Crazy About Minnows
by Herb S.
About three weeks ago my cousin, Chuck, and I went to a seldom visited section of my favorite smallmouth and panfish stream. I was armed for smallies with my Daiwa 39SF with a #4 level line and 4X tippet. As we waded through an 80 yard shallow and weedy stretch Chuck pointed out lots of fish he took to be bluegills in a pocket in the weeds. Since he was spin-fishing and after bass he went on up.
My large fly didn't work so I put on a #14 black thread and sparse black hen hackle kebari type fly tied on a Mustad C49S 1XS hook. The fish turned out to be Golden Shiners, lots of 'em. Fishing the open areas in the weed beds I caught more and more until River Chubs started hitting, and I never got past 'em. Chuck came back raving about the mother lode of smallies, some in the 18" to 20" range, he found below an old broken down dam.
I've been back twice since then -- with my Nissin Air Stage Hakubai 390 seiryu rod with #2.5 line and 7X tippet. What a blast! Many of the shiners were in the 3" range, and a delight to hook with the light line and highly sensitive rod. Some of the shiners were larger, of course, and the chubs ran up to the eight inch range.
With the right tackle River Chubs put up a pretty good fight. Yesterday the chubs seemed to prefer a #12 Cooper Bug, a proven killer on bluegill and trout by the way, over the kebari.
Now my cousin and other fishing buds are convinced I'm completely nuts. They're going after the largest of whatever fish species while I'm "cane pole" fishing with the lightest tackle for the smallest fish. I get pitying looks and unasked-for advice. But you know, I don't care.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin