February 19, 2022
January 9, 2022
February 25, 2021
Weekend Plans in Limbo
I was hoping to head up to North Georgia this upcoming weekend, but the weather doesn't look all that favorable. A seven hour drive for uncertain fishing conditions might be a bit too big of a leap of faith to take, but I still have a few days, so we'll see how that works out.
I'm particularly excited to get fishing again because I have a new tenkara rod to play around with, the relatively new Dragontail Mutant. Brent Auger was kind enough to send over a tester so I could do an evaluation and review over on Tenkara Angler, and since it arrived last Friday, it's been screaming for a proper workout.
The Splat Rat
Over in Facebookland, Jason Sparks recently shared an article about shrew-eating trout. The article was not new, actually dating back to 2013, but it got me thinking about a pattern I'd really like to start tying up. Not necessarily for trout, but for local bass. It's called the "Splat Rat" and it seems like a ridiculously easy fly to tie. Plus it utilizes a somewhat "unique" ingredient, foam pipe insulation.
I was first introduced to the pattern by Kai Cornelius (a fellow tenkara angler), who used to fish it liberally when he lived out in Utah. But for whatever the reason I never acted on the impulse to actually tie one before. Think that'll change, especially if I do get washed out this weekend and have time to make a run over to the hardware store for essential supplies.
Here's a quick video on how to assemble one from noted tyer, Rob Snowhite.
February 7, 2021
I'm a Sucker for the Google Ecosystem
I use a Pixel phone, own a Chromebook, this blog is written on Blogger, regularly waste too much time on YouTube, and pretty much any other app Google provides. Gmail, Drive, Photos, etc, etc... I'm sure Google knows more about me than I really care to know. They're probably shocked at how much fishing content I consume... both in English, and more recently due to my tenkara fetish, in Japanese as well, (thank you Google Translate).
Anyway, I hadn't been feeling very fishy lately. The last two weeks of January gnaw at me rather liberally each year, as my job is focused around sports, particularly the NFL. From the Conference Championships through Super Bowl Sunday I'm working almost 24-7, because... well... that's what I get paid to do. With those long work days I don't often carve out much time for myself, just to have fun.
So when the opportunity presented itself to participate in a little virtual fly tying meetup with friends on the Saturday night before the Super Bowl, I jumped. I even volunteered to "host it" to give me the incentive not to bail and do work-related stuff instead. Was desperate for a little time to escape the Buccaneers & Chiefs. Enter yet another Google product, Google Meet.
It really doesn't matter what flies were tied, beverages consumed, or what sort of trash talking went on. Oh man, it felt really good to catch up with friends and be sorta "normal" again! Although true normal would certainly be holding this tying session at a campsite near a trout stream. Fingers crossed that can happen later this year!
Anyway, until then, maybe you're used to Zoom, Skype, WebEx, or something similar... If you're not happy with those products, maybe give Google Meet a try. It's not perfect, but it's fairly intuitive, simple, and for the most part free. So thank you Google for making yet another solid product to help support my fishing obsession. Maybe I'll "meet" up with some of you soon.
January 12, 2021
So my attempt to rediscover fly fishing blogging started off ok...
But then last Wednesday happened, and kind of knocked me off my game. You know, January 6th... yeah, that was pretty, well, you know.
Anyway, I'm going to ease back in this week. The goal is to keep the lights on over here, whether I'm actually fishing or not.
Last weekend was chilly by Florida standards, in the 40s, so I didn't bother getting out. The bass just aren't that frisky when there's a chill in the air... and that's okay, just sort of need to know one's limits.
Enter J. Stockard...
Instead, I paged through some of the mailings I received. Most notably, the J. Stockard fly tying catalog. As when it comes to fly tying, and all of the little doodads and widgets that can go along with it, I firmly believe a print catalog is the best way to peruse the merchandise. An internet website just doesn't do the shopping experience justice in my opinion.
I don't tie particularly complex flies, but I think I might play around with two things this upcoming year.
The first is UV resin. Back in the day I used to know the stuff as Clear Cure Goo, but I guess that brand name went under at some point. I still haven't taken the plunge, and I think I want to finally give it a try. Don't really have any patterns in mind, but seems like it'll be fun to mess with.
