coin. I once found a silver half dollar in the rain, on the lawn of a curb. John F Kennedy was the President pictured in bust profile. So, too, the Fallfish posed for a portrait in net in the cold flow of the creek:

 

Like Coinage. Green Guarantee. Late Autumn 2015

Like Coinage.
Green Guarantee.
Late Autumn 2015

 

Release your fish before they become jittery and you are even competitors.

The Fallfish, Semotilus corporalis, the native, authentic native fish of some American streams, the fish here before the men from the east who were subsumed by the invasive and immigrant people of the west. Another fish, the Cod, drew those same people who have become today’s Americans. The Fallfish welcomed my Green Guarantee, like money, that wonderful binding glue. We agreed, met in the middle, supported by a net. The symbolism was a lived occurrence too compelling not to share.

That’s as far as I go into politics.

Fallfish luster in the net. One learns, too, that down leaves, brown, rest like scales slippery upon a solid clay and gravel bank. Slip they make you do, like ice, but in a more creaking kind of way. The thin ice, of course, it already encrusts the layered leaves in the aged autumn cold. Stand back up, cast again.

I appreciate the utility of vibram soles in such environments.

Behold! A Fish. A photograph. One of Two. One Fallfish, the second and final of the day, fought off my Green Guarantee, weighted and swung, near the center of a long run hip high. “Bonefish set to scale!” I heard myself. “Tenkara! Fly Fishing. Green Guarantee.” Amazement continued.

— rPs 12 08 2015

 

Postscript: One last one for Ketan Ben Caesar. Rest In Stream. Graziare.

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Better Late

Better Late . . .

Low Water: September

Low Water: September

The clay bank, high and vertical, gives way at intervals over time. Trees do follow. The other side, temporarily bridged by timber, emerges as a shallow grade of washed gravel and cobblestone. Low water, dry stones, holding sprouts of green in the shallows and cracks. Crayfish abound in the back puddles as do nymphs of caddis, mayflies, and dragonflies.

Riffles call for some kebari pale and fluffy to the casual eye. Many tenkara anglers tie and fish one fly only. September finds me most often opening the wallet or bottle for one best knotted onto 6x or 7x tippet: a primitive September Trico Spinner of black thread and rabbit on a curved hook in some size between 18 and 22. Another choice would be a size 16 or 18 dry fly hook dressed in Olive and Rabbit with or without a thorax of Peacock Herl: the September White Wing X Caddis. A streamer for slower water and meatier game goes to my standard Green Guarantee, size 6, 8, or 10. The body of Leech Yarn gives the Bucktail added motion, as this fly begs to be twitched and animated in authentic tenkara fashion.

September Trico Spinner

September Trico

September White Wing X Caddis

September White Wing X Caddis

Green Guarantee

Green Guarantee

My target, the quarry, this time became the fallfish, Semotilus corporalis, the grayling of the Mid-Atlantic states. Ones of size, like a fish I just encountered along a freestone creek over Labor Day Weekend, gives dry fly fishing an ultimate experience. The fish, strong, attractive, over a foot in length, sipped in a size 18 September Trico, one tied in a Manhattan flat.

“The grayling of the Mid-Atlantic states.”

The other fish of late summer, the Smallmouth Bass, Micropterus dolomieu, made its presence known to me on the very next cast. This one fell for a Green Guarantee tied on after sighting a smallmouth bass twice the size of the one in net.

Smallmouth Bass: September

Smallmouth Bass: September

More fallfish and smallmouth followed into a still evening that grew at a quicker pace than in July. A few deer showed off white tail and flushed. The green canopy held a dark gray where rays of sun once streamed. By the bank, the spot where I chose to cross for home, came first a pause for a large snapping turtle. Slow, dark and cragged, a small dinosaur, basically, cruised down the steam’s middle lane until the turn for a tree fallen and half submerged.

Turtle, home.

For me, above the opposite bank, began the walk down a gravel road toward town.

Angler, prepared to say: “Better late . . .”

– rPs 09 15 2015

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Tippets and Tibbetts

Tippets and Tibbetts . . .

 

Tibbetts Brook (06 2015)

Tibbetts Brook
(06 2015)

 

George Tippett, a colonial loyalist, lost his land where a major skirmish in alliance with native tribes was waged against the British crown during the American Revolution. The battle was lost, the war was won. The outcome turned the land over and again, a name alteration emerged into a new standard, and land acquisition through marriage came to Jacobus Van Cortlandt.

Tibbetts Brook flows, rather meanders, meanders down through a forested vein in The Bronx. Two parks: Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt, give the northern frontier of New York City freshwater fishing as close as the salt of the Hudson River where the striped bass swims.

