By John Evans
San Antonio, TX
My wife, Robin, and I are San Antonio natives. We’ve experienced all kinds of weather . . . but mostly hot. If you grew up in San Antonio, you can take 104 degree temperatures better than 40 degrees.
So, it came as a shock when we received eight inches of snow at our house on the north side of town in a three-day stretch. That just doesn’t happen here. Ever. Tens of thousands of Texans went without water or electricity for days at a time, though we were fortunate never to lose either. Of course, I still haven’t received my electric bill.
To give you some appreciation for what that meant, see the first photo above. I know that wouldn’t amount to much up north, but down here in South Central Texas everything grinds to a halt.
Well, what does this have to do with tenkara? Plenty. Regardless of where you live, inclement weather will limit your fishing at some point. It will either be too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too windy.
How can a person still enjoy tenkara during these days? Allow me to offer three suggestions.
First, spend some time at the fly tying bench. Really, if you don’t tie your own flies, you’re missing something. During a two-week stretch, I was able to tie several dozen of my favorite flies, which will at least get me started on this season. I tell folks that I’m the test case for fly tying. I have poor eyes, shaky hands, and minimal coordination. You just stay with it. If I can tie a few, simple flies, so can you. There’s something extra-special about catching a fish on a fly that you’ve created with your own hands.
Second, catch up on some of the excellent literature in the field. I’ve been spending some time with my copies of Keeper of the Stream and Nymphs and the Trout by Frank Sawyer. These books are not tenkara-specific, but the sense of fly fishing history will whet your appetite. Read and dream a little.
Third, scout your local waters. I’ve been walking a lot this winter. It’s too cold for the fish to be active, but that hasn’t kept me from exploring some neighborhood creeks and streams. When the weather warms, I’ll be ready.
Fly tying, reading, and scouting are three excellent ways to spend extra time when the weather’s not cooperating. You can always research some new tenkara patterns, buy that book you’ve been thinking about, and explore some water that you’ve never had time to visit. Perhaps you can add some other activities that will lend enjoyment to our sport. Hey, sometimes it even snows in San Antonio."
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