Thursday, December 29, 2016

I got a new rod for Christmas

I got a new rod for Christmas, now what?

Tenkara is pretty simple - A stick, a string, a fly.

You got the stick, now you need some string.

The good news, most if not all tenkara rods (or maybe more generically:: fixed-length line rods) are pretty versatile in terms of compatibly with many line types/sizes. You are using a relatively long rod to manipulate a fairly short and manageable length of string.

There are at least a couple areas of consideration when it comes time to choosing which type/size of string to use:

- How a line casts
What type/size/shape of fly do you need to deliver (i.e. is the fly wind resistant ?)
What are the conditions ( it windy, Is the body of water large and open or closed in and bushy, am I going to be fishing close in or do I need to extend my cast as far as possible, how long of line do I need to reach the fish, etc)

- How a line fishes (once the fly has been delivered)
Using a surface or sub surface (damp or deep) fly, dead drift or active presentation, what types of active presentation (swing, dap, twitch, skate, lift, etc)

Ask 10 fixed-length line fishers what line they prefer, you'll get at least 15 different answers. Try several different types and see what works best for how and where you like to fish.

It is the right line if it works for you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Why Tenkara?

I was skimming over a fly fishing forum today, one of the topics was “Why Tenkara?”  The original poster wrote about what he thought some of the advantages were of fishing with a tenkara set up, other replies leaned more toward why someone might want to give fixed length rods a try.

I think fixed length line set ups do provide some anglers with significantly greater success and enjoyment, for others, maybe not so much.  It’s always dangerous to make blanket statements, but having talked to a pretty fair number of people, the folks who typically enjoy tenkara the most tend to fall on either side of the bell curve.  Those folks tend to often be beginner fly fishers, or folks such as myself that have been around the block, maybe a few too many times.

In my mind, the primary advantage of a fixed length line set up is that it reduces complexity.  It’s not necessary to spend time astream wondering if perhaps one should have overloaded/underloaded the rod by a step up/down in line weights, or if a 15 foot leader maybe be just the ticket instead of the 12 footer I’m fishing with now.  

For beginners, complexity often means confusion, and a fixed length rod eliminates most if not all the confusion regarding line weights, tippet sizes and the like.  The experienced angler on the other hand has been there, done that.  A fixed length line allows him/her to return to simpler times, along the lines of what was old is now again new.

The other big advantage, it forces a discipline to fish a short controlled line.  This often is helpful to all anglers.  Put a reel on a rod, and the natural inclination is to keep sneaking just a few more feet of line out.  The fishing always seems to look more promising on the other side of the river.  Other than some specialized situations, longer lines are more difficult to control once they land on the water.  This of course leads to less precision when it comes to presenting one’s fly.  A well presented fly always out performs a fly presented less than optimally.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tenkara line holders

These snell holders work great to store your tenkara lines -

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Golden Rule

"You’ve picked your fly, read the river, and figured out exactly where to drop that fly. You then make a cast to the spot you've chosen, but here’s the kicker: You might be only halfway there, because presentation is half of the entire game. How your fly looks to trout in the few seconds after it hits the water is as important, if not more important, than all the things you did to choose the pattern, figure out where to put it, and then get it there. At the end of the day, fly fishing is all about presentation. So remember this golden rule: You will never beat a large, wise trout into submission."

The author is absolutely right - Presentation is the name of the game.  However he goes on to say, after you've made a good cast with no results, change your fly.

From my perspective, it makes much more sense to change your presentation.  If dead drift doesn't work, skate it, swing it, twitch it, sink it, dap it.  It makes no sense to me to go to the trouble of changing your fly, then presenting it using exactly the same presentation that didn't work a minute ago.

It seems to me, you can make your fly look like it's alive, or act like it's alive.  Best of all worlds - both.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What flies do I need

It's hard for a new fisher to get started with what flies they should acquire and fish.  It may be helpful to remember a few simple rules -

1. For the most part, fish aren't all that smart.

2. Fish take flies for at least two reasons -
    a. It looks good to eat
    b. It acts good to eat

Alot of folks focus on 2a.  They tend to carry alot of different fly patterns,  If one fly doesn't work, try another.

