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SUMMER 2018

tenkaraangler.com


SUMMER 2018 PEOPLE & OPINION 2 FROM THE EDITOR 4 TAKING TENKARA OFF-LINE 8 SCENES FROM THE STREAM 14 MY HOT SPOT, YOUR HOT SPOT, OR EVERYBODY'S HOT SPOT?

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ESSAY 18 RELEASE 20 SIMPLE FATHER-SON TIME 24 BROOKIES & BEER: INFINITY WAR 26 THE STUDENT & THE SENSEI 32 JUST ONE OF THOSE... 36 FLAT WATER CHAR FLIES & GEAR 42 JAPANESE SILK YARN 44 FROM FIELD TO FLIES 48 DIY TENKARA LINE HOLDER 50 PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: WETSOX TACTICS 52 BREAK OUT OF THE BOX FIXED-LINE FLY FISHING 58 FIXED LINE FURY 66 ONE FLY FOR WARM WATER FIXED LINE FLY FISHING 70 TENKARA ROD POND FISHING DESTINATION 74 SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

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RIFFLES 78 FRIENDS OF TENKARA ANGLER 88 CONTRIBUTORS & CREDITS 92 TENKARA CALENDAR 93 ADVENTURES OF TENKARA TED 94 MIDWEST TENKARA FEST 96 #TENKARA Front Cover: Michael Agneta Back Cover: Adam Klagsbrun Logo Design: Nick Cobler


Photo: Kevin McIlravy

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From The Editor Summertime Fixed Line...

As this issue goes to virtual "print" it's incredible to think that half of 2018 is already behind us. For some, that means trout & tenkara season is in full swing... for others, it might now be too hot to comfortably (or ethically) chase trout. If that's the case, then there may be some items of interest for you in this issue.

tenkara-based essays, stories, fly tying, and photography that I'm sure will delight. I personally always love the photo journal provided for "Brookies & Beer," even though I don't have a huge affinity for IPAs... (In my humble opinion a cold Busch pounder is perfectly suitable when "heading for the mountains.")

Tenkara is commonly defined as fixed line fly fishing in mountain streams for trout and char. If those components don't come together, you're not really doing tenkara as practiced and popularized in Japan. But it doesn't mean you can't still have fun with your tenkara rods!

It's also my pleasure to welcome several new contributors to the Tenkara Angler family. Andy Vinnes, Kevin McIlravy, Brittany Aäe, Steven & Spencer Platek, Mike Hepner, Michael Richardson, Mark White, and Dan Pierce join the aforementioned Jon Hart, Tim Bete, & Chris Lynch. That's a heck of a lot of new voices!

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There are a few entries in this issue that speak specifically to the fixed line fly fisher. Jon Hart pursues carp, Tim Bete and Jack Harford discuss warmwater tactics in seperate, but related articles, and Chris Lynch gives us a tour of some "tenkara-like" water found in Alabama. Yes, I said Alabama. They are all great reads, and may give you some leads if your personal window for tenkara/trout fishing has hit a temporary closure. That said, in keeping with the rightful theme of "Tenkara Angler" magazine, (I mean we can't neglect actual tenkara), you'll also find many

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However, it would be rude to neglect acknowledging returning Tenkara Angler contributors such as John Paul Povilaitis, Brad Trumbo, Robb Chunco, Anthony Naples, and Adam Klagsbrun. Welcome back!!! Please enjoy the Summer 2018 issue!

Michael Agneta

TWI

Editor In Chief

TWI

TWI


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Do you want to contribute to the next issue of Tenkara Angler?

Tenkara or conservation-themed articles, essays, fly tying recipes, gear reviews, tips, tricks, & photography are all fair game!

See www.tenkaraangler.com for more information Summer 2018

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Taking Tenkara Off-Line

Pursuing Headwaters Tenkara in Real Life Adam Klagsbrun

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It occurred to me this year how many people live their “Tenkara Lives” online. Somehow, even after 8 years of being online for tenkara I missed the fact that most people seem to barely get out even once or twice a month, and they aren’t able or willing to commit the necessary time to get to the headwaters and fish them. Because of that reality, we really don’t have many tenkara anglers here in the USA. We have lots of people fishing with tenkara rods, but very few actual tenkara anglers. This has always been an important distinction that gets overlooked. The amount of effort and time required to get to the best water for tenkara is daunting to some, and as such, it appears easier to spend that spare hour or two online or in some local flatwater fishing for whatever species is available. In beginning to recognize this better, I have been able to understand more about the “Tenkara Community” online and what the motivations of different groups and individuals are all about. And, frankly, the more I think about that, the more I recognize the value of getting off-line and remaining in real 4

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life for my tenkara experience. Besides the strange psychologies in which everyone believes posts or memes are directed at them personally, no matter how little you know them, how rarely you talk to them, no matter if you specifically said who and what you were aiming your post at… or if you even knew they were in your friends list… people just seem to want to argue more than to learn or listen. That is a frustrating pill to swallow and takes a lot of patience. Many automatically think you were talking to them even if you weren’t… they get upset or defensive if you just expressed something opposite of their beliefs, then they move to either A) defend themselves because they feel challenged or B) attack you for no reason out of frustration. And chances are this person just started fishing with a fixed line rod last week… Oy vey! I have spent a good amount of time discussing this with different psychologists at parties and I think it’s just time to move on for so many reasons. There is no cure for ignorance, and you can’t communicate effectively online with no tone.


Tenkara goals mostly cannot be accomplished online. So instead of attempting to solve this problem for the internet, I’ve been moving towards signing off way more often. My attempts to help bring positive points, education and motivation to the community online have been mostly a failure and mostly received with this same pattern of angry, defensive or confused response from people who just don’t “get it” or simply don’t want to “get it.”

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And you know what? If they don’t want to get it, they can’t be helped until they come around. For a while I figured it would be good for tenkara to help people think differently by being repetitive, predictable, and by delivering the facts without hesitation. I figured, as imperfect as I was in my methods, that at least most would see the passion for helping others, to understand, and to know what was being taught correctly and what wasn’t. Instead, I’ve realized most people don’t want to think differently. Instead they found every opportunity to be offended, get upset, lose hope or energy, or whatever else. I can’t fix that either. For all of us that care about representing, teaching and caring about Japanese tenkara, shifting attention to people who are eager to learn in real life is a much more effective method of sharing knowledge and teaching. The reception rate and learning rates seem much higher with people who take the time to engage

more in real life. In going out and helping others on the stream, in attending local small-scale tenkara learning events and just in engaging with curious strangers on the water, I’ve found a whole world of people who are not only willing to learn, but who want to learn correctly, and who want to listen in order to understand tenkara and become good at it. I am not sure why so many people in the online “Tenkara Community” want to reject or ignore the education part, the listening to others who are more experienced part, and why more people don’t want to spend time mastering existing styles and methods. But it is certainly clear that I cannot help the online community with this, and that they are mostly uninterested in this personal mission of mine anyway. C’est la vie. So, I have begun to feel differently about things. Tenkara does not need to be broadcast to the world. Tenkara does not need to be spread. Tenkara does not need to grow. Especially if that mission destroys or alters what tenkara is all about and gets in the way of what makes it great in the first place. Mostly the owners of the American “tenkara” rod companies have either personally given up, burned out, or just not been able or willing to contribute to anything other than sales-based marketing and cheap Chinese rod designs. Yet still they feel jilted or

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angry, taking it personally whenever they are criticized or called out on their quality control, their flex profiles, lack of Japanese mandrels, etc... Many of them have gone a step further and taken it upon themselves to control the narrative of what tenkara is here, altering it to serve business needs but not to represent reality.

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Those people have also banned, publicly shamed and ultimately

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dismissed the more hardline Japanese tenkara anglers – the very people that were their early customers and who were most devoted from day one leaving them feeling abandoned and rejected; meanwhile spending as much time as possible shielding bass and bluegill anglers from feeling hurt online by the realities of the definition of the very sport they have chosen to make a living on in real life. How does that add to the story of tenkara - in


any positive way at all? I find all this a combination of disappointing and not useful for the industry. Rod companies getting very angry when people try to challenge them to be their best probably won’t get tenkara anywhere at all, will it? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAA

To cap that off, it is also a little bit of a let-down that many tenkara rod companies here have owners which, regardless of their deep connections to English-speaking Japanese anglers or professional tenkara ambassadors (who are openly willing to hooking them up and showing them the time of their lives…) still refuse to spend a few thousand dollars to fly to Japan and learn about what they are supposedly “teaching” and selling… save a select few…. even though these are business and education expenses. Cheers to those select few who do. Thank you for doing what you do. Instead of taking those connections and turning them into life experiences or learning opportunities, some people seem to reject them - defending their choices with silly excuses (there’s always a good excuse for anything in life.) They continue to remain in the proverbial dark on what tenkara is really all about…. And choose instead to attack those that have embraced

these very same educational experiences, and those that have made the investment in learning and growing as both tenkara anglers and human beings. Tenkara is now more like an underground style for those in the know, and what we call “tenkara” here, online in the USA, is mostly just mixed styles of fixed line angling. Tenkara is, in real life, a set of specific techniques and tackle that when embraced, gives the angler a leg up on everyone else for many reasons. I prefer to look at tenkara now as a well-kept “secret,” and I think the handful of others in the country that truly possess the skills and the knowledge are moving in this direction too. Not going under-ground but going off-line and back to the realworld version of tenkara. Many are slowly realizing that “tenkara” online is not tenkara in real life. Yet this is important, because for me tenkara is all about what you actually do in real life… trout fishing, mushroom hunting, and mountain exploration… not what you talk about online. Take some time to be on the water or just be off-line. Tenkara is way better in real life - I think you’ll find the same.

Editor's Note: While this opinion piece from Adam may strike a few nerves of our readership, it is definitely food for thought about what "we" are (or are not) practicing and teaching with our tenkara rods outside of Japan. If you have any thoughts you'd like to share - in support or in contradiction, send them to mike@tenkaraangler.com. We may feature them in the next issue. Summer 2018

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Scenes From The Stream Kevin McIlravy lostriverdrifter

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My Hot Spot, Your Hot Spot, or Everybody's Hot Spot?

