May 31, 2014

2014 Tenkara Summit - A Done Deal

No, not new news...but the 2014 Tenkara Summit will be held in Boulder, Colorado later this year.

I've been fortunate to make it to 2 of the first 3 (Salt Lake City, Utah & Harrisonburg, Virginia) and enjoyed them enough to decide go to Colorado this year as well, even though the late September 27 & 28 dates weren't ideal with my work schedule.  That's what my (typically underused) vacation days are for.

Speaking of work, I probably wouldn't be going if it wasn't for all of the travel that my company sends me on.  I was lucky enough to have enough frequent flyer miles on US Airways to get the Denver flight for free.  Even though you can't fly anywhere "direct" out of Jacksonville, Florida, you can't knock free.

So I know it's early, but I'd love to solicit some advice on things to do / places to fish while in the Boulder area.  I've traveled to a lot of places, but never there.  I know from my Google Analytics that I have a few Colorado readers (unless Howard is just hitting 'refresh' over and over and over).

Thursday and Monday are more or less travel days, although I do get in around noon local time on Thursday, leaving the second half of Thursday, all of Friday and Sunday (the event is Saturday) open to do whatever.

So where should I go and what should I do?  
(4:20 jokes are OK, but not my thing)  
Any suggestions are welcomed in the comments below.  

Oh, and if you're going, let's make arrangements to (at minimum) say hello.  One of the best things about writing a blog is all of the people it gets you virtually introduced to over time.  It's great to put faces to names over a handshake and/or some liquid refreshment.

May 30, 2014

Eat More Brook Trout: A Treasure is Trashed

I don't have much to say today, so read this instead.
Eat More Brook Trout: A Treasure is Trashed

I've never understood littering when it's so easy to just dispose of something properly.

**stepping down from my soap box**

May 28, 2014

BoardLove & BlogLove: Tidal Roots & Pocket Water

Stumbled upon a few things online that I thought were worth mentioning here...because I'm quickly becoming a fan of both.


The first is a new stand-up paddleboard (SUP) company called Tidal Roots.  What sets Tidal Roots apart from the other SUP companies I've highlighted here from time to time?  How about the fact that these boards are sustainably built in Maine out of...wood.  Gorgeous wood at that.

But these boards aren't just for looking at, they're made for fishing...inspired by the founders' quest to find a better way to chase striped bass on the local mud flats.

Did I mention they're gorgeous?

Check them on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, or of course, their website.


Next is a little bit of blog love for a blog called Pocket Water.  A site about "Fly Fishing and Tenkara trip reports, videos, photography, and art," but is really much more.

I quickly found myself drawn in by the somewhat unique layout, as well as the stunning photos.  It's all really well executed, and I look forward to reading more from this blog in the future.  I think you will too.

P.S., don't skip the post on tenkara unicorns.  It's not what you think...

May 26, 2014

Kickstarter - Snappycast

This is a pretty neat take on making a spincast rod & reel easier to cast.

Support Snappycast HERE.

May 20, 2014

Morels? I Don't Get It...

Help me understand.

Most of my fishing acquaintances are "outdoorsy" by default.  This time of year, like many others before it, social media lights up with post after post, picture after picture, of many of these friends taking to the woods and foraging for morels (mushrooms).  As more city than country, I have no idea what these taste like that make people chase them down so feverishly...because they certainly don't look like much.  I've heard the French create fancy-pants recipes with them, but then again, they also serve snails...

Maybe they taste like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...that's gotta be it, right?

May 19, 2014

Scenes From The Weekend

While I didn't have the most successful weekend from a fish catching standpoint, I did manage get out for a little bit on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.

Saturday morning consisted of putting the kayak in at Trout Creek in Orangdale.  I didn't realize how crowded that feeder creek to the St. John's River got during the weekends.  Everybody seemed to be out in their party barges and bass boats.  Besides all of the fishing traffic, (a Ranger or Skeeter picking the weeds every 20 feet), I kind of got pushed around a bit by all of the motorboats' wakes; not too bad, but just enough to be annoying.  Probably won't go back there on a weekend with the intent of fishing.  Lesson learned.

Sunday was a trip down to Crescent Beach...actually the Matanzas inlet for about 2 hours.  This was purely a reconnaissance mission.  I did toss a fly or two, just to preserve my saltwater skunk going back to last October. That aside, I'm glad I went.

I hung out on the strip of land that divides the Inlet from the intercoastal/Matanzas River, but there was action going on both sides.  Looks like a place where both fishing and family fun can take place, as even though the pictures below don't look all that crowded, there were a TON of folks kayaking, paddleboarding, jetskiing (which was a little annoying), and just playing in the water.  Due to all of the action, might be better for actual fishing in the morning, but regardless, it was worth the 40 minute drive south to check out.

American Gopher Tortoise

Maybe next time there'll even be a picture or two of a fish.
You never know...

May 17, 2014

Pics From A St. Augustine Paddle

Found these pics while cleaning out a SD card.  Forgot I took them as they're almost a month old at this point, but figured why not post them...

I had put in the kayak down in St. Augustine a few weeks ago, just to paddle around some new water and see what was up.  I really need to be more diligent with the tide charts in the future, as I ended up out there pretty much right at low as low tide gets...and the water got so down in places I ran aground more than a few times (as did a party barge full of college kids).  Not much fishing on this outing, more so exploring and enjoying the beautiful weather.

May 16, 2014

Guest Post - What's To A Bag?

My buddy Spurky from central PA decided to send over a guest post the other day.  I always enjoy a guest post from Spurky because he's a top notch spin fisherman.  Posts from him change things up around here every now and then and take you from hooks and feathers to spinners and spoons.

In this post he explores the perfect fishing bag for the wading spin-fisherman...and takes a shot at his trout fishing nemesis.  Probably an inside joke, but maybe some fellow Pennsylvanians may have heard the legend of Spurky's adversary.

Please enjoy.

I go fishing a lot.  When I go I almost always go wading from ankle deep to chest deep, so I cannot carry a box for obvious reasons.  For years, decades actually, I have used a fishing bag.  Actually a Bass Pro Shops crappie management bag that I bought over 25 years ago.

This bag has been through it all, weather wise and fishing wise.  It was snowed, iced, rained, and submerged.  It was the bag I used to take my daughter fishing with for over 14 years.  It was big enough to hold live bait when she went with, which was 90% of time :-).  Though small enough to carry around wading, carrying everything I needed, even soda cans.

Last couple years she (the bag) started to die, so to speak, and I have been looking for a replacement, but nothing out there comes close to its size or shape.  I spent a lot of money and time trying to find a suitable replacement.  I found one that was perfect, but during a spring cleaning it disappeared. The bags that are close are for fly fisherman, so it is not really set up for a steel/plastic chuckers.

Not long ago on a fishing site, a friend said he accidentally thought he bought a bag, but his wife said no, it was a purse.  So I looked at the local second hand store and for 1/1000 of the price of what is now called a fishing bag, I got a bag to use with tons of storage, and at low cost, easily replaced.  It sounds funny, but when a design works for you and you cannot find what you want or need, you've got to adapt and use what is available.  In fact no one knows it is a purse unless I tell them.  The best is the price; my last one I bought was .75 cents, and I used it for 2 wading seasons.

The bags in the picture, the top row costs over 75 dollars, bottom row $2.25!   I just wish someone would cater to the non boat/kayak fishermen who wade/shore fish a lot, I mean really why not?  Are we second class people?

Ya well, I love to wade.  It makes fishing (to me) more fun, and closer to nature.  The best thing is in clear water you're lower in the skyline so harder for them to see, and a lot of time I get to watch the fish chase, hit, and run.  Plus if they do not hit, watching them chase is a lesson into how to use lure, and if maybe I need another color to use....whoops COLOR...color does not mean anything just ask the "super trout man" Mr. F. Nale....:-).......anywho, what in a bag?

May 15, 2014

Hey Kids, Get off My Lawn!

I hesitantly write this post at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, but I'm pretty sour about this one.  Plus, I've been rather uninspired to write since the fishing in bear with this rant of less than epic proportions.

