November 11, 2019

Countdown to Oni Tenkara School 2020

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough... I'm in.

While recent blog posts and photographs may indicate that I'll be doing more fly fishing (with a reel) in 2020, I'm still really into learning more and taking a "next step" in my skill level when it comes to fishing with my tenkara rods. I've dedicated a lot of time to them, but I feel as if I've hit a wall in terms of how I fish them and the techniques I apply on the water.

Unfortunately, opportunities to grow one's tenkara knowledge base can be few and far between, at least here in the United States. Most of us "tenkara anglers" are either learning from print or (more likely) online resources, making things up as we go along, or applying regular fly fishing tactics to tenkara rods. While effective in catching fish, they're likely not maximizing the tools in hand, similar to the way those with decades of experience in Japan have.

With that said, after a few years of saying, "oh, I'll do it next year," I finally signed up for the 2020 Oni Tenkara School, run by the Tenkara Guides in Utah, and led by the ever-skilled Masami Sakakibara. So I'm headed out to Utah next August, tenkara rods and horrible casting stroke in tow, looking forward to getting schooled. 

And as of last night I'm also paid in full, so there's no going back now I suppose. Bring it on "Tenkara no Oni"... We've got ten years of questionable technique to fix!

Interested in attending too? Check out the details HERE.

October 28, 2019

The 2019 International Fly Tying Symposium: November 23rd & 24th

Received my flyer (flier?) in the mail at the tail-end of last week for the 2019 International Fly Tying Symposium in New Jersey.

When I lived in Pennsylvania, I used to make the drive and go to these annually as I always found them really interesting, especially when taking in all of the different tyers and patterns. For a guy who likes to tie relatively simple trout flies... seeing masters of their craft not only crank out flies for salmon, bass, musky, carp, and other species, but talk you through the creative process, was always a treat.

This year's line up looks very impressive, and I'd really love to attend (although I doubt I will). I think I'd really enjoy John Shaner's presentation on "the forgotten wet fly" on Sunday afternoon, since I just love the aesthetic of classic wet flies, and fish derivations of such with my tenkara rod quite frequently.

I also think I'm going to be doing a bit more rod & reel fly fishing in upcoming months, not so much because I'm abandoning tenkara (far from it), just because it's more practical for the waters around me... and the stack of rods sitting in the corner are screaming to be fished. As such, it would be cool to see what folks are tying for the salt, as well as if there are any interesting materials to play around with. I remember the first time I went to the show UV epoxies (like Clear Cure Goo) were just becoming all the rage. I always enjoyed leaving the show with a goody bag of new toys for the fly bench.

In any event, if you're in the Northeast at the end of November, it's definitely worth checking out heading into the winter months. There's no better inspiration for filling all those empty spaces in your fly box... and I know I certainly have a few!

October 27, 2019

A Few Quick Fishy Hits

Was popping around the internet yesterday and found a few articles/nuggets that might be of interest. Sure, this isn't a post of original content, rather a compilation of fishy shares, but they were good reads, so figured you might find them as such too.

So Much Water in Pennsylvania...

I was a dummy when I lived in Pennsylvania. I fished a lot, but I fished the same 4-5 bodies of water all the time. If I could only do things over again. Trout Unlimited recently published an article about how the state has been trying to document and assess its 86,000 miles of flowing water in the interest of finding wild trout and protecting the watersheds from developmental impact. While they've made great process, you find in reading there still a long way to go.

Stickers in the Creekside Shop!

Stickers are awesome. Robb ties equally awesome flies. Put the two together and it's a no brainer. I just picked a few up (as well as some futsuu kebari), you'll probably want to snag some too.

TenkaraBum Goes Long...

Wasn't necessarily expecting this post from Chris Stewart, but it's a great read into the merits of long line, long tippet tenkara. Tenkara as many practice in Japan. He had a recent fishing session with Adam Klagsbrun that opened his eyes to this technique. A nice departure from fishing killer bugs, micro spoons, and overhand worms with tenkara rods.

Discovering Small Streams...

After a bit of a hiatus, the Discover Tenkara guys are back with a new Tenkara in Focus episode over on YouTube. It's a great little dive into approaching smaller water (which happens to be my favorite). Regular fly guys should give it a watch too, because the manipulations used in the video could certainly be applied with rod & reel. There's also an accompanying blog post that's really worth reading too.