Some folks focus on 2b.  They carry very few patterns.  The patterns they carry are very generic, the flies look like alot of things.  They believe it's not so much the pattern you are fishing, it's how you fish it. If one presentation doesn't work, they try another (dead drift, skate, twitch, swing, dapple, float it, sink it etc)

Both schools of though work (primarily because of rule #1)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fly Selection- as explained though a bag of Doritos

Very good article -


 You’re hungry and thinking some chinese food sounds pretty good.  While waiting on the chinese food to get delivered, someone shows up at your house with a bag of Doritos, opens them up and sets them on the table in front of you. Are you going to eat a few?

Yep!   Fish can't pass up the chance to snack on a few chips either.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Keep it simple

I was recently corresponding with a friend who told me that he thinks he is over thinking fishing with a fixed length line system. 

I told him the best advice I can give you --

Forget about power stroke, flex rating, grain weights, etc, etc, etc..... 
Think -  A stick, a string, a fly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Which line?

Your loving spouse just gave you a nice, brand new tenkara rod for the holidays.  The first question you are probably asking yourself – What kind of main line do I need to start fishing?

The good news/bad news is tenkara rods tend to be pretty versatile in being able to cast and fish a wide variety of line types and sizes. Ask 25 anglers what their favorite line is, and you'll end up with 30 different options.  It’s not surprising when you think about it; you are using a relatively long rod to cast a relatively short line. 

First fork in the road - furled or single strand line (there are also some hybrids).  From a simplistic perspective; if you tend to mostly fish dead drift, single strand is probably the way to go. If provides a much smaller cross section, hence less drag. Less drag, better dead drift.  The converse, if you prefer a more active presentation (skate, swing, skitter, twitch, etc) a furled line is probably a better option.  With a larger cross section, it is easier to use things like the current and the wind to manipulate your fly.

If you decide to go single strand, you are much better off fishing fluorocarbon, rather than monofilament. Fluoro tends to be both denser and stiffer for a given diameter, so it tends to cast better than mono.

I will say a good furled line pretty much casts itself; they are very pleasant to fish.

When it comes to talking about the string stuff, a key point is to make sure you consciously make the tippet the weakest link in the chain. It's a must when fishing a fixed length line set up in order to prevent damage to the rod.  Fishing a light tippet may cost you a big fish or two, unfortunately that’s one of the few downsides to fishing a fixed length line set up.

The best advice I can give you, pick an option and fish it for a bit.   You'll soon find out what you like (or don't like) and you'll be able to zero in on the right solution for the way you like to fish.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

KISS, I guess

Someone recently posted the following request in a fly fishing forum   --

I only spin fish right now but I want to try to get into the art of fly fishing but have no idea where to start.   What I'm looking for is suggestions on a rod and reel and advice on flies. As stated, I have never fly fished before. All the help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Here is an excerpt from one of the replies –

A 9' 5wt will be a bit more of an all around rod. You will be able to handle some larger fish and also be able to throw streamers. As a spin fisherman, streamers will come naturally. High sticking a fast seam with nymphs will be easier with the 9' rod, as will fishing an indicator if that is your thing. You will simply be able to fish a lot more water with the longer rod. Working on a drag free drift will likely be easier as well with the 9' rod.

Skills to google search and practice up on:
Dead Drift
Upstream Casting
Double haul casting
shooting line
roll casting
High sticking
Tight line nymphing
Czech nymphing
Indicator fishing
Dry-dropper rigs
pocket fishing
line management

Leader advice:

-7.5' 3x leader, and spools of 3-6x tippet. 5x tippet will probably work best for the fish you described.
-A tin of assorted split shot to get nymphs deeper
-floatant for dry flies

Have fun, I tried to keep it simple, but there is a ton of info to fully engage oneself.

I assume there will be a follow up reply to lay out what the new fellow should work on in week 2.

In some ways, I’m very glad I learned to fly fish before there was such a thing as the internet.  Granted, there are a lot of complexities if one is interested in pursuing them; but let’s face it, fly fishing is neither rocket science or brain surgery.  I’ve never been able to understand why folks want to make it sound so complicated and mysterious.

Folk who want to get started are most likely interested because they picture an individual standing knee high in a stream, casting a dry fly to a rising trout.  They decide to give it a go, asks a friend to take them out fishing, and with the best of intentions the friend hands them a rod outfitted with a strike indicator and split shot.

Granted I may be biased, but it seems to me that giving a beginning a fixed length line set up, and letting them go at would provide a much more positive first experience.