This summer is flying by on wings of lightning. I have had an absolute blast fishing the past few months, mostly with Tenkara. I seriously have a year’s worth of blogging to catch up on.
I should first mention that I had an article entitled, “Zenkara” published in the Summer issue of Tenkara Angler. For any of you interested in reading, here is the LINK. I’m way impressed with the quality of this online magazine and will definitely support it in the future.
Also, last month I flew out to Colorado for three days of fishing with my brother and best friend Shawn. To sum it up, we had more fun than two adults ever should. We were like two kids eating good food, fishing to our heart’s content, and drinking every gourmet root beer we could find. You can read Shawn’s lies about our adventure on Upland Ways. If any are interested, here is the link to Shawn’s article, Renegades, Root Beers & the Avett Brothers.
Over the next few months, I will definitely add my two cents worth about this epic trip, but today, I wanted to share a quick anecdote about still water fishing in Colorado with tenkara.
On Thursday, after an epic morning of dry fly fishing on a small creek I’ll call Pine Creek and getting pounded by a hail storm, I said to Shawn, “That sure is a pretty waterfall over there.”
“That’s not a waterfall. It’s a spillway for an old reservoir.” Shawn replied.
“Seriously? I never would have guessed that.”
“You want to go check it out? The fishing is pretty good.” Shawn asked.
After being literally pummeled by hail on the creek, we decided that a change of scenery might be nice. And we also hoped to keep a few trout for Shawn’s smoker. Shawn and I usually practice catch and release, but I asked him to teach me how to smoke some trout while we were together in Colorado. We figured that reservoir trout were more worthy of death than their wily brethren in the creek below.
Shawn then drove us down a two track that led to the trailhead to the reservoir.
As we hiked toward the waterfall along a path strewn with wild raspberry canes, I soon saw the old manmade dam and the spillway causing the beautiful waterfall.
Once on top of the dam, Shawn commenced fishing with his traditional rod. All I had was my Tenkara USA Rhodo rod. I realized that tenkara was probably not the most effective rod for this type of fishing because of the shorter casting range and that I needed something that would attract the fishes’ attention. While this may be total sacrilege to the purists, I am a big fan of the Pistol Pete, a wet fly with a little metal propeller near the eye of the hook. Many claim that this is not a fly at all, but rather a lure. Regardless, Pistol Petes catch fish! I cannot tell you how many times this fly has saved my day and worked when nothing else would. So naturally, I opted for a little silver flash Pistol Pete.
I flung the fly out as far as I could with the tenkara rod and then towed the fly back to me using my arm and the long rod. On the first or second cast, I hooked into a nice rainbow, but it quickly got off. It wasn’t long before another one slammed the Pistol Pete and I brought this one to hand, dispatched it, and created a little pool with boulders to put him in.
When the thundering clouds overhead threatened lightning, I headed over to the far left side of the dam to–if it became necessary–quickly take shelter against the cliff from lightning or more hail. As I stood in this spot, I caught numerous other rainbows and brookies, many of which suffered the same fate as the first unlucky trout. Shawn also caught a few fish, but not as many as Me Ol’ Friend Pete.
Seeing fish rise just outside of my casting range, I got creative and skirted the cliff’s rocky shelf to get into better casting range. This technique worked pretty well and I soon brought a few more fish to their doom.
Since I started tenkara fishing, I have received a lot of guff from naysayers. I have been amazed at the hostility this style of fishing ignites. Many say it’s nothing more than cane pole fishing. At one point while fishing this reservoir, I smiled as the thought struck me that my actions at that moment probably ticked off everyone in the sport of flying fishing. Here I was fishing tenkara, with a Pistol Pete, and bonking a limit of fish on the head. Undoubtedly, many would consider this triple combination as rude, crude and uncouth.
The truth is, I don’t really care! The technique worked. I had fun and I later learned that smoked trout are a tasty treat, especially the pink-meated brookies.
In hindsight, I can honestly say that tenkara was no handicap for me whatsoever on this trip. In fact, tenkara can sometimes be more effective than traditional fly fishing. Now when somebody criticizes me about tenkara (or Pistol Pete for that matter), I simply respond, “I let the fish be the judge.”