"Support your local fly shop!" 

That's what the lecturing masses say...

Me?  I say...


I sent the (only) local fly shop that shall remain unnamed a message through their social media page basically informing them that I'd like to spend just shy of $350 in their store.  You'd probably like a quick $350 if you were a retailer in a "dying" industry, right?  

I asked if they were able to pre-order a reel ($250) and also when their next round of saltwater fly fishing classes would be held ($100) since the last one posted on their website was in March.  Pretty simple questions.

Did I mention that was back on May 1st?
Today is the 15th.

Did I also mention they've posted 7 times to that social media page since?  
It's not going unchecked.

Selfies over $$$, makes sense to me.

Two weeks later, still no reply.  
I must have the wrong currency in my wallet.

Oh to the internet it is.

Maybe I can find a fly shop in Pennsylvania that can help out with that reel...
Heck, I don't even like fly fishing with reels.

At least I tried.

*end of rant*

May 7, 2014

Dahlonega Nights - The Ballad of Owl Jones

Yeah, that guy.

He wrote a post about last weekend's fishing outing the other day, so I figured I'd return the favor and let you know what really happened.

It all started with a bit of a mental breakdown.  As much as I try to convince myself that I like Florida, there's more than a little piece of me that misses the things I really enjoyed up North.  Trout fishing is one of them.  It was my escape.  My weekly-ish mental recharge.  With April in the rear view I was kind of getting legitimately unnerved by reading social media posts of everybody's trout seasons heading into prime time...and none to be found in the stagnant warmwater environs of Florida.  Florida fishing, while fun, doesn't quite hit the same sort of internal reset button.

So I basically imposed my presence on Owl Jones.  Sent him a Facebook message and more or less said, "I'm going crazy down here and need a trout fix. Headed to Georgia next weekend, want to go fishing?"

While I hoped he'd say yes, you never know with him.  He could be off painting chickens, paddling plastic canoes, freestyle rapping, or something like that.  Luckily, he said yes, because I probably would have just fished whatever stocked trout water the Georgia DNR said was closest to Jacksonville.

Instead, I made the 6 hour and change drive up to Dahlonega, GA...which I learned is pronounced DA-LON-EH-GA, not DALL-O-NEGA, as I had hoped.  You know, because Ricky Bobby is awesome and I really wanted to name this post Dahlonega Nights.  Anyway...the plan was to fish some of Owl's not so secret "favorite" wild trout water on Saturday.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Ready to wake up and piss excellence

Lemme tell you something.  Owl can talk lots of jibber jabber.  I'm relatively laid back.  He and I get along pretty well.  We're sort of like Penn & Teller without the magic.  You can figure out which is which.  He told me so much stuff, I'm not even sure I could regurgitate half of it if I wanted to.  I also wouldn't have had it any other way.

Oh, the fishing...yeah, we did that too.  After driving around a little bit and getting an insight filled guided tour of local landmarks on the way... "That schoolhouse over there is historic...because it's old..." we ended up on an absolutely beautiful stream that was allegedly full of wild trout - rainbows in the first section and then brookies at a bit of a higher elevation.

As we got out of the car, Owl gave me the rundown..."Watch out for bears, hornets, snakes, poison ivy...and if you see somebody doing something funny, don't mess with them...I didn't bring the heat today."  Ummm, okay.  Welcome to Southern Appalachia...wait, was that a banjo?

The fish were probably there, they just chose not to least not in ridiculous quantities.  Owl blamed it on the rain earlier in the week cooling the water temps and raising them about 1/3 higher than normal...I blame it on all of the laughing we did on the water as we talked about stupid stuff like old TV shows, flipping kayaks, dining with taxidermy, top secret Doritos flavors, and other fishing bloggers.  Yeah, we probably talked about you...well, at least some of you.  Either way, we were not very stealthy.  Case in point.

I ended up landing 3 small rainbows and missing a hookset on a 4th, using the Tenkara USA Rhodo, a red and white kebari, and what Owl likes to call my "butterfly net."  We both struck out up higher on the smaller water for brookies.

