Friday, April 29, 2011

Tenkara, pink PFD's and jigs made of corn.

I bought my 3 year old a new rod the other day, as her current rod (of Dora Explorer make) took quite a beating last year and I'm pretty sure it no longer works. So I bought her an electric blue and hot pink (yes, the color combination that hurts your eyes the worst) Shakespeare. For $15 it's kind of a nice rod.

As soon as we bought it we had to try it. We only had about 10 minutes, so I tied on a jig with a pink head and chart body and we sat at the closest stream and tossed the jig. No takers but that's ok.

Today she wanted to go fishing again. As I got my Streamside Tenkara leader in the mail yesterday (a great recommendation from Troutrageous, by the way) I figured I get her into a fish or two and when she was bored then I'd try this new leader.

They're uni-thread furled leaders. I got the "Silver Nymph" color - brownish grey - and 13 feet long.

I picked up a can of corn on the way to the stream. I try to get her into a fish or two every time we go out, so that her 3 year old interest stays peaked until she gets a little older. If it requires corn, then so be it.

All geared up and ready to go.
We get to the stream and I pull out the old tackle box that has been in the trunk since before I started fly fishing. I open it up and see spoons, jigs, spinners. No hooks. Hmmm......

Well, her rod still has the matching pink jig on it. So I yank off the body and slip on a couple pieces of corn. With the pink head and the segmented corn body, it almost looks like some freakish larva of some kind. It might almost work.

She fishes for about 20 minutes but no takes. She gets bored and starts chasing butterflies and flowers, so I get out the Foutainhead Tenkara rod. I attach the leader to the tip. While at the car, I realized that I did not leave the tippet in the car from the last outting (which I swear that I did. Must be next to those hooks....) I strip off three feet of 6lb test from her rod and tie it on. I then added a size 10 black stonefly. Note, Fountainhead says, many times, that the stongest tippet to use should be 4lb so as not to break the rod. Meh.....

The stream was still pretty high and muddy, so I figured the thicker "tippet"  would work, should there be a fish stupid enough to fall for my floundering.

If you read my last post, casting this thing with the knotted mono leader that I had used was an exercise in futility. I later learned that mono is too light of a material to use in leaders for Tenkara, unless it's in a furled leader. Fluoro is an option as well. Tenkara Bum makes some fluoro leaders, level and knotted, that I plan to try out as well.

Well, this furled leader corrected every issue that I had previously. The casting was easy and delicate. And very accurate. It was as easy as picking up the line and laying it down and where you were pointing is where the line went.

I fished the same spot as my daughter for a few minutes but nothing. We then moved down to a bend that usually holds fish and isn't fished as hard as the first pool. I unravel the line from the rod and, after extending the rod, toss the line into the water downstream. I let it swing down and across and when I lifted the rod to make my next cast, something pulled back.

Fish on!

I had the rod tilted back and noticed that the rod was absorbing most of the shock of the fight. I watched the fish fight back and for (no aerodynamics though) but felt little to none of it. While I understand that this is extremely beneficial in protecting those very light tippets that are recommended (4lb test is around a 6x) but feeling the fish yank and jerk the rod around is half the fun. I'll withhold this judgement until I've had a few fish on however, just in cast the fish I caught was a sissy.

And sissy he might be, as I placed the butt of the rod on the ground and pulling in the line by hand, I hardly felt him on there. I was afraid he may have slipped the hook at the last second (not again!!!!) but soon enough he was in hand. A nice brown.  After a couple clicks of the camera, back in the water he went.

The picks don't do him much justice, as he had a very nice line of red spots across the lateral line, but didn't show up in the camera. I felt it more important to get him back in the water than sit there messing with the settings, so this one will have to suffice.

Y'know, I can see me liking this Tenkara thing. More to come!

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