October 22, 2014

Wednesday Nibbles - The "Van Down By The River" Edition

So...umm...yeah...it's been a while since I've written one of these.  Please excuse me as I blow off the dust, shake off the cobwebs, and get this rust bucket moving again...

I have to admit, I'm a bit out of the mainstream fly fishing scene.  I've been on this 100% tenkara bender for the last month or two and I'm not sure what is up, down, or otherwise out there these days in terms of rods & reels & flies that actually look like bugs...plus, I only visit Moldy Chum on Fridays...

Seems every fishing magazine I pick up these days is all moist and tingly about carp and two handed rods...switch rods, spey rods...all that crazy stuff.  Did you know there's a two handed tenkara rod?  Actually a few...could probably catch a carp with one if so inclined.  Check out this split grip from the mad scientists at Riverworks...

Okay, okay, okay.  I need scoop.  If I go get me one of those newfangled GoPros...can somebody show me how to make one of these RKO videos?  Like what software do I need?  Can I do it in MS Paint like everything else?  Holy crap, the comedic fly fishing applications are endless with nonsensical edits like this...nobody would be safe...

I was wondering...and this is the stupid kind of $hit I think about when I can't sleep...like what would be the ultimate fishing mobile?  Yeah, I dig my Subie and all...as do most other 50-something lesbians (no offense ladies, you're my demographic)...but I was thinking an old, inexpensive beater van of some sort that could be pimped out after the fact.  The kind you could just throw a kayak...or cot...or fly tying desk...or keg in the back along with all of your gear and bring around from place to place.  Sort of like a mobile fishing station.

Perhaps the wiener dog of transportation, the Sprinter van, would be a most awesome solution, but damn, those things can be deceptively expensive...  Maybe a "Who's the Boss?" Tony Danza primer-colored van would be the ticket...  But then my demographic would immediately shift to "creepy dudes in a vans."  Not good.  Especially in a neighborhood full of children, like the one I live in.

I did get a flier (flyer?) in the mail for the 2014 International Fly Tying Symposium the other day.  It was one of my favorite events to attend back in the day when I lived in Pennsylvania (it's in North Jersey).  If you're not in the know, at least a gazillion fly tyers get invited...most from the US, but some from beyond our borders (that's what makes it "international")...they tie stuff at tables lined up around the perimeter of the show hall...and you get to walk around, watch, and ask questions...

"Do you prefer ceramic bobbins with your horsehair thread...?"  

"What gauge wire are you using on your nymphtruders...?"  

"Does Clear Cure Goo burn if you get it...down there...?"  

You know, geeky stuff like that...

Plus, there are a bunch of vendors in the middle of the hall selling all sorts of wares...there's nothing better than rooting through a bin full of questionable feathers, factory second beads, and left over Christmas tinsel.  Really, it is fun.  No joke.  Like trying to find the prize at the bottom of the cereal box even though you know it'll probably suck (they don't do that anymore, right?).

Two things of note this year...  1) They're inviting folks from the 51st state this year.  Welcome Canada!  For real.  No jokes about hockey, igloos, or the propensity to say "Eh" allowed I guess.  That's a shame.  And 2) There's going to be a fiberglass rod casting competition.  And where's there's fiberglass, there's guest judge Cameron Mortenson.  Fly fishing social media royalty in the house...TFM represent!  So go check out the rods and bug Cam for free stuff...I bet he'll have at least some stickers...

Last but not least (cue the trumpets) BLOG LOVE!

My new blog fetish crush is a blog from Japan called: ぺたうろの毛鉤釣りと 愉快な仲間たちの日記 逆さ毛鉤巻き動画.  Got it?

Seriously, it's a pretty fun tenkara-ish blog to follow around, although I really don't expect my readers to take to it since it's written in Japanese.  Maybe if you can tolerate broken "Google Translate" English it'll be up your alley.  I just like looking at pictures in posts like THIS and trying to figure out what's going on.  Regardless, it's pretty rad, and probably one of the only Japanese fishing blogs that doesn't have either ridiculously tiny fonts, excessive images of wacky cartoon characters participating in hijinks, or the combination of the two.  There's actually some really good fishing reports if you go back in time a month...great pictures of streams and fish...

Well, that's it...enjoy your Wednesday...I got a van to buy.

