Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Swag

I got myself some gifts prior to Christmas from Tenkara USA, i.e. the Iwana 10ft handle (well, I guess it's actually now a 9'4" rod), a t-shirt, the bigger 27cm tamo and some level lines.

But my better half got me something much more special, a wooden hand-made tenkara fly box from fellow Tenkara USA forum member Rick Setina with a laser engraving of my name in Japanese. This box is of outstanding quality and a beauty just to look at. Can't wait to tie some more kebaris to fill it.

What tenkara swag did you get for Christmas?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Wishing you and your family Merry Chrstmas, Happy Holidays and a Great New Year with lots of time on the water.

Thanks for being a reader and showing interest in my attempts putting my tenkara fishing experience in words.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Hook Kebari

I picked-up some red salmon egg hooks at Walmart the other day and wanted to see how a they would look with some thread and hackle.

I guess it'll catch some fish, what do you think?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quiet Time

I know it has been very quiet here lately. Things have been very slow for a few different reason, but a very busy business and family schedule is to blame for the most part. But it is also Winter time here on the Front Range and we have had a few snow storms already, leaving a white blanket of snow that hasn't melted yet, thanks to temperatures that dipped all the way to the single digits and still stay in the 20ies at night and 30 or low 40ies during the day. Some of the creeks I used to fish are running low and have some ice already. Tailwaters will be the name of the game for the next few months.

I have been relegated into my man cave, doing some fly tying under the guidance of my daughter who has an excellent sense for interesting color combinations. She discovered my fly tying bead box and showed a lot of interest in it, so some of the flies I have been tying had a bead incorporated and I have to say, I would be surprised if those flies would not catch fish. Also, I have been tying some simple sewing thread body flies (aka Ishigaki Kebaris) with a grizzly hackle that look like I could convince a trout here and there to sample them. Those are quick and dirty ties (and they will certainly not win any beauty contests!), and tying with sewing thread is not as clean as with your standard 6/0 or 8/0 tying thread.

That being said, not all is quiet in the world of Tenkara:
  • Jason at Tenkara Talk is crunching out posts like crazy - I wonder if this is now his full time job ;-). Please go check out his blog posts, they are well written and thought through. Also, Jason is a very accomplished fly tier and his flies look the part
  • Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA wrote an article on Long Line Tenkara and Eric Ostrander of Tenkara Guides LLC wrote an article on Tenkara Fishing in Rivers, both over at TenkaraBum
  • Tenkara USA printed their first ever catalog, it's a beauty and contains a lot of great information for the novice tenkara angler.
  • my friend Graham setup a new blog called Tenkara Grasshopper. There is not much content yet of course but I am looking forward to see some interesting posts
Tight Lines!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tenkara Summit 2012 - Utah!

The Tenkara Summit 2012 will be held in Utah during July 28 & 29th. I missed this year's summit but will not miss the next one!

The preliminary program details are as follows:

Day 1, July 28:
     9AM - 10:30AM Speakers (2)
     10:30 - 12:00PM Clinics (3-5 clinics, 20 minutes each, different topics, allowing for rotation)*
     12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch*
     1:00 - 2:30 PM Speakers/Panel
     2:30 - 3:00 PM Raffle/Auctions*
     3:00PM- GO FISHING! Guide trips may be available
* Vendors may be available for sales of unique items.

Day 2, July 29:
     9AM - 12:00PM Free on-Stream Demonstration in the Wasatch Mountains
     12:00 - 2:00 PM Lunch +
     2:00 - Paid Clinics/ Guided Trips

There will be more information and details around the program closer to the event.

This is the link for the registration, it is advised to make advance plans for accommodation.

Will I see you there?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last 2011 trip to Bear Creek

After being banned to the indoor activities of fly fishing - fly tying, making lines, blogging, work on the man cave - I finally got a chance to head out for the first time in 5 weeks.

Considering the flows of the local rivers and creeks, I opted to pay one final visit to Bear Creek before the year is over. Heading to the creek, I knew that flows having been moving daily from 10cfs to 20cfs and yesterday was no different. I got to the creek around 9.30ish and it the air was 42F, the creek was flowing at about 10cfs. Well, it was flowing alright but it was iced over in the slower sections (i.e. the slow deeper pools where I was expecting fish to hold). This makes it somewhat challenging to get the fly down to the fish, doesn't it? I took the temperature mid-day and the water was a chilly 36F, still.

