July 29, 2012

Gettin' In A Quickie

Just thought I'd throw up a quick post to show you I still care.  Been very busy...a bit too busy to actually sit down and blog.

As you may (or may not know), I'm currently out in Utah attending the 2012 Tenkara Summit.  I've already met a ton of great people - it was an awesome time on the first day...and there's still another day on Sunday (today)!

Add to that a guided tour of Wyoming out of The River Damsel last Friday...and what I'm calling "no plans" Monday...which means you probably won't get a typical post out of me for a few more days.

That said, in the meantime, check out the Facebook page, I've been posting pictures and commenting via smartphone there.

Wyoming Album
Tenkara Summit Album
City Creek Album

Or just go read Moldy Chum.

July 24, 2012

Tenkara Tuesday - Today Is Tenkara Day

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

For today's installment, I'm honored to present a guest post by Mark Kautz, (aka Shoreman), a fellow blogger known in these circles primarily for his fishing website Northern California Trout.  As a trout fisherman that is just as likely to pick up a spinning rod and some Powerbait...or hop in a float tube with a fly rod and some thin mints...or more recently, tackle a small stream with a Tenkara rod, his perspective is uniquely unclouded by the silos in which many anglers place themselves.

In this installment of Tenkara Tuesday, Mark explores a "Tenkara Day" - the which includes the complete experience of a day on the water.  Please Enjoy!


Early on a summer morning you’re standing on the side of a small creek near where you live. It has trout in it, you know it does. You’ve gotten up early, stopped at your local coffee hole for a cup because you know that if you don’t, you’ll have to pay the skunk man.  Yes, you’re superstitious, but you’re a fisherman and most fishermen are superstitious.

Today is a Tenkara day. You’re wadered up, have your vest on, rod in hand, and are ready for whatever the creek throws at you. Your fly is attached to your tippet, that’s attached to your traditional Tenkara line, rolled on the blue spool that the salesman said you needed to keep the line under control. Funny thing is, he was right.

Now you’re ready to make that first cast. You pull the plug on your rod and slip out that little red tag on the tip of your rod. You make the proper loop as you were taught and attach the traditional line to your rod. You unroll your line and carefully extend your rod to the full length as you’ve been taught.

Now you’re ready, but you still stand there staring at the water in anticipation of what’s to come. You’ve fished these waters before and you know that there are one or two trout somewhere in the creek, you’re just not sure where. You gently set the fly on the water for a perfect dead drift as far as the line will reach.

The fly bobs on the water as it drifts downstream for a couple of feet and then a trout comes out of nowhere and takes a shot at your fly. You’re so lulled by the surroundings that the trout has come and gone before you could even lift the rod to set the hook. So you drift it again over the same spot and once again the trout comes and goes because you didn’t expect it to take another shot at your fly.

Ok, it’s time for you to wake up and pay attention. You continue to drift your fly down that section a couple more times, but by now the trout’s figured you out and there is no way he’s going to touch that fly again. So you do what fly fishermen ever where do and that is move your fly and drift another part of the creek. This time you’re paying attention and when the trout comes out of nowhere, you’ve got him.

He’s not big by trout standards. He might be four inches or if you’re lucky he might be eight inches, but he’s a native and beautifully colored. In some cases he is a Rainbow and in others he might be a Brown or even a Cutthroat. You stick your hand in the water and gently as you can take out the hook and ease him back into the water. On some occasions you hold him long enough to take a picture so you can share the experience with your friends.

After you’ve drifted your fly a few more times and none of the residents of that part of the creek show any interest, you collapse your rod, roll up your line, and walk to the next access to the creek. This time you’ve come upon a small pool. It has a little plunge at the head, some slow water in the middle, and swifter water just before it moves to the riffles at the bottom.

Your first instinct is to rush to the head and fish the water under the plunge, but you put yourself in check. Then you think of the story about the old bull and the young bull standing on a hill looking at a herd of cows. The young bull says “Let’s run down there and get us one of those cows” and the old bull says “Let’s walk down there and get them all”. You start drifting your fly just above the riffles while eyeing that spot by the plunge. Because you’re eyeing that spot by the plunge, you miss that trout that took a swipe at your fly. You come to your senses and drift again, but he’s not having anything to do with you a second time. Hey, he gave you one shot and you weren’t paying attention. You ease a couple of feet upstream and drop the fly in the middle of the pool. This time when the trout comes up for the take, you’ve got him. It’s another little Rainbow, Brown, or Cutthroat. This one maybe a little bigger than the last one or maybe a little smaller, but you don’t care because it’s fun.