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Andy Vinnes

I recently fished the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin. Most trout fisherman don’t even know what the Driftless is or where it’s located. You always hear trout fisherman saying, “I want to go fish Colorado or Montana or California or Idaho or Utah...,” places that are well known trout areas. Honestly, I feel that the Driftless region is one of the best kept trout fishing secrets in the United States. I know after articles like this, it won’t be for long, but isn’t that the point? I want the serious, hard core trout fisherman to know about it, to experience it, to enjoy and appreciate what the area has to offer. Maybe I’m wrong, I think of it like practicing catch and release. When I 14

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release a trout I always think about someone else catching it and enjoying the experience as much as I just did. So why wouldn’t we want other trout fisherman to know about the Driftless? Places like this can only remain secret for so long. Not to mention there are other benefits to it, like helping out the area’s economy via hotel stays, eating at local restaurants, or shopping bait stores, this obviously has a trickledown effect. I’d like to share my experience if I may. I couldn’t wait to fish a spot that I had been turned on to the previous year. This creek, or coulee as they are referred to, was a “secret spot” of an out of state fisherman that I met at a local watering hole, (ok, I was at a bar).


Anyway, I got the impression that the only reason it was shared with me was because I was from out of state as well at the time and they felt I wouldn’t be back to fish it out or do much damage. This is what people refer to as a hot spot, and to this day I am grateful for the recommendation. I’m not sure if you know where this is leading or not, but I now had a hot spot of my own in Wisconsin. At the time I lived in California and had plenty of good, if not great fishing spots in the eastern Sierra area, including Bishop, Mammoth, June Lake and up to Bridgeport and Twin Lakes. I’ve always shared my hot spots, maybe because I like to see our sport grow, or to just let others enjoy the outdoor experience. I never, ever felt that I needed to keep a spot to myself, because just as I found it, others would surely stumble upon it as well. I’m sure we all have our honey holes or hot spots, and I would be willing to bet that you’re not the only one who has fished it or knows about it. You can just keep telling yourself that it’s yours, even though it’s not actually yours. Yes, some people will hike miles into the backcountry and find a hot spot, but this is not usually the case. If you want to call these spots yours and try to claim them, please be my guest. The recent outing that I attended was to introduce people to tenkara fishing and the local area’s incredible trout fishing. I remember one of the things I read about the event prior to going was that people will help you or show

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you where to fish. Of course, I was told about some of the very well known, or common coulees in the area. Most were loaded with anglers due to the growing popularity of the area. Now had it not been for the friendly pointer I got, I would not be able to say I found a hot spot that I felt was mine, even though it clearly wasn’t mine. Isn’t it funny how people feel that a particular spot is theirs? I began tenkara fishing only a few short years ago and I absolutely love it. I never western fly fished, but always enjoyed watching others do it. Over the last few years I have learned that most fly fisherman, western or tenkara, are very secretive when it comes to sharing information like hot spots, specific flies, or even how to fish a certain area. I actually formed my own opinion that most fly fisherman were assholes. Just an opinion. I left a day early to try and fish some spots along the way and what an incredibly beautiful drive through the state of Wisconsin. I got the name of a couple creeks to try along the way that were of course very well-known spots, and I appreciated the suggestions very much. When I got in the general area my destination, which happened to be Coon Valley, I pulled out a map and just started picking out creeks I wanted to drive by and evaluate. I know it was just by chance that I found a nice one, the water was clearer than others which were muddied up or washed out due to

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recent heavy rains. I recall texting the name of this creek to someone in case they were looking for some good fishable water, of course I didn’t mind sharing. I caught several nice fish that day on that stretch of beautiful water. The next day I recall speaking to an angler at the event and asking about how his fishing was going, and him saying something to the effect of “really good on one specific creek.” I asked him where and he said, “sorry, but this is one location that I don’t give out or share with others.”

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Understanding, I told him I had found a great spot yesterday and went on to say its name, because of course I don’t mind sharing. His eyes got wide and he

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looked at me as though I had just read his mind. He replied, “that’s it, that’s my current hot spot!” I was shocked that his secret was the same spot I stumbled upon the prior day. I returned to that very same hot spot about an hour later and just slayed the fish, in fact landing the best Wisconsin brown trout I’ve caught so far. As I left to head back home I was not surprised at all to see him fishing just a couple hundred yards downstream. So, is it really your hot spot or your honey hole? I believe all these spots have been someone else’s hot spot at some time or another. All I can say is I will continue to share my hot spots, because ultimately, they aren’t mine or yours, they are ours.


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Release

Brittany Aäe

Photo: Laura Larson

I just didn't have the heart to take fish today and I don't know why. Water, pen, notebook, pocket knife, film canister full of flies and tippet, windshirt, tenkara rod, and a landjäger all had to fit inside my running backpack, so I worked the puzzle of 18

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gear at a dusty trailhead wishing I was already running. On this dark-of-dawn midsummer day the temperatures promised to soar far above my comfort zone, so I had to find an excuse to get above the valley haze and linger in alpine lake water. At last


finding the correct configuration to both fit and secure my strange array of gear from flapping or dropping behind me on the trail, I was off. Blithely traveling through stands of avalanche-scoured ponderosa and elderberry I noted the song of waking birds, the lapis flash of a mountain bluebird darting from grasses to bush, penstemon raging purple alongside paintbrush's vermillion. Soon this underbelly of forest gave way to lodgepole, orange granite, and the mist thrown from a stream rushing in its trough - almost there.

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Arriving at the lake in the tender hours I found a rose blush growing on the eastern horizon which fell away to the hot valley from which I'd escaped. The disintegrating granite battlements surrounding the lake projected whatever hues sunrise chose and the outflow of the lake framed this northern-most aspect of sunrise. The turquoise waters were the texture of iridescent leaded glass windowpanes in the old houses I love so much in Fremont and West Seattle, suddenly rippled by waking trout. First, one silvery nose broke the surface and I thought how glorious it is to witness the mysterious rise of these ancient, infinite cutthroat. Then another followed by another as though gossip of my fly tapping the glassy surface had spread to the depths of this little jewel-box of a lake waking all the hungry trout to feast on my feathers and barbless steel. A light breeze, without origin as it was,

expanded in a radial pattern out from the center of the water in a no-pattern pattern with scalloped edges and scaled texture which excited the trout so much they flashed their beautiful tail feathers skyward, their precious metal bellies catching the quicklyintensifying sun's glare. Soon, I was the sole audience to an impressive display of arabesques arcing against a golden shaft of light that snuck through the trees and cast itself on the lake. Usually on the shores of this very same lake I have to think like a bug in order to get a single bite. I habitually make circuitous paths to my fishing perch of choice so the shadow of my pole or my body doesn't fall on the lake, tipping off its slippery inhabitants to my true identity (not a bug). I usually test all manner of intuitive flicking, stripping, dancing, drifting, sinking maneuvers with my line. I often leave without a single bite, but this time is entirely different. Every handsized cutty seems to be on the prowl for breakfast and on every alternate cast I have a fighter on the line. I allowed them to move for a minute or two, observing how they darted and feeling their outsized strength bend my feeble rod then in hand I gained a certain urgency: either crack the fish and swiftly make him dinner for two or remove the hook and let him swim again. Today I let them all swim then ran back to my car, settling for a morning bowl of granola from my cooler instead.

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Simple Father-Son Time Steven M. Platek, PhD Spencer J. Platek

We love to fish. Two summers ago, we decided to keep track of the number of fish we caught in an Excel spreadsheet. Every morning we were the first ones in the neighborhood to wake up and before playing ball, riding bikes, etc., we would hit our local neighborhood lake that we refer to as the “hood pond.” That summer we fished almost every day; we would fish a few hours in the morning and a few hours before sunset.

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We ended up logging over 1,000 fish. To be exact we caught 1,084 fish out of that lake over the course of the summer. Most were variants of panfish: bluegill, shellcrackers, pumpkinseeds, redbreasts, but some were brown bullhead catfish, and others were bass.

I think it was that summer that we developed a love of fishing together. We love to spend time as father and son on water catching fish, or sometimes other critters like crawfish and salamanders. It was at the end of that summer that I decided that we were going to start taking an annual father-son trip that involved the outdoors, namely fishing. We even have a scratch-off map to track our adventures. Our first trip was to the coast of Georgia, Tybee Island. We rented a quaint little cabin right on the bay that allowed us to crab right in our weekend backyard. We also took a “kids’ charter boat" fishing in the sea. I can’t recommend this enough! We caught croakers, whitefish, sand sharks, black tipped sharks, skates and rays. Spencer even got to drive the boat back to dock. Our second trip was also local. We went camping just north of Helen, Georgia. The campground had a dozen or so primitive campsites and a decent sized creek that split the north side of the campground from the south. This was our first-time camping, but what we lacked in camp prep was made up for by time spent in that creek. (Hesitant to reveal creek name, because loose lips can destroy small creeks.) We had just started to learn how to fly fish and we were slanging a small Chinese fixed line rod that was bought for about $8 and some change off Amazon. We caught probably 50 fish

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over the course of the weekend. They were all wild/stream-born rainbow trout, most in the 6-10-inch range. Spencer even caught a double, which was very exciting! This trip strengthened our love of fishing, the outdoors, and our father-son trips. In the time between that camping trip and our most recent 2018 father-son trip, two things aligned to really turn us onto fixed line/tenkara methods. The first was a company that asked me to do a review of a tenkara rod for Amazon.com. They provided a free rod, leader, tippet, and tenkara style flies. We put that thing through the ringer on both the “hood pond” and our local tailwater, but we still weren’t sold.

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It wasn’t until I became friends with Chris Lynch through a local trout message board, North Georgia Trout Online (NGTO), that we really learned the subtleties of fixed line fishing, as well as the possibilities. Chris told us about different manufacturers and styles of rods, made recommendations about lines and flies, and we were off… This year we wanted to do something different. We wanted to go on a trip, on a plane, to “travel.” We also wanted to chase a few bigger trout. And, we wanted to use fixed line/tenkara methods. Thanks to the lovely lady in our life (Ms. Lauren Lewis) who booked an Airbnb and airline tickets we were off to Utah. After a few email exchanges with Devin Olson and Lance Egan, we decided to hire a

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guide from FlyFishFood who was proficient in fixed line angling. Our accommodations were not only affordable, but perfectly located within a 10-minute drive to the Provo River tailwater (still not sure which section, there are three, but we were in Midway, Utah). Maybe best of all they had a dog that was super sweet named Gracie. Our guide, Larry, came prepared with a few tenkara rods that were all rigged traditionally: lead at the bottom, two small midges or sow bugs, and a Thingamabobber. At first, this seemed odd, but once we got fishing we realized the lethality of this method. It took Larry about 5-minutes to teach us how to cast this rig then he created some separation between us and really instructed Spencer where to fish. He was an excellent guide. Spencer drew first blood, hooking into several really good stream-born browns. People always say wild, tailwater browns are so spooky, and they are, but using a good presentation and quality drift, it seemed like fixed line was the method (at least for a seven-year-old) that allowed us to stay close, but not too close to the fish and catch them, pretty much one after the other. Looking around, not too many other anglers were hooking up. After our guided trip, Larry gave us a few pointers about how to setup our own rig. He also gave us a few of the flies that were working that day and


after a quick stop over at the local fly shop (fishheadsflyshop.com) near our house in Midway, we were off to fish the section of river that might as well have flowed through our backyard. And wouldn’t you know it, first cast and Spencer was hooked up with a really good high teens brownie. We continued fishing until sunset and caught several more browns, but that

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first one was the largest. When we got home, we hit our local tailwater using a similar method and also caught fish. Smiles all around! Spencer’s already started planning our next trip. Apparently we are either going to be chasing huge bass in the deep south or bull trout in Canada. Either way, it sounds like we are going to need a larger, stronger rod!

Click for video of Spencer's awesome catch

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Brookies & Beer: Infinity War John-Paul Povilaitis

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The Student & The Sensei

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The Further Adventures of Team Ratskin Canoe Mike Hepner

A tale of two friends; the “Mustard Tiger,” also known as the "O.G.,” and the “Gap Tiger,” also known as the “Tenkara Kid” … After six months of planning, a fivemonth countdown from date of reservation confirmation, hours of tenkara fishing in frigid mountain waters to refine and sharpen our skills, and endless hours behind a vice tying kebari specific to the targeted area, we knew we were about to embark on a great trip… what we didn’t know was that the trip would be EPIC. 26

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The destination was to be Poe Valley State park in the Bald Eagle State Forest. A month-long discussion yielded this decision as we could get a cabin and hike in any direction from it and fish four different wild or native trout streams! The primary waterway being world famous Penns Creek. High hopes and laughter filled the O.G.’s Toyota 4Runner the entire two hours of our journey. Pulling off the highway we gave one last look at our phones knowing we would be using them only as cameras for the next


three days. Fifty yards off the highway the road changes to gravel and stays that way for the rest of the trip, and twelve miles later to be exact, we finally had arrived at the cabin.

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Upon arrival, we immediately set up “base camp” and unloaded our gear. With no cell service and only printed directions and park maps, we geared up and headed out for our first shot at Penns. Driving the winding road alongside a beautiful Big Poe stream through the bottom of a valley the excitement was uncontrollable with Steel Panther jamming on the radio! Upon arrival to the gravel parking area we stepped out to be greeted by the beautiful turquoise waters of Penns Creek. Having previously decided on what spot to hit first, we took the small fisherman’s path alongside the creek to our first spot.

Tying on kebari we both start addressing the promising water. Suddenly, a brilliant sun popped out from behind the clouds and a spiral hatch goes off! Now “snowing bugs,” the water bubbled with beautiful wild brown trout slamming top-water anywhere and everywhere you looked, even in what seemed to be within arms reach! The O.G. matches the hatch with a kebari and hooks into a twenty plus inch wild brown. With the Tenryu Furaibo seemingly doubled over, the fish jumps completely out of the water backflipping and thrashing, successfully freeing itself from the hook. Two casts later he does it again, this time with the Furaibo bent in half on a sixteen-inch wild brown we know it isn’t going anywhere. Seeing it hit the landing net was a great feeling for both of us. The Ratskin Canoe Crew

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was already full speed ahead! A few hours later we decide to hit “Mustard Run,” a small feeder stream to Penns just up the path. This did not disappoint, with plunge pools and waterfalls, we went back to our bread and butter, lighting it up for an hour and a half while hiking alongside the run.

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Retiring for the evening we head back for Team Ratskin Canoe dinner. Using fishing rod hot dog sticks to tomezuri cheese dogs from our local Chambersburg, Pennsylvania butcher, while cooking a pot of maple and bacon beans and roasting marshmallows for Hershey’s chocolate smores. Sitting by the fire the Gap Tiger pulls out his prize bomber from Roy Pitz - our local brewery - a dark Belgian strawberry quad! With We laughed ourselves to sleep telling stories with full bellies. Waking up at first light we head out for our day two excursion. We headed to “Ratskin Run” arriving to the junction where it meets Big Poe. At about 6:45am we took off up the trail, backpacks full of beer and water. Within the first hour we had each already landed double digit brook trout and had climbed through the soft moss along the dense forest over endless waterfalls and plunge pools that greeted us around every bend. For about four hours we did this losing count of fish and having a blast. It was so perfect, it felt like we were fishing in a magazine.

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After heading back to the 4Runner for a “snack like” streamside lunch we hit Big Poe at the mouth of “Ratskin Run.” Gap Tiger landing two larger natives and a large stocked rainbow, and not to be outdone the O.G. doing the same. Two hours later we decided to head back to go regroup and prepare for the next body of water. On the way back, we encountered the stocking truck. (Why they stock an area so heavily populated by wild and native trout is beyond me). The truck pulls up beside us and the guy shouts, (in your heaviest Redneck chaw-filled mouth voice) “Hey boys, yuns wanna catch some trouts? We just dropped buckets just over yander!” Trying not to laugh we both just nodded our heads bit our tongues and continued through an area that originally was empty, but now littered with a parade of forty plus vehicles and just as many “bucket brigaders.” Everyone was trying to get on that good Salmon Peach Hatch while the getting was good. BOY! Getting to the cabin the O.G. breaks out his special beer for the trip, a twoliter bottle of Asahi! Putting it down during our lone rain shower of the trip we regrouped for our second shot at Penns. With the rain ending, we geared up and headed out. Once we got back to the spot we started dropping kebari in the middle of a bright green pool of water beside an old stone railroad bridge. The water now bubbling again with fish


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slamming on a stonefly hatch. Again, the O.G. landing a beautiful red dotted yellow bellied fourteen-inch wild brown. With hatches slowing and our curiosity kicking in we hiked up onto the bridge and took the fisherman’s walking tunnel to the opposite side of Penns. Coming out from the tunnel we were hit with a view of Penns winding through the valley for as far as the eye could see. The amount of sheer, natural beauty in this place is limitless.

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Retiring for the evening we head back to the cabin for Chef O.G.’s amazing fireside dinner of steak fajitas and rice! Stuffing our faces, we kick back by the fire. O.G. looking at Gap Tiger saying, “man we drank a lot of beer.” Gap Tiger then responding with, “I didn’t drink a lot of beer, but I chugged a bunch!” The celebration of going “slay city” went on into the night until we were too tired to go on. Packing up and rolling out before the sun came up on our final day, the destination was Cherry Run. Trusting our printed-out directions with our lives we follow them to the gnarliest road either of us had ever seen! Not sure how it even can legally be called a road. Anyone who has ever hiked the Appalachian Trail over a mountain can relate to what we were trying to drive on for twelve miles! Strong Mountain Road is no joke, and with no way to turn around there was only one choice… finish it. Ninety minutes to 30

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travel twelve miles while trying to avoid bottoming out and smacking each other’s heads together all while violently bouncing along the way was enough to put the most positive people into bad moods. When we finally arrived at Cherry Run we were rewarded for our struggles by both catching brookies, but then we both decided to leave and head out to our final spot. (We would’ve stayed longer had it not been for the ride from hell.) Heading to “Hepner’s Gap State Park” to hit “Kebari Creek” on paved roads was a relief and had us both ready to fish! Minutes after arriving, the O.G. lands a twelve-inch native and a thirteen-inch wild brown almost back to back. (Surprising to us because the weather was in the mid to high 50s Friday and Saturday but had dropped on Sunday and we were facing a windy a high of 33 degrees.) 45 minutes later Gap Tiger landed his first wild brown of the trip (and of his life) and at fifteen-inches what a first wild brown it was! Calling it quits we headed back to the ride for the final trek home. The Ratskin Canoe Crew combined for well over 100 trout in the three days spent out on the water. All the preparation, planning, practice, and tying had paid off. All the fish were even caught on our own flies! We ate good, drank good, and fished even better. One thing is for sure… this will not be the last multi day trip for this dynamic duo!

LONG LIVE THE RATSKIN CANOE!!!


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Just One of Those...

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Adam Klagsbrun

It was just one of those days that was meant to be... but I didn’t know it when I woke up. I was sore from the previous day’s adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, in need of a few more hours of sleep, and I had things to get done before I could hit the park. But if I wanted to make it to the headwaters, I had to get my priorities straight. Up and into the shower I went. Somehow, I got done with my errands early, successfully dodged the Ironman race that had much of the area shut down to traffic and passed almost all of the trailers on the twolane sections of the windy road up the canyon. 32

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The last obstacle to overcome was getting into the park fast and finding a good parking spot... but that too went my way, as I skipped a good thirty minutes of waiting by having the National Parks annual pass (which scans at the gate like an EZ Pass) and knowing which lots to hit first. A little bit of luck also went a long way as I grabbed the last parking spot at my favorite trailhead.

Score! Heading up the trail I quickly outpaced the crowd and found some solitude, taking in the beauty of the high-altitude mountains in early


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summer. And what an early summer it was... Melt out had already peaked, and as I arrived at the first waterfall, seeing the amount of water raging down it, I figured I’d be heading right to the lake. However, another half a mile brought me to a beautiful cascading section with deeper plunges and open fishable water that wasn’t blown out. I couldn’t believe how good it looked this early in the season, so of course I busted out my Daiwa and began to fish.

a beautiful little cutthroat, my first of the season. Along with it came that wonderful feeling you get when the stars seem to align as you least expected them to. So instead of heading right to the lake, I fished a good section of stream and got a few truly beautiful wild trout. I only used a single fly on this day... a pretty standard stiff-hackled kebari with a nice buggy dubbing on the body. If I could only choose one fly to fish for the rest of my life it would be that one.

It was just one of those days that was meant to be... on the first cast I caught

For me it was just one of those things that was meant to be... Tenkara.

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Flat Water Char

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Brad Trumbo

Arriving at the launch, I peered across the mirror reflection of the distant hills on flat water. Rich hues of goldenrod shown crisp on the glass-slick surface; sulfur lupine and arrowleaf balsamroot dappling the landscape beyond. The high desert lake was tinged emerald green from spring phytoplankton productivity. The saccharine aroma of antelope bitterbrush bloom thickened the air. Fish were rising eagerly under an overcast sky. Big fish. Dimpling and porpoising. A midge hatch. Midges (also known as Chironomids) are small aquatic insects that hatch into non-biting flies, some resembling 36

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mosquitoes. They range in size from smaller than a grain of white rice to that of something around a size 12 dry fly. Midge hatches can be notoriously painful to fish under the penetrating scrutiny of a fussy rainbow or brown trout. These species will key into the very specific, tiny larvae and adults, readily snubbing any fly pattern, especially a dry fly. Productive desert lakes can spew blanket midge hatches, and if the stars align, epic fly fishing in the ambiguously literal sense of the word. Fortunately, my buddy Chas and I were seeking brook trout in central


Washington State on the Colville Indian Reservation. Brookies are a member of the char family, genus Salvelinus, and native to eastern North America, but are stocked in some isolated lakes in the Pacific Northwest. Their western native cousins are the Dolly Varden, bull trout, and arctic char. Lake trout or mackinaw are also in the char family. The beauty of char species is that they generally exhibit aggressive attitudes with larger, older fish possessing piscivorous feeding tendencies. Brook trout are often more of a feeding generalist in comparison, and in the lower 48, they are typically the smallest of the species. Therefore, dry flies and small nymphs can be quite effective, but specific waterbodies can have a say in what works.

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As the morning bloomed, water temperature crept into the mid-50s, Fahrenheit, and the hatch exploded. Adult flies surfaced en masse, the dimpling rises progressed to boiling, then slashing. Fish moved in shallow, cruising the rocky shorelines, zealously picking off flies. A shallow cove speckled with aquatic vegetation harbored dozens of fiercely feeding trout. Fish were busting repeatedly in open water, breaching like whales. We had this in the bag! Chas is strictly a western-style fly fisherman, so we started with our western gear to feel out the situation, my tenkara rod prepped in the wings. Rummaging through fly boxes, we finally landed on a large, gray, adult midge imitation. Chas laid out the first

Chas Kyger lands a solid high desert brookie

cast to a distant rise, which was met with a dignified turn of the nose as if the fly had a putrid odor. I followed up and was met with a similar repugnance, failing to dupe what should have been indiscriminately frenzied fish. Further rummaging through hundreds of flies led to countless failed attempts on the surface. Utterly shocked, we began to reconsider everything we know about brook trout. “Since when does a

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Arrowleaf balsamroot brightens the early summer desert landscape

38 Tenkara Angler | tenkaraangler.com A sixteen-inch brookie refusing the net


A prime example of a beautiful brookie thriving in a productive high desert lake

Having a large selection of nymphs is a must to be successful amidst a midge hatch

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brookie inspect the fly, nose it, then deny it? You would think these were tailwater browns!” Chas remarked as we watched, slack-jawed, surrounded by carnage. There were two remaining options to explore, so I reached for my tenkara rod.

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fly on a 5X tippet. For any other species, I would never consider larger than 6X tippet in this situation, but let’s be honest, these were brook trout. On principle, I was willing to call it a day if tippet size was a deal breaker.

I can preach dry-fly/dropper nymph combos all day long for any rod set up, including fixed-line fly fishing, tenkara style.

With a soft flip of the rod, the flies laid out delicately. I knew the action wouldn’t be immediate as cruising fish had to spot the nymph, but I was confident.

Although thoroughly disappointed in the highway robbery of what should have been epic dry fly action, we were still confident in the back-up option of dropping a size 18 midge nymph below a large indicator fly. With my goto elk hair caddis to keep the nymph up, I tied up a red bead-head nymph with a silver rib and set the nymph about eighteen inches below the dry

Gawking wildly at Chas, green with envy, he stripped in fourteen to eighteen-inch brookies while I sat stubbornly, tenkara rod in hand. As I photographed, Chas netted an eighteen-incher, smirking at my plight, but overwhelming panic struck with the cognizance that my caddis had gone missing. A soft pop of the rod for good measure set the tiny midge hook

Nymph fishing can require small flies with prohibitively sized hook eyes. With flies smaller than size 18, line diameter becomes problematic, making 6X – 8X tippet necessary. Below is a general monofilament diameter reference chart for tippet and level line. Tippet can also be applied to level line just as any tapered western-style leader to increase fixed-line fishing capabilities. 8X tippet (.076mm = .003in) 7X tippet (.102mm = .004in) 6X tippet (.127mm = .005in) 5X tippet (.152mm = .006in) 4X tippet (.178mm = .007in) 3X tippet = #1.5 level line (.205mm = .008in) 2X tippet = #2 level line (.235mm = .009in) 0X tippet = #3 level line (.285mm = .011in) ~10lb test = #3.5 level line (.3175mm = .0125in) ~20lb test = #4 level line (.330mm = .013in) ~25lb test = #4.5 level line (.3556mm = .014in) ~25lb test = #5 level line (.370mm = .015in)

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Rio Products


Reviving a thick, eighteeninch brookie prior to release

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firmly into the snout of a robust fourteen-incher, and the fight ensued. I had yet to experience a decent fish on my tenkara rod and was abruptly impressed with the shock absorption of the noodle-soft blank. These were strong fish, but brookies don’t typically make the hard runs of a rainbow. In this case, the fixed line was no hindrance. Keeping the rod high and deeply flexed provided enough rod travel to manage the most valiant escape efforts. Ultimately, the fish succumbed to the relentless action of the rod. In my experience, lake brookies are never as impressively colored as stream brookies, but there is a peculiar attractiveness about large, cream-colored spots scattered haphazardly cross a drab, almost gray dorsal canvas. Some fish were more

colorful than others, boasting a muted orange belly and faintly classic pink and blue speckles. And of course, my favorite characteristic, the stark-white fin spines identifying the char species. I continued to fish the tenkara rod until the hatch tapered off, landing a handful of similar sized fish, while Chas raked them in wholesale. As the action waned, we went for broke. I set the tenkara road aside for a failsafe lake tactic. A deep sinking fly line and a special little streamer that Chas and I tie. We motored to a sheer shoreline dropping onto a shelf that sloped from twelve to over twenty feet. We sank the streamers down to about ten feet, then stripped at random intervals. My first hook-up produced a brookie breaching twenty inches and about three pounds; the beginning of a furious hour of “toad-sticking”, but that’s a story for another publication.

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Japanese Silk Yarn Robb Chunco

I’m always on the lookout for new fly tying materials. While lost in a rabbit hole of an internet search a few months back, I happened upon some really amazing Japanese yarns from a company called “Ito.” They offer a dizzying array of different natural fibers, textures, and colors. I’ve since ordered two different types and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite new materials to tie with. It’s priced reasonably enough ($15 per skein), considering the amount on each skein - 464 yards. That’s more than enough for several lifetimes, or a decent amount to split with a few friends. This particular variety is called “Kinu,” and it’s 100% organic silk. I believe it’s produced from the castoffs and scraps from other silk fabric manufacturing and weaving processes. The texture of this yarn is really nice. It’s got an uneven, dobby appearance that coupled with the thinner gauge makes for a compact body that will waterlog quickly. Because it’s 100% silk, it affects a “gummy” buggy look when it’s wet. 42

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I’ve found it very suitable for any type of kebari - futsuu, sakasa, or jun as well as nymph bodies. Check some out if you’re looking for something new to tie with. I’m sure you’ll really like Ito too.


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From Field to Flies:

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Utilizing Wild Turkey Feathers for Tying Michael Richardson

I like to consider myself a full circle outdoorsman. Pretty much every season, and every month of the year brings on a different type of hunting or fishing activity. To lay this out for you I wanted to share my yearly outdoor schedule. I’ll start with June, and end with May, since that month is primarily what this article is about. From June to August I have a mix of native brook trout fishing and prepping for the upcoming fall hunting seasons. September brings in dove season, and the initial kickoff to my hunting season. In October and 44

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November, I am typically 20-30 feet off the ground archery hunting for deer, however this year I plan to hunt from the ground with my recurve bow. I also mix in a few small game hunts for squirrel, rabbit, and grouse to add to my fly tying material. My trout fishing season starts from mid-December (the day after rifle season for whitetail deer) to mid-April. I love winter trout fishing the most because of the peace and serenity. Sounds crazy right? You may be thinking, “this guy’s season ends when mine begins. He is missing the best part of trout fishing!


Between mid-April to June are when most hatches come off, why on Earth is he not on the water?” Let me give you the answer to your questions. From mid-April to the end of May, my mind is solely focused on spring turkey hunting. To say I am obsessed with gobblers may even be an understatement. I literally wake up around 4:00 or 4:30 every morning from opening day until I fill my tags. Most of these mornings I am only getting an hour to an hour and a half to hunt before I must run home, get my kids ready, and rush off to work. To me there is no bigger adrenaline rush in the outdoors than calling in a mature gobbler. Hearing him become completely hypnotized by my calls and gobbling his head off is what drives me to these obscene actions. But enough about turkey hunting, this is a fishing magazine, right? I wanted to put together this article to show how I utilize my turkey harvests to create flies. Turkey has got to be one of my favorite materials for trout flies. The dark brown and black banded colors are a perfect match to many of the insects and other aquatic organisms that trout feed on.

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This spring was my best spring gobbler season ever as I filled both of my tags by May 16th, and was able to call in another bird for my cousin. This meant lots of feathers for flies. I wanted to compose a breakdown of what feathers I use, what patterns I tie with those feathers, and where you

find each of the feathers on the turkey. The main feathers I use from my turkeys are the primary and secondary tail fan feathers. I use these for nymph bodies, wing cases, and especially on my peeping caddis patterns. The brown and black barring perfectly mimic the cases of a caddis larva. The primary feathers get a little wide as they get closer to the base but nymphs can be up to size 10 and still work. This can be a fine substitute if you want to do a large pheasant tail pattern for and anchor fly as well. The secondary tail fan feathers are much thinner and I feel provide one of the best wing case material out there. The color is spot on with many of the insects in the water. These feathers also work well for smaller bodied nymphs. The feathers are much thinner and do not add a lot of bulk. If you are in the area of the country that has Merriams turkey, or if you can get your hands on a Merriams tail fan, you just found fly tying gold! The secondary feathers have white tips on them and provide a beautiful two-tone appearance to your nymphs. Additionally, Merriams turkey have a more maroon than brown colored fan. In my opinion, this color is just spot on to match 90% of the nymphs in the water. The feathers on the underside of the tail fan and near the turkey’s rear are great marabou feathers. As you move to between the turkey’s legs these feathers get to be ideal for woolly

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bugger tails. The feathers get smaller as they approach the legs and you can get perfect size 12 and smaller buggers. The feathers closer to the tail fan are more of the “Xtra Select Marabou.” The longer fibers create larger tails and more movement. This is also great material for sculpins and larger woolly buggers. The turkey’s leg feathers are great for soft hackles, and tenkara kebari style flies. The feathers are rather small as you get to the “knee” area and get bigger as you get closer to the thigh. They are beautiful feathers with a nice light black coloration, barred with gray. In addition to the soft hackles and kebari, they are also ideal for caddis pupa. The wing feathers can provide some wonderful tying materials. The secondary wing feathers are good for nymph bodies. They are a cream and

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brown mixed coloring and can provide a nice two tone look for the bodies. The primary wing feathers are great for longer biots used for antennae and legs on nymphs. These are barred coloration as well, so if you do a biot bodied nymph you can have color variation. When I package my feathers, I use different baggies for each feather type. I also use different baggies for the leg soft hackle per size, and also the marabou per size. I recommend keeping your wild feathers separate from your purchased feathers or treating them to eliminate mites and other pests that may be on your harvested feathers. While I keep most of the feathers, I do donate some of the primary wing feathers to traditional archery guys for use on their arrows. I also donate the bird’s wing bones to my call-making


buddies to make strikers and wing bone calls. I’m going to try to make some wing bone calls out of the second bird I harvested this year. It goes without saying that I also like to eat turkey as I make turkey jerky from the meat, as well as cook it in traditional ways. I deliberately try my best to use everything I can from the bird so nothing goes to waste. I owe that respect to this amazing animal.

I hope this helps anyone who hunts (and especially those of you that don’t). One can reference this article if a buddy asks what feathers he should save for you the next time he harvests a turkey. You should now be able to tell him exactly what feathers you want and where to find them on the bird. I know this article is a little late for the 2018’s spring turkey season, but this can be a valuable tool to save for this fall or next spring.

Here is my favorite fly that utilizes wild turkey feathers, the Peeping Caddis. I can’t begin to tell you how many trout I have caught with this nymph. I find it fished best as an attractor pattern, fished tandem with another nymph.

"Peeping Caddis" Fly Recipe: Hook: Size 12-16 1XL Nymph Hook Bead: 2.8mm Copper or Black Tungsten Thread: 70-140 Denier Dark Brown Body: Wild Turkey Primary Tail Feathers Ribbing: Copper Wire Tail: Chartreuse Ultra Chenille - Standard Soft Hackle: Wild Turkey Leg Feather or Hungarian Partridge

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DIY Tenkara Line Holder Mark White

This past Christmas I was fortunate to get a tenkara rod from my wife. I had seen them on social media, a friend of mine had one, so I was pretty excited to receive one as a gift. A part of learning how to cast was also how to manage the line and leader when moving from one spot to another. I saw the spools that you can wrap the line around and that slide down the rod. There are also line holders that attach to the rod with O-rings. One person I know uses toothpicks secured around the rod with a rubber band. There were various pros and cons for each system. I wanted to devise something a little different. One day when organizing a bunch of papers, a bent paper clip made the DIY wheels turn. I could wrap a paper clip onto the rod very much like wrapping a guide when building a fly rod. It would be secure. It would be out of the way. And it would be easy to secure the line when moving to different locations or getting ready for the next day’s fishing adventure. I chose the vinyl coated #2 size paper clips (Figure 1). This would keep them from getting corroded when exposed to the elements. The different colors would make them highly visible. I bent the inner part upwards which would eventually secure the leader. 48

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Then using a hammer, I struck each “foot” of the paper clip (Figure 2). In this manner the coating separates from the paper clip and it can be easily peeled away. Once exposed, you use a triangular file to shape the foot into a gentle slope and to reduce the profile. This allows the thread to transition easily from the rod to the paper clip. Admittedly I did not do this on my version. There are the things you learn after the fact. Using tape I secured the paper clip to the rod (Figure 3), very much in the same manner as conventional rod building. To manage the thread, and provide enough tension during wrapping, a fly tying bobbin worked well (Figure 4). When finished, both paper clips are securely attached to the rod (Figure 5). As you can see in the picture the purple clip is entirely wrapped. This was the first one I did and afterwards realized that I did not have to go to this extreme. The yellow clip has only each foot wrapped. To seal the threads, I applied 3 coats of “Hard as Nails.” Figure 6 shows what the whole system looks like with the furled leader and tippet attached. After completing this project, I have gone on to build my own 3-weight fiberglass fly rod. The techniques used in this project helped me with the latter one. I think the most enjoyable part of a project is how one can lead to another.


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Product Spotlight: WETSOX Split Toe Neoprene Socks Dan Pierce

For the past few years I have been fine tuning my wet wading set up and with a new company, WETSOX, coming on the market I am finally happy with my set up. If you are on the fence about trying the WETSOX products out, this story should help! One day a few years ago I was fishing a small stream in western Maine when I felt an itching feeling on my foot. I stepped up onto a rock to find a twoinch leech latched on to the side of my big toe. Leeches are gross, but not uncommon to see in the water and I have had them on me before. What was different about this encounter however, was the fact that when I pulled the leech off, I saw what looked like millions of baby leeches under it. I went to find a place on shore to assess the situation and by the time I got there, they babies had spread in between all my toes and were even crawling under the nails. I spent the next half hour picking them off one by one with my hemostats. I stopped counting after 100. The unfortunate part was that this happened again the next year, although on a different stream. I still wet wade in flip flops, I just make sure to wear WETSOX Split Toes. 50

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When I first put on the Split Toes and wore them around the house, I felt they pulled my big toe too far away from my other toes. After putting them on and off a few times and wearing them with flip flops, they broke in a little bit and are now very comfortable. I wear flip flops a lot and so I always keep a pair of the Split Toes in my car just in case the weather gets cold or if I want to do some fishing that doesn't involve a lot of movement.

WETSOX original split toe neoprene socks feature .5mm of fabric with the intention of allowing you to slide in and out of boots and waders with ease. These can also be used as a baselayer for a Japanese genryu-style wading system beneath gaiters or spats. WETSOX come in different neoprene thicknesses and patterns, as well as rounded toe models. Visit www.wetsox.com for more details.


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Break Out of the Box

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Anthony Naples

I’m a guitar player, a mediocre one— ok, maybe just plain bad. But I’m fond of using guitar analogies when I talk about tenkara. One thing that happens to folks like me struggling to learn the guitar is that you reach a certain point and get stuck in a rut. You’ve learned a few basic chords, some simple riffs and easy songs and are happy to have made it that far. You can make some noise that sounds passingly like music. If you’re just a casual guitar player, it’s very easy to get stuck in that place. It’s fun enough that you can linger there 52

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for years without making much progress. Eventually though you may feel like you’re spinning your wheels and get a little bored with what you’re capable of. Maybe you don’t even realize you’re stuck until you see some 10-year-old kid on YouTube that’s playing like Eddie Van Halen in his prime and you’re still struggling with the Ramones. The same thing happens in my fishing from time to time. It can get stale. I’m fishing in the same places, in the same


ways, with the same flies. I’m catching fish and doing pretty well and feeling accomplished. Over the years I’ve learned that when I’m feeling even slightly accomplished, that’s exactly when I need to mix things up and try something new because I’m getting complacent, stuck in a rut, and my progress has stalled. In my guitar playing when things feel stale I turn to YouTube and learn some new song. Learning a new song can do wonders. Not because of the song itself per se, but because often a new tune uses chords and scales in ways that I haven’t mastered. Maybe it introduces new chords or just new ways of playing familiar chords. Even if I don’t fully digest the things I’m investigating, by pushing myself I learn something and make some progress - and at the very least my playing gets a much-needed injection of novelty; I feel reinvigorated and I have more fun. So how about some concrete examples that involve fishing? This spring I visited Arkansas to participate in the Sowbug Roundup as a vendor (in my guise as Three Rivers Tenkara, threeriverstenkara.com) and as a fly tyer. The main trout fishing in the area is in the White River. The White River is big and it’s not the kind of place that I’d normally fish. I must admit I was not super excited at the prospect of fishing it. The White River was a bit out of my comfort zone and so it was daunting. But after a just a little while I started to figure some things out. I started to learn to recognize holding

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water in a stretch of river that at first looked featureless and I started catching some fish. After a day of fishing tenkara on a large river was I anywhere near figuring it all out? Not at all. But I was becoming intrigued and my fishing world was expanding. I was learning things about reading water that were new to me. And all sorts of ideas about new rigging schemes were infecting my brain. In short, I was learning and being mentally stimulated because of the novelty of my situation. I was adding more tools to my tenkara tool box. So, what are some things that you can do to break out of the box or get out of a rut? FISH SOME NEW WATER One of the easiest things to do is to fish some new water. It need not be as extreme as my example of going from my usual small mountain streams to the White River. It may just be a new mountain stream. Being on new water can be a real rut buster. Some of the streams that I fish often are so familiar that I’m fishing on auto-pilot. I fish the same spots and for all I know, catch the same fish. Which is okay and enjoyable. But it is not the most mindful way of fishing and does little for my progress as an angler. It’s like driving home from work. You get home and you don’t even remember driving. A new stream will require some more focused mental effort, you’ll have to do a little more work to unlock it than you

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do on that same familiar stretch. You won’t be able to rely on familiarity with the known fish lies and holding water, you’ll have to use your water reading skills. And that’s always good for learning a thing or two. “Changing of contexts... generates imagination and creativity as well as new energy.” ― Ellen J. Langer, Mindfulness FISH NEW TYPES OF WATER Recently I took a short Pennsylvania fishing road trip. I did some small mountain stream fishing in the Laurel Highlands of southwest Pennsylvania and then headed to Spring Creek in central Pennsylvania. Spring Creek is a different animal than the small

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mountain streams of southwest Pennsylvania. I learned to fly fish on Spring Creek and I’ve spent lots of time fishing it over the years and most of that fishing, except during hatches, was with nymphs. Fishing a limestone spring creek was a nice contrast to fish the mountain streams. If I was feeling like a master of tenkara techniques on the mountain streams, but I was not on Spring Creek. When I came across some of the sporadic rising trout I could often lure them with kebari fished in a traditional manner. And I even coaxed a few with kebari and wet flies while blind prospecting. However, when I switched to fixed-line nymphing, well that’s when things got amazing. Luckily, I had that tool in my tool box to pull out


when I needed it. Could I have continued to fish kebari and wet flies and catch fish? Yes. But switching to nymphs was more productive at that time and in that place. At other times I’ve had good success with kebari and tenkara techniques on Spring Creek - and perhaps given some time I’d have figured out some a way to make them work better on that trip too. And that’s the learning advantage of a new type of stream - it makes you try new things or tweak old things when the old standby doesn’t work well. If you normally fish big water head to some small streams. If you’re a small stream guy go to some bigger rivers. If you’re going from a small stream to a

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big you’ll have the chance to practice some long line casting that you may not normally. If you’re going the other way, you’ll get to hone you casting in tight cover and your stealth. Go to some spring creeks if you’re mountain stream guy and vice versa. Try some still water. Or warm water. The point is that different kinds of water may demand different types of skills and techniques. FISH DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLIES Break out of your fly comfort zone. If you’re a bead head nymph guy give wet flies and kebari a chance. Take all the nymphs out of your boxes and make the kebari work. It took me a few years to get any kind of confidence in kebari and wet flies. It finally took a commitment to put away the nymphs

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for a season for me to learn how to have consistent success. And of course, that can work the other way too. If you’re a kebari guy, try some nymphs. You may be surprised. On one stream I fish I never realized how many wild browns it had until I started fishing it deeper with nymphs one day as opposed to the kebari I’d been using for the wild brookies. Dry flies will cast differently than kebari, which will be different than nymphs. Big flies will cast differently than small flies. So, casting different flies will make you work on casting skills too. TRY SOME DIFFERENT LINES Every time I put a tapered furled line on a tenkara rod I smile. They are so darn awesome to cast. It’s almost like they cast themselves. Same goes for the ultralight floating tenkara lines 56

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that I make from Euro-nymph lines. What a joy. And then after I’ve been fishing those for a while and I go back to a light level line I’m astonished by the way I can keep the line off the water and the delicacy of the delivery. I like different types of lines and prefer different types for different conditions and flies. But just the feel of casting a different type of line is a fun twist and will make explore different ways of casting and fishing. FISH IN DIFFERENT CONDITIONS Make a point to get out at different times of day, or year and under different weather conditions. Fish in the rain when the water is up and off color. If you haven’t done this before you may be in for the time of your life. I’ve had some transcendent fishing in high water (this is a time to put on that streamer, wooly bugger or ginormous kebari).


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The same stretch of water, on the same day can be like different worlds at different times of day. I’ve seen seemingly dead water come to life at dusk and fish show up everywhere even though you’d swear there weren’t any around. TRY DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES Short-line nymphing, dry fly fishing, dry and dropper... two nymph rigs... Downstream wet flies... Popper fishing on a floating line... I am never disappointed when I delve into a new technique. I got a book on French Nymphing. I wanted to know what it was all about. Even though I won’t employ the same exact gear and rigging as described in the book it was still a great read. By learning what problems French Nymphing was designed to solve and then learning how those guys solved them and why

they do what they do I learned more about my quarry and I got ideas of things to do in tenkara. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s, there are few” ― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice So, I could go on and on. The take away is that there is a lot to learn in fly fishing and tenkara and when you start to feel like you know it all, or when things start to feel stale, then maybe it’s time to explore a little bit. Solving new problems, having new experiences and fostering new ways of looking at things are good for your brain and for your tenkara.

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Fixed Line Fury Carp + Tenkara Rods Jon Hart

Jon battling large carp while wet wading Summer 2018 59 on Lake Isabella in California. Photo: Celine Bayla


In the past several years, fly fishing for carp has seen a rise in popularity and a wealth of knowledge is available on the subject. Carp on tenkara rods, however, is a bit less common and information is harder to come by. My first encounter with a carp was a when I saw one seemingly sleeping while hunting panfish on the Los Angeles River with a soft tenkara rod. A surprise gulp of a black kebari followed by a burst of speed and the fish was gone, my 5x tippet not standing a chance. That initial encounter spiked my adrenaline and I was intrigued, so I started bringing bigger, longer tenkara rods with shorter lines and heavier tippets to my local carp waters in the hopes of bringing one to net. Over time I lost lots of flies and splintered plenty of tenkara rods, but with practice I eventually learned what it would take to catch carp on a tenkara rod.

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Use the biggest, beefiest tenkara rod or other fixed-line device that you can get your hands on. The base of the rod should be comparable to your thumb and extend to be 12-17 feet long. This length and heft will be necessary to control and eventually land the carp. Carp are wicked fighters and you do not want to be outgunned. For line, I prefer using a short, furled leader that when combined with 2-4 feet of tippet will make the entire line and tippet no longer than the rod itself, ideally a foot or two shorter. So, for a 13 foot rod, I might use 8-9 feet of line and 2-3 feet of tippet. Level line will work too. The short overall length makes the inevitable landing experience possible despite the weight and strength of carp. For tippet, use the strongest available that doesn’t exceed the capacity of your rod, dropping down in diameter if the water is too clear and the fish


spook upon seeing the tippet. I use a minimum of 2X but prefer nylon bass tippet in the 8-pound range because of the added abrasion protection; carp can get rowdy and the water can be full of sharp pokey things. To the tippet attach any number of different flies. For bottom feeding or tailing carp, flies of the hybrid variety like the locomoco, the mop fly or any number of heavy flies that ride hook up and seem foody enough for a carp to try --

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worms, nymphs, crayfish and clam patterns. With these flies, lob or roll cast to the general vicinity of your target and then drag-and-drop the fly to within the 90-degree feeding zone of the carp. For carp feeding on top water, generally referred to as “clooping,” carp will swim with their mouths gulping near, at and above the surface of the water, sucking in anything resembling food. Stimulators, parachute patterns, hoppers, beetles, ants, and all sorts of dry flies are all

A quiver of worthy carp rods From top; 17’9” Nissin Kyogi 18, 14’9” Nissin Red Dragon 450, 13’2” Tenkara Rod Co Grand Teton, 13’ Tenkara USA Amago, and an adjustable, 11-13’ DRAGONtail Tenkara HELLbender

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good options, as are carefully placed and managed wet flies. Keep the tippet appropriately tight and the line off the water as much as possible, giving a natural presentation to your fly, raising and lowering the rod, changing the angle and extension of your arm, or moving your body. Recast as necessary, carefully to avoid spooking. If you don’t feel or see the strike shortly after the fly entering the carp’s feeding zone, look for a change in behavior, a sudden surge one way, a gulp, a flutter of the tail or other signs to indicate the carp has taken your fly. Set the hook upward and hold on!

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Brace with your casting forearm, using two hands, your body weight or moving as necessary. The fight will be tremendous. The short line and stout rod will keep the carp and the fight very up close and personal, challenging your strength, endurance, fish fighting skills and tip management. With larger fish, the vibration of the line in the water can cause the tenkara rod to ring aloud with vibrations that change as the battles progresses. Combined with the up-close and personal splashing and carp antics, carp on tenkara tackle can be a very consuming, immersive experience. The trick, I find, is to keep constant

A Menu of Carp Treats: From top; Carpalicious, Carp Coachman, Chartreuse & orange mop flies, Large nymph, Loco mocos, Assorted dries

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Jon with a long, strong carp from the Los Angeles River, California Photo: Celine Bayla

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tension on the carp, forcing its head up in the water, oftentimes gulping air as it takes a break from fighting and gets pulled skyward by the long, stiff rod. If it wants to go left, use side pressure to turn the fish to the right. Address straight-line power runs as quickly as possible, using side pressure with the rod to coax the fish off its path. You must control the fish. Use the features of the water to tire or control the fish, for example fighting it into shallow water where it has more difficulty swimming. Your quarry can make several very powerful, headsnapping runs that will test and break your gear and your patience. Carp will often make 3-4 strong runs, so be prepared to battle until they tire. Stay

calm and focused. Use a large rubber net to land the fish. Gently dislodge the hook if it didn’t fall out already from being barbless. Let the carp rest and recuperate as you would any other fish, minimizing time out of the water. Release it safely. The widespread availability of carp combined with their intelligence and fury make for an exhilarating experience on tenkara rods. While some folks may continue to see carp as trash, enemy fish caught as byproduct of targeting other species, for many anglers, perhaps even you, carp are worthy targets that will refine your skills as a tenkara angler.

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Jon landing one of several carp at Carp Throwdown 2018, held at Lake Henshaw, California Summer 2018 65 Photo: Elena Revelez


One Fly for Warm-Water Fixed Line Fishing

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Tim Bete

When I first heard about tenkara, I immediately loved the concept. I was seduced by the simplicity of a fixed line with one fly. My many overflowing fly boxes and western fly rods were not as enamored with the idea. But they didn’t keep me from jumping in head first with the decision to fish tenkara-only for an entire year. I quickly realized that decision would require me to actually buy a tenkara rod.

At 27-inches, this channel catfish put a huge bend in Tim’s tenkara rod. Many people believe you need bait to catch channel catfish but they are very aggressive and will often hit a fly.

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Watching YouTube videos of tenkara fished on beautiful trout streams is fun but that’s the only place near where I live that I was going to see a beautiful trout stream. I needed to adapt tenkara to my nearby warm-water ponds and rivers.

One Rod

Finding the right rod was easy enough. After extensive research, I bought the Hellbender Adjustable Zoom Rod from DragonTail Tenkara (DragontailTenkara.com). I wanted a rod that was long and would handle large fish. I liked the fact that I could fish it at either 11 feet or 13 feet, too. In the places I frequent, you can catch


anything from bluegill to largemouth bass to grass carp to channel catfish. More than once I’d been fishing for bluegill with a western fly rod and had a 20+ inch channel cat inhale my fly and take off like a freight train. Those cats always made the reel on my 7-wt. rod scream and I wasn’t convinced a tenkara rod could handle that type of fish. But I’m a gambler, so I rolled the dice. In spring in Ohio, channel cats often cruise around ponds. While I wouldn’t call them the bonefish of the Midwest, there’s nothing like sight fishing for cats. You have to put the fly right on their nose because their eyesight isn’t very good. While my new rod worked perfectly for accurate casting, I still worried about handling big fish. I learned several things when the first channel cat chomped the fly at the end of my line. First, you can’t hold a tenkara rod with one hand while fighting that big of a fish. You need both hands to gain leverage. Second, you should bring a change of underwear when fishing tenkara because you may pee your pants from excitement. I grew up in New England and was familiar with the term “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” to describe how in the 1800s small fishing boats were towed for miles by harpooned whales. If I had worn water skis, I might have experienced the same thing. I have to be honest: During the entire battle I expected my rod to explode.

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This was a massive fish and I feared my friends would read the newspaper headline, “Man Killed in Gruesome Tenkara Accident.” But the rod worked perfectly and after I netted the fish, I reveled in my decision to fish tenkara. Actually, I should say that I netted the fish’s head - it didn’t fit in my trout-size net. The channel cat measured 27 inches. It was a beast, especially on 4x tippet.