I decided to move around a bit and see if I can find any water that holds fish and is "mostly" ice free. I saw some nice trout, 14-16" in size, but unfortunately, they did see me as well and took cover (under the ice, that is).

I took the opportunity also to test some lines, namely a new horse-hair line that I made a few weeks ago and a new hand-tied line of Tenkarabum. Both were made with the 11ft Iwana in mind that I fished with yesterday. The horse-hair line performed wonderfully, casting was a breeze (as long as there was no breeze!) and it would just lay-out perfectly. The hi-vis tip I added is a perfect addition, making it able to detect hesitations in the line just as well as with full hi-vis lines.

Around mid-day the wind kicked-in considerable and I switched to a 11ft long, light, hand-tied line of Tenkarabum. I noticed that the line was definitively light and had much less "mass" than the horse-hair line. Initially, I had troubles adapting my casting stroke but eventually I figured it out. The line was a on the light side for the type of wind I experienced and I wish I would have brought my other lines, but alas, I decided to bring only those two lines and had to stick with it.

I only brought one brown trout to hand, the only strike of the day (if floating ice does not count). The fish took a sakasa kebari, a purple & snipe tied by Ashley of LearnTenkara.

Overall, it was a beautiful day out on the water. By the time I left, around 3pm, the air has warmed-up to an almost balmy high 50ies.

Tight Lines, -K

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tenkara USA Fly Swap V - Western Fly Tenkara Variants

One more fly swap was concluded over at the Tenkara USA Forum, the theme was Western Fly Tenkara Variants. I can't believe this is already the 5th fly swap... The cool thing about those swaps is that I have now a fly box that holds exclusively swap flies. The box is almost full (or has been) since I actually do fish with those flies and as you know, the elusive tree fish, stick fish and rock fish sometimes keep their fair share of flies.

This has been a smaller swap that in the past but I really like the results. All very nicely finished flies and most importantly, very fishy flies. Can't wait to try them at my local creek.

Enjoy & Tight Lines, -K

Pass Lake Wetfly Kebari by Anthony Naples
Glossosoma Caddis Nymph by "albertyi"
Adams Emerger by "aCheateaux"
Hare's Ear Nymph Variant by "aCheateux"
Brassie Sakasa Kebari by "Kuhlow"
Purple Haze by "ERiK"
Snipe & Purple by Ashley Valentine 
RC Sakasa Kebari by yours truly

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Where I grew up, we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving. But we also didn't celebrate Halloween, Veterans Day, Presidents Day etc. We did celebrate Boxing Day, also called St. Stephan's Day, though (Dec. 26th) and others.

Having lived for more than 11 years in the States, I became to appreciate Thanksgiving a lot. It's a holiday focused on family and friends and the things you are thankful for.  

I am thankful for having an awesome, smart and beautiful daughter (who loves to tie flies with me). I am thankful for my beautiful wife that totally gets my fishing obsession and need to get outdoors. More often than not she actually sends me fishing, saying I need a mental health day (I guess I become a crank after a period of no fishing). I am thankful for being healthy, having a job and being able to pay the bills and keep the house warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. And I am thankful for having friends that care about me and who share with me that little obsession called Tenkara. 

And that's it. Enjoy the turkey or tofurky (you know who you are), be merry and be thankful.

Tight Lines, K

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Year on the Fly Christmas Deal

As you might know, I am a fan of the artistic work of fellow blogger Joel DeJong. His art is not only found on this blog (header) but also on walls of many homes, errr... man caves, such as mine.

Joel is launching a great Christmas Deal, offering four awesome trout prints at an unbeatable $65. They look great as is, but if you are willing to frame them like I did for the ones I own, they will make a great addition to any fisherman's home.

The prints
Just so that you get an idea how cool they would look in your man cave, below are the pictures of art I own:

Tight Lines, -K

Disclaimer: I am not getting compensated for this pitch and do it only because I love Joel's art. I will though entered into a contest to win a free print.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tenkara Rod Wall Rack

After seeing a few of my fellow bloggers showing off their new tenkara rod wall racks (well, actually they are billards cue wall racks) I had to get one as well.

After I hung the newly framed picture of Joel DeJong  of A Year on the Fly, I thought I might as well hang the rack. I have to say, I dig both both a lot!

The rack was less than $10 in the sports section at my local Wal Mart. Who would have thought that 10 bucks can look so cool. Let's hope I won't get any more rods!

