August 14, 2018

The Best Trout Stream in the World

"The Best Trout Stream in the World" refers to a chapter in John Gierach's Fool's Paradise, to which I'm currently listening on audiobook.

I bring it up because my mind has been meandering non-stop, potentially just like said stream since this afternoon.

The beauty of such a concept, "the best trout stream in the world," is that it can never be proven. Such a place is 100% undiscoverable and equally undefinable, no matter how much one might try. 

It's true, an angler might experience one of those magical days where they catch fish after fish all afternoon... the bite never slowing until their arm gets tired. 

But water, being ever flowing, is never the same the next hour, day, week, or year. That fantastic trout stream fished yesterday, the one with the cool, gentle flows can easily present itself as equally stubborn and harsh today. 

Not to mention the features. That beautiful slick pool, for years ideal for drifting dry flies, can be permanently altered in an instant by downed timber. It doesn't take much.

How does one compare an eastern brook trout stream to a western cutthroat stream? Each holds unique jewels that once uncovered are best not graded. Don't believe me? Ask the golden trout in California or the marbles of Slovenia.

And don't ignore man's role in this difficult equation. They say everything fished better "back in the day" and likely for good reason. Not only do recollections grow fonder in time, but environmental impacts do too. The better something is perceived, the more fragile it is likely to become.

Can "best" even be quantified as a characteristic of a stream itself, or could it be heightened by something external? Be it an arduous journey, a great companion, or success in spite of a difficult situation what actually enhances the experience and "quality" of the water?

That's why I choose to think "the best trout stream in the world" is the one I'm currently fishing, regardless of location. 

Each and every time.

And fortunately, nobody can prove me wrong.

August 10, 2018

IF4 Hits Jacksonville in September

Huh? Who knew...

The IF4 thing is coming to town at the University of North Florida on Friday, September 7th, hosted by Blackfly Outfitters & benefitting

Used to go to these (& F3Ts) back when I used to live up north. They were pretty frequent and didn't require multiple hour drives to get to (seems like everything is either in Orlando, Tampa, or Atlanta down here). Pretty psyched about this one being so close, haven't been in a while.

Looks like Blackfly is using it as the lead-in to their annual Floodtide Festival the following day, (which I also haven't attended in a few years).

Need to get my butt back into gear, right?

August 7, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: One Rod To Rule Them All!

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

You hear the phrase "one fly" thrown around quite a bit in Tenkaraland. That's not a theme park or anything (could you imagine?), rather the community at large.

The idea of one fly doesn't literally mean the tenkara angler only fishes a single fly or pattern, it's more of a concept. Yes, it's true that in tenkara's heritage, it was not uncommon that a commercial tenkara angler might have fished the one pattern that was best suited for the water, somewhat replicating the insects, of the region of Japan in which they lived. They were fishing for a living, and success meant putting food on the table. If something worked, why mess with it?

Dr. Ishigaki tying a fly at the 2014 Tenkara Summit
Was it his "one fly" or just "a fly"... Hmmm...

However, as tenkara has evolved from a profession to contemporary sport, it abstractly extends to the idea that when trout are holding in what one might call "textbook tenkara water" - i.e. high gradient & fast moving - they only have a split-second to make the decision on whether or not to feed. That short reaction window, paired with their generally poor eyesight translates into the theory that the fly doesn't actually matter. The fish are just reacting to size, motion, and perhaps roughly shape, so the angler could fish one or any fly they wanted, given their technique was locked in.

Now you may read in places online that some tenkara anglers have in fact fished "one fly" for a season as a challenge. Well, that's really their call and not something that is really tied to tenkara itself. Anglers do the same thing with a regular fly outfit and a woolly bugger or a Clouser minnow all the time.

Anyway, why do I bring this up?

Well, Adam Trahan over at Tenkara-Fisher wrote a blog post on Sunday about "one rod"... a concept that is not commonly held in Tenkaraland, primarily because most anglers (even tenkara anglers) are also gearheads.

I mean I need a short tenkara rod for tight conditions, a long one for open conditions, a stout one for larger fish, and one with a camo handle because it's cool, right? Oh, and that brand new one with the fancy golden trout paint job that just came out, I need that one too...

Adam disagrees, or has at least placed a personal challenge onto himself to fish one rod for all of his tenkara, regardless of circumstance. Why? To better understand all of the ins & outs of the rod, in all of the various conditions... and become a better angler with it.

Anyway, give it a read HERE. Would love to read your comments, either below, or over on his post. I think it has a lot of merit, but don't let me influence your feedback...


Are you a tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.