The second is what this catalog calls "dragon tails." My daughter calls them worms, or more appropriately "wœrms." She buys them like 5 for a dollar or something at Dollar Tree, ties them to strings and makes them move around like a puppet for Instagram movies. Shoot, I had these as a kid and I think it's something the younger teen set is doing as retro, quirky humor. There's memes and that stuff too.
The fly tying industry is taking those worms, adding a 1000% markup, and selling them as tails for flies for those seeking warmwater monsters. Sounds good enough to me. Lilly doesn't know it yet, but some of her wœrms may be going missing very soon.
Looking forward to taking that first grip and grin photo with my version of a worm on a string... and a hook. Perhaps I'll even keep the googly eyes intact. Can't hurt, right?
January 3, 2021
Treat yo' self...
|Example screenshot borrowed from Teton Tenkara|
March 31, 2020
December 1, 2019
In doing so, I thought it might be a good idea to pull all of the fly-themed articles into one Best of Tenkara Angler: Kebari & Fly Tying Mashup issue so everybody else could have the same information at their fingertips as well!
What resulted was an issue with 32 individual entries that re-visit interviews, fly tying recipes, fly swap photos, in-stream techniques, and more from the past four years of Tenkara Angler, in a consolidated 90+ page installment.
It certainly was a blast to read articles from a lot of great fly tyers and anglers, including, but not limited to: Robb Chunco, "Kiwi" Kuhlow, Chris Zimmer, Dr. Tom Davis, Anthony Naples, Jim Wright, Adam Rieger, Jason Sparks, Bart Lombardo, Rob Gonzalez, Michael McFarland, Stephen Myers, Jayson Singe, Sam Larson, Mark White, Kengo Shintaku, and Chris Stewart.
Tenkara Angler is best viewed (for free) through the Issuu e-reader or app. However, physical print copies or PDF downloads can be purchased at Blurb.
One minor disclaimer, this issue consists of articles literally “ripped” from prior issues of Tenkara Angler, so it’s a bit less refined than a normal issue of the magazine. (Examples being the absence of a “From the Editor” section, the page numbers at the bottom of each page make absolutely no sense at all and, inconsistent fonts throughout).
I hope you enjoy the kebari and fly tying mashup issue of Tenkara Angler...even if you're not a tenkara fly fisherperson. All patterns are equally effective with a rod and reel as well.
Well, talk again soon... I'm hitting the vise!
October 28, 2019
When I lived in Pennsylvania, I used to make the drive and go to these annually as I always found them really interesting, especially when taking in all of the different tyers and patterns. For a guy who likes to tie relatively simple trout flies... seeing masters of their craft not only crank out flies for salmon, bass, musky, carp, and other species, but talk you through the creative process, was always a treat.
This year's line up looks very impressive, and I'd really love to attend (although I doubt I will). I think I'd really enjoy John Shaner's presentation on "the forgotten wet fly" on Sunday afternoon, since I just love the aesthetic of classic wet flies, and fish derivations of such with my tenkara rod quite frequently.
I also think I'm going to be doing a bit more rod & reel fly fishing in upcoming months, not so much because I'm abandoning tenkara (far from it), just because it's more practical for the waters around me... and the stack of rods sitting in the corner are screaming to be fished. As such, it would be cool to see what folks are tying for the salt, as well as if there are any interesting materials to play around with. I remember the first time I went to the show UV epoxies (like Clear Cure Goo) were just becoming all the rage. I always enjoyed leaving the show with a goody bag of new toys for the fly bench.
In any event, if you're in the Northeast at the end of November, it's definitely worth checking out heading into the winter months. There's no better inspiration for filling all those empty spaces in your fly box... and I know I certainly have a few!
September 15, 2019
Anyway, first I needed to get a hold of some. My wife is crafty, but more with fabric than yarn. And I didn't want to go buy a bunch of skeins or whatever they're called, because what if I didn't care for tying with it? Then I've dropped a paycheck on yarn and got balls of it everywhere... and I don't have cats or anything... because they are moody, anti-social creatures... and I've already got a teenager in the house... but I digress...