One Line

When you look for a tenkara line, you won’t find any described as “perfect for channel cats.” I tried several lines and settled on the 14-foot Tachi Furled line by Moonlit Fly Fishing (MoonlitFlyFishing.com). I found it could handle everything from small flies to large ones and I wanted one line that could do it all. The Tachi simply outperformed other lines when it came to turning over flies and casting into the wind. I’ve even cast a dropper with it.

One Fly

When I tell the story of that 27-inch channel cat, people usually ask what I caught it on. I think they expect me to say chicken livers or garlic night crawlers. They scoff when I say I caught that huge fish on my “one fly” for warm-water tenkara - a white woolly bugger. At first I was stumped by the idea of selecting one fly for warm water. I loved the one-fly concept but a typical kebari wasn’t going to cut it for

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I wanted a fly that could imitate different delicacies - from a fly to a minnow to a hopper. I also wanted a greater range of sizes than a kebari. Sure, I’ve been able to catch large bass and other fish on small flies but I also know there are times when a much larger fly increases my odds of getting fish to strike. After testing many possibilities, I landed on the white woolly bugger. Woolly buggers are designed to imitate many things and nothing. They simply look tasty to fish. It’s also one of the few flies that come in sizes from #14 to #4. They can be fished with a bead head or split shot to get them deep when needed, so they easily cover all parts of the water column. With a little fly floatant on a #14, you can get one to imitate a hopper or other large insect. A #4 looks like a mouthful of minnow even for a large bass.

1 several reasons. First, I fish in many types of water and all seasons of the year. I need a fly I can fish in all parts of the water column. When ponds are cold in the early spring, I need to get my fly down deep - 8 to 10 feet usually. At other times of the year, I may be fishing at a depth of 2 to 3 feet or on the surface. When I hit local rivers, I need a fly that can get down quickly in the current where the smallmouth bass are lurking. 68

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3 I use white woolly buggers for three reasons. White is an easy color to see when your fly is under water. White imitates many types of foods, including ever-popular minnows. And white can be easily colored using the permanent markers you keep hidden in your chest pack. So sometimes white is black and sometimes it is purple or red. (I said one fly, not one marker.) But all the fish pictured here were caught with size #10 to #6 white woolly buggers. If you’re looking for a deal on woolly buggers, I get mine from the Fly Shack (FlyShack.com) for only $0.89 each, which makes me feel a little better when I get snagged on a tree stump in

the water and have to break one off. So my year of tenkara rod-only fishing continues with one rod, one line and now one fly. We’ll see if I have to buy a green marker to turn a white woolly bugger into a small weed to fool one of those grass carp. Photos: 1) In sizes #14 to #6, white woolly buggers are the perfect fly for targeting warm-water fish, including channel catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass.

2) This monster bluegill smashed a woolly bugger.

3) When bass get finicky, using a smaller woolly bugger will often get them to strike.

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Tenkara Rod Pond Fishing

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Jack Harford

15" pond largemouth landed with tenkara rod

Let me set the stage; I live in Indianapolis. There are no mountain streams in central Indiana. The closest tailwater is a 90-minute drive. There is a pond and a creek two blocks from our home both of which hold bluegills, bass, crappies, rock bass and a few catfish and carp. I like fixed line fly fishing with a tenkara rod. The pond, previously known as “Fishless Pond� is the test ground for new flies, rods, methods and techniques. I say previously known, because up until last year it was quite difficult to land many, (sometimes any), fish in that pond. At that time, I was using a three or five-weight rod, 70

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making 40-50 foot casts, and mostly using foam floating flies. Results were not good. Last year things were different. The pond gave up more fish in 2017 than the previous ten years combined. Three factors lead to this difference: 1. Tenkara Rod 2. Soft Hackle and Wet Flies 3. Systematic Technique As I pick up on things tenkara from different sources, it seems to me that original fishers developing tenkara techniques and equipment did so out of practicality. In other words, what process will land the most fish in the


shortest period in the mountain streams? The fish living in these streams provided life and livelihood for the tenkara fishers. This pragmatic approach of tenkara early adaptors is quite interesting as well as essential to the spirit of tenkara fishing. The pragmatic approach, out of necessity, learns from what “has been done,” but does not depend on it. It is not satisfied with what everyone else is doing; rather it looks for ways to adapt methods, techniques, and equipment to the current situation to bring optimal results. Pragmatism also lends itself to new gear, innovation, and fresh techniques.

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I have not been in a situation where my livelihood, family, or their next meal is dependent on whether or not I land fish. Perhaps a small percentage of those reading this have had that kind of experience. The early tenkara anglers were in such a situation and therefore looking for effective ways to catch fish. These days it is easy to romanticize about the beauty of the mountain streams, the simplicity of the tenkara equipment (though is seems to get more complicated each year), or the beauty of small fish on a glorious day. This is a much different situation than the one facing the early tenkara angler. Frankly, I had a hard time adjusting to a tenkara rod. I fished a couple of times with friends' tenkara rods, but did not find if very satisfying. Kelly

Galloup, in talking about the push for faster stiffer fly rods said, “Most of us have an ego bigger than Montana.” My name is Jack... and I am a castaholic! I love casting a fly rod, shooting out 40, 50 feet or more line. The stimulation felt by a great cast, that moment of mind and body unity, strokes the ego in marvelous ways. Unfortunately, it does not always help one land more fish. Tenkara oozes with minimalism. Minimalism requires limits, restrictions, and discipline. Even though I like the philosophy of minimalism, I am not so keen about limitations. My ego desires the constant stroking and joy of long and beautiful casts. Addictions are difficult to break. Yet, I found, from a purely pragmatic view, that adapting new equipment, different flies, and innovative techniques can lead to greater results. First, a few lessons learned from fixed line fishing with the tenkara rod: 1. Long casts with a heavy line scare fish the whole length of the cast. After the first cast, all subsequent casts are in disturbed water. (more on this in systematic technique) 2. It is easier to detect subtle takes with a shorter line. 3. It is much easier to set the hook when the fly is closer to you. 4. With a shorter line, you can often see the fish take the fly. The second factor has to do with the flies. Soft hackle flies and some

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traditional wet flies have become a part of my arsenal since meeting Davy Wotton and studying his DVD, “Wet Fly Ways.” Also, Sylvester Nemes' book, “The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles” is a great resource for gaining an understanding of the value of soft hackle flies. Davy and Sylvester are strong advocates of these flies and their effectiveness in seducing trout. Here in Indiana, bluegills, crappie, and even bass like to catch soft hackle flies.

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The Green Tail Caddis, a Davy Wotton pattern, was the most successful in my first year of wet fly angling. A fellow angler invited me to his farm pond with the expectation of some large

bluegills and the expectation was a reality. I had been trying for years to land a 10” bluegill with no success (even at this same pond). On this outing, about a half hour in a 10.5-inch bluegill latched on to a Green Tail Caddis and about 30 minutes later I landed his 11.25-inch big brother. I will often use a two fly setup when fishing the Fishless Pond. This gives the bluegills and crappies two chances to catch a fly. Other soft hackle flies and wet flies that have been successful are: · Bead Thorax Soft Hackle · Pheasant Tail and Partridge · Kate McClaren (and variants)

Green Tail Caddis

Bead Thorax Soft Hackle

Pheasant Tail and Partridge

Kate McClaren Variant

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When fishing a two or three fly set up, I like to use the wet fly technique of dancing the top fly in the surface film. This acts like a floating insect struggling in the water and the commotion attracts fish to the trailing fly. Sometimes pulsing the flies under the surface or just a slow steady retrieve is needed. The third factor is developing a systematic technique. Again, I credit Davy Wotton’s insights with helping me to understand this. In “Wet Fly Ways” Davy elaborates on making a few casts to an area and then moving about a leader’s length up or down stream to make the next 3 or 4 casts. Casts are landing in fresh water on a continual basis, not constantly “lining” the fish, and disturbing the water. The 3-4 Method: Make 3 casts and then take four steps and make the next 3 casts, moving around the pond. A fisher can make it all the way around a small pond in an evening. A couple of times around the pond will reveal a few hot spots to hit when you have little time and a big urge to fish.

Here's my setup: 1. 12’ tenkara rod (TUSA Iwana) 2. 12’ orange level line (4.5) attached to the lilian with a slip knot and ending with a figure 8 knot 3. 3’ mono 4x tippet material attached above the figure 8 knot with a Davy knot 4. 30 inches of 4x attached to the existing tippet with a double surgeon’s knot, leave a 6’ tag on the down side. 5. Dropper fly is a wet fly, soft hackle, caddis emerger, Harford House Fly, etc... 6. Point fly – a bead head soft hackle or nymph

Conclusion: Inherit the pragmatic approach of early tenkara anglers and find out what works for you. Let me know how it goes, Jack Harford, jharford.indy@gmail.com. Tight lines and good luck!!

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Southern Hospitality:

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Alabama's Redeye Bass Chris Lynch

Cahaba Redeye

As a kid, I never really did much fishing. It was not a family pastime of ours. My first exposure to fly fishing was at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico when I was 16, and I absolutely loved it. Why I didn't further pursue it in the next 15 years, is anybody's guess. When I moved to Montgomery, Alabama (I'm active duty United States Air Force), a new coworker of mine was a fly fishing nut. I started hanging out with him, and the fire was lit. While reading up on everything I also discovered tenkara... So, against his suggestions, I got a simple tenkara setup (Daiwa Kiyose) along with a 74

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“western� fly fishing outfit (Echo 4weight). Fast forward three years; I'm fishing almost exclusively tenkara, although I still have a (different) 4-weight rod and reel setup for when I feel the itch. Alabama is NOT what you think of when somebody mentions tenkara. It just is not. Most anglers here have no clue what it is, what it means, or why you would use it. Most non-anglers are even more confused by it. In my local fly fishing circles, I'm "the tenkara guy," and the source of a lot of ribbing, but I have managed to convert a few over in the process.