October 21, 2014

Sunday In Rocky Mountain National Park

I never wrote a post about my last day of the Tenkara Summit weekend...aka fishing in the Park on a Broncos bye-week Sunday...

Unlike prior Summits that I had attended, the Sunday following the conference was more of a "free for all" fishing day.  The unofficial, official Summit outing was along Boulder Creek, and the Tenkara USA crew was going to seek people out during the day, drop in, and fish with them, give tips, etc...  Me, we'll I kinda went on my own, bypassing the Boulder Creek outing for a solo trip up in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'm not gonna lie, I didn't care about the potential for crowds, I just wanted to fish and see some elk.

It was a gorgeous, somewhat brisk morning, and for better or worse, there were a ton of people in the park that day. I couldn't find a place to park at any of the trailheads, but did find a spot to pull off on the side of the road.  It made for a bit longer walk to and from the water than I had hoped, but it was definitely worth it.

I had an absolute blast fishing the Big Thompson River near Fern Lake Trail.  It wasn't difficult fishing, but the brown & brook trout were more than accommodating.  They especially seemed to like the white hackled, light bodied kebari I was tossing that day.

There were probably a ton of other spots to go fish in the park, but as I mentioned before, I really wanted to see the elk, and during the drive in, they were out in the Moraine Park meadows bugling up a storm.  Literally.  Some rain clouds started to roll in on my fishing outing, so I packed up the gear and headed back to the parked car to do some wildlife viewing before the rain started.  I was fortunate to get a lot of that in amid the drizzle.


Simply stunning.  My sub-par pictures don't do the beauty of this area justice.  I'd really like to get back and make a vacation of just exploring the park.  It's a truly special place...and what an awesome way to end this four day Colorado tenkara adventure!

October 15, 2014

Tenkara USA Forum "Soft Hackle" Theme Fly Swap

Over the summer, the Tenkara USA forum hosted a "Soft Hackle" themed fly swap.  While the stereotypical tenkara sakasa kebari might fall into the category of a soft hackle wet fly, the tyers in this swap were not limited to creating reverse hackle patterns.  As such, the swap yielded a little of both.

Everybody was to receive two flies from each participant for a total of 14 in your box (you didn't tie for yourself).  Most tied two different patterns...me, I went a little rogue and tied two of the same...one to lose to a tree and the other to catch fish with...

Since it's been about a week since everybody received their flies back in the mail, I figured it would be okay to show off some of the patterns here, as I've done with other fly swaps in the past.  I just think they're neat to look at...

Hotspot Sakasa Kebari
(Chris "Kiwi" Kuhlow)

Purple Henthorn Spider
(Chris "Kiwi" Kuhlow)

Double Reverse Hackle
(Robert Olson)

(Robert Olson)

Silk Spider Green
(Mike Shaffer "Gentle Shepherd")

Silk Spider Pink
(Mike Shaffer "Gentle Shepherd")

Unnamed Fly

Unnamed Fly

#8 Gujo

#12 Thread Eye

Unnamed Fly

Unnamed Fly

Dark Kebari

Bead-head Pheasant Tail

Swamp Ape Kebari (x2)
(Yours Truly)

Thanks to everyone that participated, they are all awesome specimens.  I hope you get your box of flies wet and in fish mouths soon.  I sure know I plan on doing so!

October 13, 2014

Tenkara With Ike - #tenkarawithike

One of my favorite non-fishing blogs over the last few years is a Philadelphia sports blog called "I Want To Go To The Zoo With Roy Halladay," or Zoo With Roy (ZWR), for short.  It is a blog that went up shortly after the Philadelphia Phillies signed ace pitcher Roy Halladay in the 2010 off-season.  The blog started as a simple, yet unlikely concept, to get Roy Halladay to go to the Philadelphia Zoo with the author...

Over the years, the blog evolved into much more, satirizing & lampooning the entire Philly sports scene (and their opponents) with quick wit and a ton on MS Paint drawings...to the point that following his retirement prior to the 2014 season, Roy Halladay became a fan of the blog...and, well, it actually happened...

So with that, and an innocent Twitter interaction this past Friday night, my half-assed, "I Want To Go Tenkara Fishing with Mike Iaconelli," or Tenkara With Ike (TWI), campaign has begun...

