Archive for Tenkara Philosophy

Jetty Knight

Jetty Knight . . .

Jetty Knight by Maryann Amici (12 2016)

Jetty Knight
by Maryann Amici
(12 2016)

or Nothing, for the Birds . . .

Sometimes one takes tenkara to the ends of the Earth near the end of the year. Can one go father on running foot than the surf zone, North Atlantic Ocean, in December? Here you are.

The Birds

The Birds Family Scolopacidae (12 2016)

The Birds
Family Scolopacidae
(12 2016)

One picks fishing trips like slot machines. A line wins, sometime(s). Engaged in it on the fly is only a strategy. So is Tenkara. Wins are enjoyed, as are fishes, yet these come spaced enough for no exact science to be sure. Time and place judge. Conditions mix. Catches vary.

One day the water was calm, the breeze, barely, but very cold. The tenkara rod extended above surf and tolerated twitches tethered to a Clouser Kebari along the swells. Cormorants and other birds angled nearby. Hours passed. No takers.

The Pattern

Clouser Kebari (rPs 12 2016)

Clouser Kebari
(rPs 12 2016)

The Bait

The Bait (12 2016)

The Bait
(12 2016)

The Waves

The Waves (12 2016)

The Waves
(12 2016)

Next time swells capped white even an 8-weight could only surf high, water bucking the weighted pattern like a reveler on a casino’s mechanical bull. One hour made an epic casting lesson schooled by wind and water as fishes below hugged into boulder rock crevices unreachable.

Sometimes one fishes and catches nothing but a contemplative time, an athletic time, spent in a surf wave of sporting happiness.

Nothing, for the birds?

Slumbering Shell (12 2016)

Slumbering Shell
(12 2016)

— rPs 12 20 2016

Postscript: In memory of Louis J. Amici, Jr. (1947-2016) and Jeff Feldmeier (1966-2016). They always met the train on time.

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When Sunsets are Sudden

When Sunsets are Sudden . . .

 

Bluegill in November (NYC 11 2016)

Bluegill in November
(NYC 11 2016)

Sunsets are sudden in November. A day filled with fine mist and nimbus sky can open up, sprint into a quick dip of the sun, a sudden appearance by the moon, indigo sky meeting a horizon silhouetted for a brief period before an almost liquid tangerine infinity.  Venus glows star-white bright low to the southwest.

Leaves give tannin to the color tone of darker autumn water. Some lower branches of the Norway maples hold onto pennants of green and gold. Ginkgo like old gold coins pile into wind-drawn patches along the pond path. The oaks above and behind keep a full coat of the most russet leaves that whisper in low passing passages when the weather is best for angling. Mitten weather, still air, cold enough for a fingerless weave if dressed for comfort.

 

 Mitten Weather: Autumn Impressionism (NYC 2016)

Mitten Weather:
Autumn Impressionism
(NYC 2016)

A city park light switches on and the scattered bite of bluegill juveniles ceases. The bite become as light as the feather and fur assembled onto a crimped barbless salmon hook. The size 8 shank gets nibbled in and a light set of the rod raised connects to heaving sideswipes repeated four or five times before the fish in net measures out to ten inches, a quarter pound. Small fish this time of year bolstered by the stronger resistance the finned ones use in the angling wrestle.

Black crappies by the light of the night, and then, after a final fish, an early “Good night.”

Days follow that might be bright and cold and clear. The city soars into Holiday Season. The coated oaks then chatter and even roar in a strong sustained blow from the Canadian west. Days bright, best spent recasting, spent writing.

 

Black Crappie at Dusk (NYC 11 2016)

Black Crappie at Dusk
(NYC 11 2016)

 

– rPs 11 28 2016

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A Great Lake

A Great Lake . . .

Steelhead Visit Here (Erie County, PA, 11 2016)

Steelhead Visit Here
(Erie County, PA, 11 2016)

The angler and artist and author has gone off toward high cliffs of layered shale. Oak and maple leaves blow down the vertical faces of stone and enter flow. Fish of steel have returned and reside now in the stream set against the crooks and curves of the geologic foundation.

Fish in silhouette appear, some poised along submerged ledges, others nestled in nests of coalesced autumn leaves.

Fish of thirty inches — pale green, silvered and spotted, others cast in iridescent black and purple — all fresh from another year in Lake Erie, halt and go through these runs and pools and seams.

Downstream, a lake the size of the sea stretches out to where the horizon runs horizontal blue.

Orchards and vineyards along the coast can provide refreshment.

Here it is beside a great lake.

Good travels.

— rPs 11 15 2016

Postscript: In Memory of Christian Hand, poet, chef, droogie, born fifty years ago on this date in 1966.

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A Short Time at Tibbett’s

A Short Time at Tibbett’s . . .

October Colors Bluegill (NYC 10 2016)

October Colors
Bluegill
(NYC 10 2016)

One busy day off encumbered by multiple projects may convince you there is no time for fishing. There is. Three or four hours at the end of the afternoon spill before you like a glass set beside an unopened bottle of wine. Time enough, though truncated. The goal, fresh air, and to be gripped to a cork handle, arm held strong in the wrestle with a fish.

The path that passes like a spine north through Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx is one best run. The occasional lingerer, for whatever purpose, may at times shadow a more slow footed exploration of the path. The plus side of this urban nature space still wins a day spent angling here. Tree canopy above is impressive and full of common eastern songbirds. The public  golf course on the eastern side of the path affords glimpses at some good games in process.

Tenkara, Running, Packed. (NYC 10 2016)

Tenkara, Running, Packed.
(NYC 10 2016)

Running tenkara continues to make fishing life more easy. Horizons expand. Running feet have the ability to arrive energized, to rush unmolested beyond strangers, and to connect promising fishing spots like dots along the brook.

Tibbett’s Brook, like the path, connects the lakes of two city’s. One can follow this path and continue north to Tibbett’s Brook Park, but that is not NYC; the park resides in Yonkers.

So, the Tibbett’s Brook, then. October sees the very tips of just some trees turning toward the yellow or the red. The brook, as does the Van Cortlandt Lake, reflects low, clear water.

Tibbett's Water (NYC 10 2016)

Tibbett’s Water
(NYC 10 2016)

The fish? Bluegill. Crappie. One pair of largemouth bass cruised in parallel swimming pattern in a manner that resembled a mathematical equal sign, which  hinted at other impulses in mind. A few more bluegill; a sweet spot of crappie bright like tarnished uncirculated silver. More than one a full handful, even on a bright, chilly afternoon trip of a few hours on runner’s foot.

Numismatic Crappie (NYC 10 2016)

Numismatic Crappie
(NYC 10 2016)

Time enough. Tenkara Time.

— rPs 10 25 2016

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Bass Trio

Bass Trio . . .

 

Rock Bass

Rock Bass (09 2016)

Rock Bass
(09 2016)

 

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass (09 2016)

Smallmouth Bass
(09 2016)

 

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass (09 2016)

Largemouth Bass
(09 2016)

 

September is a fishing month for bass.

This may be the best bass time of all.

What a (foot)ball!

Fishes keep biting, again and again,

When you continue to release them.

 

— rPs 09 23 2016

 

Postscript: The fly pattern used in all three examples was my Green Guarantee, size 8; my one fly for freshwater tenkara.

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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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