jeudi 7 mars 2019

Tenkara 2019, I'm ready!

Nearly six months have passed since my last fishing trip; I have not had the opportunity this winter to go fishing for pike as the weather was terrible. Winter is coming to an end and the first spring surges have been interrupted by the arrival of some most unpleasant disturbances; rain, wind and hail have put streams in a total mess. I was expecting this year as usual at a difficult season opening but there it is likely to be terrible.A few days ago a friend of mine published on his facebook timeline a beautiful picture of the snowy Ubaye river, the same place where we had fished during the last Tenkara Fest and after "like" the beautiful photo I commented that my opening was going most certainly consist of "giving the gear a walk". It will be about that. The tenkara gear will have a walk!

This year I will of course remain faithful to minimalism in terms of fishing equipment because that suits my tenkara experience perfectly. All the material except rod and tamo will hold within my Zimmerbuilt tenkara strap pack. When one of the world's best backpack manufacturers discovers tenkara and designs bags dedicated to other tenkara anglers, we get this kind of useful, functional and durable piece of equipment.

This pouch is enough to contain my only kebari box, the one that was made by Richard Setina years ago and which is in my opinion the perfect box for a tenkara angler. I obviously have other boxes, a Nissin foam box and another one is a traditional bait box made by a Japanese craftsman of my friends that I somehow diverted from its original use.

My kebari will be three, one of them  being a dry. A few years ago I had developed a minimalist dry fly, the Cheran Dry, and since then it has evolved somewhat. The thread body had the disadvantage of making it necessary to lubricate so that the fly remains floatant and I therefore opted for a combination of a natural dubbing and a synthetic dubbing which are both very hydrophobic and I do not need to carry grease to use this fly. The second is an Oni kebari, sakasa kebari type, which is a very useful and very effective wet fly pattern. I had fished all the season 2014 with only this type of tie but with the body in yellow and it had been the opportunity to learn and understand many things about the use of this type of kebari.

The third kebari in my box is a simple zenmai-dou identical to the ones I did take with me to Japan and since those years that my experience of tenkara lasts it is surely the kebari that I used the most.I will have the opportunity to come back in the future on the topic of kebari because it is essential to a valid tenkara approach.For the rest of the fishing equipment the classic Tiemco ceramic blade nipper, Daiichiseiko line cards and a pair of Loon short clamps.

In fact the most of weight and volume in my bag the day of the opening will be the food, drink, the stove and my ultralight Thermarest Z seat.

We are now forty-eight hours away from the day. And I'm ready!

dimanche 20 janvier 2019

Happy new tekara year!

The time has come for me to wish to all of you a wonderful new tenkara year as time passes and the fishing season is getting closer. It is the time when fishing plans come to our mind. 

The 2019 season of this blog, the seventh, will be in the continuation of what I have done since the beginning which means relating my tenkara experience to promote this fishing technique in the way that I have been taught by the people I was lucky to meet in Japan. I will go on publishing fishing reports, gear reviews and of course tenkara anglers interviews.

I wish to each of you a wonderful 2019 tenkara experience! 

mercredi 3 octobre 2018

Trout fishing season is closed.

After not going fishing for two months because of the drought that hit the rivers hard I decided to go to the stream for the season closing Sunday, September 16th. I arrived very early to hit the river at the right time and it was probably not going to last very long because of the very low water level for almost two months. The first half of August had been stormy, as is often the case in the area, but these storms were too dry and did not bring the necessary water to the rivers.

I quietly prepared my rod in the soft light of the morning. I knew I did not have a lot of time until the temperature went up and the fishing became even more difficult than it was going to be already with such low water level.

I was using exactly the equipment with which I had fished with for the last time this year, during the discovery of the Ubaye in June: Zerosum Oni Honryu 395 rod, 号 2.5 level line, 号 0.6 fluorocarbon leader and a copy of my faithful Yamato kebari.

I waded upstream targeting only the most "deep" places, even though it is a little bit strange to call "deep" spots in a river where there is only 8 or 9 inches of water, but it did not pay. So I came out of the water not to be spotted because the vibrations of my footsteps and then returned to the water to fish downstream a position that I know well where I often took trout housed under a trunk parallel to the edge. It was the right choice and I did take a very beautiful trout that I will barely get out of the water to not expose it to the hot air.

The heat raised very quickly and I went up the river without fishing for nearly a mile to find a shady and cool spot for a last snack, the last I will do this year with a fishing license in my pocket.

This break did me the greatest good and was an opportunity to observe a trout that I might not have seen if I had fished.