Those with Twitter accounts, please don't be shy about letting him know about it either... 

October 12, 2014

The 2014 Tenkara Summit Recap

There have been a handful of 2014 Tenkara Summit recaps posted in the few weeks that have elapsed since the event. Two excellent examples can be found HERE & HERE. I had fully intended on jotting down my notes at least a week ago, but some business travel sort of got in the way, so I'm going to catch up now...

The Summit started a little after 9:00 AM, with some opening remarks by Daniel Galhardo. He spoke a bit about the acceptance and growth of tenkara in the U.S. over the past few years, noting some of the highlights and milestones that took place along the way. A segment from a Japanese TV program on tenkara, featuring Daniel & Dr. Ishigaki also was shown.  The same segment is available online (& below).

Dr. Ishigaki then took to the podium for his tenkara presentation, a bit about his background, the history of tenkara in Japan, an overview of the tackle & techniques, wrapped up by a Q&A session from the crowd. Personally, it's always entertaining to see Dr. Ishigaki speak. While his presentation was very similar to the one in Salt Lake 2 years ago, his passion for promoting tenkara comes through in full despite a language barrier (an interpreter was used). The Q&A session was surprisingly long, but full of interesting asks, both basic & advanced.

After that, it was time to break out to the product vendors, fly tying demos, and rigging/casting demos. A large hall of vendors featured quite a variety of suppliers...including Tenkara USARocky Mountain Anglers, both Zimmerbuilt & Vedavoo, Fly Fishing Artwork rod cases, Native Eyewear, and artwork by Jeremy Shellhorn just to name a few.

Over in the fly tying area, tyers woud rotate among the tables. Three I watched tie were Dr. Ishigaki, Graham Moran, & Joe Egry.  Jason Klass also tied a bit, as well as Mark Bolson.

Joe at the vise

Graham tying one of his fish catching kebari

Dr. Ishigaki always draws a crowd

Inside Ishigaki's fly box

A kebari shadowbox on display.
Assembled by Adam Trahan, each square shows a photo of a
tenkara angler as well as at least one sample of their hand-tied flies.

Out on the lawn were the rigging and casting demos. A canopy was set up to show the various knots and whatnot required to attach tenkara lines to rods, tippet to lines, etc, etc... Daniel also showed some basic casting to an eager crowd. He even had Misako Ishimura stand in for a trout to show how to hand line in a fighting fish. It was pretty funny, wish I took video.


Dr, Ishigaki took to Boulder Creek (which was literally a minute's walk behind the hotel) and showed off some casting & fly manipulation techniques. He even caught a fish with like 80 or so people watching. Crazy.

The afternoon closed out with a very entertaining "tenkara magic" show by Dennis Vander Howen, a presentation on the impact on last year's Colorado floodings by Trout Unlimited (which was probably 15-20 minutes too long, my only complaint), and then some local fishing suggestions for the rest of the weekend, first by the folks from Rocky Mountain Anglers, then by Steve Schweitzer, specifically speaking to fishing Rocky Mountain National Park.

After some closing remarks from Daniel, the event wrapped up around 4:30PM, which left some time to go fishing...

There was a smaller nightcap back a the hotel bar for folks that wanted to stick around, including live music and some more up close magic from Dennis. It was pretty fun...plus I'm never one to say no to beer.

The Afterparty...  I'm on the right, chatting up Scott Hunter from Vedavoo.
Graham Moran is in the back holding the tenkara rod and saying something I'm certain was very "deep" to Karel Lansky.  Dennis Vander Howen is in the foreground...disappearing?
(Image Courtesy of TJ Ferreira)

All in all, it seemed like a very successful and well run event. If it wasn't, the crew working it on the Tenkara USA side sure fooled me. I had a great time and met some great people.

Looking back, my favorite parts of the Summit event itself was actually the down time in-between sessions and during lunch. The time spent sort of milling about, bumping into folks you knew, if only by name, and saying hello.  

I met quite a few people for the first time that I had either been friendly with or was familiar with from similar online circles. Folks like Chris Kline, Graham Moran, & Adam Hanna just to name a few...

Chris was even so kind to drop off some care packages to several anglers there, myself included. I'd guess the gurglers were probably unique to my Florida-bound Altoids tin though...thanks Chris!