Anthony has decided to start tying commercially again. Two of the patterns he is tying for TenkaraBum.com are flies he had tied before and two are new patterns. I am sure they'll all put fish on your line, though.
Although this is a classic western pattern, it is close enough to several of the patterns shown on Fujioki san's great site "Trout and Seasons of the Mountain Village" that it could easily pass for a variation of one of the Japanese classics. Not all of the traditional Japanese tenkara flies are sakasa kebari!
For a long time, this was Anthony's "go to" fly, and it was also my father's "go to" fly. My dad often fished a cast of three wet flies and the brown hackle peacock was almost always one of them. This fly catches fish - here and in Japan!
Tied on a size 12 barbless hook
The Yarn Bodied Amano borrows the pale yellow color and hen pheasant hackle from Katsutoshi Amano's signature fly and modifies it by making the body out of a pale yellow yarn. The slight fuzziness of the yarn makes the fly a bit buggy and should also make it a bit more durable. Although the body is slim to keep the profile of Amano's fly, the wet wool will add a bit of weight (when the fly is in the air) making the fly and tippet turn over just a bit better than a thread body would. This will allow you to use a slightly lighter line.
Tied on a size 12 barbless hook.
If you have been following Paul Gaskell's excellent series of instructional emails, you know that European competition fishing bears a striking resemblance to tenkara fishing. The small bead head nymphs that are popular among competition anglers also work quite well with any tenkara rod that is firm enough to handle bead heads (of course, I would suggest the TenkaraBum 36). The slim profile, bead head and bit of bright contrasting color (hot spot) are the characteristics of the nymphs called Frenchies.
The key to fishing these flies is to methodically cast in a grid pattern to cover all the potential lies (in all the areas where you would expect there to be fish) but also, and perhaps more important, to keep the drifts short. Basically, by the time your nymph gets to the bottom, it is time to pick it up for a new cast. The presentation is all sinking and ascending, with no dead drifting along the bottom. Figure drifts lasting only 3 to 5 seconds depending on depth and current speed. Many of the takes will come as you are picking up to make your next cast (almost the lift part of a Liesenring Lift). Shorter drifts = more lifts = more fish. Try it. You might be very pleasantly surprised.
Tied on a size 14 barbless hook.
No, a zebra midge is not a traditional Japanese tenkara fly. But think about it, what better midging rod could there be than a very long rod that will cast a very light line? A size 2.5 line, which is light enough to twitch when a 2" dace hits your fly, is the perfect delivery mechanism for small flies, light tippets and subtle takes.
Winter is upon us. It's time to put away the hoppers and get back to the finesse fishing that tenkara does better than any other gear (with the possible exception of a zero tension keiryu rod, which is something I'm going to have to experiment with this winter!).
Tied on a size 26. Make this your one fly this winter and see what you can catch.