Now you’ve worked the bottom 2/3rds of the pool and you can finally put your fly in that “Glory Hole”. You gently set your fly to the left side of the plunge and watch it drift across the pool and almost to the riffle. You pick it up again and set it on the right side of the plunge this time and again watch it drift across the pool to the riffle. Again and again you perfectly set that fly and again and again it drifts idly past you without so much as a notice from a trout. By this time you’re ready to take that Tenkara rod and break it over your knee, but sanity overtakes stupidity and you gently collapse the rod, wind the line on the spool, and walk to the next spot.

You work the creek this way for miles and miles (well maybe ¾ of a mile to a mile) catching a fish here and there and missing a fish here and there, but the fun is in the catching and the missing, because you never realized that there were that many fish in this creek.

The longer you’re on the creek, the higher the sun gets and you know that when the sun is on the water, the fish go into hiding and have no interest in what you’re presenting them. Then your watch gongs 11:00am and the bite all but disappears, but you try a couple more places just in case the fish aren’t aware it’s 11:00am.

You’ve fished the last riffle, you’ve collapsed your rod, wound your traditional line around the spool, and slipped your spool over your rod as you’ve been shown. You stick the butt part of your Tenkara rod in your back pocket and start the long haul back to your truck. But wait, that pool with the “Glory Hole” is right there. Do you try one more time or do you continue your walk? It’s the perfect pool, it’s in the shade, the big one has to be there. Decisions, decisions, decisions. You finally give in to the urge and pull your Tenkara rod out of your back pocket, unroll the line, and extend the rod. This whole process takes less than a minute and you gently drop the fly right by the plunge to be rewarded with a nice eight inch rainbow that was just waiting for your presentation. Where was he the first time?

On feet as light as air, who the hell are you kidding, your ass is dragging, you finally make it to the truck, open a bottle of cold water from the ice chest, and collapse in the seat. The collapse in the seat part is after you’ve taken the Tenkara rod out of your back pocket and returned it to its case.

You’re hot, tired, and elated with the amount of fish you brought to hand and even those you missed knowing they will be there another day. This day was fishing Tenkara at its finest.      


About the Author:

The many works of Mark Kautz can be found on this fishing blog Northern California Trout, his woodworking website Mark's Original Wood Planters, as well as the Amador Ledger Dispatch as a regular freelance contributor.  A published author, Mark released his first book this year (2012).  Entitled Fishing, Ghosts, And My Mother's Gray Hair, his "book about fishing and other stuff" is available on his website or on Amazon.com.  

Mark lives in the mountains of Northern California with his wife Katherine and their three cats.  


Are you a Western 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, Troutrageous! wants to hear from you for a future Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, or check out this previous post for more information.

July 23, 2012

A Short Sunday Session

I haven't blogged in a week.  Partially due to design, partially due to apathy.  While I'm not going to bore you with that sordid tale of woe, I will bore you with some fishing pictures and a short video.

I wet a line yesterday.  

The recipe was as follows:

1 3m Sakura Kongo.  
1 3m lemon yellow tapered Masterline
3 feet 7x monofiliment tippet
Assorted flies - namely Copper John and Black & Red Ants

Mix ingredients under an overcast sky with 70-75 degree morning temperatures.

You get fish.  Not a ton, but enough to keep you occupied.

July 16, 2012

How Hot Is Too Hot?

With the recent temperatures being consistently in the low to mid 90s in the Philadelphia area, the little fishing I've done over the past few weeks has been that of the warmwater variety.  Sunfish, bluegill, rock bass, and the random smallie being the typical quarry.  And you know what, even with the consistent bite that panfish provide, that kind of fishing gets a little boring after a while.  At least to me.  If that sounds douchebaggy I apologize, but it's also the truth.

So with this past weekend's temps a bit lower, (in the high 80s), I thought I'd at least give Valley Creek a peek and see what the water temps were.  I have a rule that when water temps are in the high 60s, low 70s it's probably not a good idea to go for fishing for trout, especially wild ones.  I don't know if the 70 degree barrier is rooted in science, it's just what I've told or absorbed over the years as a good temperature to start leaving the trout alone.

