Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tenkara Fly Swap @ TenkaraUSA Forum

On the most active Tenkara forum on the web (in the US at least), the first Tenkara fly swap is about to be finished with the flies due in SLC on Jan. 3.

I tied up what I call the Blue Poison Sakasa Kebari. This fly should be fun to fish, a bit of sparkle and a color trout don't see too often. This should produce well with Brookies and Cutt's in the high altitude creeks.

I hope the swap members will like it and will be successful fishing it. I will post pictures of the flies I will receive later (if everyone agrees).

Tight Lines, -K

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

I want to wish all my followers and readers a Merry Christmas (and Happy Holidays) as well as a great start into the New Year with lots of time on-stream and hopefully lots of trout or whatever fish species you are hunting.

To me, this holiday season is special since my family went to my parent-in-law's place in Atlanta. My dad-in-law had to go in for back surgery (3x over the last 6 weeks) and still remains in the hospital. Please send good thoughts my dad-in-law's way!

Tight Lines and catch up with you next year!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Fishing = Small Flies & Midges

Winter fishing here in Colorado means fishing small flies, mostly midges in the 20-26 range. No surprise that a lot of inventive midge patterns were developed on Colorado Rivers such as the South Platte.

This is an excerpt of my arsenal of midges and small flies:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One is better than None

It's this time of year where I get my butt kicked on-stream. Each Winter I am struggling catching trout. I could blame it on the cold temperatures, fish keying on small midges (I don't fish flies smaller than size 20), the wind, the ice, the slush hatch etc. but I think I just haven't figured out how to approach fishing in Winter. I mean, the trout are still there (even more so if they have stocked about 5,000 fingerlings per mile) but I just can't find them or if I do, I can't make them take my offerings. I think it is just as when I first started nymphing: couldn't figure it out, didn't know what I was doing wrong but kept at until it suddenly "clicked". Maybe I just need to spend more time on the water in the Winter. Or I just shouldn't care and go skiing. Also a tempting alternative.

Today I drove up to my home stretch of the South Platte just to find "my spot" almost iced over with a sludge hatch coming down stream. It was 10am and the outside temperature read 19F... I decided to get back into the car and drive upstream to find some more open water. 10 miles later I pulled into the parking lot on the South Platte between Deckers and Wigwam Club. That is some highly pressured water and the trout have supposedly have PHD's in this stretch. Interesting that just those 10 miles resulted made a difference in almost 10F; it was an almost balmy 28F when i got out the car and checked out the river. 

That's my SP on a "slushy" day (the white stuff in the water is the slush hatch):

I rigged up my Amago with a no 4 fc level line from Troutbum, a size 18 black CJ as the point fly and a Krystal Flash Midge (black glass bead and a Krystal Flash wrapped body). There were as always some guys already fishing and I was able to find a spot to squeeze in. 10 minutes in my roll-on indicator stopped and I thought I got bottom again since nothing happened when set the hook. I tried to wiggle it free when the indicator suddenly started moving upstream. I guess those cold temperatures make trout sluggish as well. A beauty of a brown trout gave me a bit of a fight but was easily subdued into my net. 15"-ish, beautiful colors. I thought that's a good start - little did know that this would remain the only one for the rest of the day. But still better than being skunked like last time. 

18 Black CJ:

20 Flash Midge:

Oh, and I almost forgot, the main character of today, Miss Brown Trout:

River Notes:
South Platte River, between Deckers and Wigwam Club
Flow: 60cfs-ish
Water Temp: almost solid
Air Temp: 19F @ 10am, 49F @2.45pm
Weather: Sunny in the morning, clouds and wind moving in after 1pm

Have fun out there & Tight Lines, -K

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Yesterday I was browsing Facebook and saw that Fountainhead has a new line of Tenkara rods, the Caddis line of rods.

They offer a 11ft 5:5 and a 12ft 6: model in a beautiful blue finish. But what's the most attractive is the price sticker of $45 and $50 respectively. Also, this is not a 99% carbon rod but 75% carbon and 25% glass (I suppose this is fiber glass).