Best of IFTD...

Sage Trout Spey HD

If you follow any fly fishing media online it was tough to escape all the IFTD references a week or so ago. The annual industry trade show moved back to Denver this year, making it far more accessible than when it was in Orlando. In any event, there were a lot of new product highlights, and I found this article over at Gear Junkie that summarizes them well. Spoiler alert: Simms sweeps the wading categories.

October 15, 2019

Micro Spey Curious

Micro spey... trout spey... whatever they call it, I'd love to check that out.

Photo: Gorge Fly Shop

I was listening to the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide podcast on the subject last weekend (HERE) and my mind just started wandering, thinking about standing in a river, morning mist rising off the water, rolling out casts, swinging wets and streamers... most likely coming away skunked. Predicted result aside, I think could really get into that. It could be the larger water yin to my beloved small stream yang. Plus, not being a steelhead or salmon guy, there's a ton of terminology to learn... Scandi... Skagit... etc... and new flies to tie and fill fly boxes with...

Seems like it'd be a lot of fun to play around with for trout, and in a warm water setting, smallmouth bass. Could even be a blast on the shad run... and yes, we have them down in Florida.

Anyway, here's to daydreaming a bit. If nothing else, it's always fun to window shop for new gear.

October 14, 2019

Not A Fishing Report

I don't often write for therapeutic reasons, but I hope this post serves a little bit of that purpose. So bear with me on this one... this is less fishing report, more of a first world problem pity party. Yes, there are pictures of the outdoors and fish, so even if you (wisely) choose not to read this post, you can at least scroll through those so your click to visit this site was not in vain...

See, I haven't been having a good run lately on either a mental or physical health front. I've been putting in some long hours of work, both at the office and once again logging in when I get home. I go to bed late and get up early. Really not taking very good care of myself, can't tell you the last time I went for an evening walk around the neighborhood or weekend bike ride. I've put back on most of the weight I lost last year thanks to compensatory stress eating and low amounts of willpower. I'm generally exhausted and run-down, and a little more irritable than normal. If my Mom were to read this (she won't, I don't think anybody in my family reads this blog anymore) she'd tell me I'm "burning the candle at both ends."

Holistically, my home life is stable. My wife is extremely supportive and Lilly seems to be having a fairly good 8th grade school year and is looking forward to sneaking in one last evening of trick or treating in a few weeks. She's a good kid and I love how unique she is. She's more than comfortable zigging when others zag. So that's a positive. I shouldn't ignore the positives. I have a very good life; things could certainly be way worse. Unfortunately, I just don't feel right. This funk I'm in is probably the most wrong I've felt in a long time.

With that said, I really needed to make a weekend run to the sanctuary of the woods. It seems to be the only place I feel I can get my head straight, even if it is only for a few hours. Perhaps its because cell phone coverage can't reach me there. I love a lot about technology, but sometimes miss the days when we weren't accessible 24-7 and expected to respond to such intrusions. I'm an only child, so finding happiness and fulfillment from being alone doesn't come hard.

So I left right from work on Friday evening, drove for a few hours and got to where I needed to in time to get a little shut eye. I should have taken the opportunity to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning for a change, but rather woke up early and found some water and trout, and just tried to clear my mind for a little while...

The alone time and cooler temperatures were enough to coax a crooked smile, and perhaps bring back some of the missing balance I was seeking. At least temporarily.

As I type this post early on a Sunday evening, I know all those feelings I ran away from on Friday are just going to rapidly intensify in a few short hours. The stress and anxiety I escaped will be back; heck, I actually feel it starting to ball up inside me a touch now.

I wish I had a cute little concluding paragraph for this post that made the claim that fly fishing cured all my ills, and say I'm all good now, but I don't. I'm not seeking your sympathy or positive reinforcement, everybody has issues, and most (if not all) are bigger and more messed up than mine. It's called life, it throws punches, and I just need to suck it up for the time being. Things are bound to get better in time, they always do. But for now I'm definitely down in the dumps and I haven't started digging out quite yet. I just needed to write this all down to maybe help me find the shovel.