February 12, 2018

February 8, 2018 -- a few small rainbows before influenza

Right now I'm sitting at home battling influenza. I've been lying in bed most of the day and my body aches, so I need to get up and do something. How about a blog post; that will do.

Last thursday I went to fish a local river, but after driving up a nearby canyon I came to find that the wind was blowing pretty steady. There was no wind in the valley, but there sure was in the canyon. I fished there for about an hour, took a few browns, then decided to go somewhere else.

Since the wind had been an issue, I decided to hit a small creek that has numerous rainbows in it. I've taken trout up to 14 inches in that creek (that's pretty rare) but most of the trout are in the 6-8 inch range. Still, I really love that little creek for it's solitude, challenge and generally cooperative trout.

I fished for about 1.5 hours and took many trout on a #10 Gravedigger and then a few of a #10 UKB. Even though the water was low, due to winter conditions, I still fish subsurface most of the time, and today was no exception.

I scared some nice sized fish, but was still able to take a couple that were (nearly) 10 inches.

The next day I started not feeling well. Fever, aches, sore throat. This has all progressed to higher fever, cough, more aches, etc. Awe, isn't it great to be alive!

I hope you are all able to avoid the influenza epidemic this year. Take care and I'll see you out of the stream!

February 4, 2018

February 2, 2018

I fished a little creek on February 2nd for about an hour and a half. It's a tight and technical creek with plenty of browns to keep you occupied. The air was 40°F, as was the water temperature. There were a few snowmachiners using a nearby road, otherwise I had the place all to myself.

I fished the modified Suzume with an 8.5' #3 line. I kept the tippet short at about 18 inches for better fly control. The 8.5' line was pushing it for length, as the tree canopy was very quick to snag my fly. If it was summer I'd have to have used a shorter line.

I moved up the creek slowly watching for holding trout. I was able to take a number of fish this way. The others were hooked in all the likely lies. Most of the lies were no larger than a small dinner plate.

An unweighted soft hackle was the ticket with most of the trout taking the fly on its first presentation. All of the trout were holding in shallow water and I could see most of them as they took the fly. The white flash of their opening mouth gave away the take, even before the sighter moved.

To present to the last fish I had to cast over and between numerous branches to place the fly where I wanted it. When the fish took the fly I had to guide him through branches to release him. It's these little creeks that are my favorite ones to fish!

February 2, 2018

The Great Chain of Flinging -- some musings on tribalism in the sport we love.

I have a daughter who loves to watch Downton Abbey. She's intrigued with Edwardian England and how it's portrayed with the upstairs people (lords and ladies) and the downstairs people (servants). I've had to remind her that if we lived at that time, and in that kind of society, she would likely be a downstairs person, not an upstairs one. She doesn't like the thought of that.

This whole upstairs and downstairs stuff comes from the medieval concept of the great chain of being.  From Wikipedia: "The great chain of being is a strict hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, demons (fallen/renegade angels), stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, commoners, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals and other minerals".  This "chain of being" still exists today, but (thankfully) in a much more diluted form.

Lately I've been reading some posts on FB regarding people being banned from certain FB groups because they didn't tow the party line (of that group). That got me thinking. Do we have a great chain of being, or in the case of tenkara, a great chain of flinging? What do you think? Well, I think we do.

Person 1 says to person 2, "Do you like to fish?"
Person 2 replies, "yes, I'm a lure fisherman. I only use ABC gear! It's the best!"
Person 1 walks away feeling less of a fisherman as he only fishes with bait.

Person 2 says to person 3, "Look at the great ABC gear I just got. I can't wait to go fishing!"
Person 3 replies, "Oh, that's nice if you're into that kind of fishing. I fly fish only."
Person 2 walks away feeing less of a fishermen because he never learned to fly fish.

Person 3 says to person 4, "I just had a great day on the river using a Mop fly. Have you ever fished one before?"
Person 4 replies, "That's not a fly or fly fishing! That's a lure! I only use dry flies that I tie myself! And, I fish them with my handmade bamboo rod!"
Person 3 leaves feeling less of a fly fisherman because he sort of likes the Mop fly (and heaven forbid, streamers too).  Also, he can't afford a handmade bamboo rod.

