April 06 2013
A writeup about In Search of Tenkara Part 3 is below. In case you missed parts 1 and 2:
In Search of Tenkara, Part 2:
In Search of Tenkara, Part 1:
About “In Search of Tenkara, Part 3″:
Let me get this out of the way first: I used non-tenkara flies, split shot and even a bobber! Let me explain (and I cover this in the video too).
Over the last couple of days my “one fly” (technique over gear) approach was really challenged. For over 2.5 years I have chosen to stick with one fly pattern and focus on refining techniques, as my teachers in Japan have taught me, to see how far I could go with using one fly pattern.
I once said to a class that “the one fly approach works…until it doesn’t”. In streams, spring creeks and rivers thorough the US, in different seasons, the approach has so far always worked. However, I have been waiting for a moment to be shown that it does not; and when the moment came I would not be above changing flies. I thought this finally would be the time where “one fly” would be proven to not work everywhere.
In order to make the most of our time shooting for the show, I adopted the rig and flies shown to us by our local guide. For the first time in over 2.5 years I have tied on a fly other than a sakasa kebari. And, for the first time in my fly-fishing experience I have actually fished with split-shot. YES! I admit it, and am not ashamed of it. Though I wish now that I had spent more time figuring out the river and what its fish wanted.
It was a hard thing for me to do, and it was hard coming to sense with it. The reasons why one fly should work, in my mind, were solid. And, I had this nagging feeling that perhaps my technique was just not up to par with those fish. The several fishing guides I met in this trip explained the Eagle River was a very difficult river, with not much diversity in bug life. They also told me in no uncertain terms that they thought my tenkara fly would not work there.
As we wrapped up the filming for the show, I stayed on the water. I really took my time to figure out what could trigger the fish. The conditions hadn’t changed, there were no rises or hatches, the weather was the same and the fish, the river and the bugs in the water didn’t change either. But, I really worked on my technique. After some 20-30 minutes I believe I ran into the trigger: a couple of dead-drifts over a good-looking spot, followed by a bit of holding the fly on the surface. In fact, the scene in the video above where I hold the fly on my hand and then cast and catch a fish, I had just let my fly dead-drift over the spot and then decided to drag it over the same place.
Being able to take my time without the pressure of a film crew behind me paid off handsomely with what I believe was one of the best fishing experiences of my life.
The combination of an “Eureka” moment, the beautiful scenery enhanced by the “golden hour” light, and spectacular fish takes followed by holding beautiful [and large] fish allowed me to find a part of tenkara in this trip.