I have read many blogs, articles, and forums debating different lines used by tenkara anglers. Each type seems to have benefits and limitations, just like anything else in life that requires a decision. The available lines that I have seen include: level line, furled, hand-tied tapered, titanium, and horse hair. The only line I have experience with is fluorocarbon level line, so I obviously cannot weight-in on anything other than that. So the question still remains...what is the best line?
Since moving to Georgia, my life has been insanely busy as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer. Literally, I had two days off from August first until November 24th! However, I did take the opportunity to head up to the mountains in northern Georgia on one of those days to hunt for some trout. I drove nearly 6 hours on a Friday night, went deep into a forest in Fannin county, and slept in my car. Scary? Yeah, not going to lie, it was a tad frightening, but I felt safer in a locked vehicle than in a tent near an area that I knew had foot traffic.
I went to Tar Hollow State Park (my old work place) to visit some of my old friends. I took my tenkara rod because it fits just about anywhere. I put on a sakasa kebari I tied the other day to see if it would work well. It only took 3 casts to gain the attention of some hungry bluegill. I fished it as a wet fly and twitched it along. It was shallow enough for me to see the reverse hackle pulsating, which was pretty cool. I fished for about 20 minutes and caught 5 bluegill and a small largemouth that INHALED the fly. It wasn't messing around when he saw it scooting along. Not a bad afternoon!
This past weekend was perfect, well mostly. I went to Seneca Creek in West Virginia with my older brother to camp, but most importantly to fly-fish. We hiked in and set up camp on Friday evening. It didn't take us long to get our fishing gear out and pick a fly that would work.
After looking up information for hours upon hours, I finally decided that I could take on making my own landing net. It looked fairly simple, the idea at least, and I knew I could acquire the tools easily. Part of my inspiration came from browsing the Tenkara USA blog and forums. Daniel Galhardo tracked his progress while making a net of his own. He took branches from different trees and branches and bent them to shape. His adventure can be seen here: http://www.tenkarausa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=704. My next net will be more Tenkara style, but I have a while before that happens. Maybe a gift for my brother sometime? I would for sure get a better net bag, probably from Tenakra USA, for the betterment of the fish.
LOTS to update y'all on, but I'll do it one post at a time. This is the summer of projects. Earlier this year I crafted a packable alcohol stove out of a beer can. It works, but isn't very sturdy and I could easily crush it accidentally. I scoured the internet for different ideas utilizing an aluminum bottle instead. They have a heavier gauge metal and make much better stoves. I decided to attempt two different designs. One only involved two pieces while the other was much more complicated. I got the idea for the more complicated one on a thread I came across a while ago, but didn't have the tools necessary until I was home from college. It is said to be able to stay ignited when a cold pot is used with it which is a big bonus. Honestly, I was afraid that when I was finally finished, that all of my hard work and all the time it took would have been for nothing. I was expecting the thing to not even work. Here's what happened when it was lit and eventually primed (pictured above). I'm not sure how it will do with the wind, but I made a wind shield a while back so I'll be set! Any ideas for cool camping recipes? Note that I pack very light.
After visiting family in South Carolina, my dad and I traveled down to Boca Grande, FL in hopes to hook up with some mammoth tarpon. We met Captain Mark Bennett (http://www.tarponsnook.com) at the dock around 5:30 to head out for the rolling pods of tarpon. Immediately we were surrounded by 30 boats doing the same thing, except Capt. Mark was different.
So I went out to a small creek by my parent's cabin. The water is way down around here so most of it was ankle deep and sandy. I had never fished this section of creek before so I decided to throw on a chartreuse Clouser aka Ol' Faithful. I always catch fish on this fly and today was no different. My first fish ended up being just a little guy (pictured below), but I did catch a few decent sized spotted bass and rock bass as well. Not a single smallmouth landed. There was one spot that hooked up with about a 16 incher and little smallie, but fought the fish as if I were a rookie. Terrible. So I called it a trip and went to the cabin to eat lunch.
After I sat around for a little bit I decided to catch some minnows and see what I could get on those. There was one spot that I passed up because it looked bad at first glance. Boy was I wrong! I threw a big shiner out into the structure and only waited a few seconds. Sure enough, the 18" big momma came out and she was hungry! After that I called it a day and went to take a nap! Rough life right?
Not such a great day. First off, the tree pollen was outrageous! I was sneezing up a storm all day. Lost 6 flies. SIX FLIES! That just doesn't happen. I lost my white articulated streamer and my bunny fly to snags in the depths. I also ran into a group of gar that seemed to love my HHFs. I didn't realize that's what was happening until they all came to the surface. Just bit right through my line. After losing my two big flies, I abandoned my initial plan and put on my battle tested flies. Caught 2 little smallmouth and a spotted bass. None of which were of any significant size. By the time I reached another good stretch of water, a storm rolled in. Good news is that I didn't get skunked and I saw a beautiful bald eagle! North Fork always seems to throw something at me, but this time it was good!
I've been smallmouth fishing for years now. I started off with a pretty flimsy 5wt rod that could barely cast a Clouser, let alone an articulated beast. I was even bold enough to cast big steelhead rigs this year. It was a struggle for sure. I finally invested in a 6wt TFO rod this year and love it! I actually landed my first steelhead with it. Bass bugs, heavy flies, and big streamers are no longer a challenge. Now you may be asking, "So what?" Well the theory is that bigger flies attract bigger fish, duh, but is it true? Those of you who have caught rock bass and bluegill know that they try to fit anything and everything in their mouths. The same goes for bass. What do y'all think?
Here are a few of my big flies. The sex dungeon and swimming frog are very popular patterns. The white fuzzy guys are ones I've tied up. The top is a variant of the butt monkey and the bottom is a bunny fly with lead eyes that is modified to ride inverted. I chose white because the bass go nuts for white. I'm going to go fishing tomorrow and see what I can scare up from the depths!