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Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:08 pm

Hello all, I fish a small stream in North Wales called the River Alyn, and am lucky enough that it flows near my workplace and so i can get a few pre-work or lunchtime trips a week on it when i am in the office. It has an average weight of 1/2lb brown trout and 3/4lb grayling, with specimen brown trout in the 2lb-3.5lb range and grayling in 1.5lb+ range. Its an ideal stream for the Tenkara technique, as indeed most UK upland and lowland streams are. We also get a small run of sea-trout and Atlantic salmon but these are rarely caught.

I keep an electronic diary of fishing trips, but as i am still learning Tenkara i thought to share my experiences with Tenkara here, with each fishing visit as a new post in this thread.

Conor

Much of the river is tight fishing in deep pools and fast flowing runs, in either fully or partially wooded, a typical run is in the photo below.

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7 July visit to River Alyn

Postby ConorUK » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:15 pm

A few days ago my package from TenkaraUSA arrived. A 13 foot rod with a taper down to an unbelievably sensitive tip, a 12-13 foot furled leader and some beautifully presented Tenkara style fly patterns in 2 glass vials. And so it was with some excitement that i ventured out around 4.30pm to give Tenkara its first proper test on our river, having dabbled with makeshift gear some weeks earlier. However, on arrival the river was rising and coloured so fishing conditions were poor. The process of extending the rod and attaching the line was really simple and soon i was in the river in a favourite pool and casting one of the Sakasa reverse hackle wet patterns upstream into the rising deep flow. The casting took a while to get into, but soon i was getting the handle of it. No takes however, so i switched to shrimp. No takes on that either so moved to another pool to try dry fly. The presentation of a dry fly was amazingly light and delicate, with the fly bobbling along nicely and with minimum drag in the flow. No takes due to water conditions, but the fishing practice was very encouraging for my next visit. Unfortunately for me, a trip to London means that next visit will be delayed by a few days!
Conor
Last edited by ConorUK on Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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10 July visit to River Alyn

Postby ConorUK » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:18 pm

Arrived at the river at 14.00. River still coloured but water level almost back to normal. Set up for Tenkara and decided to fish downstream from the bridge. Started off on dry fly under the bridge but there was no interest. Switched to iron blue dun downstream casting across and allowing the rod to provide movement to the fly working its way sub-surface across a large expanse of slow water. Had two swirls but missed the takes if they were as such. Switched to shrimp and saw a fish turn to take but felt nothing. I figured that I must be jerking the rod too much and making it hard for the fish to zoom in on final take! Slowed down and sure enough a fish struck and a fish was on...and then off. Damn. The feel of the take was instant down the rod length, a weird feeling compared with feeling it on the line. Further downstream started fishing a really deep gully with a weighted green body nymph. As the fly rose a fish rose with it and gracefully exited the water with my fly in its mouth and landed without my fly. Was I ever going to connect! However, a few moments later, after a dipper flew towards me and over my head, it all happened right, a 'bing' on the rod, raised rod and a fish was on. Only a little un of 15 cm and landing to release was straightforward. Had a mini celebration jig of my first trout on Tenkara. Just as well no-one was watching! Continued downstream under an old bridge. With the closed canopy I experimented with a bow arrow style 'cast', this being really good with the long and sensitive rod, getting me to pools I would otherwise never be able to cover. I was rewarded with another take and a small brownie of 20cm. This one felt like a half pounder would on my other rod, cant wait to connect with a good fish on this Tenkara set up, its going to feel like a titanic battle! Had no time for any more fishing, left river at 16.30, with a kingfisher darting past me as I went back upstream. It was an extremely interesting and invigorating visit, having fished the stretch with a totally new focus on my surroundings.
Conor
Last edited by ConorUK on Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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13 July visit to River Alyn

