Monthly Archives: August 2014

Swing time

Swinging with the Sato

Swinging with the Sato

The days are growing shorter and the temperatures are starting to cool here in the Northwest.  About this time of year I’m usually spending my mornings fishing for steelhead but, alas, there are no more summer runs in the river that flows through town so that will have to wait until the Columbia tributaries open up and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be healthy enough for a few days of steelheading.

Until then, I’m spending my days fishing the swing for trout with my tenkara rod.  Earlier in the season I was swinging some and was having a rough time of it, I kept missing fish.  I realized the errors of my ways one day, I was fishing the swing like I would for steelhead.  Rod pointed straight at the line as it swung across.  Big difference, with my switch or spey rods I hold a loop of line in my right hand that I let slide when I feel a grab so the fish can turn and hook themselves, with tenkara there is no line to hold so the fish were pulling on an already tight setup thus reducing my hookups.

Something has to give so that the fish can turn so I started playing with rod angles.   By holding the tip up high and leading the fly ever so slightly on the swing the fish can grab the fly and pull on the rod tip to turn and get the hook set in their jaw perfectly.   Otherwise, I’m fishing pretty much like I would for steelhead.  I start at the top of a run, cast across stream, mend if needed and then slightly lead the fly across the current.   I only take 1 step down on most of the smaller trout runs and repeat.   I alternate between a dead swing and pulsing to try and figure out what the fish seem to want on any given day and in a great looking spot, like around a big rock, I’ll often do two or three swings and try a combination of straight swing and pulsing the fly a bit.  Sometimes a fish will ignore the one and grab the other.   If I get a follow I’ll back up a few inches and try again, often the fish will grab the next time through.

I’m hoping all my tenkara swinging will make me a better steelheader when I can get back out on the water with my switch rod.

Let’s make tenkara legal

Last winter I discovered that tenkara wasn’t legal on Fly Fishing Only waters in Washington and put forth a proposal to get that rule changed.   The proposal got brought up at the Board of Director’s meeting and was basically put off until the standard rule change procedure that happens every summer.   So, now is the time for that procedure.

From now until Oct 16 the proposal is up for public comment.  Here is the text of the proposal:

Rule Change Recommendation Short Title
# 4. Tenkara fly fishing gear

Rules Category
Not region specific

Type of Rule Change Proposal

Short Description
Modify the definition of “Fly Fishing only” waters to include Tenkara fly fishing gear.

Tenkara fly fishing uses a long limber rod with a braided Tenkara fly line permanently attached to the tip of the rod. Tenkara fly lines vary in length from 12 to 25 feet with an additional leader attached. This technique is gaining in popularity and is not legal to use under the current “fly fishing only” rules. It is disqualified from use because of the term “conventional fly line”. Using the term Tenkara in the rule will clearly define the type of fly line is required to comply with the rule change.

So, what can you do to help make this proposal pass?  Go to the Sportfishing Rule Adoption Process page and make your comment on why tenkara should be allowed on Fly Fishing Only Waters in Washington State.   If enough of us get on board with the proposal we should be allowed to legally fish our Amagos and Yamames on Rocky Ford in 2015.



Sato Review

photoI finally got the big brother to the Rhodo that I love so much, the Tenkara USA Sato.   When the rod got delivered I took it out within an hour and caught a trout in the backyard.  Granted, it was a bit big for my little river but I had to give it a shot.  I went out a few days later on the South Fork with it and unfortunately the rod broke on the second or third fish when I set the hook, just snapped in half.   Luckily Tenkara USA has THE BEST customer support in the industry, it was a Sunday and a quick email had a new section in the mail the next day.

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