September 24, 2012

Sneaking In Some Fishing Before Football

I had some errands to run on Sunday morning.  Okay, it was one errand.  I needed to get food, and by that I mean go to the supermarket.  K.C. & Lilly were over at "Uncle Andy's," (K.C.'s brother/Lilly's uncle) and after I exhausted the last jar of peanut butter for breakfast, we truly had nothing left to eat in the house.  Well, except a box of Uncle Ben's and some couscous.  What the hell is couscous anyway?  I wasn't eating either for lunch.

So after a grocery outing, I came home, ate, and parked it in front of the TV for a little bit of football.  The early game (Jets vs. Dolphins) was pretty much unwatchable, so around 2:30 PM I decided to sneak an hour or two of fishing at the local pond in before the Eagles game started a little after 4:00.

Cabela's C.G.R. in hand, the sunfish had no chance.  They were absolutely killing Kiwi's Royal after fish...after fish.  What?  Yeah, I used a tenkara fly with a "standard" fly rod and reel.  Somewhere there's a Japanese fishing ninja crying.  Oh well.

I upsized to a bugger to try to get down and get into some bass, but they weren't interested.  Had a few follows, and one unsuccessful take due to a poor hookset on my part.  I think this bass (below) is like the pet dog of the pond.  He'd swim right up to your feet (I suppose looking for table scraps), but absolutely would not take a fly.  Oh well.  Screw him.


Oh, and one more's more of a carp launch themselves out of the water to feed?  I'm not a carp guy, but something BIG jumped vertically out of the water about half of it's body length I suppose to feed on something in the middle of the pond.  I only saw it quickly with my peripheral vision so I didn't get a good look.  Could have been a friggin' tarpon for all I know, but it was damn big and made a bigger splash.  I might need to invest in a float tube and a fishing gaff.

After that, I packed up and headed back to the car.  Turned on the radio and the Eagles were already down 17 points in the 2nd Quarter to the Cardinals.  Ouch!  The Cardinals...really?  I headed home to watch the second half knowing the whole time I should have stayed at the pond.  Us Eagles fans are masochists that way...

September 22, 2012

Feeding Time At The Local Zoo

I came home from work last night to see the neighborhood boys freaking out in our shared backyard (my family lives in a townhome community).  Wondering what the commotion was I walked over to witness this scene from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.  (BTW, is there a more recent reference I can make in that regard? I struggled to find one):

Yeah, this pterodactyl was boldly standing in the middle of the lawn tearing apart a squirrel.  Hope the bastard enjoyed his meal, because he left the carcass behind without leaving a tip.  Guess I'm the busboy...

September 17, 2012

Uncharted Water

On Saturday I was presented with a unique set of circumstances.   No wife, no kid, no dog, and nothing to do.  While I always miss the family when they're not around, it's a time like this that let you sit in your living room, watch college football, eat Taco Bell, of course while in your underwear...without the least bit of guilt.
Assorted "Fourthmeal" lovlies

So did I do that?  Well, some of it, but somewhat regretfully not all.  Instead, I took the opportunity to go out and try to fish a little run of water I've always been curious about, but never explored.  It's not exactly secret water (it runs through State Game Lands and then later through people's backyards), so I figured "why not"...

No Parking - Says the Heinz label

Rumor was there were wild trout in this little water.  Rumor didn't lie.  This section of water is actually a bit upstream from a far more open and popular fishing area that's been maintained by the local Trout Unlimited chapter.  The fishing up here is a bit more cramped & tricky, and as such not quite the attention-getter.

At its widest

No more than 10 feet across at widest, there were tons of little wild brown trout everywhere in this creek, just like this one, and boy did they like dry flies.  Half the fun was watching them swipe at the fly, whether or not they were able to get their little mouths around it.  

