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Fly tying and thinking and reminiscing !!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

Orange Kebari on an Amago hook

Orange Kebari on an Amago hook

I tied my first Takayama Sakasa Kebari today. I tied 5 from the "one fly" kit I ordered from Chris, and then I ventured a bit on my own with the fly in the first picture. I ordered some of the Gamakatsu Amago 7.5 eyeless hooks and tied this orange silk Kebari using 4.5 level tenkara line for the eye and a quail feather from one that I harvested this year. I began thinking about how my fishing has drastically changed since reading "Fly Fishing Idaho's Secret Waters" by Chris Hunt early this summer. This was the first time I had heard about Tenkara. August 30th was the first time I caught a fish with a Tenkara rod and a Kebari fly. I was fishing Stanley Creek and had a very similar experience that Tom Davis shows on his videos over at Teton Tenkara. I was catching fish too big for the holes they were in! When I got home I began researching Tenkara, and it opened this whole crazy world to me. I watched a lot of YouTube, and read what I could from the retailers. Chris' philosophy resonated with me, and I sent him an email about the kind of fishing I was doing. He suggested a Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63. Wow, what a rod! I went from a "Ford Pinto" to a "Porsche." I have caught well over a hundred fish on my 6 meter rod.

I have learned that it is a different animal than the 300-450 centimeter rods. I really think that there are many avenues to this type of fishing. My last great day fishing smallmouth bass in the Boise River was with the wiggler imitation (picture 2) and 5 meters of 2 pound gold Stren Crappie mono with 18 inches of 7x tippet. It was an over 20 fish day with that fly! I have learned, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SPECIALIZE. There was a guy spin rod fishing for the 1st hour I was fishing and he caught nothing. He came to see what I was doing and walked off shaking his head. I was able to target the seams with the light line and the tungsten bead head getting the wiggler down to the fish. With the light line and no slack the fish taking the fly had an incredible feel to it. Six meters of rod allowed for some amazing fights with those bass! The larger ones were well over 2 pounds. Without the landing net, I would have broken off.

The last fly is a beadhead Utah Killer bug inspired by Tom Davis. I'll be fishing these in the South Fork of the Boise soon. The main reason I have the Sawanobori 63 is to go after trout in the South Fork. I have several other rods as well for other fishing thanks to Chris.

As I have thought about my fishing over the last months, I really believe I was introduced to Tenkara fishing by an old mentor of mine, Clive Stevenson in the early 1990's. Clive was a famous guide on the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers in Southern Oregon. He was Zane Grey, the famous Western writer's, personal guide for several years. Clive lived in Japan from 1920-1932. He shared that this is where he learned to trout fish. Clive was originally from England. He married a Japanese girl and lived in the mountains for several years. His unique insights into presentation verses "matching the hatch" changed my fly fishing. Clive was in his late 80's when I got to know him. He has a fly in Joseph D. Bates, Jr.'s book, "Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing." Clive would always say, "If they aren't taking flies try a streamer." That has saved many a fishless day for me.

So, Chris thanks for improving my fishing over the last 3 months, and I hope everyone has an awesome year of fishing in 2017.

Comments for Fly tying and thinking and reminiscing !!

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Dec 30, 2016
Good Deal
by: Dave

Wonderful reminiscing! Bravo!

Dec 30, 2016
Not Fly Fishing
by: Les Albjerg

More and more I am realizing that Tenkara and Keiryu fishing is a world of its own. I am just scratching the surface at this point. My extreme effort with 2 pound test line I shared was meant to explore the limits of my Keiryu rod, and to combat the very clear water with the water levels at their lowest when I fished. I believe I am just beginning to explore developing special lines for special situations. I have 7 lines made up for my Keiryu Sawanobori 63. I think that will double as I continue to gain experience. Changing lines makes a big difference fishing those challenging situations that present themselves at times. Compared to fly fishing, lines for Tenkara and Keiryu are cheap, and can easily be customized.

Too many people see the limitations on casting a fixed line. I can cast my spey fly rod 150 feet, but I really don't have much of a clue at that distance what is happening, and mending is impossible. I love the pinpoint casts, and control much more with fly or bait with this method. Manipulation of the fly and the line is easier. By matching the line to the conditions using these rods I have added something very few flyfishers ever do. Length of line and weight are so much easier to control in this method. I may fish with a fly, but this isn't fly fishing in my thinking, but a whole new wonderful world of fishing. I have been catching more fish and having way more fun doing it! I would encourage everyone to think more about changing lines.

Dec 31, 2016
by: Phillip

I love that quail hackle.

I get your feelings about longer rods. Many of my friends are skeptical about tenkara in general. It's funny to see how their skepticism has changed from "You'll never be able to catch a REAL fish on that toy.", to "Tenkara fishing is too easy. Where's the fun of the challenge?".

I'm definitely the "right tool for the job" type of person. Not necessarily what catches the most fish, but whatever is most fun to catch the fish with. Depending on the day, I might throw tiny dries and complicated mends with the 4wt, or I might want to simply and precisely present a nymph with the Sagiri. Whatever seems more fun.

Dec 31, 2016
Having Fun!
by: Les Albjerg

Phillip, I still have my fly rods. I have a couple of 4 weight rods that I built that I love. However, I bought a Sage one weight and Able reel to try to get what I finally found in Tenkara. I have close to a grand tied up in that outfit! One of my favorite times of fishing is over on Owyhee reservoir for crappies in the spring. They usually suspend at 20 feet, and I doubt Tenkara is the right method to catch them. For a three week period a 200 plus fish day is normal. One of the biggest changes since fishing Tenkara and Keiryu is the way I read the water. I used to look at the water in front of me and judge it with a general appraisal of where the fish might be. Now I look for holding places that may just be inches square and drop a fly or bait in that area. I can't believe some of the fish I have pulled out of those spots. So if you having fun and catching fish, I don't care what method you want to use. However, I fish keiryu and tenkara because I love the adrenaline rush of the unmuted take of the fish and the amazing battle that ensues. It doesn't hurt that I am outfishing my buddies about 3 to 1 on the streams as well.

P.S. I do like the color of the quail feathers. I wish I had gotten out for some spruce grouse this year. They have some nice darker feathers.

Dec 31, 2016
by: Phillip

My friend has a pair of small stream Sages (One and ESN 3wts) that he uses in what I would consider ideal tenkara water. They're really beautiful and fun to cast, but as fishing tools they're not very effective. A lot more lost flies and a bunch of scared trout. They simply don't give you the control of tenkara rods, (even comparing the ESN to a tenkara rod of the same length). The fact that they cost the same as ten nice tenkara rods makes that niche hard to justify.

The whole Rockies are about to get hammered. When it gets this cold, even ice climbing starts to suck (more?). I'm sure I'll find some way to get outside, though.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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