Thanks to Mike at Troutrageous! and Jason at TenkaraTalk for the inspiration!

What on your wall of your man cave?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cheesman Tenkara

My most recent trip was to fish the South Platte in Cheesman Canyon with Jason Klass (of Tenkara Talk) and Daniel Galhardo (of Tenkara USA) while Daniel visited Colorado late October (click here).

This trip was special for me on many different levels, starting with finally meeting Daniel Galhardo and share some water with him, observing his techniques and strategies and exchange thoughts. But also by fishing the entire stretch of Cheesman Canyon. Having two cars, we were able to drop one car at the bottom of the canyon and park at the top, allowing us to hike and fish the full 3 miles of water. 

We got to the Deckers area around 8am and it was surprisingly cold - only 22F! However, the hike to the river warmed us up very quickly and the sun, once it crested, made it a very pleasant day to fish. The hike in was long and steep, the main reason why I don't hike to the river from the top - the return trip after a full day's fishing is just brutal (I did it once, pre-tenkara, during Summer when it was in the high 80ies, with my waders on and a fully loaded fishing vest).

Just below the dam of Cheesman Reservoir
Daniel in action
That's the hole I hooked with my first fish, after Daniel fished through it
Once we reached the water, Daniel was quick to start fishing and got a big brown trout to turn but unfortunately she did not take the fly. After I rigged-up with my new 14ft hand-tied line for the ITO from Tenkarabum, I got surprisingly quickly into a very nice rainbow, somewhere around 17", but I was not fortunate enough to land her (I really need to look into a tamo or landing net with a long handle!).

Daniel working some pocket water
Daniel with the only "landed" fish of the day

What seemed to be a good start proved soon to be pretty tough fishing, with the water level being very low (around 80cfs) and the river having lots of green, whitish and black algae. We were concerned that this would be Didymo, but a biologist of  Denver Water to who I reached out after the trip, confirmed, to our relief, that it's NOT Didymo. Over the course of the day, Daniel hooked two and landed one and I hooked two and lost both of them. I fished almost exclusively tenkara flies and both hook-ups were on a Sakasa Copperbari of Tenkarabum.

We had a great day on the water besides the "not catching many fish" part, the weather was great and the company was even better. Cheesman confirmed it's reputation to be a difficult river, but we were able to fool a few fish with flies that were not quite the "standard" fare for this technical tailwater, which really encouraged me to fish more with traditional tenkara flies.

new friends, tired but happy
Tight Lines, -K

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The RC Sakasa Kebari

Lately, I haven't been able to get out as much as I would like to or was used to during the last few months, so I started focusing on Tenkara "indoor" activity such as making lines (i.e. the horsehair line from the previous post) or tying flies.

I have been playing around with a few ideas for flies and one of them made it to the current Tenkara USA Swap V, this swap is themed Western Fly Tenkara Variants. After a lot of back and forth I decided to take shot at the Royal Coachman.

I tied a few prototypes before settling on the final design, my biggest challenges were how to incorporate the white wing and what material to use. I never tried to tie a wing to a sakasa kebari, and between wrapping the body with red silk, peacock herl collar and hackle it wasn't until a few flies later that I had the best tying sequence figured out (with help of my buddy Jason of Tenkara Talk).

For the wing, I tried calf tail (looks crappy), goose biots (even worse), traditional wet fly wing (meh) and antron (yeah, that's it). I realized that the key for tying in the wing is the ability to finish the fly under the wing, so I used a trick that I learned when tying the mercury RS2 with an antron wing: Tie tie a good length (i.e. 2"-3") of the wing material and fold it back over the hook eye and out of the way, when the fly is finished trim the wing to length.

May I introduce, the RC Sakasa Kebari:

What is your favorite Western fly and would you tie it Tenkara style?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Horsehair Tenkara Line

If you are like me and like to research on the subject Tenkara and try "new" things that are actually quite "old", you might have come across lines made from horsehair. Horsehair used to be the material of choice for a long time before new modern materials (including silk lines) took over.

I recently purchased a Horsehair Line Kit from Tenkarabum to play around and see how this type of lines cast. Making a horsehair line is quite similar to the method I posted in two of my previous blog posts here and here, but instead of mono or fluorcarbon lines you use horse hair.

The kit included a hank of horsehair, plenty to make several lines and have spare hair to fix lines (if necessary) and instructions - very detailed instructions with a lot of tips and tricks, probably mostly based on Tenkarabum's experience making this type of lines.

