Archive for Tenkara Trips

Light at the End

Light at the End . . .

The Lake in Central Park
(NYC 05 29 2020)

The sun, often hidden during this strange spring, has at last emerged to take its place as the season begins to brighten and warm at the end of May. Such conditions are not necessarily good for fishing, but given what we have all collectively had to endure, day after day sheltered indoors, it’s good to get out at last, and go fishing.

 

Silver Dollar Crappie
(NYC 05 29 2020)

Bluegill in the Shade
(NYC 05 29 2020)

And the angler is not alone. Sometimes it seems that nature’s other creatures are also happy to see you out fishing again (if only in the hope of a free fishy handout).

Old Mossback
(NYC 05 29 2020)

I have been fishing New York City’s parks for years and there is always on every trip a moment or more worthy of a story. That fact might be the brightest light at the end of this long tunnel of pandemic time.

Follow the Rules and Have Fun
(NYC 05 29 2020)

— rPs 05 31 2020

 

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Distance

Distance . . .

Rain on the Tenkara Rod
(NYC 03 17 2020)

I have long noticed that New Yorkers, prone to tailgaiting, often keep their distance from anglers fishing the city’s park ponds. Add a gray day with a little rain, and one can be positively alone.

The conditions have been ideal for late winter and early spring fishing. Add the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional space of social distancing, and there has appeared ample room to cast the long tenkara rod with fixed line, even along what is usually a busy path.

Such a spot afforded me my first take and solid wrestle with a fish in 2020. St. Patrick’s Day, normally a bustle of less than sober revelers in and around the usual business, gave me several hours of therapeutic solitude and a solid bluegill dressed in rich purple and orange colors.

Lucky Start: First Fish of 2020
(03 17 2020)

Spring arrived on March 19th, the earliest such equinox in 124 years. A similar gray and rainy start inspired me to go out again.

I’m glad I did, as the city of New York has since entered a stranger than science fiction time. Like the character Roux in The Plague by Albert Camus, I have witnessed the public space of Manhattan gradually empty into a quiet stage set of sorts. Spring flowers and singing birds have since taken over, giving a heartbreaking natural beauty to the city under siege.

I worked one fly for a few hours in Central Park in the shadow of the Mt. Sinai hospital complex (my employer!), and the reward, in a spring now without baseball, was the local grand slam:

Black Crappie

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Bluegill

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Largemouth Bass

(NYC 03 20 2020)

What a positive start to the 2020 fishing season.

I must set aside my angling avocation to focus on my professional role as a CRCST, managing the sterillization of surgical trays and assisting any way I can in the hospital’s PACU. The fear of sickness subdued by the duty to serve, and soothed by a few hours of good fishing.

Grateful I continue to be for fishing in general, and tenkara specifically, for the distance, physical and psychological, the sport provides from the weights of the world.

Hope
(NYC 03 20 2020)

— rPs 03 31 2020

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The Second Fish

The Second Fish . . .

The Lake in December
(NYC 12 2019)

The day, overcast, the sky white, and the water of the lake reflects a deep chocolate gray from tree leaves now settled on the bottom.

The bare branches and dry rushes speak within the wind as waterfowl patrol the lake. Mated pairs of mallards share the water with flocks of geese. Two swans, their sheer size impressing, provide the brightest sight to be seen.

End of the Year Gathering
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s until an equally white fly, chenille and herl imitating a baitfish, fished very, very slowly, gets picked up with a sudden flash and grab near the bottom. The rod bends, the weight ascends until the surface of the lake ripples and a slab of silvered black and white comes to hand.

The First Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

The black crappie is the primary cold weather fish of New York City’s lakes. A few largemouth bass and yellow perch may be encountered, too, but the crappie predominates.

Near evening the geese descend until dozens begin to call to one another across the water. The white sky turns gray and a steady mist begins to fall. Just before the shivering angler’s will decides to call it a season, as it is the end of December, another strong take awakens the inner heat and happiness as one more battle of catch and release takes place.

The white fly has done its job and the second fish gives satisfaction in the knowledge that the first fish was not a fluke. The second fish is the grand finale for the year.

The Second Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s a whip finish for 2019.

— rPs 12 31 2019

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Fall Fish Finale

Fall Fish Finale . . .

November: a view that transcends cold toes.
(11 29 2019)

What was I thinking, going fishing the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, when almost everyone else was shopping?

I know what I was feeling: cold. The creek was running at 42 degress Fahrenheit, clear enough for 6x tippet and a Hare’s Ear, a Wolly Bugger, even my own Green Guarantee, all of which failed to meet a fish.

The views and solitude along the water were worth the trip. Even so, a fish fooled and brought to the net was the actual goal.

When the sun reached its height and seemed to warm the air just a bit, I fell back on an old faithful, the white fly. No hatch, no action on the nymph, so I tried the tiny baitfish tactic. A swing through a riffle into one of the clear pools, a twitch or two, and at last resistance, followed by the familiar tug and tussle of a taking fish.

The short battle was enough to shake the cold in my bones. In the net, not a trout, but a fallfish as shiny as an ingot of silver. One fish, enough to end the last wade of the season on a successful note.

Fallfish Finale
(11 29 2019)

— rPs 11 30 2019

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The L Word

The L Word . . .

The Stream Behind
(08 2019)

Low water, light tippet, little fish, and lots of fun over the Labor Day weekend.

