May 30, 2017

Trout On The Brain, Bass On The Line

Hadn't fished the neighborhood ponds in a while, so went out last night to wet a line once the sun started getting low(er) in the sky. It had to be in the mid-90s yesterday, so I was hiding indoors most of the day.

Really wanted to catch a few fish, as I probably won't be able to do any fishing (or consistent blogging) for the next two weeks. It's all good though, the bass and bluegill cooperated to the tune of a baker's dozen, so it was a fun evening by the water.

I couldn't help notice how the small bass brought to hand reminded me a bit of catching rainbow trout. They're about the same size as the small stream rainbows I chase, both species like to jump and take flight, and as you're stripping that fly around underwater structure and see that "flash," you know it's game on. I think I just have trout on the brain...

Since this might be the last post for a bit, sure don't mind leaving these photos up for a while. Warmwater fish can be damn pretty too.

May 28, 2017

Sunday Watch: Blue Lining for Wild Native Brook Trout and Wild Rainbow Trout

The latest from Carpe Ichthus Studios.

I like this young man's style, he's got a little swagger in his step. Caught a few nice fish too.
He's made a few fishing videos, they're worth a peek HERE.

May 23, 2017

Tenkara Tuesday: Tenkara In The News

Step away from the blog for a week and all kinds of good tenkara stuff happens... Check out some of the interesting news and notes below.

First Stop: Wisconsin

First off, the Midwest Tenkara Fest was held last weekend in Coon Valley, Wisconsin. Totally bummed I couldn't attend, but so happy that it appears that my friends that did had a great time. The event even got picked up a little in the local press, so check out the video at your leisure!

On To Japan...

Appears the Discover Tenkara guys bypassed Wisconsin as well and headed straight to Japan! A few of their adventures seem to be slowly creeping out via the Tenkara in Focus Facebook page  - hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, fishing, oh, and testing out some new rods. Hmm...

Image Courtesy: Discover Tenkara
A New Dynamic Duo

The Road Warriors, The Fabulous Freebirds, The British Bulldogs, The Dudley Boyz... some of the greatest tag teams of all time. Will the new team of Stephen Myers and Graham Moran join that elite company? Not sure, but the two of them are going to give a new fly tying business a try under the name 303 Flyworks. As Macho Man Randy Savage once said, "Oh Yeaaaah!"

An Ode To A Rod

Adam Trahan recently compiled a collaborative piece about the Tenkara USA Sato on his Tenkara-Fisher blog. This "review" of the rod features the input of eight different tenkara anglers. I have to say, I'm a little partial to this blog post... but you'll probably have to read it to find out why.

Blue Ridge Startup

Finally, if you've followed this blog to any extent over the past few years, you know that one of my favorite escapes to chase trout (somewhat) close to home is to head up to north Georgia. Well, it appears those waters will now have a new tenkara guide service, as Christopher Fraker announced his new venture, Back of Beyond, on his blog The Impossible Seam. Here's wishing him the best of luck!

May 14, 2017

Is Hot Spotting Really A Bad Thing?

I read this article last night before bed. I wasn't actively seeking places to fish, rather it was the first article served up on the Blue Ridge Outdoors website when I visited.

Articles such as this aren't all that uncommon, whether it be in physical or digital print media. The titles are catchy, and as an angler, who doesn't want to find out where the fish are at? However, every time I see one referenced by a 3rd party, it's typically in scorn. The reactions are somewhere along the lines of...

"How dare you publicly expose these streams/creeks/rivers/ponds..."

"Too many people are going to come and ruin the fishing..."

"There goes the neighborhood..."

Once upon a time, I saw a comment on Facebook that said something to the effect of, "Every time an angler posts the location of a fishing hole, a baby dies." Now that was clearly in jest for effect, but it also reflected the general disdain some anglers have toward revealing where they fish, or the act of "hot spotting."

I suppose you could look at the reactions above in one of two ways. One, somebody who doesn't want to share their secret water with others out of fear of having too many people ruin their fishing experience. These are my fish, not yours! Or two, perhaps something nobler, someone who is concerned that the fragile fishery in question can't realistically support increased angling pressure.

On the flip side, the typical counter-arguments tend to be more in regard to public domain. Some argue that nobody should really feel the need to keep public waters a secret and for the long term benefit of those fisheries, it's better for more people to know about them so the odds are increased that they can be protected from any number of outside threats.

Both seem like valid points of view.

Here on Troutrageous!, I've made a somewhat conscious effort not to give out the names of really secret waters, or waters that friends have taken me to in confidence. You'll notice some of those posts carry the label, "Not Secret Water," as opposed to the stream's name. 

However, if water is well known to locals, is an established fishery, or easily located by using fishing resources on state fish & wildlife websites, then I have no problem using the name when I write about an outing. My escapades to Valley Creek are a perfect example of that. 

I'm also not a huge fan of photoshopping out stream features or landmarks from my photos, although that's another thing that's done quite frequently online to hide the identity of a productive waterway or honey hole. Heck, with GPS-enabled smartphones, the act of geotagging a Facebook or Instagram photo could even be considered a no-no.