Postby ConorUK » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:20 pm

A busy day at work meant a 30 minutes slot for lunchtime fishing and so I chose the island area below Rossett weir. Set up for Tenkara, fishing a Sakasa peakcock body revese hackle fly. First cast into the tail of the left channel and a grayling intercepted and was on. A small one of 23cm but very welcome. Great! Next cast another grayling of same size from the same shoal and then it went quiet. This gave me time to watch the action of the fly pattern underwater with some interest. It 'buzzes' through the water in a really different way to my other wet patterns, hard to explain you have to see it! Switched to another few flies but there was no more interest, which was a pity as i was hoping for one of the big grayling that sometimes take here. A few really tight casts upstream into the channel produced another grayling of 22 cm and that was all i had time for. Water conditions were lovely, but worth noting that there was a massive thunderstorm on my way home later in evening and on passing the river it was 1-2 feet up in a matter of 20 minutes. Absolutely massive shower for 15 minutes. Probably be clear by tommorow though.
Conor
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby bbamboo » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:05 am

Look forward to the next update.
Great stuff
Keep it coming

Gary
www.nichobamboorods.com

8-)
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14 July visit to River Alyn

Postby ConorUK » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:40 pm

Thanks for feedback Gary, another trip as follows.

14 July
Lunchtime visit. Grass in the meadow is now chest high and it was a major battle to walk through it and then through the shrubbery jungle of the wood. Emerged directly into the stream, with a fair few nettle stings, below the straight stretch and surprised to find the water clear and back to normal level despite the instant flood last evening. Extended my Ayu rod with the line already set up and ready wound on the spool. Its still a novelty! Put on a Sakasa tan body reverse hackle fly and started fishing slightly upstream and then down and across. Casting was very tight, but i have yet to snag despite a 13 foot rod, and 16 feet of line flying about the place. Either i am blessed or its intuitive, and the line moves delicately enough to amend any immiment disasters in mid cast! After a few casts a right good bump on the line but i missed it. A slow sweep back over the riffle and nothing, then another slighter bump. Decide to switch to dry fly and start with a tan klinkhammer. This is where the rod and line come into their own. Upstream to a fast run and some slack water and keep flicking the fly back over a likely spot, moving a few inches across at a time, with the fly bobbing along nicely, when up comes a flash of a trout and its on. A little one of 19cm. Decide to switch to a Sakasa-Gujo dry fly, its tiny, but it survives the flow of water, however, nothing takes it after fishing 20 feet upstream decide to go back to the Klinkhammer which at a size 12 is better suited to my tippet in any case. Move further upstream and slowly slowly move through the dense bank cover with rod held high flicking it ahead in the deep pools which are unwadable. What's great this time is that there is no snagging of reel in the undergrowth as i move along and i cover water i have never been able to before. A big shape moves up to intercept and is gone. Oh so unlucky i moved the fly away at wrong time slippping on rock! Further along a kingfisher reveals its home, and comes out from the bank, lovely to see so many this year. And then another trout, a little bigger at 23 cm.
Conor

photo of a fast stretch where had a few missed takes on wet

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Last edited by ConorUK on Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:40 pm

20 July
Lunchtime trip to the river. Still a dangerous and unfamiliar beast after several days of incessant rain last week, which was unexpected as thought it would have calmed down by now. Having counted on relatively normal water levels i had planned to use Tenkara method. And it was too late to get my other fly rod. Found one or two places where i could get into the raging torrent to cast to a few quiet backwaters, all the while watching out for a leg breaker log or two in the flow! I found myself being able to cover quiet water without losing my whole line in the mid-flow, but what if i connected with a decent fish, it would definelty break the line or rod if it entered the mid flow. Nothing took on either dry or wet but at least i didnt drown in the attempt!
Conor
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:05 pm