So, what do I target down here in the Deep South, when I don't have trout? Redeye bass! To further specialize in my tiny niche of tenkara in Alabama, my favorite species to pursue are the little-known group of bass that are native to the Mobile basin, known simply as “redeyes.� In 2013, redeyes in Alabama were split from the single Micropterus coosae species into four separate but unique species based on their respective watersheds and slight morphological differences:

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Micropterus coosae (Coosa River) M. cahabae (Cahaba River) M. tallapoosae (Tallapoosa River) M. warriorensis (Warrior River) There is also the Micropterus chattahoochae in the, you guessed it, 'Hooch, but it's essentially extirpated from any flows within Alabama, and found exclusively in Georgia now. These bass are small (8 to 12-inch average adult length), need clean,

flowing water, and are very spunky, eagerly attacking topwater flies such as dries, poppers, and bugs, or even streamers. They also are mostly found in beautiful places, not unlike trout. This has given them the popular name of "Bama Brookies," for the obvious similarities they share with everybody's favorite native Eastern trout (char!). My first time on a redeye stream (in the Coosa drainage, near Mount Cheaha, Alabama's highest point), I landed several, and started a bad addiction. These fish are so much fun to chase and catch! That was in summer of 2016, and I've since caught all four Mobile basin species, and intend to do it again this summer. My usual tackle for redeyes has evolved as I've gotten more specialized with them as my favorite fish to target. I've found a softer, full flex rod with sufficient length, is my preferred method. Rods like the Daiwa Seiryu-X 45, Nissin Royal Stage or ProSpec in 6:4, or a longer Air Stage (390) work very well. Realistically, most

Coosa Redeye

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Warrior Redeye

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redeye streams in Alabama are open enough to allow casting a longer rod like these, but there are some tributaries where a shorter one comes in handy. Redeyes eat a lot of the same kind of things that trout do; crawfish, insect larvae, and smaller fish. In the early spring or fall, when water temperatures are still a little on the low side, you will get most of your bites sub-surface with nymphs or streamers. In those conditions I have had good success with large (size 6-10) nymphs and kebari, like Chris Stewart's "Keeper Kebari." This is about where the traditional tenkara aspect of chasing redeyes ends for me though... so you may want to put on your blinders if you aren't ready for some blasphemy!

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In the hotter months, which are typically April to October in Alabama, the most fun way to catch a redeye is on the top. Whether this is dries, poppers, hoppers... it's all about big (and often) yellow flies. Redeyes eat a ton of terrestrials, so I've had great days where I had a giant foam hopper on all day and it just got destroyed. However, they still act like trout in that if you miss a hookset, you might as well give up on that run, as they'll be spooked out. These are not dumb sunfish, you still need to be on your game! One of the most popular, if not the most religiously-celebrated, flies for redeye is the Booglebug, a popper made right here in Birmingham, Alabama. People like to say you can use any color you want for redeyes, as

long as it's yellow. This has been pretty accurate from my experience. A good buddy of mine, Matt Lewis, recently published a book, (THE book, by the way), about these guys - "Fly Fishing for Redeye Bass," and it is the best single source of information if you have any desire to learn more about them or attempt to catch one for yourself. Matt has helped to organize a Redeye Bass Slam challenge where you can either target the four Mobile basin species, or go after all of the recognized species in the South, which comes out to seven if you count the Altamaha and Bartram's. A lot of what Matt is trying to do is bring attention to these awesome and unique fish, which have quite specific habitat requirements and can bring a lot of fun to anglers. Currently, Alabama has some of the most relaxed environmental protection laws in the country, while hosting some of the most diverse and rich habitat. Fortunately, we have some very active riverkeeper organizations here in the state who are working very hard to raise awareness about these issues, and fight against the many abuses of our resources. So, while Alabama is definitely more closely associated with college football than fixed line fly fishing, the various species of energetic redeye bass you’ll find within the Yellowhammer State will definitely provide enough southern hospitality to make your tenkara rod feel right at home.

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Friends of Tenkara Angler

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FLY FISHING FOR REDEYE BASS

by Matthew R. Lewis AS FEATURED ON PAGE 77 OF THIS ISSUE Available at Amazon.com

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Contributors & Credits This issue of Tenkara Angler Magazine was made possible by the extremely generous contributions of the following members of the tenkara community.

Adam Klagsbrun

Adam is an avid lightweight backpacker and a champion of preserving tenkara as it is known and practiced in Japan. Adam authors the blog, "Of Rock & Riffle"

Dan Pierce

is owner and founder of Maine Tenkara Guide and the first registered Maine fishing guide to guide exclusively tenkara. Dan was introduced to the tenkara method of flyfishing over 10 years ago and has been doing it exclusively for over 6 years primarily in the rivers and lakes of North Western Maine.

Robb Chunco

Andy Vinnes

is a retired law enforcement officer from California. Now residing in Wisconsin. He’s been tenkara fishing for three years, but enjoys all types of fishing as time allows.

Brittany Aäe

is an endurance coach and creative based in unceded Mətxʷú (Methow) territory. When she's not running, climbing, or skiing, you can find her making flies dance at the fishing hole near her little cabin in the woods. Find out more about her work on Instagram @__magneticnorth__ or website magneticnorth.us/runfishrun

Kevin McIlravy

Robb Chunco is a husband, father, and pretty passionate about tying flies of all kinds. If you'd like to see his work, you can check it out at Creekside Kebari Co.

Kevin McIlravy is an amateur photographer and river bum probably asleep along a stream somewhere in the Catskills. Follow him on Instagram @lostriverdrifter

Chris Lynch

Anthony Naples

Father and husband, active duty US Air Force. The AF has sent me all over the world, from Okinawa and South Korea, to West TX and Alabama. I've fallen in love with fishing, and hope that my son will pick that up one day, LOL.

Based in Western Pennsylvania, Anthony has been a voice in the tenkara community since 2009. He is the proprietor of Three Rivers Tenkara, US seller of Oni & Tenkara Times rods.

John-Paul Povilaitis

Mike Hepner

Resides in South Central Pennsylvania where he enjoys spending time with family and friends, & sharing beers and stories around a campfire. If he's not at a local spring creek, he's probably in the woods snagging trees.

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(a.k.a.) "The Tenkara Kid" or "Gap Tiger." Husband to 1, Father of 4. Die hard Penn State wrestling fan with a love for tenkara fishing, kebari tying, native brookies, Belgian beers, Pittsburgh sports, and lessons on the water or vice from the OG.


Jon Hart

Jack Harford

is a lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman. Originally from the East coast of the US, Jon now resides in California near Sequoia National forest, pursuing tenkara through Southern Sierra Fly Fishers Club and a fledgling business in addition to various conservation efforts. Jon’s carp adventures recently resulted in first place for the wade division at both Carpfest and the Carp Throwdown, fly fishing tournaments in California dedicated to carp. Follow Jon’s adventures on Instagram at @jhartftw and @kernrivertenkara or contact him at kernrivertenkara@gmail.com.

is the editor of the Armchair Angler, a monthly newsletter of the Indianapolis Fly Casters. He began fly fishing as therapy and spiritual practice of engagement with nature. Jack has tied flies at the Sowbug Roundup and several other shows. He is enjoying the philosophy and lessons learned from tenkara.

Steven M. Platek PhD

Brad Trumbo

is a Professor of Psychology/Neuroscience, but makes every attempt to spend as much time in the wilderness as possible. He'll fish using any methods, but has recently realized the simplicity and effectiveness of fixed line angling and fishes that style almost exclusively now. His favorite fishing buddy is his seven year old son, Spencer.

Spencer J. Platek

is 7 years old and an avid angler of all types, however, when chasing wild trout he prefers the simplicity of tenkara/fixed line methods. He also loves to teach other kids how to fish. When he's not fishing (rare), he's playing football, baseball, racing motocross, or just playing in the wilderness.

Mark White

Mark is a Physician Assistant in the field of Neurosurgery and works at the Brain and Spine Center, Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Brad Trumbo lives in southeast Washington State and serves the public as a fish and wildlife biologist. In his spare time, Brad volunteers with Pheasants Forever, pens tales of outdoor pursuits, builds (and sometimes uses) custom fly rods, and reminisces of his Appalachian homeplace. www.bradtrumbo.com

Michael Richardson

Sales Engineer and aspiring writer who resides in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Mike is new to tenkara angling, but has been tying flies, and conventional fly fishing since age 16. He has a fly tying business Richardson Fly Company, and enjoys getting new fly fisherman involved in the sport.

Tim Bete

Tim Bete is the author of Guide to Pirate Parenting and In The Beginning... There Were No Diapers, both available on Amazon.com.

Summer 2018

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Summer 2018

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Photo: Kevin McIlravy


TenkaraCalendar.com is a simple community-driven resource to organize, keep track, and promote tenkara-based events, get-togethers, "takeovers," meet ups, and seminars. The current events through July 2018 are listed below, however please feel free to visit the website to submit and publicize your upcoming tenkara or conservation-themed initiatives, or simply to learn more.

Oregon: 2018 Tenkara Bug Out Friday July 6th - Sunday July 8th, 2018 Oakridge, OR California: Tanuki Golden Trout Hangout Friday July 13th - Monday July 16th, 2018 Horseshoe Meadow Campground, Lone Pine, CA Austria: Tenkara Treffen 2018 Friday August 31st - Sunday September 2nd, 2018 Erlaufweg 4, 3251 Purgstall an der Erlauf, Austria Utah: 2018 Oni Tenkara School Friday September 7th - Sunday September 9th, 2018 Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, UT Utah: 2018 Oni Tenkara School Friday September 14th - Sunday September 16th, 2018 Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, UT North Carolina: Tenkara Campout Friday October 5th - Monday October 8th, 2018 Davidson River Campground, Pigsah Forest, NC California: Tenkara Fishing Bootcamp Friday October 12th - Sunday October 14th, 2018 Cardinal Village Resort, Bishop, CA

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(C) 2018, TENKARA TED IS THE CREATION OF TIM BETE AND USES ARTWORK FROM COMIC STRIP FACTORY (WWW.COMICSTRIPFACTORY.COM) Summer 2018

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2018 Midwest Tenkara Fest

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Clockwise from top Left: - Matt Sment (Badger Tenkara) gives an on stream demo - Jeremy Shellhorn (Tenkara USA) walks through rod line Summer 2018 95 - Graham Moran (Tenkara Grasshopper) presents to crowd - Chris Stewart (TenkaraBum) always brings a bunch of goodies


#Tenkara

News & Notes From Around Social Media Daniel Galhardo is in Japan and publishing new Tenkara Cast podcasts & videos on his travels...

Need a kebari t-shirt? SparkleMountain LLC (Jason Sparks) is now selling designs on Amazon... Are these SoftScience Terrafin wading boots your next pair? Facebook chatter suggests a lot of new fans...

Three Rivers Tenkara is running a promo on their Confluence zoom rod, a value at $110... "iwana031114" opens his trout season with a wonderful video recapping the surroundings (& fish)...

Some gorgeous photos being shared on Instagram by @osamu.shinha... Definitely worth a follow... 96

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Photo: Brittany Aäe


SUMMER 2018

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2018  
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