I guess you could say I'm somewhat middle of the road then. I'm not going to hide where I fish, but then again, I'm not going out of my way to reveal the identity of those areas that I think need protecting.

I'm curious as to what your thoughts might be on the matter. As social media (and the archiving of digital information) becomes more and more prevalent, what are our roles as "creators" of fishing content? Should articles like the one published on Blue Ridge Outdoors be considered over the line when it comes to angling ethics? If so, what or where is the line? 

I know there's no answer everyone will likely agree on, however, exercises in thought provocation are always interesting. You may have one opinion heading in, but sometimes it only takes one well-phrased argument to get you thinking differently.

May 13, 2017

2017 Midwest Tenkara Fest

It's almost here...

Next weekend, the tenkara clan descends on the Driftless Area of Wisconsin for a gathering centered around Japanese fly fishing, a lot of gear ogling, tons of camaraderie, and of course stream after stream filled with eager trout! It can only mean the Midwest Tenkara Fest.

I have to admit, after attending the last two Coon Valley-based events, I'm more than a little bummed that I won't be able to make it this year, however, I'm certain a fantastic time is about to be had by all in attendance, whether they are new to tenkara or a veteran wielder of the telescopic rod.

I mean how could they not, especially with a lineup of speakers and vendors as follows:
  • Rob Worthing (Tenkara Guides)
  • Anthony Naples (Three Rivers Tenkara)
  • Daniel Galhardo (Tenkara USA)
  • Matt Sment (Badger Tenkara)
  • Luong Tam (Tenkara Tanuki)
  • Bob Long, Jr.
  • Riverworks Tenkara
  • Dragontail Tenkara
  • Moonlit Fly Fishing
  • Streamside Leaders
  • Trout Buddy Guide Service
Oh, and did I mention trout?

I caught this one (and several others just like it) in a beautiful creek about 50 yards away from the VFW hall in which the event is held during a break in the action.

Check out the Midwest Tenkara Fest website for a ton more info.

If you can't make it, I wrote some recaps of the prior two here on this blog.
The articles can be found here:
2015 Midwest Tenkara Fest
2016 Midwest Tenkara Fest

May 12, 2017

FLOW: The Chipola River Story

Cool video release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Conservation, fly fishing, shoal bass, I'm in...

From the FWC press release:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announces the release of its new video, “FLOW: the Chipola River Story.” “FLOW” features International Game Fish Association’s Top Female Angler of 2015, Meredith McCord, and tells the conservation story of the Chipola River. This video recognizes the dedicated efforts of individuals and organizations such as the FWC, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (part of the National Fish Habitat Partnership), Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Chipola River is a spring-fed system in north Florida that features the only naturally reproducing population of shoal bass in the state. These bass are genetically unique and have a limited geographic range. Meredith McCord set world records for shoal bass and black crappie while filming “FLOW,” inspiring future conservation efforts.

May 10, 2017

5 Landing Net Options For The Tenkara Angler

With fish mortality and catch & release being an omnipresent topic, (particularly as it relates to trout), thought it might be an opportune time to discuss landing nets.

While not essential to the fishing experience, landing nets certainly can come in handy for those that want to land a fish quickly and efficiently, as well as perhaps snap a fast photo of their catch. A skilled netting allows the angler to keep the fish corralled (and wet), while they reach for their camera, smartphone, etc... and minimizes the overall handling time during the photography and/or release process. Heck, it can even serve as a nice backdrop for the photo itself.

Truthfully, this post could easily be called "5 Landing Net Options For The Small Stream Angler," but since most of these nets are associated with tenkara due to their shape and stylistic origin, I'm going to run with the original post title noted above.

Tenkara USA Net

This tamo may be one of the most popular and recognizable of all of the tenkara nets offered. It's almost as synonymous with tenkara as a reverse hackle kebari fly. Made of wood with a mesh netting, this round basket-style net is lightweight, easily stored in a wading belt when not in use, and the curved handle allows for ergonomic catch and release. Plus, it's just plain pretty. Don't underrate that aspect of this net. (I own and use this net)

Daiwa One Touch Folding Damo

Similar in shape to the Tenkara USA net, the Daiwa One Touch damo (net) is different in the fact that it folds into a compact shape when not in use. The spring form hoop collapses in a fashion similar to those quick pitch, pop up tents or sports goals. Shimano also made a folding net, however, it is now discontinued. (Interestingly, Dragontail Tenkara has introduced their own private-label damo at a price significantly lower than that of Daiwa). 

Measure Net (Small)

As mentioned prior, while I own the Tenkara USA net, the Measure Net is the net I use most of the time, especially when traveling to fish. This small, inexpensive teardrop style net has a sturdy metal frame, comfy EVA foam handle, and the added bonus of a measuring tape screen-printed to the bottom of the net bag. When I bought my measure net it only came with a nylon mesh bag option, but they also offer rubber bagged versions now as well. Flat in profile, it's super easy to toss in the bottom of a carry-on bag or suitcase when traveling. (I own and use this net)

Tenkara Rod Co. Landing Net

Ok, these nets aren't necessarily small stream nets, but since they're made by a tenkara company, I figured they were worth mentioning in this rundown. Made of carbon fiber frames, these nets somewhat resemble a performance tennis racquet in appearance and come in colors that key back to some of the Tenkara Rod Co's best selling rod models. A larger basket than most others on this list, these nets will accommodate that surprise "king of the stream" with ease.