21 July
Lunchtime trip to river, namely to see how much the water had dropped and cleared. Well it had dropped a foot at least, and was starting to clear, but still a very heavy flow. Great to be in the river with the water surging along, and noisy too! But before then it took me 5 minutes fiddlin with the girth-hitch knot to re-connect my line to rod. On last few trips had kept the line attached, rolling the line onto the spool and carrying the rod and spool together. However, this could lead to a break if i tripped or stored the rod poorly or whatever, so on last trip i thought to unattach the girth-hitch connection, but whilst i could get the line out i didnt manage the dexterity required to unset the knot. So, it was that i needed my needle to work out the knot on this trip before i could reset the knot onto the line. That done i was back in business, but i reckon on keeping the connection like that permanently! At least two dippers gave me great views, resting on the few non-submerged rocks within the stream to eye me up and then flying up and downstream of me. I thought that it must be hard for them with the powerful flow of water in recent days. Kept on Tenkara and cast a few nymphs and Sakasa wet patterns up and across, keeping the fly no more than a few inches below water otherwise couldnt see any takes. I neednt have worried, there werent any! Experimented with casting to deep whirl pools on the far bank and maintaining the fly in position, but no takes from that either. Tried my trusty green nymph pattern with a mid body gold bead, and fishing it across and downstream along a pool on the near bank, had one take and a small brownie of 22cm was landed. Sucess at last! Continued fishing that pool and as my eyes wandered another 30 feet further downstream a salmon of 5-10lb broke the surface in a brief roll setting my heart into quick pace. Great to see them running and no surprise given the water levels!
Conor

and a few pics from the outing

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:43 pm

ConorUK wrote: But before then it took me 5 minutes fiddlin with the girth-hitch knot to re-connect my line to rod.

snip

but whilst i could get the line out i didnt manage the dexterity required to unset the knot. So, it was that i needed my needle to work out the knot on this trip before i could reset the knot onto the line.


Conor,

Something must be seriously wrong, then, because attaching the line to the rod should take no more than 5 seconds, and removing the line takes about 3 seconds.

In the "Learn" section of the site (click on Learn" in the upper right hand corner of this page) is a segment on attaching the line to the rod. Also, in the "Galleries" section there are three videos. The first one and the last one each have good shots of attaching the line to the rod. In the last video, it is right at the beginning of the video. If you stop the video right after it shows the line being pulled tight (about 25 seconds into the video) you can see the tag end of the red braid (attached to the rod) and the tag end of the white braid (attached to the line). If you pull those two tag ends in opposite directions, the line comes off. No knot needs to be untied.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:53 am

Thanks a million for that advice, what on earth was i doing, thinking a knot was needed :lol: well i have a habit of trying to assemble things without need for the instructions :idea: Usually taking twice as long as i need to :roll:

22 July
Very caught for time so its a quick trip to nearest bridge and walk upstream looking for rises. None seen but start on dry fly, Klinkhammer. The flow is still very fast and maybe 8 inches high, and the water hasnt reduced in colour since yesterday, however the river felt very...fishable. You know you get those days when you just feel it in your bones that its going to be eventful.....and sometimes your bones just got it totally wrong! On this visit I had no take to a variety of dry flies fished in every likely spot, even reverting to wet for 5 minutes in my dash back to office. To add insult to injury two trout leaped a foot clear of the water in one pool just after i fished it, just to tease me...funny when the they leap up like that! However, it was good practice casting dry with the Ayu rod, and boy did i surprise myself by getting the fly casting into the most impossible angles under bushes through little gaps, and never once a snag. What was especially nice was being able to cast overhead despite the 6 foot shrubs and grasses and thistles directly behind me, without ever touching them, on a stretch that is most unforgiving and a snag means climbing up a bank to find the fly embedded in the most terrible mess around a thistle...ooh ooh ahh ahh, as you try your best to extract it. Now if only the trout would start taking these beautifully presented flies on the water! Helps build up anticipation for a good rise in the next few days though!
Conor

photo below was of a lovely looking run, much deeper and wider than normal, but still very fishy, and not a trout with the faintest interest!
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