Unfortunately, Owl didn't catch any trout on the day, but to be fair, he let me fish all of the prime water first...and spook any and all fish before he'd even get a line wet...a perfect host & guide.  Snap that Hank Patterson.

The only thing I can say is there just wasn't enough time in the day.  The 8+ hours on the water flew by in a blink of an eye.  Probably because I had an absolute blast.  They just don't make water (or guides) like that in Florida and I need to make a point to get back to North Georgia again soon.  Very soon.  I made sure to buy a full year's Georgia fishing license as an incentive to return.

To close, I just want to thank you again Owl Jones.  (As always), you were a very generous host.  I couldn't have asked for a better time out; my coldwater fishing mojo has definitely been restored.  I hope to be able to return the favor on the First Coast in the not too distant future.  Hint, hint.

Shake n' Bake

May 6, 2014

Tenkara Tuesday - It’s The Rod Stupid…

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

Today's entry is a guest post from Anthony Naples.  It's a reflection on why tenkara creates success pretty much for anyone, right out of the box...or rod tube...or  know what I mean.  Please enjoy.

So about four and half years ago I started fishing tenkara. At first I used it like a western rod without a reel. I cast longish floating furled leaders with dry flies and nymphs - and then I went to nylon level lines - because they’re cheaper and float better than fluorocarbon lines. The stealth that the long tenkara rod and light lines gave me was amazing and it more than made up for a lack of reel. I fished the sulphur hatch on Spring Creek (my favorite stream and favorite hatch) with my tenkara rod and western tactics and I caught fish on dries and emerges and spinners. I was ignorant (apparently) but blissful.

Along the way somewhere I learned that I was doing it all wrong. I wasn’t supposed to let the line lay on the water. I wasn’t supposed to fish dry flies - not to mention the poppers and and hoppers that I was fishing for bluegill and smallmouth. Hell, I wasn’t even supposed to be fishing for bluegill and smallmouth.

And turning over stones, looking at tiny benthic beasts, stumbling across the stream to catch the randomly flitting (yet somehow hard to catch) mayflies in my hat so that I could examine them and tie flies to match them - that was all wrong too.

None of that bug stuff matters. It’s not the flies! It’s not the gear! It’s the skill. Right?

That’s the story anyway.

But a recent conversation reminded me of a fundamental fact that I’d lost somewhere along the way.

It’s the rod stupid.

It is the gear - it’s just different gear!

When I really stop to analyze my tenkara “success” - I have to admit it’s not due to any “tenkara master” status. It’s almost completely due to the stealth that the super light tenkara line offers me. I’m not afraid to admit it.

I’m not saying that there is not a wealth of tenkara skills to learn and acquire - I’m just saying that, in moments of lucidity and quiet contemplation I have to admit that I probably don’t have them.

When I began tenkara, my tenkara “success” was almost immediate - once I learned to keep the rod out of the trees and how to land a fish without a reel - I started catching fish at a better rate than before. This was before I knew anything about “tenkara” tactics. It was all just the same old tactics made better by a long rod and super light line.

When my friend pointed out that those of us in the west, most doing tenkara for less than 5 years, are far from masters at tenkara techniques, and that it’s not our super tenkara skills - but it’s the effective tenkara gear that’s making most of the difference for most of us…well…I was gobsmacked. Then I thought back to my beginning - to my love of the stealth that tenkara gear gave me - and my nearly instant “success”. And I realized that he was right - at least in my case - if I want to be totally honest.

It’s not the skill - it’s the rod, stupid…


About the Author:

Anthony Naples hails from Western Pennsylvania (don't hold that against him), and has been a voice in the ever-growing American tenkara community since 2009, recently serving as editor on the first Tenkara Magazine.  His blog, Casting Around, which features both tenkara and fly-fishing themed stories, poetry, and original art, can be found HERE.


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.

May 5, 2014

Stranded - A Fly Fisher's Journey

Drove a few hours North this past weekend to go fishing with a friend.  
And, ummm...yeah, this happened...

Glad to see things haven't changed.  Happy Cinco de Mayo.
More to come...