From Fountainhead's wegsite:
"The composite Fountainhead Caddis Fly Rod series of Tenkara rods are constructed of 75% carbon fiber to provide a slow, full flexing rod .   All rods are finished in a gloss royal blue finish.  Rod handles are made of cork, to provide a secure and comfortable grip.  Each rod comes in a cloth tie bag.  This series of rods provide a very delicate and relaxed feel.  A very fun rod at a great price."

I hope there will be some reviews out soon. I might give it a shot myself, sounds like it could be an awesome backup rod, but most importantly, it should bring more folks to the sport that until now did not want to spend the $130-$160 for other brands (or even a few hundred bucks for Japanese imports). 

AND...: I am not affiliated with Fountainhead nor do I own a Fountainhead rod (yet) nor did I get any compensation in any form from Fountainhead for this blog post.

Tight Lines, -K

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Couldn't buy...

... a bite today. Skunked. Nada. No love. Yes, this happens. When it does, it makes you appreciative of the days when fish are cooperative, rising and taking your flies eagerly. I don't want to start blaming this or that or over-analyzing it, at the end of the day it doesn't matter. I couldn't figure out how to adapt and the wind made things worse. So I decided to call it a half-day and drive home and take my daughter to the movies.

Today I focused on fishing with my Amago and the no.4 level hi-vis fluoro line from Tenkarabum. The level line made it easier to cast in the wind (until the wind became too much and blowing directly downriver). I am still trying to figure out how to properly fish without an indicator and I agree that the hi-vis line makes it much easier to follow the drift and probably to detect strikes (did I mention I had NO strikes yet?). The line was a bit kinked from being stored, but stretching it out while extending the rod took care of that. I remembered somewhere reading to keep a bit of kink in the last foot or so that would enable to detect strikes easier when the line became tight. I agree, I was very much able to detect immediately when I hung up on the bottom. I am sure it also works when a fish actually takes your fly, but, well, maybe I can confirm that next time when I actually get one to bite.

This was also the first time I took out my new waist pack (yes, some would call it a fanny pack) and I am so for very happy with it. Small and compact, it holds what I need, plus two granola bars should I become hungry. It also functions as a wading belt and my net and a bottle holder can be easily attached. It became a bit wet due to my lack of wading abilities (I slipped and was barely able to recover) and my inability to gauge water depth...

My rig consisted of a size 16 RS2 Sakasa Kebari, the one I tied for the swap mentioned in the previous blog entry, my go-to fly, a size 20 lazy RS2 mercury as a dropper as well as a 3rd dropper a size 20 Wire Bloodworm which I later changed for a size 20 souped-up Top Secret Midge.

RS2 Sakasa Kebari

Lazy RS2 mercury

Wire Bloodmidge

Top Secret Midge

No fish pix today, but some shots of the river:

River Notes:
South Platte River, somewhere below Deckers
Flow: 190cfs-ish
Water Temp: 38F (so I have been told. and which would explain to a certain extent lack of bites)
Air Temp: 23F @ 10am, 56F @1.30pm
Weather: Sunny, windy/breezy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RS2 Kebari, Hit List, Happy Thanksgiving and Good Bye

Ever since fishing Tenkara, I was thinking how I can modify my favorite and number one got-to pattern, a "lazy" mercury RS2, into a tenkara kebari.

I thought it shouldn't be too difficult, and a few modifications came to mind:

- increase size, from a 20 to 16 or 18
- use a heavy curved caddis hook, i.e. Tiemco 2488H, instead of of light wire straight eye dry fly hook
- use an antron collar instead of hackle
- add a tail/shuck like in the "original"
- placement of bead, in front of hackle or behind hackle
- body material, thread instead of dubbing

So I started playing around with the "hackle", thinking I'd figure out how to spin the white antron into a hackle collar just like dubbing, but alas, the result looked more than horrible. So bad that I don't even took a picture. Instead, I went back to the traditional forward slanting hackle which gives it a nice and clean look. I tied up a few with a gray saddle hackle and a baker's dozen for a swap with a English Partridge's breast feather. I like the soft hackle much better.