Hank of Horsehair
The horsehair will be furled/twisted (from as many horsehairs you like, depending on your needs, but typically somewhere between 3 and 8 hairs) into "snoods", about 2ft long, give or take.

You will furl/twist several snoods which you will then knot together to form a line in the length and taper (depending on the number of hairs you used) you like, 6 snoods will give you a line apx. 11ft in length.

My main observations making my first line were that the furling/twisting is much easier than with mono; the inherent stiffness of the dry horsehair makes the tag ends less twist with each other. It will also help if you hold the hair so that the tag ends fall straight down (instead of the tags extending to the side). Also, each horsehair is different, the smoothness, thickness and taper varies, so give this a consideration when you select the individual hairs.

I finished the tip end with a two strand twist/furl of yellow hi-vis mono, this way I can attach my tippet with a loop-to-loop connection (you could also include a tippet ring into your furl, I couldn't find my spare tippet rings so I didn't).

To the butt-end I tied a loop of backing that will attach to the lilian of my Tenkara rod.

The finished line, ready to be fished. I think I will take it out in my next and probably last trip for this year to RMNP. If you are new to making your own lines, be sure to get Tenkarabum's Horsehair Line Kit instead of just the hank of horse hair. The kit comes with 5 pages of instructions, tips, tricks and pictures that will make it much easier making your own horsehair line.

And now, a well-deserved seasonal brew! Tight Lines, K

PS: Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures, I have had some issues with my camera recently; maybe it's time to get a new one.

Disclaimer: I purchased the the Horsehair Line Kit from Tenkarabum at a discount for testing purposes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rocky Mountain National Park - Meadow Creeks in the Fall

Last Sunday I headed up to RMNP with my friend Jason Klass of Tenkara Talk to Rocky Mountain National Park for some Fall fishing. The Summer. and maybe even Fall, is gone; because today, only a week later, I am sitting in my office and looking at the first snow in our front yard. Temperatures have dropped from mid 70ies this week to 30ies  last night and it's still snowing, I can't even see the mountains from our house.

Back to last Sunday. Jason celebrated his birthday the week prior and instead of having a party, he decided to head up to RMNP for some fishing. His intentions were to squeeze one more day of hopper fishing into the season. The idea sounded good, so we got on our way around 6am and reached Estes Park just before 8am for some breakfast before hitting the water.

The first stream we fished was the Big Thompson in Moraine Park. The river in this section is a meandering meadow stream with slow water, glassy pools and undercut banks. A river unlike the other streams I am used to fish in the park which are high gradient creeks with lots of boulders and pocket water.

We were not the only fisherman to fish the Big T that day and we were glad that we got a head-start before the crowds arrived. The fairly low and slow water made fish very spooky, you had only a few chances to catch fish in each spot. I typically like to fish spots right after another fisherman and pick-up trout he wasn't able to entice, but that was out of the question this day. We had to hop pools, giving each other the opportunity to fish a stretch first to get a shot at the fish.

The fish were not overly selective, they took our hoppers and other attractors (such as my CDC & Elk of course), but the fishing was far from hot. Since it was Elk season in the valley, we decided to retreat after a bull Elk came a bit too close for comfort and find a new spot on the river.

What we did not anticipate were the masses of people in the park, drawn by both the Elk Festival in Estes Park and the Aspens being in full color. The roads in the park were jammed and traffic was very slow. Wherever there were Elks, folks decided to stop in the middle of the road and take pictures. We wanted to fish the Big T further upstream, but every single parking lot and spot was taken, so we decided to head over to Horseshoe and fish the Fall River. We parked just off 34 and hit the Fall River making our way upstream. But the fish were mostly hunkering down, being put down by other fisherman and hikers, so we decided to walk along the road to the Alluvial Fan area and to fish downstream. Well, let me just say that we might have just continued upstream, there fishing was no different.

However, it was a very beautiful day to be out in the park; the wildlife was out, the Fall colors amazing and we caught a few trout, too (although we hoped to have a bit more action).

Next time I will head to the park though, I will make sure to check the event calendar and pick more remote streams.

Looking out the window now and seeing the first season's snow, I wonder how much Winter fishing I will get done this year - given the fishing success of the last few Winters I probably will spend more time behind the vise tying flies. And I might consider taking up skiing again.

Tight Lines, -K