Stream thermometer in hand, I headed over to The Creek Valley (the British pronunciation) yesterday afternoon.  K.C. was out with friends and Lilly was spending the afternoon at my Mom's house.  After a short dip in a few different spots; water temp...64 degrees...so I thought I'd give it a go.

Valley Creek PA Brown Trout
Valley Creek PA Brown Trout
Valley Creek PA Brown Trout

I caught a enough Valley brownies to make me content after about two and a half hours of fishing.  All the pics above and hook removal was done with the fish in the net with the fish still in the water.  I really didn't want to add additional stress to the fish in these temps.

High 80s or not, with the humidity it was still freakin' hot, and honestly, a lot of fellow anglers must have had the same idea as me...I deal with enough traffic on my commute to & from work during the week, I didn't feel like dealing with it on the weekend too.

So to close, I'm wondering - is 70 degree water temperature a legit cutoff for wild trout fishing?  I know there are other variables at play, but would love to learn your rule of thumb, if you have one... 

July 11, 2012

Wednesday Nibbles - Searchin' For My Lost Shaker of Salt Edition

It's time for Wednesday Nibbles, your what-used-to-be-weekly dose of fishing and not so fishing crap found all over the web.

First off...did you know you could buy tenkara rods on Orvis.com now?  No...well neither did I until last night.  They simply appeared as a magical option in the right hand navigation while shopping the Orvis site.  Pretty slick, huh?

Tenkara USA on Orvis

Is this the beginning of tenkara going mainstream?  Will Cabela's be private-labeling rods 6 months from now?  Who knows, but it's pretty big step forward for Tenkara USA and the "legitimization" of the technique/tackle in the U.S.

Twitter Back & Forth Tenkara

EDIT: A press release was sent out by Tenkara USA shortly after I wrote this post - read it HERE]

What next....???...oh, how about the freakin' crazy dude driving this car around the streets of San Francisco.  You might have seen this elsewhere this past week, I think I first saw it shared on Google+, but this is so insanely cool, I felt compelled to post it here too.  Yes, it's almost 10 minutes long, but it's worth watching.

My question is how the hell do you practice this?

Want more fishing...oh, I got more fishing.

One of the most impressive fish I've seen online this past week was Jason Tucker's (no, not THAT Jason Tucker, THIS Jason Tucker) smallmouth hauled out of what I assume was Northern Michigan waters.  Yeah, the smallies don't look like that around here...in shape or color.  Even now, I'm still mesmerized just staring at this pic.

Jason Tucker's Smallmouth Bass

Want a stupid video?  I've got a stupid video.  Actually, doesn't get much more stupidly intoxicating than this...

Huh?  I don't know what's going on either, but I bet that clam likes body shots.

To close, some blog love.  I've done a little fiddling with the blogroll recently, a few blogs fell away due to inactivity, while a few more were added to take their place.  Who's new might you ask?

First is Angler Gang.  Honestly, this was just an oversight.  I've been conversing with Angler Gang on various social media sites for a while now...I just assumed they were in my blogroll.  I was wrong.  It's been rectified.

Angler Gang

The second is Ghost Pepper Fly Fishing, which isn't so much a blog, but a fully featured fly fishing (say that 5 times fast) website with a blog component to it.  As Ryan, the founder describes it:
"I’m sure your first question is what does a Ghost Pepper have to do with fly fishing? Absolutely nothing, but seeing as the Ghost Pepper is the hottest pepper in the world I felt it was only fitting to name the hottest fly fishing site after it."
Ghost Pepper Fly Fishing

So check them both out...or don't...I'm not your Mom...I can't tell you what to do...

July 10, 2012

Tenkara Tuesday - The Summit & Rod Selection

Hey, look, Tenkara Tuesday's back.  Yeah, thought I'd go ahead and write up something today since the 2012 Tenkara Summit is in 3 weeks...  Three weeks?  Holy crap that snuck up quick.

Well, lucky for me, you don't need a lot of gear when tenkara-ing, that's the whole point, right?  So figuring out what fishing tackle I need to bring with should be pretty easy.  Rods, lines, tippet, flies.  What I don't have any clue about is the other stuff.  I hear it's hot in Utah during the day, but cold at night.  Man, and I had hoped to wear the same t-shirt and shorts all 5 days out there.  After all simplicity is what us tenkrazies seek, not heavy luggage.

