Friday, September 27, 2013

Light Spanish Needle

Light Spanish Needle
The Light Spanish Needle is another great soft hackle fly from T. E. Pritt's classic work...North Country Flies. I just thought it might be another cool fly to post. Even if that's not a good reason it's been around a very long time and is still being used.  Longevity is one of the best traits in any fly pattern.  This fly is tied with scarlet colored Pearsall's gossamer silk thread, starling hackle and a head of peacock herl.      

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Last Day of Summer.....And School Is In

First schoolie of the day
School actually started a few weeks ago for my kids but I'm talking about schoolie stripers.  This morning I decided to put down my tenkara rod throw some sand worms on a hook and try my hand at some catching some striped bass.  Though I would love to catch one on a tenkara rod I think the average striped bass would be a little too much for most of my rods. There were a number which were willing to oblige me but unfortunately there were no keepers today (need to be at least 28" in NYS marine waters).  There were even a few large sea robins thrown in for good measure.  Overall it was a successful morning. Today definitely seems like the last day of summer and I can feel the change of season more strongly than before.  Autumn is my favorite time of year but I wish I could have been outside just a little more this summer.  There were a number of places I wanted to hike, kayak, and fish but I guess it will have to wait till next year. Hope everyone out there in cyber space had a good summer with no regrets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Micro Fishing

Silverside in small photobox
Last Saturday morning I took a walk down to the creek to do a little snapper fishing and just kick back and take it all in.  The day was bright and beautiful but the brisk wind was letting me know that fly fishing for snappers might be out of the question.  Sure enough after several ridiculous casts I officially came to that conclusion.  Not wanting to  waste a trip down to the water I decided to reach into my bag and try something a little unorthodox.  A year or two ago I purchased a Diawa Soyokaze (~7 ft) from Chris Stewart with the intention of using it for wild brook trout on "thin blue lines".  I had been following through various forums and websites, including Chris', about a type of fishing known as Tanago fishing and micro fishing. So I figured the Soyokaze would be useful for that as well if I decided to try me hand at it. Micro fishing is not about the size of the fish but the challenge.  In addition, many micro anglers, pursue "life lists" of these small and often unnoticed fish.  I can already hear the "WTF?" from some who may read this but I tell you catching these little fish on such a small hook is not as easy as it looks.  Would I rather catch a 30lb striped bass or a beautiful little wild brook trout? Sure I would but this was just a nice diversion on a day when I could not cast a fly to something larger.  After a number of attempts at just getting my bait onto such a small hook I managed to get my line into a small section of water that was not being abused by the wind.  I can tell you those little buggers were fast.  The Soyokaze is very sensitive and I could feel every bump but the reaction time required to hook these small fish had to be lighting quick.  I can understand challenge and appeal to this kind of fishing.  For my effort I managed a few silversides.  Silversides are small fish (3-4") that are common in tidal estuaries and are a major source of food for larger predators like bluefish and herons.  Will most anglers drop their gear in favor of feeling a tiny tug and a fight that is over really before it starts?  I doubt it but like many other things in nature their is enjoyment and knowledge to be gained by taking the time to observe ALL of what is around you whether it be big or small.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tenkara Rod Co....The New Kid On the Block

Nice brookie taken with a  Tenkara Rod Co. rod
 When it comes to fishing I have never thought of myself as a "gear junkie" but I came to the realization the other day that I am certainly on the path to becoming one.  I began fishing with a small yellow spin rod at the age of 6 or 7.  I had that rod for many years and until I came across tenkara I had only acquired two more spin rods.  One was for fresh water and the other for salt water.  Since I discovered tenkara I would say 95% of my fishing has been with tenkara rods or using tenkara the method.  My first tenkara rod was a Tenkara USA 12' Yamame. Since then I have picked up a number of rods from TUSA and Chris Stewart the "TenkaraBum."  Each and everyone fills a specific niche in the various bodies of water I fish.  These would include small mountain streams, ponds and tidal salt water marshes.  I never planned on becoming a tenkara gear junkie but it just happened.  I guess being a gear junkie means I probably do spend a fair amount of time keeping my eye on what's new in the tenkara world

The Sawtooth
The Teton
When it comes to books and fishing gear I generally am the guy who judges a book by it's cover (albeit...very carefully).  Though many new companies have sprung up selling tenkara rods and gear, I have stuck with Tenkara USA and TenkaraBum for various reasons.  I am not going to knock any of these new companies because it would be unfair to judge them without having tested and tried them out on the water.  But to be honest, none have really jumped out at me.  That is until recently.  I came across several blog posts regarding a new company called Tenkara Rod Co.
Though I haven't yet had the chance to test one of these rods out I do like the "book cover" I see.  You can learn more about this new company by going to the link above.  It looks like they will initially be offering the two rods pictured above. Both the Teton and Sawtooth are 12' rods and have beautiful designs.  The Sawtooth has an action index of 5:5, for those who prefer a softer rod, while the Teton has one of 6:4 for a little more stiffness.  Hopefully after I get a chance to test one or both of their rods I will be able to add The Tenkara Rod Co. to the list of trusted tenkara rod dealers whose rods I carry with me on the water every time I go fishing. In the meantime, it will be fun to follow the progress of this new company and see how they grow.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Purple Henthorn Spider

Purple Henthorn Spider
 I may spend most of my fly tying time creating various sakasa kebari for tenkara fishing but I do tie other types of flies from time to time.  I have had a certain affinity for specific types of flies such as classic wet flies and streamers tied in the same manner as Carrie Stevens. Many are miniature works of art and have very interesting histories.  Another type of fly that I have a special interest in are the North Country flies or spiders.  Most originate from Scotland and England in the 1800's.  They are simple to tie, beautiful, timeless and most importantly effective.  I have tied a number of them in the past and have been tying a number of them lately so I figured I would share a few.  Many of the patterns I plan to share in coming posts can be found in Mike Harding's excellent book "A  Guide to North Country Flies."

Purple Henthorn Spider

Hook: Mustad R70-7957 nymph hook, size 14
Hackle: mallard underwing coverts
Thread: Pearsall's gossamer silk thread, color purple
Collar: peacock sword

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Quiet Saturday Morning

West Meadow Creek
 After an excruciatingly long week at work, a little piece and quiet was just what the doctor ordered. So this past Saturday morning I took an early morning walk down to West Meadow Creek with a  tenkara rod (actually a Daiwa Kiyose 45SF, which is technically a keiryu rod) and some flies to catch some snappers.

Though I caught a fair number of snappers and the fishing trip could be considered a success the fish seemed to be nothing more than a side note to a morning that was more important to my own mental health than hitting my limit of snappers for the day.  I probably spent as much time just watching the fiddler crabs and the herons going about their business and making a living as I did casting a fly.

Close up of a juvenile bluefish...AKA snapper 
Sometimes it's more important to sit back and "smell the roses" than to accomplish a goal.  Even though I grew up in the Hudson Valley and am more familiar with the changing of seasons concerning streams, rivers and small hills and mountains I have spent enough time around this tidal salt water marsh on Long Island to become familiar with the signs that signal a turn from summer into fall around here.  The sounds, smells and sights were all there for someone who was willing to sit by, observe and let the daily grind and it's worries slip away.
Fiddler crab burrow and sediment balls left over from feeding

I wish there was a way to experience this calm and peace every day , not just on one Saturday morning.  I think it's not just important but vital that all of us try to experience this feeling and take in what's going on around us to maintain our sanity. Fishing is a great way to get away but the most important thing is to getaway.

West Meadow Creek looking up stream