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Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby bbamboo » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:08 am

Hi Connor

Can we see close up of the stone clinger pattern.

What size,materials used

Thanks Gary

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:04 pm

Hi Gary,
I will try to get a close up of them next time i am out. not sure how well the mobile will do it, but will try. they are no. 10 on long shank hooks, as far as materials are concerned i have not got a clue, other than there are two gold coloured beads, as i dont tie my own, they are shop bought so i will ask the next time i am in who ties them. I do invertebrate sampling on the river every two months and we have got some masive Heptagenids, which this pattern probably represents, although maybe also taken for a small fish? Main thing is they are catching above average fish on the river!

7 August
Decided on a quick lunchtime trip to the summer beat of the river. With the hot weather i needed to find a shady wooded area. As i was setting up in the river shallows i glimpsed a very strange movement in the pool about 80 metres below me. I thought it might have been an otter or mink swimming just underwater, but having kept looking for next 5 minutes there was nothing more. Although i had intended heading upstream, i just had to go down to have a look. Peering through the heavy undergrowth into the pool there were no mammals to be seen. Maybe a nice fish cruising the surface? It was worth a try. Decided to tie on my biggest bushy fly, a no 10 Zulu wet pattern, with the intention of 'plopping' it into the pool to tempt any fish to take a fallen bug from the branches above. One of those things you read about but never really try. On the second cast to my complete surprise up came a boil in the water and a fish was on! I expected a tiddler, that being all i have ever had take in this pool, but the rod bent over and a good fish was on. I got a glimpse as the fish zipped through two boulders and it was a nice but not massive trout. I was so happy that the experiment had worked, and surprise of surprises, i had my net attached to my waistcoat, and so i landed my first fish with the Ayu rod to a net, and in one smooth action the fish came to the net with rod raised high. Lovely. I went upstream to fish a deep pool with the stone clinger but never had a take and then i fished downstream with a size 14 single bead GRHE in green, with one take, one that i didnt hook properly.

The lively brownie of 29 cm caught on a Zulu
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A view of the river upstream
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:03 pm

11 August
The sun was baking down so it was time for a lunchtime visit to the woods and i wanted to see if the natural dam caused by the recent floods was still keeping the area backed up. Well, what a surprise was in store as the water levels were below normal and the river bed was very different, totally shallow in some places, new deep pools in others. The water was crystal clear and i decided that this would have to be upstream fishing only to have any chance of success. Walked downstream for a bit, well in from bank, and arrived at my strarting point back at a favourite pool, which after 20 minutes, didn't produce even one take, and on a variety of wets. Ironically i realised i should have fished it downstream, given the changes in the river bed here. Moved upstream and came to a deep pool with several fish rising. With the chalkstream quality water, I could see several dark sillouttes of fish, despite the strong sunlight coming through the branches, and these fish were mostly average sized, trout or grayling, but there was one big one. I put on a tan Klinkhammer and with one arm holding onto a tree branch leaned out over the water and cast upstream ahead of his nose. No movement. And again several more times, once mistimed and resulting in a rise which i didnt strike into. Another cast, the fly wobbled, and the fish moved up slowly.....and then with acceleration launched into the fly and he was on! After a short battle downstream, he came to the net, a really powerfully built 31cm trout, see the upper body in the photo below!

Image

As i released the trout another fish started rising nearby but the klinkhammer was drowned and wouldnt float. I tried a Tenkara dry fly with no joy and then switched to olive klinkhammer but couldnt get another fish to rise so i moved on. I then spotted a huge grayling lying casually midflow about 4-5 feet below (water was even that clear!), definetly bigger than anything i had ever landed before. I decided on the stone clinger pattern and from the trees i cast ahead and across of his position. As the pattern moved in range there was a commotion and 'my' fish was joined by several even bigger cousins as they jostled to take the fly, but none actually did. And so it continued for several more casts until i spooked them and they slipped away to the shadows of the tree roots!
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:29 pm

13 August
In the monring popped by the river to have a quick look. Not much happening, but saw a water rail pop his head out from a pile of wood by the waterside under the bridge, first one seen anywhere for a few years, and first ever on our river. At lunch I meant to go to the autumn stretch but without thinking turned left in the fork in the road and ended up going to the summer stretch rather than do a U-turn on the road. Great to have the choice i suppose! Got to the river, it was and the 30m pool i was visiting was absolutely alive with fish, there were little uns slashing at the water, there were decent fish boiling, and then there were one or two immistakable whoppers swirling. But this is a pool that always beats me. Started on a Sakasa Gujo dry fly in pale beige colour. Had two rises from small fish but didnt strike, i was after the medium sized ones further along! Well, when i got to them they didnt like the fly, so i switched, and switched again, and still they rose, then i went on buzzer and then on heavy wets, but apart from some flashes, no takes. I worked up to the area where the 'big boys' were playing but there was no interest there either. Then, to my surprise all the big boys were now at the front of the pool from where i had waded (this was all in slow motion over the period of 40mins!) rising enthusiastically and eventually i figured out it was to a tiny upwinged pale fly - maybe pale watery dun - but by then my time was up and so it being pointless to fish a tiny fly downstream I put on a big black deer hair sedge to drag along the surface, as i went back down the pool, but that didnt work either. And, slightly annoyed, if i am honest, i trudged back to the car!
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:14 pm

14 August
Lunchtime trip to my winter stretch. I was intent on fishing one series of pools upstream on dry but on the way along stopped for 5 minutes to watch a kingfisher that had landed on an overhanging branch on far side of river. I was hoping it would tackle the small fish rising below but it decided to zip off down the river after a while. I got to my chosen starting point. There was nothing rising, but nonetheless put on a daddy long legs to fish dry/sub-surface. Mostly it floated and after 15 minutes fishing gradually upstream i had not one rise!

