Monday, May 21, 2012

It's A Shame It Can't Be Bottled.....

I have waited a couple of weeks to make this trip.  As I step away from the jeep and into the woods I feel the stress and tension of obligations and deadlines fade away.  The plan....spend a few hours fishing then go home to spend the rest of the day with my wife and kids.  As I walk downstream my senses seem to wake up, as if I have been asleep for a very long time. My nose seems to be the first sense to be activated as the smell of damp earth instantly greets me.  I stop to take a deep breath and look around.  Is it my imagination or does the green coloration of the spring leaves and new ferns seem to be glowing? It does not matter I take it in just the same.  The sunlight is filtering down through the leaves and spot lights a dew outlined spider and her web.  I stop for a minute to admire her handy work and then move on.  A moment later I stop in my tracks.  I hear the unmistakable music of a wood thrush, arguably the most beautiful sound one can hear in the woods.  I can't help but be impressed.  And so the hike continues until I reach the spot where I'm ready to enter the stream and begin to pursue my main objective...the search for some trout.

It does not take long before before I take notice of a variety of mayflies and other aquatic insects flitting about the water in the sun lit patches.  It also does not take long to bring my first brown trout to hand and a smile to my face.  I quickly snap a picture and send him on his way.  I move through riffles and pools and from pocket to pocket in search of my quarry. After a while I find several  more of his brethren here and there.  Each time is unique and never looses it's appeal.  Each is safely released so that they may continue in the cycle of life and death in the stream.

Before I know it, I see the last bend in the stream that signals the trip is almost at at an end.  My legs are "rubbery" from all of the balancing on slippery rocks and I'm tired but refreshed at the same time.  I exit the stream and think to was a good morning.  Other than my memories and a few photos, I have nothing to bring home with me.  How wonderful would it be be able to experience the feelings and sensations at any time I choose and not have to wait until the next time I can be stream-side?  It's a shame it can't be bottled.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Bit of Recycling Can Go A Long Way

My new stream side tenkara pouch
In an effort to continually minimize the amount of tenkara gear I carry stream side and make use of some unused stuff.  I decided to work on this little project after seeing a post on Dispatches From The Middle River. Making lanyards from recycled old fly lines is a great idea an an inexpensive alternative to more expensive lanyards.  I figured with the FlyVine lanyard and some other items I had lying around I could make an inexpensive sports bag to carry a minimum of my tenkara gear.  To complete this sports pouch I also used an 3 1/2 " neoprene fly reel cover (I don't remember why I have one of these because I don't have a fly reel but I remember I picked it up for about $6), a couple of split rings used for keys (one of which has a break away feature), a sturdy pair of tweezers (instead of hemostats) with a small piece of fly line to tie it to one of the split rings, and a key-chain pill case like the one I described in an earlier post.  There's really not much to the construction..just punch two small holes in the side for the split rings and attach the lanyard and the pouch together.

The Velcro latch makes it easy to get access to the pouches contents but at the same time keep most of the items from jangling around the front of me.  Add a nipper to one of the rings and an extra moose antler line holder and I'm ready to go.  In the picture above the pill case/ fly holder is tucked inside the pouch but it could just as easily hang from the outside to accommodate a larger blue plastic tenkara line holder (currently I have one of the TenkaraBum smaller blue line holders in this pouch.

An inside view of the pouch
I have a BW Sports pouch (see below) that I have been using since the end of last year and I like it a lot and will continue to use it but there are a number of times that I find that for a few hours of fishing I really never use more than a single line, some tippet, and 2 or 3 fly patterns (a sakasa kebari and a killer bug cover most situations for me).  With this kit I can easily carry almost two dozen flies, in the pill case, and an extra line as a back up or different length for fishing.  This kit is essentially the same as my tenkara survival kit except that I can hang it from my neck and that I don't have to fumble around with a zipper while standing in the middle of a stream.  The best part is that the total cost was about $17...the cheapest price I could find for anything comparable. However, I really think I need to be careful...if I keep going like this I going to minimize myself right out of fishing gear altogether and will wind having to take up "noodling for catfish!"

This is now my "Cadillac" of tenkara fishing bags 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Another Spring Day & A Note of Thanks

Despite the overcast and drizzly morning, today was as good a day as any to get outside for an hour or two and get some fresh air and unwind from a busy and tiring week.  So I headed down to the pond for a chance at some bluegill and maybe an odd bass or two.  Sometimes the park surrounding the pond is so nice that I have think hard about whether to put down the rod and just take a load off and take it all in.  When spring arrives this is a great place to watch everything "burst" into bloom.

Dozens of flowers, native or otherwise, are erupting into various colors here and there.  The pond itself seems to explode with life.  Carp are making a ruckus with loud splashes all over the pond, turtles are crowding the floating logs, Great Blue Herons are patiently searching and waiting for a meal and the newly arrived Baltimore Orioles are are staking out territories and making their presence known.

Also making their presence known were the bluegills.  Today was one of those mornings when the fly barely has a chance to hit the water before one of them pounces on it. In less than an hour I had lost count after about two dozen.  At this point I decided to put something larger than a #12 C.S. Special on my line and went with a #10 olive woolly bugger to avoid so many of the little bluegills.  for a while I had a few largemouth bass (15-20" size) pursuing my bugger but the little bluegills were swarming in such numbers that the bigger bass would move away.  The bluegills acted as if they had never eaten before.

The one thing this place does for me besides helping me to "recharge" my battery is giving me some time to think a little.  Last night I received a very nice e-mail from someone who purchased some of my tenkara sakasa kebari style flies.  He included some pictures of some beautiful rainbow trout that he caught in the Smoky Mountains with flies I had tied.  This got me to thinking about all the places my flies have been fished in now by a number of other anglers.  I do not want the following to sound as if  I am "tooting my own horn" but I think what it means is pretty cool.  My flies have been used to catch fish in states as far as Utah, California and Colorado to New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.  I will most likely never to get to fish in many of those places during my life.  But my flies have.  A little part of me has been there on all of those streams and river helping others to enjoy their own outdoor experiences and I think that is one of the coolest things.  I thoroughly enjoy tying  flies and do it many nights during the week but I will be completely honest, I make a few dollars on the sale of my flies.  Mind you, I will not become independently wealthy doing this but the money helps to offset the cost of fly tying materials and have a little extra left over for more fishing equipment and some play money for family vacations.  However, receiving compliments such as those from last night, make me happier than the money I actually receive from the sales of those flies.  I would just like to say "THANK YOU!"  to all of those anglers out there who may have purchased (from me personally or through Chris Stewart's site) or swapped flies with me in the past.  I very much appreciate your kind words regarding something that already gives me great pleasure to do.