Water Lily, Spatterdock, and sediment flats offer a few fit and fat Centrarchidae with an appetite. Females, finished doing duty and ready for a meal, make up the bulk of the menu in June. Scattered few have fallen for a kebari. Others have been and may be in future flushed by frisky waterfowl or a passing cyclist if one pauses to inquires “How’s the fishing?” or “Catch any?” The most polite individual encountered, the one I ally with, is instead the semiaquatic genus Ondontra. The only one of its kind, the Muskrat deserves a most elevated status for its humble, pleasant nature and mild, herbivorous ways.

Calm water, or perhaps rippled from a sustained breeze, both enjoy the presence of the solitary bass of several pounds lurking below. Patterns may take the form of a size 6 Green Guarantee streamer or perhaps a kebari of a different kind, such as the foam Panfish Spider. Experiments on the latter pattern using all game feather and fur remain ongoing and make for awesome time at the vise.

Tippet, here in 2015, takes the form of three to six feet of 4x monofilament knotted to a twelve foot Level Line or Traditional Tapered Line. The less opaque Level Line makes a better choice in skinny water and finds itself used more often for this fly fishing. The line and leader formula gives a surging bass of three pounds sporting opportunity to break free into cover. Fishes with a face full of weed can come with this territory, making a stiffer 7/3 flex like that of the Tenkara USA Yamame rod a prudent choice.

Fights are fun, and fishes landed by bending rod and body in the protracted wrestle strike the profile of a true football. Nerf nerds might appreciate a comparison in the mix as well. A female, long and muscled, at this time of year will feel deflated and seem somewhat airy next to an earlier one heavy with eggs, the kind of bass an angler with a soul let rest, as she is best then left alone.

Aggressive females: the after party is a second story. Hungry, collected, they strike if presented a morsel of opportunity during a cruise in open water. A big girl emerges from cover with a slow, confident pulse that excites. Casting form may suffer from adrenaline jitters unless absolute focus is maintained.

The female Largemouth Bass now wants to bite, to pounce on prey lingering too far from a green algae mat or lily pad or stand of pickerel weed. The pond permit, the Bluegill, shares the pattern. Olive and silver in tone with distinct vertical bars, the ladies inhale a fly, hold it in mouth often without the hook penetrating, making release easy if forceps have been brought along.

 

Aggressive Female Bluegill (06 2015)

Aggressive Female Bluegill
(06 2015)

 

Meanwhile, male Centrachidae are too busy to bite. Young bucks are swift, nimble, and chase instead of take. Try your best. The men are interested in pushing you away, not pulling. Noses nudge a fly pattern along, far away from nests full of fry, far from from a potential hook set. Smart behavior expressed by strong fish.

From bottom to top, from end to end, full fishing reportage takes at minimum a full day to cover. The explorer angler’s hike, jog, or bike best includes some time in between to stop and read the informative historical markers and enjoy the wildflowers. Tippett’s land has changed, as has the legacy of his name. Still, scattered spots along this namesake brook in the Bronx may offer encounter with the kind of Largemouth Bass that can begin and end a memorable day in one respectable cast.

 

A size 8 Panfish Spider lured this solid female largemouth bass to the top. (06 2015)

A size 8 Panfish Spider lured this solid female largemouth bass to the top.
(06 2015)

– rPs 06 12 2015

Postscript: In Memory of Andrew Victor Amici, United States Navy, 1950-2015

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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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Tenkara & Sabiki

Tenkara & Sabiki . . .

Sabiki: pencils on paper (04 2015)

Sabiki: pencils on paper
(04 2015)

Sabiki rigs employ another Japanese method of catching fish. Perhaps some variation might be employed using a tenkara rod? Last year’s toe dip into the world of saltwater panfishing proved tenkara equipment was up to the challenge.

A Typical Sabiki Rig

A Typical Sabiki Rig

Stay tuned for more reportage from the salt. Meanwhile, traditional tenkara kebari remain a model for some of my sketches-in-progress.

Kebari Model and Sketch (04 2015)

Kebari Model and Sketch
(04 2015)

— rPs 04 30 2015

Postscript: Here is a link to last year’s initial foray into saltwater tenkara: https://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2014/07/25/the-salt-on-the-level/

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Swegman’s Sunfish Catches A Fish

Swegman’s Sunfish Catches A Fish . . .

Swegman's Sunfish

Swegman’s Sunfish

Swegman’s Sunfish lured Lepomis with orange breasts to match the twitch, hooked, and tethered to a hook holding hair rather than feather.

Swegman's Sunfish Angle

Swegman’s Sunfish Angle

Will mention also another mention of the Green Guarantee:

Green Guarantee Incite Bluegill

Green Guarantee Incite Bluegill

As well as the smaller Deer and Green soft hackle:

Deer and Green Incite Bluegill

Deer and Green Incite Bluegill

Green guaranteed even as the NYC region remains brown.

– rPs 04 13 2015

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