October 11, 2018

The Tenkara Campout: Damn, That Was Fun

This past weekend was pretty awesome.

I took last Friday off from work and headed about six and a half hours north up to the Pigsah National Forest for the Tenkara Campout, a small gathering of like-minded anglers loosely organized by Jason Sparks of the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook group.

Look, I'm not much of a camper, and thankfully, this wasn't hardcore camping. The Davidson River Campground has nicely manicured campsites, flush toilets, even showers. Plus, it's no more than a mile or two away from all the creature comforts of civilization, like a strong cell signal, Walmart, & Taco Bell (as well as the Davidson River Outfitters fly shop).

So when I got there early on Friday evening, I set up of my little MSR 1-person tent, quickly downed a bag of Mountain House turkey dinner, and then wandered over to the other campsites to find the rest of the crew.

Over in Hemlock Loop was where most of the evening festivities took place. There was beer, fly tying, storytelling, more beer, blue line mapping, off-color jokes, and even more beer. That went on fairly late into the night, until midnight or 1AM-ish. I think...

Jason, Dennis, Jeff, & Cain zeroing in on prime fishing spots... or just bullshitting...

Landis & the other Jeff two-fisting and rod gripping respectively...

Even though the Davidson River was super-close and recently stocked with all kinds of delayed harvest fish, a group of us decided we were going to head out a ways and tackle some off-the-grid wild brook trout water. Well, because a native brookie > a stocker any day.

On Saturday morning, Hugh, Jason, & I drove a while, parked the car, and then hiked in about an hour before we reached a beautiful, high-altitude brookie stream. The hike in followed a pretty steep trail, descending about 1000 feet straight down, but when there are brookies to chase, you don't really think about the difficulty of the hike back out afterward.

What ensued was just a bunch of rock hopping, short casting, fun. Hugh & I fished together, alternating runs & plunge pools as we headed back upstream, while Jason went rogue downstream for a bit. While there were areas where longer rods could be used, this was prime sub-300 class tenkara rod water. The shortest rod I had with me was the Nissin Royal Stage 320, so that's what I used, in tandem with a really nice soft-hackle kebari.

The rest was a blast. Hugh caught fish, Jason caught fish, I caught fish. It was pretty awesome. It wasn't a legendary day by fish count standards, I think at most we each caught around 8-10 brookies that were mostly 4-8 inches in length, but who grades their outing by fish count or size? Since I don't fish with fellow tenkara anglers too often, it was a joy not only getting into some colorful Appalachian jewels, but also observing others do the same.

Here are a few photos. Some are a little fuzzy as I've been experimenting using my phone in a waterproof pouch as my primary camera, but you'll get the point. This kind of water is what I live for.

Hugh working a run

Jason about to locate a brookie

Photo Credit: Hugh C.

And then the sky opened up. We fished a little bit more in the rain, but we eventually decided it was time to head back out. We had fished for a nice bit and still had at least an hour's vertical hike up to the car, and needed to conserve a little energy for that adventure.

Photo Credit: Jason S.

Back in the car, we recollected the day's fishing (and mountaineering) as we drove back to camp.

That night we met up with some other folks that had arrived earlier on Saturday (Rob & Kaylan came from Kentucky, as well as Bryan and his family) and grabbed a bite to eat at a local BBQ joint. It was great to get to know everybody a little bit better outside of a fishing setting. Bellies full, the campsite awaited for another late evening of campfires, beer, and storytelling.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to fish on Sunday or Monday. I had to leave early on Sunday morning to get back to Florida for the work-week... but I hear there was another day of epic fishing and camaraderie that took place.

While it sucked missing Sunday's events, Friday night and Saturday were well worth the 13-hour round trip.

Damn, that was fun. I really need to get back soon.

October 9, 2018

Tenkara Angler Magazine Fall 2018

It’s my pleasure to announce that the Fall 2018 Issue of Tenkara Angler magazine is now live!

This magazine is always a pleasure to assemble, and I think you'll really enjoy it, even if you've never picked up a tenkara rod.

One of the challenges/themes for the contributors in this issue was to provide the readers with some tenkara lifestyle stories. Not necessarily "how-tos" but rather accounts of experiences, outings, and adventures. Those experiences apply for any angler. The essays from Brad Trumbo, Keith Anderson, Brittany Aae, Mike Hepner, & Nick Pavlovski certainly do not disappoint.

Now we didn't neglect other subjects, such as kebari (flies), gear, interviews, tactics, warm water fixed-line fly fishing, conservation, and destination. The article about tenkara in Hokkaido, Japan by the founder of Tenkara USA, Daniel Galhardo is excellent.


As usual, the Fall issue will be available as a free e-magazine over at Issuu, HERE.

And also available for sale as a physical magazine and PDF download in the Blurb bookstore, HERE.


October 8, 2018

Spain, A Fly Fishing Paradise: Part II

The picture below is of Dave Noll... He's one of the friends I've made over the years through tenkara fishing. We've run into each other a handful of times at some of the various tenkara events I've been to, shared a meal or two, and have been known to converse via social media. He's a good guy and avid angler & traveler, but the interesting thing about the photo below is that it is not one taken in the American West.

Back in January, I published a brief post about fly fishing in Spain. The photos and content were provided by the guys at Pyrenees Fly Fishing, and to be totally honest, it was sort of an infomercial for them. That said, the content was interesting, the photos were great, and it was a pretty popular post at the time in terms of website traffic.

One of those visitors was Dave, who made what seemed like an innocent comment:

I mean people do that all the time. You write a post about something, and if they're your friends, they'll usually comment positively, if only out of courtesy.

Well, guess what... Dave recently got back from Spain where he actually did spend two days fishing with Alejandro, a guide from Pyrenees Fly Fishing! Not only that, but he also used a tenkara rod as well, so that's a double dip of rad.

Dave shared some photos of his adventure via email and is allowing me to share them here. I hope you enjoy!

Roman bridge

Lamb ribs for lunch

Zebra trout

Alejandro in front of Mount Escarra

Dave & Alejandro

Man, it doesn't get much better than that!

So to close this post, I guess I'll do it much in the same fashion I did the first. If you're like Dave and are now interested in checking out the fishing opportunities in Spain with Pyrenees Fly Fishing, feel free to send Ricardo Madeira at pyreneesflyfishing@gmail.com a note. Tell him Troutrageous Mike (& Tenkara Dave Noll) sent you...

(I need to start asking these guys for a referral fee... ha!)