Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Day on the South Platte

Today I decided to take out my Iwana on the South Platte and see how how the it fishes at 150cfs, which is perfect for dries.

Took off early, heading towards the foot hills of the Front Range.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Leaving the house, the temperature was 60F. Arriving at the stream 40 mins later, it was brrrrrrrrrr 37F. I guess packing the fleece was a very good idea this time.

However, it was a beautiful Colorado day, blue sky everywhere you looked. I rigged up a new line I was tinkering with (7 ft no 4 fluor carbon, 5 ft no 3 fluor carbon plus 5 ft tippet) and tied on a rainbow warrior and a RS2. Realized I forgot my stick-on strike indicators, so I had to go back to the car and see if there was anywhere a strike indicator I could use. I was lucky enough to find a small size "thingy". Soon enough, I hooked up with nice 'bow that fell for the rainbow warrior and was reminded that those South Platte 'bows are quite spunky. I realized that I still have to work on my fish fighting technique with a Tenkara rod... sometimes I do miss that reel!

I switched to a sakasa kebari and but couldn't buy a strike - not sure if it was lack of technique of just wrong fly for the river. The South Platte is a tailwater fishery with small nymphs being typically the ticket but right now I would like to blame lack of success to lack of technique, lol. I also tried to fish with the fly only, no weight, no indicator, but again, years and years of using strike indicators left me a bit doubtful whether I do have the technique to fish without. This is certainly an area I will be focusing on more in the future and try to learn better and simpler fishing techniques.

As it was warming up, I switched to a yellow CDC & Elk, size 16. I figured it would be a good pattern to imitate both Caddis and Yellow Sallies. I also switched lines, using initially a "tapered" fluoro level line (yeah, tapered and level, what was I thinking?) and moving to the Tenkara USA furled tapered line. Had issues casting with that line at first, I was wondering if the fly was too fluffy, the leader too long (5ft) or just, again, lack of technique. It took only a few cast's though to "get" it, the line being wet and having more mass helped also a lot. The wind however did NOT help.

Had to move around quite a bit to find good water for dries since this is mostly a nymph fishing river, but I was able to coax 4 more beautiful bows into taking my flies, all fish were in the 13-15 inch range. This one was a particular beauty!

A few shots of the river today, before to rubber hatch started - I am so glad that Summer is over with no more float tubers on the river...

Fly of the Day: CDC & Elk, yellow, size 16:

Oh, one more thing. Did I mention that it was 90F by the time I got home?

Friday, September 3, 2010

This is Fly

The new edition of "This is Fly" is available. When will they pick up on Tenkara?

This is Fly

Catch Magazine

Catch Magazine  -   great stuff, but not Tenkara related - yet.

Sign up

Tight Lines, go fishing this weekend! -K

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


This Summer, I was checking out my facebook posts and friend's status when a small add caught my attention. An ad with a link to a company called TenkaraUSA, promoting a different type of fly fishing. Being curious and always look for new techniques and angles on fly fishing, I clicked on the ad. This was sort of the beginning of the end (of regular fly fishing). Well, maybe not the end but certainly an eye opener.

Maybe your are like me, fly fishing for a few years now, having accumulated a wealth of different fly rod, reels, waders, boots, pontoon, a few dozen fly boxes filled with flies, fly tying material stuffed in dozens of boxes etc. and wondered if there is a simpler approach.

I guess I found that simpler apprach, knowing well that I will not give up "regular" or "Western" fly fishing as it is referred to in Tenkara circles.

Tenkara is a form of fishing with a fly that was developped in Japan over the last few centuries. Today, very long telescopic carbon fibre rods are used, typically in the 11-13 ft range, but there are rod that are shorter and longer as well. There is no reel and traditional fly line which would be too heavy for the fragile rod tip. Instead you attach the line to the tip of the rod. For lines, there are a few options: 1) a furled line, typically 10.5ft long, to which you attach a length of tippet - 2) a level line of "heavy" mono or fluor carbon. I have read of people using 000 weight fly line sections of extra long (12ft) tapered leaders of poly leaders, but those do not seem to be that popular. Setup

As for flies, the opinion is that you can use any fly you like (or multiple fly setup), I typically use the same flies I would for regular fly fishing, i.e. nymph & dropper or dry & dropper, but I am starting to venture to use original tenkara flies, such as sakasa kebari which is a reverse soft hackle fly.

Contrary to popular believe that you need to use a short rod on small creeks, Tenkara originates from Japans mountain streams and the long rods do actually help to fish effectively small streams (I agree that if cover is very heavy it's a problem, but I have been fishing creeks on the Colordo Front Range with my Tenkara rod very effectively - more so than with my 7'6"ft 3 wt.).

Catching and landing a fish... well, yes, it is a challenge to fight and land a big fish (let's say 16" and bigger) but it is possible with the proper technique. That being said, my first trout I hooked was pushing 18" and I lost her, but the same day I landed a nice sized brown that I hooked on the far side of the river and had to maneuver through fast and rough water to my side of the river (a net for landing fish helps a lot - unfortunately I lost my net after landing that nice brown).

The beauty of Tenkara is that you have a rod, a line, no reel and a small box of flies that's all you need. Did I mention that a Tenkara rod collapses to about 20" of length and is very transportable and very suited for the backpacker that wants to fly fish?

I know I left out a lot of stuff, but think I have some of the basics covered.

More to come soon, stay tuned.

Tight Lines, -K

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tenkara Iwana 12ft with Fuji Hook Keeper System and level line (fc).

My current setup, an Iwana 12ft from Tenkara USA with a level line (fluor carbon) of Chris Stewart of Tenkarabum and Fuji hook keepers.

I am currently on the fence whether to keep the hook keepers or to change to a foam spool cut from a pool noodle (yes!).

The hook keepers are great if you want to wind line quickly but they will kink up fluor carbon lines a bit (nothing that you can't stretch in less than 20 seconds though). Also, keeping the fly on can pose some issues if you'd put it in a backpack (get stuck, crush the fly). The foam spool is very light and can be pushed down the collapsed rod onto the grip.

Tight Lines, -K

Foam Line Holder - left one is a Level no. 3 Fluor Carbon line, 12ft. and right is a TenakaraUSA furled line, 10.5ft.

Fuji Hook Keepers

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coming Soon!

I am very excited to start this blog or just merely posting about my thoughts, experience and adventures fly fishing. Just started fishing Tenkara a few weeks ago but already addicted to the simplicity. Well, sometimes I mean it to keep it simple but after 12, 13 years of fly fishing, being a gadget junkie is hard to overcome. 

Tight Lines, -K