Monthly Archives: November 2013

New Rule – Always carry a Tenkara rod

Yesterday I went steelhead fishing during the middle of the day since my local river had dropped and the weather was beautiful for a late November day.  I had seen a nice steelhead the day before when out for a walk but had no gear.  So I grabbed my winter steelhead rod, a 14′ 9-weight spey rod, a pile of big gaudy flies and headed to the river again.  I carefully fished two runs with no grabs at all but it was such a nice day and temps had gotten up in the mid 50’s.

As I was finishing up on the second run I saw a few mayflies coming off the water.  Then a few more.  Then a splashing sound.  Hmmm, I look around and then it happens again – a trout rises and grabs an emerging mayfly.   A few more rises happened in the slow water at the edge of the run I was on but what was I to do, all I had was a  9-weight spey rod and 4″ flies.   I was carrying my tenkara rod when summer steelheading and used it a few days when I’d get trout swinging a small summer steelhead pattern but I assumed in winter no need.  Well, I was obviously wrong and from now on will be carrying a tenkara rod whenever I’m on the water.

Ready to Tie!

The kebari factory is open

The kebari factory is open

After getting my gear ready for winter I decided to clean up my fly tying desk.   This was a larger undertaking than I had anticipated.  I had the entire desk top covered with stuff to tie kebari, saltwater patterns, steelhead patterns and some miscellaneous bright stuff that my granddaughter likes to use.   I put everything away in its appropriate tupperware box, vacuumed and then set out everything I need for what will be more kebari than I will possibly use next season.   It actually isn’t much material wise since I only fish a few kebari.

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Ready for Winter

All cleaned and drying

All cleaned and drying

With the small rivers cold and high I finally decided it was time to put away the tenkara gear for winter and focus my time on the salt and winter steelhead.   I may try to take the Amago out for searun cutts this winter when they are keyed on euphausiids but winter fishing often means 70′ casts to reach the fish and tenkara doesn’t exactly excel at that.   I’ll carry in along in case I find fish in a 30′ casting range.  I may also brave a winter trip to the Yakima or Rocky Ford for trout but otherwise it is switch and spey rods until next spring. So, today I took out all my tenkara gear and gave it a good cleaning and am letting it dry before putting it away.   Need to clean your gear?  Check out the blog post on Winter Maintenance of my Tenkara Gear at TenkaraUSA.    I pretty much followed this procedure except for shellac on the cork grips, I just scrubbed mine down and since they were not too stained didn’t even bother with bleach this year. Now to start tying some searun flies to get me through the winter and kebari for next season…

My Tenkara Season on Canvas

I haven’t been fishing or posting much these last four weeks for a few reasons.  One, the trout season has pretty much shut down and I’ve been spending my fishing time on the beaches making 70-80′ casts with a switch rod and catching searun cutthroat.  I think for the most part I’ve hung up my tenkara gear for the winter.   Mostly though I’ve been busy painting.  I signed up for the Seattle 30-Day Art Challenge where you have to produce 30 8×10 paintings in 30 days for a show that is part of December’s First Thursday Pioneer Square Art Walk.

I decided to make the theme of my challenge my season of tenkara and all the waters that I fished this year.   I didn’t quite do all the pieces from my tenkara trips but the majority were, others are from hikes or saltwater fishing.    A few of my tenkara locations are missing too – the Cedar, the Tolt, the Raging, the North Fork, and Taneum & Robinson’s Creeks.    I’m currently finishing up the last few paintings which are not tenkara related.  You can see all the 30-Day Challenge pieces here.    Here is a brief summary of the tenkara fishing spots that I did paint.

South Fork

This season I wanted to fish as much of the South Fork as possible and tried to cover much of it in the show.

Source Lake

Source Lake

The start of the South Fork is Source Lake, which can be found by hiking 2.5 miles from the Alpental Ski area at Snoqualmie Pass.  When Catherine and I hiked there the lake was low so I didn’t actually trek down the scree slope to cast a line into it.   I did, however, fish it near Apental and caught cutthroat so fish can be found the entire length of the river.

 

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Does Tenkara Improve Fly Casting?

Summer Steelheading

Summer Steelheading

Yesterday the weather was perfect and there was a decent ebb tide flowing so I decided to hit the beach and fish for searun cutthroat.   Since picking up tenkara at the beginning of the season I stopped fishing western rods completely for trout thus have only used a real fly rod a few times all year.   On a trip to Biscayne and Islamorada of course I had to throw my saltwater rods and this was the only time I’ve used a single handed rod all year long.   I fished my big 14′ 9-weight spey rod on the Skagit early in the year.  Mostly though I fish an 11′ 6-weight switch rod when I’m casting with a reel – this is my beach rod as well as my summer steelhead rod and is what I grabbed yesterday even though I’d only thrown it once all summer long.

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