Way Out West Part 2-- Oni School 2019

by Alan Luecke
(Kansas City, MO)

Big Water- Standing in the Provo

Big Water- Standing in the Provo

When Vern and I heard that Masami Sakakibara (Oni) was no longer going to travel and that this year would be his last at Oni School. We called each other the same day and said "we gotta go".

The Tenkara Guides put together a great three day event. ERiK organizes, Rob explains, John cooks (very well) and Masami inspires and charms with his magical casting and wonderful humor. The information can seem overwhelming at first, but the fun and camaraderie make you forget you're at 'school'.

For me this year's trip was all about the river. The Provo, like all the rivers in the West this year, had plenty of water. It's regulated by dams and was supposedly down from recent levels but it was a load. I spent more hours wading the highest water than I have on any trip.
I challenged myself and succeeded, but fast water and big rocks are not going to be my new hobby. Use a wading staff (rake handle from Lowes), bend your knees and push your foot toe-first into the bottom. If you go down float butt down, head up with your feet down stream, and leave your phone in the car.

The payoff for the hard work was exciting fishing. On the last day I caught my biggest Brown (18") in the fastest water I've ever waded and with the longest fight I've ever had with a trout. The fish hit a Red Assed Monkey Kebari in a big riffle and fortunately made its first run up stream. I held it there and then pulled it down and to the side with a Tenkarabum 40. As I brought it in it saw my boot and took off. This routine was repeated four or five times, including a rod collapse and frantic recovery. I had no business landing that fish, but the gods smiled and I got the picture.

After the school finished Vern and I stayed another day in pursuit of Bonneville Cutthroats high in the Wasatch Mountains. The small creek we found was the total opposite of the mighty Provo. A small channel a few feet wide cut down through the laurel and willow to emerge in small pools and riffles. We found a beaver dam and two pools at about 7,000 feet and started catching beautiful little trout, mostly 6-8", a couple around 10. It started raining but we couldn't stop and ended with 25 between us.

After my third trip the Provo and the Wasatch are no longer new. I know the roads, I know were to fish and I know my way to the Owl Bar at the Sundance Resort. I don't know when I'll be back but I'm already looking forward to it.

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

"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653

"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

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


Warning:

The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

Beware of the Dogma






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