Not a taxidermy candidate

I probably caught 20 or 30 of these little buggers (I don't count fish) - some were even slightly larger, but definitely not by much.  I think the biggest one I caught was 5 inches.  Makes you wonder where the Mom & Dad trout were.  I'm sure there were a few big fish in there pissed off at me for picking on the little ones.

No tenkara, I fished with a reel.  What a novel concept

Actually if I hadn't fished with Owl Jones and Milliam in North Carolina a few months back I probably wouldn't have known how to approach and fish these micro pools and riffles.  So thanks guys.  

While the trip wasn't memorable by the standard of size of fish, it was really good recon and I took pretty good mental notes of the creek.  I think it's worth at least one more visit this Fall...and maybe next time I'll even pick up Taco Bell afterwards...

Peace OUT!

September 15, 2012

Out Of Hiding

Man, I haven't written anything for something like 10 days.  Probably the longest hiatus this blog's seen in some time.  Haven't read any other fishing blogs either.  Yeah, I'm the reason for your recent dip in site traffic...sorry.  About the only exposure to fishing I've had was scrolling through my Facebook news feed at the random stuff people have been posting.

Like this...

Liquor in the front, poker...I mean the rear?

Or this...
Obi-Wan Fishilicious.

And this...
Holy balls that's not a carp!

It's been nice to follow along passively from a distance.
You all never cease to amaze.

That said, gonna take my CGR and a bushel of tenkara rods and go find some water this weekend.
We'll see what that brings...

September 4, 2012

Tenkara Tuesday - The Commoditization of Tenkara

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

Is tenkara approaching the line of becoming a commodity?

A commodity?  What do I mean you might ask?  I'm not really talking about tenkara being accepted by the fly fishing masses...we've got a long way to go on that front.  What I'm really talking about is the recent growth spurt of tenkara gear, specifically tenkara rods.

In the beginning (a long 3 years ago) there was one source to easily get tenkara rods in the United States.  One might say this company even created the domestic market.  People were happy with these rods for a while, and a large majority still are, but after a little time two additional paths diverged from that main road.

Like you didn't know who I was referencing...

The first were people that looked to Japan, the home of tenkara, to import rods (be it for personal use or re-sale) in an interest to get what they perceived to be "superior equipment" or to simply gain context on what makes a good tenkara rod.  I mean who knows what makes a good rod if you've only fished one brand?

I personally purchased a Sakura brand of tenkara rod from a domestic source importing them from Japan about a year ago.  It's a beautifully refined rod that fishes very, very nicely.  You can tell the Japanese have been doing this tenkara thing for a while.

The second group, and the one that is most interesting and concerning to me at the same time, is the rapid growth of the relatively inexpensive tenkara rod.  Over the past year there have been many new brands of tenkara rods appearing on many different websites for sale, the result of entrepreneurial folks working directly with factories (or through agents) to import their own rods from China for resale to the hungry US market.  Priced anywhere from $40 to $150, these alternatives are seemingly popping up by the day.  Just check eBay sometime.

I suppose the convenience of the internet makes it pretty easy to get into the "tenkara business" if you're so inclined.  If you want to sell your own line of tenkara rods, all you have to do is Alibaba that.  The low minimum orders probably don't hurt either.  It even appears you can get a rod with a Tenkara USA sticker slapped on the side...trademarks be damned.  Yeah, the amazing world of working "factory direct" in China.

Don't want to deal directly with China?  Don't worry about it.  Bob Ward's didn't.  You can work with a U.S. sourcing company called Bridge Outdoors to get into the game.  They'll get you a rod...and even affiix your branding on the side.  Want it to say "Tenkara Stud"...consider it done.  Bam, you're instantly in the tenkara rod business - right along side the big boys.

The "Simplify" Tenkara Rod

What does all this mean?  Beats me.  But the signs point to the fact that if things continue to develop at this pace, your rod choices will be far, far wider than they are today...and that's not even tossing the "notorious" tanago rods into the fray...