Think I forgot anything?

I guess I'm looking at packing waders, a jacket, maybe long pants, all that stuff.  I don't know.  Anybody out in Utah got a suggestion?  I know one or two of you and/or your multiple wives read this blog...

I do know sunscreen is a must because I pretty much got sun poisoning a few years back on a business trip.  As a diversion, rather than playing golf, and of course rather than drinking beer, our vendor took us jet skiing on some body of water up in the mountains somewhere...I put on some lame ass SPF like 15 and got burned to a crisp...at least the Raspberry milkshakes afterwards were good.

Me, being a sun burnt doofus, circa 2003 or 4.

So that trip stuff aside I thought I'd highlight a pretty cool thing Tenkara USA put out yesterday since one of the most common questions I get from readers via email is "which tenkara rod do you recommend?"  Now, rather than relaying an opinion of my own, I can just lazily point them to this video...

...or to this handy dandy chart, for those that don't want to invest 7 and a half minutes of their life to watching Daniel jibber-jabber.

Print out, laminate, keep in your wallet, and be an absolute tenkaranerd

BOOM!  Look at that...something of vaguely tangible value here on Tenkara Tuesday.  Well sort of anyway.  No, it doesn't speak to other brands of tenkara rods, but you can find that sort of info somewhere else if you look hard enough.  I'm more so focused on unindustriously recycling content.


Are you a Western 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, Troutrageous! wants to hear from you for a future Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, or check out this previous post for more information.

July 9, 2012

A Break In The Heat...Let's Go Fishing!

As a kid, I seem to remember really enjoying the summertime.  The ridiculous heat of a Philadelphia summer was just an excuse to set up a sprinkler in the backyard to jump through, to hide in the house and play hour after hour of Mike Tyson's Punch Out, or eat thousands of "ice pops," leaving the clear plastic wrappers pretty much everywhere in our wake.


As an adult, facing almost 11 straight days in the mid to high 90s, with more than a few days topping 100...well, it just sucks.  Remarkably, Lilly gets through it much like I did as a kid...Slip & Slide in the backyard, Wipeout 2 on her Nintendo DS, and a freezer full of Fudgesicles.  But me...as a guy who's one real hobby is fishing...going outside into the broiler is not something to look forward to.  Because when it's that hot with very little rain, even wet wading doesn't provide much relief.

Yesterday afternoon provided an too rare opportunity of not XXX-rated hot weather, so a few text messages exchanged, Matt (aka Func Fish) & I decided to hit an undisclosed area of the Perkiomen Creek to pester some fish.  

Matt wore waders, I wet waded, and upon entry the first good sign was that the water actually felt good.  Nice and cool(ish), unlike last weekend's mission where it felt like warm pis...well you know what I mean.  Even if we didn't catch a thing, the simple refreshment that was being bottom deep in some cool water made it worth the trip.

Simple refreshment for someone else...

First we hit a spot where he had previously spotted a bunch of carp hanging out doing what carp do, which is primarily being ugly.  While they weren't stacked on top of each other like the last day he saw them, they were still there, lurking.  Not being carp people we just threw random flies at them without any luck.  It got old pretty quick, so we moved on...because the panfish bite was on.  Holla!

Waderboy tying on

Sunnies, bluegills, rock bass, even the random smallmouth bass all obliged...one after another after another.  All shapes, all sizes, all colors.  It was pretty fun.

Although we didn't catch any trophies on the day...or stupid carp...I think we both left happy with the 3+ hours of fishing...and the fact that neither of us had heat stroke.

Time for an ice pop...

July 7, 2012


If I had the ambition software to steal YouTube videos and edit them back together, these might make a good montage.  Perhaps someone with too much free time will take up the quest.  In the meantime, enjoy them individually.  Woo!

July 5, 2012

Guest Post - Exceptional Fishing with Oversized Dries

As you know, every now and then I don't mind indulging in a guest post from outside.  Zach Lazzari, a guide from Nomad Fly Fishing, recently contacted me about doing such a guest post.  In a bit of a work-induced writing slump myself, it made perfect sense to let him pinch hit today.

In the post below, Zach briefly discusses dry fly fishing with big ass flies out West.  Enjoy!