This is a view downstream to some of the water covered.
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I switched to my single bead nymph and being lazy i didnt bother to change my tippet, which was now between 2-3 feet long after several outings ever shortening its original length of 4-5 foot. On my second cast upstream into the fast water leading to a pool i spotted a flash and a fish was moving about. I lifted the rod and a nice long chunky fish rose to the surface splashing madly in the shallows. I lead it downstream and got it to the net before if threw the hook. It was a beauty and was from a pool i would never have fished in the way i did with a fly line, it just wouldnt have been as subtle or accurate a cast.

The 33cm chunky brownie
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And the area it was taken from
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I fished a few more pools upstream on the nymph and had one or two flashes but didnt connect. A lovely visit only slightly marred by a thoughtful local that purposely threw a rock from his back garden into the last pool i fished. Lovely behaviour becoming of a man in his 60s!
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:58 am

17 August
On my way along the winter beat of the river i peeked into one area of shallows and spied two lovely trout of at least 1lb each feeding in no more than a few inches of water. There was no way i could get in and try for them, and instead enjoyed watching them for a few minutes as education! Then i kept going and chose a deep long pool on a bend of the river, one that i hadnt fished in months and which i suspected held a few really big grayling. I entered the tail of the pool quietly and started on a tan klinkhammer fished upstream into the shallows where two fish were rising sporadically. Soon i had a rise and a grayling of 20cm came to hand quickly. As i moved to the deep section my heart was in my mouth and the rod was shaky with excitement, as i expected the water to erupt around my fly at any moment. After several more casts i calmed down... and decided to search out the depths with a beaded nymph. Casting upstream to my left the fly worked across current and down to my right. On the second cast the line hesitated and plunged and the rod bent lovely and there was a yellow flash of a good trout and i tried to bring him down towards me, but I was too rough and he struggled, came up and threw the hook. Damn! A few more casts and another hit, this time a brownie of 19cm. And although i fished the rest of the pool in some beautiful looking lies, there were no more takes and i rued the missed opportunity on that brownie! Another time then.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:27 pm

18 August
I needed to give the same pool as yesterday another try and so i found myself at the same place at the same time tackling up in the shallows. Again there were a few fish rising, but this time i went straight to weighted nymph to tackle the deeper run and so i started fishing, and fishing, and changing flies, and more fishing, and there was nothing, not a single take to over a dozen wet flies of various colours, hackles, from sizes 10 to 14. Lastly i tried dry fly on the shallows and hooked a small grayling which then threw the hook! The pool had me beaten.

The 'grayling' pool
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On the way out of the river i decided to try for one last cast into a small deep pool below the next run. On went the stone clinger and with a bow and arrow cast the Ayu rod sent the fly landing perfectly into the pool. The line worked nicely across as the undercurrent played on the fly below....and then i snagged. Now i should have given up here, but rather than spook the pool i decided to give the fly a quick pull upwards to dislodge it. This worked, except, the fly went vertically into the sky and wrapped around a branch in a tree above about as high up as could be possible. This was the stuff of nightmares, as the rod tip could not be reached, so how on earth would i get at the leader? Well, after some delicate line jiggling, and several false dawns, the whole came free, but this took about 5 minutes and i was praying no-one would walk by to witness me playing a tree!

Ayu rod versus tree
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On the way back across the fields i was clambering under a wire fence when i spotted on old coin jutting out from the dirt. Wow, maybe a roman coin? I reached out to get it, but then someone gave me an almighty kick up the backside. In my excitement i had arched up and touched the electric current! And when i found that coin it was a modern if discoloured 10p piece! As i got close to the car, a herd of cattle were in the middle of the field. As i got close one of the heifers gave me a funny look and started to move swiftly towards me. Bloody hell, it was only a heifer, but i wasnt taking any chances given the day so far, so i veered towards a divider stream, but a few others tried to cut me off. They were demented! But they were slow as well, and i made it across. Great! Not quite ready for the epitaph 'Conor, he liked fishing, trampled to death by heifers 18 August 2009'
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:06 pm

HAHA! Stuff from movies or what! :P
Great read. Glad you came out of the snag.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby jeffkreager » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:02 pm

Great post Conor
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:14 pm

20 August
When i drove to work there were black clouds on the hills and i expected the river to be a torrent but when i got there at lunchtime it was fine, clear and normal summer level water. However, it felt 'dead' and there were lots of leaves in the water, there was a gale blowing, branches falling, and it was very bright. However, sheltered in the wood it wasnt too bad. Having spent some time reading about Dr. Hisao Ishigaki and his perspective on Tenkara flies I had decided that for me it was time to forgo the stone clingers, shrimps, bead head nypmphs etc. which i know I can catch fish on and embrace Tenkara in its totality.

I started in the pool in the photo below, fishing downstream, and after crouching low and manouvering my Sakasa all black wet pattern all over the likely spots i had one take which i missed.

Image

I then moved to the very sheltered run in the photo below and fished upstream. It was a lovely looking spot and i imagined a very nicely spotted 1lb trout to take a fly. But no takes after 20 odd casts searching the nooks and crannies and vagaries of current.

Image

At this point my resolve broke and i switched to the stoneclinger and fished the above pools and a few others but there was not a take to be had. I will try to perservere with 100% Tenkara!

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