Archive for Tenkara Philosophy

The Aliving I Do

The Aliving I Do . . .


Hook to Hand: In Memoriam. (NYC 01 2018)

Winter, short days of natural light, on one a free hour to daydream over flies tied and once and for one tethered to a memorable fish brought to hand.

Retired, rowed under the white January light, the patterns, kebari alined in the Flybrary convey a line of gravestones, hand-to battles with individual fish, now in memory, ending well.

Two books in print gives one imagery of grace enough to give away, for a time, useful insight.

Writing, the noun, one encounters antecedents where Albert Camus traces the artist at work, or an artist, Gertrude Stein, who to the end collaged grammar and vocabulary into grand reads.

My first book in hand, dimensions of a collection of poetry. Oh, I forgot to mention in the preface:

“Start steady and seek the click rhythm worked into the prose and the cadence will carry you, ceate one of those satisfying read-in-one-extended-sitting kind of poetic books that Poe, Melville, Dostoyevsky, Kawabata, Camus, and Hesse have delivered.”

My book, at last, delivered and signed for at the cornershop on a July afternoon, picked up by me and back out on the sidewalk I raised copy #1 above the view of the leafy neighboorhood treeline in light sunny yellow and warm: I saw, I witnessed the punctuation mark to a project. I had completed some thing, words separated on purpose, as the thing itself seemed huge, philosophical, existential.

Book in hand, solid rectangle of heavy paper, cultivated, communicated a similar slab: the gravestone.

Yes, books, books you yourself author, are gravestones. Here lies, truths, of an atc lived within the intervals of your creative life.


Yes, it is in the living, at times fishing, and in others kindred, in the documenting of the living in writing and at times select image, rendered, that drives the alive, the aliving I do.

Gertrude Stein, born in West Allegheny, PA, resided in Paris for a majority of her creative life; she wrote a lot.
(NYC 01 2018)

A New Year. 2018

— rPs 01 30 2018



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Blue Trout

Blue Trout . . .

Bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix
(09 2017)

Temperatures have held high in humidity after a cool valley where August met September. Days have become shorter of light.

The seas have been swollen, due to the newsworthy vortices from the south and east. The view is broad, dynamic waves, bass from the raw power of waves that tackle rather than slap.

Time for albies, but before the linesiders, the bigger striped bass of autumn, both fish far too much for tenkara designed for trout. There is from the same jetties some times of clear sky and slack tide in September when the cocktail, quite the snapper in tooth, makes itself vulnerable enough, as in close enough, for successful multiple cast-hook-catch landings in the net.

Number Two Fish, Bluefish
(09 2017)

Tenkara in the salt remains an experiment rewarded. Bluefish of this size fight, the manic headshake like a trout of twenty inches, a trout with teeth. Most small Clouser or Charlie type patterns will lure fish. To land fish, your own skill at the cast in coastal breeze, and in arm wrestling with fish, is up to you.

Silver lining; the view:

Blued View: Bluefish Weather
(9 2017)


— rPs 09 29 2017

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50, Fish Day: Part II

50, Fish Day: Part II . . .

Bridge at 50
(USA 08 2017)


Fifty (50!) found me along a freestone stream. Water flowed, shared with kingfisher and heron, the frog, and a few scattered sulphers in the air.

The forage I chose to imitate through the day was the crayfish. A generic pale mayfly caddis passed the evening.

Before me, evening dawned, at the bridge, covered, once the grand entrance to a mill good for grit. This day, for me, the line of start and finish, explore and fish, the “Where?” spot in my own story met another’s, the baton this time released to a great blue heron, which spread wings, turned, flapped upstream with the carriage of a citzen.

Turned, bridge behind, current carried me from the back. Water clear and cool enough for trout. Scattered rain, drops vertical, under dynamic gray sky, some blue in passing patches.

What here encountered the tenkara scuttle of Green Guarantee and Deer and Herl kebari produced a double digit count of smallmouth bass, sandy or barred, and fallfish, bright as a tarpon, sipping both emerging and emerged.

Smallmouth: Barred
(08 2017)

Smallmouth: Sandy
(08 2017)

Sunset plus one, the hike in hardy wading pants under sky of brick red and blue, my pocket light lit the green marsh path, towing net, vested, kebari art, and tenkara baton down through a dark chapel of trees. The incandescent blue lane above my head lured my eyes up, out, there I glimped a meteor of The Perseids, and smiled.

Bright as a Tarpon:
(08 2017)

— rPs 08 23 2017



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50, Fish Day: Part I

50, Fish Day: Part I . . .