So I ordered up a little sampler pack from DRAGONtail. It came yesterday, and once unpacked on top of a strategically placed magazine, looked like this:
6 little 5-yard samples of (Oyster, Purple Haze, Sunrise, Moorit/Shaela, Mist, & Bracken) Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift yarn.
So I tied up a few bugs. They came out, well, as people usually say when they don't want to tell you how crappy your flies look... "the fish won't care"... "those will catch 'em"... Meh, that's just about how I feel about these. Two of the three are definitely too skinny.
In the upcoming days I'll dig around the interwebz and try to find a few recipes to work with. Maybe the Red Ass Monkey, or some of the patterns Tom Davis wrote about in the Spring 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler. Jason Klass also has a bunch listed at Tenkara Talk... so there's certainly no shortage of inspiration to be had.
Anyway, just thought this might be a good way to break the silence on the blog. Should I tie anything worth sharing, maybe I'll post 'em here. We'll see...
August 1, 2019
Saturday... What. A. Day.
|TJ Ferreira (L) & John Geer (R) tell stories from their years of Tenkara USA customer service. |
It's funny how many different (hilarious) scenarios they've encountered...
John Geer: "Our rods are covered by acts of marmots!"
|Morgan Lyle, author of the book Simple Flies talks about how easy |
to tie flies can be incredibly effective when it comes to catching fish.
|A panel discussion with (L to R): |
Morgan Lyle, Jason Klass, Tenkara USA Founder Daniel Galhardo, Bart Lombardo
|There were many vendors in attendance with unique wares to be had.|
I picked up a wooden line spool / fly patch from craftsman Dave Burchett.
|There was a break for lunch, lawn casting, and fly tying.|
My friend Brian Lindsay put on a display of his advanced casting style...
|...while Daniel Galhardo provided rod rigging and casting advice to a group of new anglers...|
|...which then moved to Boulder Creek, that conveniently runs right behind the host hotel!|
|A few eager anglers even snuck away to try out their rods.|
|Back inside, Lou DiGena tied some Ishigaki kebari using a unique purple hackle.|
|Graham Moran crafted his orange, blue, and white Broncos kebari.|
I made sure he knew an Eagles green, black, and white version would catch more fish!
|The afternoon session's highlight was a half hour screening of The Manzanar Fishing Club.|
Director Cory Shiozaki and Writer Richard Imamura provide context to the WWII Japanese internment.
|To commemorate their 10th Anniversary, Tenkara USA|
revealed their new rod, an re-issue of the cult-favorite Ebisu.
|Which I promptly took up to Boulder Canyon following the afternoon session to break in.|
|The water was a little fast; but I ended up catching 2 on kebari |
and 3 on beadhead nymphs in about an hour and a half.
|A quick drive back down the canyon to town to hit the Summit's evening session.|
|Where there was a night of fly tying and music!|
Tyers Marshall Houston (L) & Dennis Vander Houwen (R) exchange stories.
|Joe Egry is an amazingly imaginative tyer.|
|Mark Bolson (L) looks on as John Sachen (R) displays patterns.|
|Takenobu provided the musical backdrop.|
Anybody who has ever watched a Tenkara USA video on YouTube has probably heard Takenobu.
Last but not least, I wanted to thank Daniel Galhardo & Tenkara USA for naming me one of their "crazy dancer" ambassadors. It was a very unexpected and humbling honor.
In looking back at the past decade of tenkara, it has certainly been an adventure. Without Daniel bringing the telescoping rods & techniques to the U.S. through this original video, who knows what direction my fishing life might have taken. Tenkara has transported me to so many different places across the country, introduced me to hundreds of new friends, all while making me a much more efficient and educated angler. Perhaps that's what made it so easy (and me so eager) to share with everyone through word of mouth, this blog, and Tenkara Angler magazine. No matter the reason, I'm extremely excited to see what the next 10 years (and beyond) of tenkara might bring!
March 7, 2019
December 29, 2018
But this time I'm not talking about the iconic, reverse-hackled tenkara "sakasa kebari" you're probably accustomed to seeing featured on this blog. Instead, I'm talking about somewhat more familiar patterns, such as spiders, flymphs, and other sparsely adorned flies that go all the way back to the beginnings of the sport. Flies that may not be the first choice of the angler of today, but are awesome fish catchers nonetheless.
