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Silver Lining

by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

Fishing the Guadalupe Has Been Excellent this Spring

Fishing the Guadalupe Has Been Excellent this Spring

In no way would I want to minimize the effect of the global pandemic on the United States of America. At the time of this writing, there are 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this country and more than 100,000 fatalities. The unemployment rate hovers around 15%, the worst since the Great Depression. The human cost has been horrific.

Yes, I know that everyone has a different take on the situation . . . what should have been done, when it should have been done . . . what the numbers actually mean. Believe me, as a minister I’m accustomed to having vigorous discussions on difficult issues!

But, may I gently offer at least a glimpse of a silver lining? I have been encouraged by the number of people I see heading outdoors, visiting local parks, at a safe distance, heading to the rivers, and maybe even doing a little angling, including tenkara.

Right now in Texas the state parks are in a gradual re-opening phase. For day use, you have to make on-line reservations and print up your own pass. Overnight camping is strictly regulated as well.

Despite these inconveniences, however, I see more people heading outside, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying a little sunshine. That has to be a good thing under most circumstances, doesn’t it?

One state park I frequent has an undeveloped area that normally receives very little traffic. It’s out-of-the-way with few conveniences. Yet, the last two times I’ve visited this area, at least twice the normal number of people have ventured out. They were all respectful, generously distanced and polite to a fault. It turns out that viruses can bring out the best in people.

Also, the fishing has been excellent this spring, with good weather and water quality in my part of the world. The rivers and streams are rising with the rain. One morning on the Guadalupe River, using my Nissin Zerosum 360, I caught nearly 100 fish . . . Guadalupe and largemouth bass, catfish, cichlids, green and redbreast sunfish, you name it. It was one of those days that makes every other day seem better.

Hey, I’ve even fielded an extra number of questions about my tenkara gear. People want an excuse to be outside even more, I think. I’m hoping that at least a few of them will visit the Tenkarabum website.

Perhaps I’m naïve, but I still believe in the spirit of this country.

Comments for Silver Lining

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May 28, 2020
A good point
by: BKCooper

You are not naive, nor are you wrong. I have noticed something very similar in my part of Texas as well.(DFW area). There is much to be said for the spirit of this country. I have noticed it in my job as well. I am an Amazon delivery driver. As I go around delivering packages people seem happier than you would expect given the situation. Kind of amazing when you think about, and nice to see.

May 29, 2020
Silver Lining
by: Alex Argyros

Thanks for the great article.

I was wondering what flies you use for waters like the Guadalupe. It can get pretty deep where you fish, so do you use weighted flies or split shot to get your rig down?

May 29, 2020
Flies for the Guadalupe
by: John Evans

Alex,
You're right--the water can get pretty deep in pockets of the Guadalupe, so I generally use weighted nymphs with slim profiles. It's hard to beat the old standard Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph with six or eight turns of 0.20 wire on it. Also, the original Sawyer's Killer Bug or Utah Killer Bug, tied with Oyster Spindrift yarn and tied with customary pattern of wire work well. I almost always catch channel catfish, bass, and panfish by bouncing these nymphs along the bottom and then raising them slowly. Just cast near brush or rocky cover, count to 3, and slowly raise the nymph. I don't enjoy casting with split shot. I generally tie everything on size 12 hooks, such as the Kamasan B175 or any curved nymph hook for the Utah Killer Bug. Also, dry flies work well in the shallow, still water. The Elk Hair Caddis works well, as does the less-familiar two feather fly (also called the Hatchmaster) by Harry Darbee. Finally, here's the main secret--fish the Bauer Unit (more walking, less visited) rather than the headquarters side of the park. Enjoy but stay safe!

May 29, 2020
Thanks
by: Alex Argyros

Thanks, John. I appreciate the tips.

I mainly fish for trout on the tailrace part of the Guadalupe, but, during the summers, I do switch to warm water fishing. I've been primarily using an utlralight spinning outfit with small soft plastics or the tiny spoons Chris sells, but I do have a Tenkara rod so I'll give your method a try. The way you fish certainly sounds aesthetically appealing. One more question, if you don't mind. When you use your method to fish nymphs, do you feel the strike, or do you see an indication on your line/sighter/etc.?

Again, many thanks.

May 29, 2020
Additional Notes on the Guadalupe
by: John Evans

Alex,
Thanks for the kind words. The upper Guadalupe (above the lake), especially the Bauer Unit, is much less heavily fished than the lower tailrace. Texas Parks and Wildlife has stocked the upper Guadalupe at the main entrance of the park with stocker rainbows the last three or four years with good success--winter only, of course.
Anyway, to your questions: I actually use brightly-colored furled lines, which are different than the level lines now used by most tenkara anglers. I just like the way that they cast. I can easily see the strike with the bright-colored lines without any indicators or markers. About half the time I just feel the strike on the nymphs as I raise the line. The rate at which I raise the rod tip is typically enough to set the hook anyway. Of course, with the dry flies I see the explosion!--which is super fun. If I know I'm going to fish dry flies, I treat the furled line with floatant to keep everything on the surface. It makes for a clean, pleasing fishing experience. Again, the main difference in what I do as opposed to many tenkara anglers is that I prefer the furled lines. It's just a personal preference, but it does make it easy to see the strikes.
See you on the water.

May 30, 2020
Making Furled Lines
by: Karl

Hi John. Great write Up and fishing tips. Have you ever tried to make your own furled lines? There is a Video on Tenkara On The Fly that shows how to do it using 3 mugs, running a length of line through each mug handle and twisting the 3 lines into a level length of Furled line, which is tied to the next heavier length of line to make up your taper. For instance: 3 X 6 Lb. test + 3 X 8 Lb. test + 3 X 10 Lb. test, with your tippet looped on the front and a GIrth-Hitch Loop looped on the back for your hitch onto the Lilian on the rod. If you wish to make a Compound Tapered Line instead of a simple taper, you can shorten each of the following line segments to get the desired turnover characteristics to suit your rod’s casting action.

I have just tried out a line made out of SpiderWire, UltraCast, Invisi-Braid, which is Translucent but presents itself as an opaque white. It is 65 Lb. Test breaking strength but has the diameter of 14 Lb. test mono and floats. It is very light weight and is quite easy to hold up and off of the water, and is very highly visible to me as well.

They also market a number of other colored lines and in various Camo-Colors and patterns. Six Lb. Test comes in @ 0.005; 8 Lb. test @ 0.006 and 10 Lb. test @ 0.007 I believe. The difference between 65 and 80 Lb. test is only 0.001 of an inch in thousandths and about the same diameter as size 5 Fluorocarbon T-Lines.

The Wire in the name denotes the Line’s considerable stiffness, which adds to its casting abilities considerably. I believe SpiderWire Line May make a better furled line replacement construction material than it does a replacement for mono Fluorocarbon and nylon lines. It’s casting feel is said to be quite similar to nylon lines of similar thicknesses but much better under windy conditions. SpiderWire furled lines will droop a lot less than FC. and Kevlar furled lines do.I would think that there is someone, out there somewhere making furled lines out of this no-stretch, no-memory Polyester material....Karl.

May 30, 2020
Good thoughts on Furled Lines
by: John Evans

Karl,
I never have tried to make my own furled lines, but it would be cool to experiment! Also, there's plenty of room to try different materials, such as the Spiderwire. It also gives you something to do when the water is too high, the wind is too stiff, or the temperature is too low.
I have made a few of my own horse hair lines, using the kits that Chris sells. I really like the way they cast, and I've caught lots of fish on them, but they're not as durable.
Thanks for the notes. I bet there's plenty of room for debate among tenkara anglers about the best line to use.

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