Lacina Small Hoop Tenkara Style Wooden Landing Net

Finally, thought I'd close out with a net made by craftsman Sam Lacina. His "tenkara-style" nets are small works of art you can bring on stream with you. This is by far the most expensive option on this list (almost 10x the retail price of some of the others), but you get what you pay for with some exquisite woodwork. Mr. Lacina's nets are of heirloom quality and are as functional as they are beautiful; for example, the longer handle in the model highlighted allows for extra reach when landing fish. Mr. Lacina does custom work, so if these specs are not what you prefer, he can try to meet your needs accordingly.

So that's the tenkara net roundup. I didn't come close to noting all of the options out there, these were simply nets either I've personally used, or have noticed others use in the several years I've been fishing tenkara. I know there are plenty of other net models that both tenkara and other fly anglers use... from inexpensive to pricey, from wood to aluminum, from brand name to generic. Heck, many even put their DIY hat on and choose to craft their own from Y-shaped tree branches. Maniacs!

If you'd like to highlight a net brand you personally prefer, please feel free to do so in the comments below, (but no blatant advertising, please).

May 9, 2017

Troutrageous Rainbow Tube

You've always wanted a rainbow tube, right?
You know, a tube that harnesses the power of unicorns, leprechauns, and pixie dust? 
I think that's what's going on here, so today may be your lucky day...

Honestly, I'm not really sure, but I do dig the name. It has a nice ring to it.

Sadly, I have nothing to do with the creation of this item. I only trademarked "Troutrageous" as it relates to protecting the intellectual property of a crappy blog, not for the production of festive tubular apparel. However, if you are interested in this item, check it out over at FisheWear.

(Tell them Troutrageous! Mike sent you, they'll have no clue what you're talking about - HA!)

May 8, 2017

Video: Force 12

Part commercial, part conservation, Force 12 is a 12-minute video from Columbia PFG that is a very well produced and extremely thought-provoking watch. Starting in the Florida Keys, moving on to Vietnam, and finishing in the Seychelles, it speaks about 3 very distinct fisheries facing very different conservation issues.

Makes me itch to get back down to Islamorada; been a few years since I visited the Keys... sure would be great to get back soon.

May 6, 2017

Feeling Fly? Fish Skull Fly Tying Contest

I'm not much of a fly tyer, but with all the swag involved in this contest, I may just need to reconsider...
From the Flymen Fishing Co. blog:

The Faux Bucktail Throwdown

Since launching our new Fish-Skull Faux Bucktail, we've seen more and more photos of amazing flies tied by people like you on social media.

The flies we've seen are just the tip of the iceberg, so we're holding a fly tying contest on Instagram to help you show off your patterns to the world and give you the chance to win grand prizes from Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods, Hareline Dubbin, and Loon Outdoors as well as weekly Flymen prize packs!

It's easy to enter – tie a fly and snap a picture.

Tie a fly that integrates Fish-Skull Faux Bucktail in some way (Faux Bucktail does not necessarily need to be the primary material) and take a photo of it.

Post the photo on Instagram, tag @flymenfishingco, @thomasandthomasflyrods, @harelinedubbin, and @loonoutdoors in your post (make sure you're following all of us!), and hashtag #FauxBucktailThrowdown2017.


May 5, 2017

Oncorhynchus chrysogaster

That's the scientific name for the Mexican Golden trout.

The victim of human development and competing trout populations, it's a somewhat threatened species located in the northwest Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range of Mexico. I think it'd be kind of cool to catch (& release) one someday.

Now if you really want to geek out about goldens and about 11 other species of Mexican trout on this Cinco de Mayo, check out this hour-long video by Truchas Mexicanas & Joe Tomelleri. It's actually an unexpectedly fun watch.

May 3, 2017

The Extra Mile: Episode 1

This looks like so much fun...

...even if it could be considered ill-advised for an out of shape 40-year-old like me...

The West is awesome. Well done Freeflow Motionworks crew.

May 2, 2017

Tenkara Tuesday: Tenkara Angler Summer 2017 Call For Submissions

I wanted to take this Tenkara Tuesday to pass along the news that the submission period for the Summer 2017 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine is now open. There's tons of Spring fishing going on all over the country and with the Summer issue ahead, it makes for an awesome opportunity to tell some of your stories!

Any and all topics are fair game – fishing reports, gear reviews, destination travel, essays, poetry, fiction, photography, art, whatever – as long as it’s tenkara or conservation related. Similar to prior issues, the tenkara community will craft the contents of the issue.

If you are interested in contributing, the parameters for content submission are outlined HERE.

The deadline for content submission will be June 9th, 2017, with the target publishing date toward the end of that same month.