Prospect Park Lake
(NYC 08 08 2017)

Fifty approaches me with little time measured in days to act. My final fish day of my forties presented itself.

When had to be soon. Where was the infinite open question. I chose almost on autopilot on a free weekday. Choice chosen kept it urban, subway and walk to the water and back. My commute: one to the borough of Brooklyn, which I had not yet visited with rod and reel in 2017.

No secret of where remains at this lake in Prospect Park. Facebook groups and other social media, Tenkara Takes Manhattan in full fact, have announced with praise of bass fishing the over fifty surface  acres of water here.

I came in part to continue techniques for bullhead catfish, which I have brought to net here in the unphotographed past. Slow presentations of the Green Guarantee lured the fish, not catfish, both bass, caught at the beginning and at the end like bookends.

Prospect Largemouth
(NYC 08 08 2017)

That balanced outcome hinged on a decision.

The day all day had been cool enough for a summer sweater and benefited from good air. The light breeze left the water by late afternoon, sky set like a painting under a blend of sun and stunning, towering cloud.

I chose the close at a final spot facing west just before the sun dipped behind the park’s treeline. A barbeque party north across the cove set up, took off with island music and the smoke of grills just as I prepared my first cast.

Urban angling in a borough park. I concentrated, landed the fly at the end of a log submerged inches from the surface. The textbook log scenario scored a quick take, hard, weighty, just as the fly blended into subsurface obscurity. A strong run to the right, then back to the log, and gone. The spider’s line of 7X tippet had stretched well enough to keep the fly knotted, yet had not allowed a hook set enough into the bass’s gristled mouth.

The rebound cast, plagued by thought, snagged onto what was more wood below the waterline. There the fly sank deep where it rests even now.

The decision, again, it simply exists over and over. Here, had the universe told me to call it a decade, or did I have enough resolve to apply perseverence into the beyond, like the runner going into uncharted distance, toward the good finish rich in personal symbol and satisfaction?

Amber shades on under setting sun, drum machine high hats tsking in the rear distance, I managed to knot onto my level line another fresh four feet of demanding 7X and a size 8 Green Guarantee.

The second cast back at the log felt a yank bend the repaired Yamame rod into an arch and the fish held me in static stand off. Strong as a snag, the head shake with tip of tail above water followed before a grip of lower lip and a photo: sun setting on the final fish of my forties.

Sunset Prospect
(NYC 08 08 2017)

Largemouth, fitting for a writer of reportage, one brought to hand and released with ethics intact and an A for effort as time passes and blends into a blur into the past, past positive.

— rPs 08 09 2017

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Josetsu in July

Josetsu in July . . .

Answer in Hand
(NYC 07 12 2017)

How do you catch a catfish with a gourd?


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:


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TAE . . .

Thank You. Arigato.
(NYC 05 2017)


Tenkara Advertising Entertainment


-rPs 05 19 2017


Postscript: Featuring The Green Guarantee

by ron P. swegman.

c.2017 by ron P. swegman. all rights reserved.

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5 Yrs.

Five Yrs. . . .

Ebisu Approved
(NYC 04 09 2017)

“Five Years” is the title to the opening track of David Bowie’s necessary masterpiece “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

Five years now marks the amount of time I have spent rendering the topic of tenkara in images and words.  During that time, Bowie has passed, although his music continues to inspire those of us still here, some of us fishing.

Manhattan saw my first use of true telescoping fishing on the fly. Exploration of the island’s fresh and salt fisheries has centered tenkara at my angling core. Rod, Line, Fly = fishing, and fish, more often than not.

The sport has drawn me across the face of New York, as well as Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Washington and Hawaii, waters fresh and salt.

It has been stated countless times in conversation that it takes ten years (or maybe 10,000 hours as in the words of Malcolm Gladwell), that it takes such long time to end up a master of some thing.

“Five Years” begins a great Bowie album.

Perhaps five years ends the beginning of an aspiring tenkara master’s journey path.

Five years ago today I began to offer my own word on tenkara, fishing, fly tying, and adventure, which I then as continue to now find to be a more than fitting, in fact necessary, natural progression of an author whose book Small Fry: The Lure of the Little, published in 2009, coincided in some ways parallel with the bright and enterprising incorporation of Tenkara USA by Daniel Galhardo.

Imagine my happiness, then, to receive in coincidence a copy of Daniel’s new authoritative tenkara book, — “The Book” – on this same 5th anniversary weekend of Tenkara Takes Manhattan.

Ebisu now, as then, appears to approve.

– rPs, Palm Sunday, 04 12 2017

Postscript: Revisit the first TTM post here:

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