The end result is not spectacular but... I think I it'll do. It will definitively catch some fish. What do you think?

My "original" lazy RS2:

Tenkara Sakasa Kebari offshoot:

 Baker's Dozen:

I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish all followers, readers and visitors of my blog a very Happy Thanksgiving! It boggles my mind that as of this writing, this blog has had over 2500 hits since launching less than 3 months ago!

I am thankful for my little family, that all of us are healthy, to have a job and be able to pay the bills. I am also thankful to have a very understanding wife sending me on mental health fishing trips, and of course, I am thankful for having discovered Tenkara this Summer. 

Last but not least, I also would like to send out lots of positive vibes to Naomi, our very good and dearest friend, and her family. Naomi is the godmother of my daughter and her dad, Lou, has passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Naomi.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A whole new bag, baby!

Ever since I picked up a Tenkara rod, I have been using a fairly old bag from the Gap (yes...) to reduce on the stuff I carry on stream. However, I felt it was still too big and I was looking for a smaller alternative. At some point, I realized that a good old fanny pack (please no jokes!) would be a good alternative. Of course, I couldn't find my old fanny pack that I acquired wayyyyy back and I have since been looking for an appropriate new one.

The other day, I was at Wal Mart and stumbled upon a fairly small waist pack (that's what fanny packs are called now...) at a price I couldn't pass up (below $7). Worst case, i thought, would that I need to return it.

At home, I started moving all my on-stream utensils to the smaller bag:

- leader wallet with fly lines
- fly box (there are some changes being made here too...)
- grease, floatant, sink putty
- license
- camera (new on belt instead of in bag)
- tippet
- hemostats
- clipper
- dry cloth
- water bottle (on belt)
- Swiss Army knife (of course)

I realized the bag is considerably smaller and I had to re-think my setup and what I will be carrying on-stream - in other words, I had to downsize again. The end result is a simpler and more essential approach since I was also able to do away with the lanyard that I was also typically carrying.

I wanted to put all of this to a test last Sunday, but alas, the one day I wanted to go fish I came down with a nasty cold. Maybe this coming Sunday...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bear Creek Fall Notes

An unexpected and very welcome change in family schedule & plans allowed me to head out to Bear Creek  for bit more than a half day. I fished with my Iwana 12ft from about 10am to 3pm and it was a gorgeous Fall day on the Front Range. It was sunny and pretty mild if you stayed in the sun. I was not the only one who liked the sun, the trout were much more cooperative in sections of the river exposed to the sun. I forgot to bring my thermometer for the water, but to me it felt freezing, lol.

The action was pretty steady, I caught mostly browns with a few bows mixed in, the largest fish was just under 14", the smallest was a dink of maybe 3", pretty fish nevertheless.

Another day I barely changed flies unless I had to due to the tree fish breaking me off. I started out with a black size 16 Charlie Boy and a mercury RS2 as a dropper. Both fell victim to the tree fish, so I tied on a new CDC & Snowshoe (like CDC & Elk but Elk hair was replaced by Snowshoe Hare) that I was experimenting with. Most fish fell for the mercury RS2 but some still came quiet willingly to the surface and took the dry. I really didn't expect any risers though, I only tied the dry on in lieu of a strike indicator (I still need some visual help to detect underwater strikes).

Interesting that today, even with much if not all of the foliage gone, the tree fish were seriously teasing me all day long. For the first time I thought that a shorter rod would be handy. . A 10 or 10.5 footer might have been ideal today. Let's see of Daniel (of TenkaraUSA) will offer one soon.

River Notes:
flow: 18cfs
temp. air: 53-70 during my time on river, sunny, windy gusts
temp. water: really cold, my guess mid 40ies.