Friday, June 29, 2012


Sakasa Kebari with a "twist" of green antron fiber
Recently, my wife and I had a chance to get away for the weekend and take the girls on a "kid-oriented" mini vacation.  For the last few summers we have visited Hershey and Amish country in PA.  My kids are 6 and 3  and really enjoy going to Dutch Wonderland.  It's perfectly geared to kids their age.  These trips have usually  been focused on them with little room for Mommy or Daddy's interests....and that is perfectly fine.  But this time I had to make a little detour on the way home.  For a little while now I have been dying to visit the Cabela's in Hamburg PA and I decided this year I wouldn't miss it.

The centerpiece of the Hamburg Cabela's (about three stories tall)

Looking down from the second floor of this huge diorama

I'm glad I went.  Even my wife was impressed with it's size and what could be found in it.  I primarily wanted to visit the fly shop to pick through some fly tying materials but at around 7 ACRES of floor space the rest of the store beckoned me.  The first thing you notice entering the doors is a "mountain" in the back center of the store that is about three stories tall and filled with various big game animals.  The taxidermists that put this display together did an incredible job and it's worthy of any great natural history museum.  An outdoors man or woman could spend a full day in this place very easily and not see everything.  Unfortunately, we only had an hour and a half to spare before getting back on the road to get through NYC before the rush hour traffic started and I didn't get to see everything.  Bottom line....if anyone one is traveling along I-78 in PA you owe it to yourself to stop in and take a look at the place.

A purple Royal Sakasa Kebari
But I digress....I went to get some fly tying materials....and I did. I managed to pick up some materials for some experiments that I plan on tying and hope to display soon.  For the time being I have two to show off.  The fly above is a Purple Royal Sakasa Kebari.  It's tied just like my favorite sakasa kebari but I used purple Pearsall's gossamer silk thread and purple dyed peacock herl.  I don't know how much I'll use it but I think it looks cool.  The fly pictured at the beginning of the post is a sakasa kebari tied with a twisted body of green antron (ala Jason Klass' twisted kebari).  I really like the way this one looks and can't wait to tie more with the other colors I picked up and then fish them.  It was enjoyable and productive visit.  However, for a while my 6 year old had a hard time trying to understand why Daddy was so happy to be in a "store" until an elderly woman passing by explained that THIS store was like Dutch Wonderland to Daddy.  At that point...She clearly understood.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My One-Two Punch

Carman's River near blind #8
I have slowly been coming to the conclusion that I'm becoming a "two-fly" angler.... my "one-two punch" if you will.  My fly box has been described as spartan and by most fly fisherman's standards it is.  As this season has progressed I have found only a 3-5 patterns have produced all of my fish no matter what or where I have fished.  But what I have discovered is that on virtually every trip one of the following two patterns have brought fish to hand....

Royal Sakasa Kebari & Killer Bug
The Royal Sakasa Kebari is one of the first sakasa kebari I created a couple of years ago and is still one of my favorites.  I have been able to catch fish any where with it from brookies to bluegills.  The color scheme was based on a Royal Coachman, which was created in 1878.  Mix this color scheme with the benefits of a reverse tied soft hackle and I have one heck of a fly. The second fly, the Killer Bug designed by Frank Sawyer has become my other "go-to" fly.  It was Chris Stewart's TenkaraBum website that first "enlightened" me to the potential of this fly.  I have tied it in the same fashion as Chris but lately have started tying it in the same way as the Tenkara Guides and Jason Klass.  Either way produces the same results.  In addition, both flies are simple to tie and have a generalized look to them making them effective in many different locations.

Typical stretch of the upper Carman's
For instance, last weekend I managed to get 3 hours to fish the Carman's River (one of Long Island's trout producing spring creeks).  I decided to only bring these two flies and once again I was able to land a few brown trout on the Killer Bug.

I usually stick closer to home, so this was my first trip to the fresh water portion of the Carman's.  The hatches are plentiful and the trout have a variety of items to choose from.  Usually "matching the hatch" is the way to go on a spring creek but I'm happy to know that having these two flies will give me a chance at a few trout.

One of the rivers residents, no those eyes are not evil.
Though I find fishing this kind of stream a little tough, it's a beautiful and peaceful place to visit and fish.  I plan to return as soon as I can....and of course I plan to bring my "one-two" punch.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Little Rod That Could

Bluegill caught with 7'8" Soyokaze
I generally will not write reviews for books or equipment such as rods, lines, and things of that nature.  I leave that sort of thing to people who are more qualified.  However, in this post, I wanted to tout the capabilities of one of my newest rods.  A number of weeks back I purchased a 7'8" Soyokaze rod from Chris Stewart at Tenkara Bum (/Tanago Bum) with several purposes in mind.  I have been following talk on several forums regarding a niche type of fishing known as microfishing.  Many anglers are only interested in bigger is better.  I fall into that category sometimes but I also like a challenge.  Sometimes catching a 5 inch brookie in a tiny mountain stream can be more challenging than trying to catch many other types of fish (don't knock it till you have tried it).  I love anything about Nature and trying to catch a number of other tiny fish that are generally ignored I find to be an interesting challenge.  Even the smallest life in the stream or pond leads to a better understanding of the entire picture.  This was my main reason for purchasing this rod.  But there are others as well.  The Soyokaze will be a great rod to introduce my kids to fly fishing without worrying about too much line with a hook flying back and forth to catch another kids eye.  I also figured it would make a great small stream brookie rod.  Microfishing for saltwater fish in my local tidal creek also came to mind.  The bottom line is that this another rod in my arsenal for specific purposes.

Pumpkin seed sunfish caught on my new rod
I have given the rod several "test drives" at the local millpond.  Regrettably, I didn't have my camera or lost the pictures on my first few trips.  I was sight fishing with a #16 Royal Sakasa Kebari to a number of small sunfish on my first trip and the rod preformed exactly as advertised.  I caught a number of pumpkin seed sunfish in the 3-4" range and they are put a nice little bend in the rod.  However, during my third trip I was surprised by a pair of 9" bluegills.  With the first one I thought that the Soyokaze was done for sure but it did  an outstanding job.  Tenkara fishing has given me the ability to enjoy catching panfish again. But using the Soyokaze tenkara style has brought a whole new level of excitement and challenge to catching these fish.  The fight lasted a little longer than normal and I had to work at it.  The bottom line is that these rods can handle fish far larger than they were intended for.  I find it nice to know that if I'm carrying only this rod and I decide I need more of a challenge or want to switch to catch larger fish, I will have tool that can handle it.  For this guy though....I'll probably have to use something a little tougher....

These guys are always trying to swipe my catches.