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.