I'm not much of a fly tier, but instead of tying reverse hackles for my tenkara and streamers and nymphs for my fly fishing, I'd like to learn about a half dozen simple (& historically classic) soft hackle wet fly patterns and then use them universally throughout my fly fishing. I'd definitely like to dive into this style of fly a bit deeper in 2019.
Fortunately, the current issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine dropped a two-page spread on the subject, including a bit about the history of soft-hackles that really got my juices flowing. I already own a few resources (such as Morgan Lyle's "Simple Flies") that should help the cause as well.
So if you happen to have any suggestions, I'd totally welcome them the comments below.
Perhaps there are a few choice "Southern" patterns developed or traditionally used in the Appalachians that I can try to take some native brook trout on the next time in northern Georgia or North Carolina.
In any event, I hope you don't mind some posts about the subject, for as I dig into new (to me) patterns, I'll probably be writing about them here as well. Just don't expect me to churn out anything as nice as what Robb Chunco at Creekside Kebari + Fly Co. ties. I got this cup of flies for Christmas, and the soft hackles in that upper right quadrant are simply drool-worthy.
October 8, 2017
It took a little longer than I thought it would, but figured now was as good a time as any to do a recap of the Tenkara Summit that took place in Estes Park, Colorado back on September 16th. Actually, this will be more of a photo dump, with a few captions included for good measure.
|Daniel Galhardo kicked off the day with opening remarks and a quick history of the Tenkara Summit|
|Matt Sment from Badger Tenkara's presentation was extremely informative.|
Many tips on how to be a better tenkara angler were covered.
|Jason Klass (Tenkara Talk) discusssed tenkara techniques|
|And Steve Schweitzer rounded out the morning's presentations discussing fishing both Rocky Mountain National Park & Indian Peaks Wilderness (his books on both are excellent!)|
|There were quite a few vendors present. The Tenkara USA tables were a hub of activity...|
|Shiso, Daniel Galhardo's dog was also in attendance. |
Shiso has recently taken to social media with his own Instagram account!
|The Hane 2 prototype rod was introduced and made for sale for the first time at the Summit.|
Those that bought it will provide feedback to see if this becomes a permanent rod in the TUSA lineup.
|There were other vendors too, like Trek Light Gear...|
|...and Dennis from Tenkara Path with many handmade items including line spools...|
|...and some interesting nets.|
|Lunch was provided out of two food trucks - pizza & BBQ.|
|I went with pizza, the truck had its own wood fire oven!|
|Back inside, there were other wares, such as rod cases...|
|and fly boxes. All so beautifully crafted.|
|A full view of vendor row|
|There was also "Tenkara Pie" for all... I went back for seconds. :)|
|Jammers enjoying their BBQ lunch...|
|After lunch, Dr. Ishigaki put on a casting clinic.|
He casts effortlessly and had a great rapport with the crowd.
|Adam Trahan put out some targets for casting accuracy drills.|
|There were also breakouts for rod/line rigging...|
|...and fly tying.|
|Chris Zimmer from Zimmerbuilt showing off some of his packs.|
Every tenkara angler should own one.
|The afternoon had two wonderful presentations.|
The first was by Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard.
The crowd was captivated by his passionate plea for protecting our natural resources.
|Dr. Ishigaki also addressed the crowd and touched on many different tenkara topics.|
|The day's program ended with a panel Q&A from many of the day's speakers.|
|But that was not it! After a short break for dinner, the hall reopened for fly tying.|
|Again, Dr. Ishigaki drew a crowd as he tied his namesake patterns.|
|Colorado band Paper Moonshine provided the musical backdrop|
|Many of the tyers participated in an "Iron Fly" style competition moderated by 303 Flies.|
|The winner being presented his spoils from Dr. Ishigaki.|
It was an incredibly full day of events, and there was so much great information being shared. Not only did I leave feeling like I learned a ton, but it was so great to see old friends and make new ones. If you've never attended a Tenkara Summit, I'd highly recommend considering one in the future.