Monday, March 31, 2014

Grandpa's Story - The History of the Adams Dry Fly

A fascinating account of the history of the Adams dry fly, perhaps the most widely used dry fly in North America

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting started

I think it must be tough to get started fly fishing today. What seems to be a logical first step, taking a look on the internet, overwhelms one with the amount of advice. It really gets bad if you happen upon a fly fishing forum. Ask what you need to get started and you'll be sure to receive something along the lines of - You'll need a $700 graphite rod, $400 disk drag fly reel, a 70lb vest full of flies to catch fish, go big or go home. (Just for the record, when I started I fished for multiple decades with equipment that most people would now consider pure junk, but you know what, I caught fish and had fun.)

One nice thing about getting started with Tenkara, philosophically the set up is pretty simple and straight forward.

So once you have rod in hand, the best way to start catching fish is to spend time on the water. If you can find a mentor, that's great, it will help shorten your learning curve. If you can't find a mentor, don't worry, you'll figure things out.

The flies you are using are great flies to use, don't spend time worry about that, it just a matter of putting them in the right place, at the right time, in the right manner.

Just a couple suggestions, during the majority of the year, on my waters, fish (and bugs) tend to be most active in the lower light periods of the day (i.e. early morning and late evening). I see alot of people just coming on the water after the fishing slows down in the morning, and leaving to go home just before fishing picks up in the evening. Granted, you can catch fish all day, so fish when you can. But if you have a choice, try to optimize your time on the water.

Here is one thing to try, when I fish, I try to concentrate on current seam lines. This is where a ribbon of faster water meets a ribbon of slower water. Like alot of people, fish like to eat as much as they can, while expending the least amount of energy. Rivers are like conveyor belts, the faster the belt moves, the more food it's going to carry along. However the faster the water is, the more energy fish have to expend to keep from getting carried away down stream. So fish like to find a place that the water isn't moving too fast, right next to a faster moving line of current which will be carrying a good amount of food.

Some seam lines are easier to see than others, as you continue fishing, you'll learn to recognize them. Some of the most obvious and easily spotted ones are called foam lines. You'll see a long line of foam/bubbles on top of the water. Where the water is concentrating foam, it's also concentrating food. So if you see a foam line, it's a good idea to fish right along/in it.

Hopes this helps to get you started.

Dr. Ishigaki Presentation to Discover Tenkara 2013

Dr. Ishigaki Presentation to Discover Tenkara 2013 from Discover Tenkara on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Furled vs Single Strand Lines

Fortunately, using a fixed length line system is pretty straight forward; a stick, a string, and a fly.
Probably the most commonly asked question when it comes to getting outfitted to start fishing with a fixed length line rod is – What kind of line should I use? 

One thing that is useful in helping to make that decision is to keep in mind how different line designs and materials perform their assigned task.

The purpose of all tenkara lines is to transfer the energy generated by the rod to the tippet and ultimately to the attached fly. Different line designs use different methods to accomplish this transfer.

Typically, a single strand line relies on the inherent stiffness of the material to transfer line energy. So in effect, it works like a bow and arrow.  The energy generated by the rod creates a spring effect in the line, energy bends the spring, and the spring releases the energy when it straightens out.  That in part is why flouro is generally a preferred material over mono for tenkara lines.  Flouro as a material tends to have more inherent stiffness than does mono.

A furled line on the other hand does not rely so much on stiffness; rather it relies on its own inherent mass. This is typically how the fly lines on reeled rods transfer energy.  That's why it so important to get the right line size for a given reeled rod. Sufficient mass is required to capture and transfer the energy supplied by the casting motion of the rod. A furled line may have more mass than a single strand line, but it does not have to be as stiff.

So to greatly simplify, a single strand line can be relatively thin (diameter), but needs to have some level of stiffness. A furled line doesn't require stiffness, but it needs more mass which usually equates to a larger line diameter.

So where the design and material properties comes into play is how the line reacts when it does (or does not) come in contact with the water. A single strand line is thin, so it exposes less cross-sectional area to currents, but when a segment of the line is moved by a cross current, the stiffness causes that movement to propagate thru much of the rest of line.

On the other hand, since a furled line can be fairly limp, a segment can be moved by a current and the line is limp enough to cause a bend in the line, rather than dragging the rest of the line along.

Similar considerations come into play when the angler is interested in minimizing contact between line and water by suspending the line over the water.  It is easier to suspend a stiffer, lighter line (single strand), than a heavier, limper furled line.

There are other considerations, such as when nymphing, a thin single strand more easily cuts thru the water, but again the stiffness may be a factor in influencing the movement of the fly.

Bottom line, there are tradeoffs based on the materials and designs that are used. The best line choice often comes down to where and how you plan to fish.