Person 4 says to person 5, "Do you fly fish? I can double haul seventy feet without breaking a sweat!"
Person 5 replies, "Use a reel and PVC line? Heaven's no! I only fish tenkara, an ancient Japanese form of fly fishing! It's a superior form of fly fishing!"
Person 4 walks away feeling less of a fly fisherman because he doesn't know what tenkara is and knows he's just been insulted.

Stolen from Mike!
Person 5 types on Facebook, "I love fishing tenkara for bluegills. It's the bomb!"
Person 6 types, "That's not tenkara! Tenkara is fishing for trout in mountain streams."
Person 5 feels trolled because he doesn't live anywhere trout live and all he's got to fish are ponds and low gradient streams for warm water species. Person 5 leaves the FB group.

Person 6 types on a different FB group, "I caught 24 fish with my secret beadhead XXX fly. It's my one fly for tenkara."
Person 7 (a moderator for the FB group) types, "Bead head! That's not tenkara! Tenkara is fishing with soft hackled kebari patterned after authentic Japanese historical flies!"
Person 6 answers, "I've been fishing tenkara for 3 years and fish bead heads all the time. It's one of the "ten colors" of tenkara. It's American tenkara."
Person 7 replies, "Well, you don't know what you're talking about! I was an early adopter, only fish a level line, and have been to Japan, not once but X times! I have fished with tenkara masters X, Y, and Z! I've got pictures with all the tenkara legends. And, I only use the same rod, line and fly as tenkara master Z! So, I know more about tenkara than you do!"
Person 6 types. "Just because you've been to Japan doesn't make you any better at tenkara than me! And I'm an American, so no one's my master!"
Person 7 bans person 6 from the FB group.

I know I've over exaggerated the example somewhat, but this type of dialog happens all the time (BTW, person 7 is fictional and doesn't represent any actual offensive, arrogant American tenkara angler, just sayin'). Personally, I think it's sad that tenkara in America has come to this. That said, I see tribalism in a lot of my other hobbies as well. For example, in bushcraft there's the hatchet tribe versus the knife batoning tribe. In backpacking, there's the hammock tribe versus the tent tribe. In off-roading, there's the Jeep tribe versus everyone else!

Still, it's sad that tenkara, and all the variations therein, has become tribal. I guess I shouldn't say tenkara has become tribal, rather the people who fish it have become tribal. In the Twitter speak of He Who Must Not be Named -- SAD!

I would have liked to see person 7 educate and not belittle person 6. He could have said, "Here's what I've learned from my experience fishing tenkara over the years and from my journeys. There are many different styles of flies or kebari that can be used to effectiveness. Here are links to some websites showing the kebari of different Japanese regions. That is the way I prefer to fish tenkara, but I understand your own individual approach. I'm going to still try to follow traditional Japanese methods, but that doesn't mean you have to."  That's what I would have liked to have seen, but alas, no. Instead, pride and ego take over and the "one-upsmanship" monster rears its ugly head.

I for one welcome variation in fishing, as well as in tenkara. If we were all the same and fished exactly the same way how boring would that be! You want to follow the traditional Japanese tenkara path, great! You use tenkara techniques to fish for bluegills in ponds, super! You use a tenkara rod to go after salmon in Alaska, cool! To each their own. Let's just try to be a little more civil. That's what I'm hoping for -- break the chain!

January 29, 2018

January 25, 2018

I went fishing for 40 minutes after work on Thursday, the 25th. The air temperature was 30°F and I had forgot to bring my gloves, so I didn't fish very long -- just enough to take 5 browns.

The sky was grey and flat with high level cloud and there was a little breeze that played around with the #2.5 line that I was using. Still, I was able to control the fly enough to take the fish in some pretty tight spots.

I didn't take out my camera for every fish, but I did for a couple of them. One of the browns was taken in shallow water at the inside of a bend in the stream. I placed the UKB right at the seam between the flowing and slack water and let the fly move slowly, swirling in the micro currents, until the fish took it.

Another brown was taken within inches of the stream edge. It was holding under some grass that was hanging over the edge. I cast upstream of it, and let the UKB move slowly down along the edge on the stream until the fly reached the grass. The brown then opened it's mouth and took it.

All of the fish I hooked were taken using sight fishing techniques. The water temperature was 38°F and I could not get the trout in deeper water to move. Therefore I hunted those that I could see holding in shallow water.

My fingers got cold, but 5 browns in 40 minutes on such a cold day was not too bad! I went home pleased (especially since it was on a reach of stream that I hadn't fished in over 25 years).