Redbreast Sunfish
(08 2019)

Smallmouth Bass
(08 2019)

Mornings have begun to dawn later, and evening falls faster. The truncated time in between spent fishing is a day labor . . . of Love.

That’s the short story near the end of another summer.

The Road Ahead
(08 2019)

— rPs 08 31 2019

 

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Summer Sunnies

Summer Sunnies . . .

 

Bluegill: the Summer Sunfish — This one lured by a Woolly Bugger tied by Dennis Feliciano.
(NYC 06 2019)

The longest days of the year offer an extended opportunity to “fish local” even after a busy weekday at work in the big New York City.

No excuses. There is always time to tackle with some sunnies around the summer solstice!

— rPs 06 30 2019

 

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Spawning Season

Spawning Season . . .

A Gathering of the Tribes: (bass, bluegill, crappie)
(NYC 05 2019)

 

Shoals of small bluegill gather just below the surface of the open water as the very long shadow of a largemouth bass passes nearby. A large crappie holds guard over a cleared nest within an opening in the weeds near the bank.

It’s May, when all the fish of the pond are active and in sight: Spawning Season.

What a delight it was to see so much piscatorial action in the good company of Garrett Fallon, publisher of Fallon’s Angler, this month. He was in town on business, but found a few hours of time to go fishing in the center of New York City.

He was not disappointed.

First Fish for Mr. Fallon
(NYC 05 2019)

Tenkara offered a new twist in his seasoned hand, which managed to pluck a feisty bluegill from Central Park’s Harlem Meer after just a few casts.

The golden shiner, so much like the European rudd to which he is well acquainted, also rushed to the artificial fly in the bright morning sun.

Golden Shiner, Golden Sunlight
(NYC 05 2019)

Our little trip ended with the big one. The shaded banks and weedy waters held some very large black crappie, the kind some like to call a slab.

A Slab: black crappie dressed in spawning colors
(NYC 05 2019)

May is spawning season; a great time to fish, alone, or with a fellow angler.

— rPs 05 31 2019

 

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Fishes: Subject and Verb

Fishes: Subject and Verb . . .

 

The early season evening hatch has been high water.
(04 21 2019)

April opens the trout season in the American northeast with all its attending opportunity for other fishes.

The salt may remain sleepy, somewhat, as creeks and rivers, ponds and lakes, together offer some of the broadest, and best, steady chances for a day of grand slam combinations of fishes.

The still waters, cold, bottom blooming back to life, offer the angler:

Bluegill

Bluegill
(NYC 04 29 2019)

Black Crappie

Black Crappie
(NYC 04 2019)

Golden Shiner

Golden Shiner
(NYC 04 2019)

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass
(NYC 04 29 2019)

The freestones, tinted by spring rain runoff, flow higher, fish deeper:

Redbreast Sunfish

Smallmouth Bass

Trout

Brown Trout
(04 22 2019)

Diversity rules, rich and simple.

April fishes, subject and verb.

— rPs 04 30 2019

 

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See Bass?

See Bass? . . .

 

Line on the Water
(NJ 04 2019)

Tenkara rod yamame tethered to a small sparkled shrimp kebari found no willing herring or striper schoolie to tempt. The floating 8-weight line on a reel reached farther into the solunar peak and still found no takers, no curious passes from bass in the deeper water where the current’s piled sand  flat dropped off into dark gray.

Water calm, a pass of squall coal gray cloud and on wind holding a spatter of rain. Calm times felt in a zone, fishy, and at that when came the yank, a strong physical stop below the surface. Hot Tail Half and Half, my own fly from a box full of talented friend’s, fooled a fish, too.

One hand managed one shot on the phone fly from the battle middle when eyes saw a dark form sprinting from a puff of sand in two feet of estuary water. See bass, see not a bass, but an early fluke, a fine one flipped off with a smile as flatfish fled.

Sand Trail of a Fluke in Flight
(NJ 04 2019)

 

Water too cold at 47 degrees Fahrenheit ( 8 Celcius) for the striped bass where I have been to fish The search continues. The season is early.

Fishing is not catching, yet, in or out of net, there is always a view.
(NJ 04 2019)

 

The saltwater season of 2019 has begun.

— rPs 04 17 2019

 

 

 

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Happy (7th) Anniversary

Happy (7th) Anniversary . . .

 

Ebisu tenkara rod tipped by an Olive Woolly Bugger tied by Urban Angler’s Dennis Feliciano.
(NYC 04 2019)

The best way to celebrate seven (7!) continuous years of tenkara in Manhattan was to fish, photograph, and write all about it.

April, still mostly cold and gray, offers the local season’s most consistent angling for black crappie and the golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas, a hard hitting, fast sprinting fish that in almost every way resembles its European cousin, the Rudd.

My first, and favorite, TUSA Ebisu rod retains it’s fine 5/5 action and good luck. A few overcast afternoon hours spent along the banks of Central Park’s ponds produced the two key species of the season:

Black Crappie

Black Crappie
(NYC 04 2019)

 

Golden Shiner

Golden Shiner
(NYC 04 2019)

 

Tenkara continues to take Manhattan seven years on, and counting.

Happy Anniversary, TTM . . .

— rPs 04 09 2019

 

Postscript: Revisit the first post of TTM by following this link:  https://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2012/04/09/hello-world/

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