I was finally able to sneak out for a few days of mountain stream fishing. It was a good time. I was able to fish 4 new-to-me streams. That kind of exploration is sometimes a bit stressful. Time out on the stream can be precious and it’s sometimes difficult for me to take the chance on new places – and easy to fall back on old favorites. But exploration is almost always a rewarding experience. New water shakes you out of ruts and injects some freshness into your fishing. It expands your fishing world one pool, one bend, one riffle after another. I’ve gotten stuck in fishing ruts before – it makes me feel claustrophobic and trapped. And though I know exploration is good for me it’s not always easy to devote the time.
I was thinking about what this post would be about … what lessons it would have about tenkara… I really couldn’t come up with any genius ideas. So it’s just a simple post about a trip.
I used some old flies (Pass Lake Wet fly, some beadhead pheasant tails and others) and some new (a fly from the Migita tenkara book, and Oliver Kites’ bare hook nymph). And caught fish on everything. The Pass Lake is such a favorite – and I have such faith in it that I used it until I ran out of all that I had tied. I’m aggressive with my casting, and try to thread the needle often,and so I generally lose a lot of flies to the trees. I generally like to tie my Pass Lake wet flies on a heavy hook like the Fulling Mill Heavyweight Champ, peacock instead of chenille body (not for any great reason except the I like to use peacock), and lately I’ve been using white antron for the wing instead of calf tail. I am always very careful not to claim “improvements” to an established fly pattern – so any changes that I make I like to just chalk up to personal preference rather than “improvement”. As to the antron wing – I like the sparkle, and ease of tying compared to calf tail.
The Oliver Kite Bare Hook Nymph caught a few, though I don’t know that it was as effective as the Pass Lake – but I didn’t give it all that much stream time – the ones that I tied were a bit heavy and would sink rather more quickly than I preferred for the small streams and led to too many bottom snags. Next time out I’ll try some smaller ones – and I think I’ll add a tuft of white antron for good measure.
As I figured, the yellow and black Migita style kebari worked well and was responsible for it’s fair share of trout.
I had recently gotten a Nissin 2Way Yuyuzan ZX 290 to try out and this was my first trip out with it. It’s a keiryu rod rather than a true tenkara rod and fishes at 2.4 and 2.9 meters. The wiggle test at home made me a bit dubious and the rod seemed a bit stiff for good level line tenkara – however yard casting perked me up as the ZX 290 cast a #3 and #3.5 level line like a champ. The true test of any rod is on the stream though – in real casting situations. And in hook setting. If the tip is too soft with respect the mid section – this can cause poor hook sets. And keiryu rods can sometimes suffer from this. However my worries were unwarranted and the ZX 290 cast wonderfully at both lengths and handled the various flies that I used quite well. And importantly it excelled at hook sets – the stiffness of the tip and mid-section worked well together and fish lost to poor hook setting were not apparent to me (well … not any more than I’d expect based on on my own skills). I rather liked the rod and may need to get some in stock.
And of course, the 3RT Confluence 2Way zoom got stream time too. The pics of the streams below were great for the 3RT Confluence and its zoom feature. It hooked small fish nicely and made landing them fun – but also brought the bigger guys in with no trouble. In short it was a blast to fish with it on these creeks. Mountain streams and the 3RT Confluence go together well.
Even a new-to-me mayfly put in an appearance on one of the streams. Based on tell-tale signs such as the number of tails (2), and also based on asking around I believe that the pretty little yellow creatures were in the Epeorus genus, but I cannot say what species.
It was a wonderful trip. Beautiful streams and beautiful fish, beautiful bugs in a beautiful setting and fun rods to fish with – who could ask for anything more?