Exceptional Fishing with Oversized Dries

Every so often I head to the river in a rush and forget to throw a few fly boxes in my pack. This mental lapse leaves me picking flies from my drying patch and the visors in my truck. I typically have enough bugs lying around to get me through the day but they are not always the ones I want.

Recently, I found myself in this situation and settled on a size 4 salmonfly dry with a size 12 beadhead stonefly dropped off the back. I was well behind the actual salmonfly hatch on the Madison and the river was swarming with caddis and pmd’s. Not a single large stonefly was around.

After hiking a good mile from the access site I began working a deep bank with the setup. Less than 10 casts into the day, a massive rainbow came after the dry. I pulled the trigger way to fast and missed the fish but things were looking up. I fished until dark, catching and missing fish in every run on the river. Small fish would poke the big fly and big fish attacked it voraciously.  Although I missed the big rainbow, three browns over 20 inches and came to the net making it one of the more productive dry flies days I have experienced on the Madison. I never bothered to tally the total but it was better than average.

I have had similar experiences in Colorado and on a variety of rivers in the western United States. The big fish seem to have an insatiable appetite for the big dry flies, up to several months after the actual hatches have subsided. I would relate it to the extra appetite you experience the day after Thanksgiving. Your stomach is stretched and it wants a refill. Fish are not any different except stoneflies and grasshoppers are substitutes for turkey.

The reflex does dissipate in the late fall and stays dormant until the first big hatch of the new summer. Next time you are fishing through a summer riffle or along a deep bank, try a size 4-8 dry fly. It may not match anything around but it can make for an exciting day.


Zach Lazzari is a freelance writer and fly fishing guide in Montana. When he is not fishing, he is tying flies, furling leaders and building PBR can pyramids.  You can also find Nomad Fly Fishing on Facebook & Twitter.

July 1, 2012

Pizza, Bad Monster Movies, & Fishing

Wow, 5 days between posts.  Feels like an eternity to me.

The last week or so, I've pretty much been removed from the computer (which in all honesty is a good thing).  No blogging, a little Facebook & Twitter on the smartphone, but that's about it.  

As I mentioned on June 25th, I spent the large part of last week in Jacksonville, Florida on business.  I had hoped to steal a few hours while in JAX and at least check out the fishing pier, but Mother Nature had other plans.  Tropical storm-like rains...ummm...rained down on the city for a good two days straight creating flooded roads - and for better or worse trapping me inside the hotel on Tuesday night.

That said, the flights back and forth were not plagued by weather-related airport delays, so all in the end was good.  Jacksonville might not be my favorite place in the world, but I will miss a nice slice of Moon River Pizza.

Moon River's Godzilla Pizza...foreshadowing, perhaps?

Anyway, back up in Pennsylvania, I was fortunate to be greeted by 100+ degree days the last few; I forgot how much I hate the extremes of the Philadelphia summers.  Makes you want to hole up in your house, blinds drawn, AC crankin', and just veg out.  Which I did the lion's share of yesterday.  The SyFy Channel was running a day's worth of "creature" movies, which I really like because a) they are so poorly done, and b) they are guaranteed at least one B (if not C) level actor/actress.

Yesterday's bounty included Anaconda 3 starring David Hasselhoff as a for-hire reptile hunter.  Like in all of the 'Hoff's roles, his acting was superb, the script just let him down.

After that was Bigfoot.  And you know how I like me some Bigfoot.  Unfortunately, they portrayed Bigfoot more like King Kong than a humanoid-ape.  Luckily Danny Bonaduce & Barry Williams (Greg Brady) were there to save the day - and also send a missle through Abe Lincoln's head at Mt. Rushmore.

No video I could scrounge up...sorry.  Or maybe you should thank me.

Finally, a battle to the death ensued between two true monsters...no not Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.  Nope.  Rather Tiffany vs. Debbie Gibson.  Great flick.  Honestly I can't say I made it through that one all the way.  For fans of either, Debbie Gibson is holding up well.  Tiffany...not so much.

As for fishing...yeah, fishing.  I did do a little of that yesterday once the sun finally started to go down.  Went over to the Indianhead Dam section of the Perkiomen Creek for a few hours to get my first wet wade of the year on.  Heck, hadn't fished that section of the Perk since 2009.  Was hoping for some smallies, but only found sunfish and rock bass.  No bronzebacks or even barracuda this time.  Oh well...

Below Indianhead Dam, near Oaks PA
Perkiomen Creek Sunfish