One can certainly make the argument that more isn't always better, especially if the primary motivation of these newcomers is to tap into the unsatisfied appetite of a very young market - rather than actually investing the time to learn about the sport, technique, and the art of superior rod design.

Then again, maybe some of these new options will prove to be better than what the current market offers, even at lower pricepoints.  Competition tends to breed innovation, so I guess there's always a chance...


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 and email HERE, or check out this previous post for more information.

September 3, 2012

Huzzah for BBQ Burgers, Bass, & Child Punishment

On paper, Saturday was going to be quite the mission.  Fishing, bookended by pure gluttony.

The plan was to take the hour and change hike out to Lebanon, PA...we were going to hit a Hardee's for lunch - to eat the Memphis BBQ Thickburger - as that's seriously the closest Hardee's to where I live.  We like food, so we do stuff like that.  

Burger, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, cheese, onion straws

After that, my wife was going to drop me off over at Spurky's know, my occasional fishing buddy Spurky...and we'd fish while she and Lilly spent the next 4 hours or so going to fabric stores and other crap that I have no interest in.  

To cap it off, she'd pick me up afterwards and we'd eat dinner at Golden Corral.  Lilly has a fascination for "chocolate fountains" right now...I'm not sure why...and while I doubt the hygiene involved there, you only live once.  Germs are good to build a kid's immune system, right?  Also, much like Hardee's, the closest one happens to be in the Lebanon area.  So we were going to kill two birds with one stone.  

My wife also likes wine you can only get at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire...well actually right outside the gates.  You don't have to go inside.  Sounds odd, and honestly is, but that was on the agenda too as that was also only a few minutes South.

What actually happened wasn't exactly what was planned, but worked out okay in the end.  

See, on Friday night Lilly decided to pretty much pull a temper tantrum at dinner.  She didn't want to eat her food and was kind of spazzing out and crying about it.  She's six, and she knows that's unacceptable.  Yeah, it's not always puppies and rainbows out of Lilly.  

If she's bad she typically "goes on red" (as in red light) meaning no TV, no video games, no playing with friends outside, and usually no something else she likes for at least 24 hours.  So we pulled the "chocolate fountain" offer for the following night off the table as well (even though K.C. & I still kinda wanted to go).  

With that bit of agenda shattering discipline now in place, there really was no reason to be out in the middle of nowhere for an extended time after lunch.  K.C. still wanted to go fabric shopping, but now didn't need to spend a ton of time at each store.  That shrunk my fishing window in about half, so it really wasn't worth meeting up with Spurky and doing the whole wet wading thing for less that two hours of action.

So we did hit Hardee's for lunch.  Two thumbs up on the Memphis BBQ Thickburger.  I need another twelve of those...

The best burger since my Crown Burger in Salt Lake.

K.C. did go fabric shopping, and she dropped me off at Stoever's Dam Park which was somewhat near one of the stores.  It's basically a smallish lake.  It's probably best fished by a small boat, but there was ample room for shore fishing.  

Crystal clear water
Is that a challenge?

I caught some small bass and assorted other panfish tossing an olive woolly bugger.

Almost two hours later, K.C. came back to pick me up, but keeping true to our ballbusting disciplinarian ways, no stop at Golden Corral for us (even though we drove right past it), just the Renaissance Faire winery for a very quick stop to pick up a couple bottles of some wine K.C. likes but I don't drink.  

Lilly & I just stood outside of the store (or should I say Shoppe) and people-watched far too many adults dressed up in either Hobbit or Jack Sparrow or Harry Potter costumes get out of their Toyota Camrys and walk toward the entrance of the Faire.  Of course with replica medieval swords and empty goblets in tow...but that's a given, right?

After that, back in the car and home.

Was it the day we all hoped it'd be?  No.  But K.C. got some fabric, I got in some fishing, and Lilly largely behaved herself, partially redeeming the prior night's hi-jinks.  I'll mark that one in the win column.