After this trout had gone back to a place where I could not see it anymore, I put my kitchen kit in my pack and went up the river for about 1.5 miles to go to the exact place where I had taken my last trout of the previous season. I caught a trout in exactly the same spot but it was not the same fish, it was smaller than the one I released last year.

One more trout season has closed but the good thing is that another trout season will start soon. 

vendredi 20 juillet 2018

Tenkara Fest 2018, part 2

After a good night of sleep we went to the Lauzannier valley which is located in the Mercantour park.

As announced by the weather the sky was overcast and the temperature was really low but this cloudy veil takes nothing away from the beauty of the place. This fishing area benefiting from a patrimonial management there is only wild brown trout here and "catch and release" is the rule.

We realised a few minutes after our arrival that we were preceded by a couple of fishermen and unfortunately for us one who practiced the most untimely wading by which he put all the trout on alert. It was Guilhem and Jérôme who had the best success in this area; for my part I did miss two trout because of not fast enough hook settings and each time the same sanction: my tippet ended stuck under a rock. 

It was a little after noon when the storm strarted and we decided to go back down to the valley where we were going to be able to have lunch protected from the rain and then fish again.

The fishing on this part of the Ubayette was very different from the fact that the river is bordered on both banks by masses of fairly dense trees; we had to be more accurate in our casts.

Guilhem fished dry a little bit ahead of me, with his famous "Guilhem sedge", a fly very simple and very beautiful but especially very effective if it is used by an angler who knows how to use a  tenkara rod. For my part I was fishing posts that Guilhem had not tried with my faithful Zenmai-Dou and I also took trout. Moreover, on this section of the river we will all be successful.

We had a couple hours of intensely successful fishing on the Ubayette but the storm eventually descended from the mountain into the valley and we had to stop fishing and could not go further in the discovery of the Ubayette. The hour had arrived for us to say goodbye to each other and drive back home.

Once again we had a great weekend dedicated to tenkara and the discovery of beautiful rivers.

Tenkara Fest 2018, part 1

After visiting the Ardèche, Lozère and Vercors in previous years we have this year at the invitation of Frédéric discovered the Ubaye Valley. It was a long time since I wanted to visit this area to fish there and it was the perfect opportunity. We were going to be five fishermen this year to spend this weekend dedicated to tenkara and the discovery of a beautiful mountain stream.

Arrived in the area on Friday evening Guilhem, Edouard and I were joined on saturday morning by Frederic "Tenkara Ubaye" and one of his friends named Jérôme and after a brief talk we left the village of Jausiers to go to the banks of the Ubaye stream.

Arrived near the area where we wanted to fish we realised that like the weather forecast announced the wind was present and the sky slightly overcast; the melting of the snow not being finished the Ubaye was still a little high and gray but Frédéric who knows this stream very well estimated that this situation was not insurmountable for experimented tenkara anglers.

The trail traced by the hikers and the sheep allowed us to admire the grandiose landscapes in which flows the Ubaye.

After a good walk that warmed us we arrived on a gentle slope through which we had an easy access  to the river. Jérôme, Guilhem and Edouard went upstream while Frédéric and I went downstream.

Frederic was the first of us to meet success by capturing a pretty nice trout that was in a hurry to go back to the stream after a few shots.

A few minutes laters I will catch a beautiful trout with a fly that I take everywhere with me; the Zenmai-dou.
What a pleasure to see the trout arise from their cache to take this kebari drifting a few inches below the surface!

The water was a little bit high and very cold but we did arrive in the right time and we will have about three hours of fishing during which the combination of our talents with the cooperation of trout did give excellent results.

After a well deserved lunch break we went fishing on a small plateau, somewhat strange scenery where the river has formed a kind of archipelago where between countless islands live trout. Frédéric and I will also have the opportunity to observe several of those trout waiting for insects to drift in their sight. 

We were above 6500 feet high and as we did see there were still very large piles of snow to melt which explained the extremely low temperature of the water on the plateau. At the end of the afternoon the sky was more overcast and the wind has risen again, bringing down the temperature very quickly; we were standing wearing our jackets without a problem. The trout being more and more discreet we decided to go back down to Jausiers.

Thus ended this first part of our discovery of the Ubaye stream with which we were all satisfied.

dimanche 17 juin 2018

May tenkara

The month of May having been a long litany of thunderstorms and rain I did not fish much, I actually spent much more time browsing the banks of streams and rivers in search of fishing areas than actually practicing tenkara fishing. In fact the month of May that just finished could have been a month of February; we did not do what we like.

The advantage, if I had to find one in this experience of a rotten spring, is that the fact of visiting the rivers makes it possible to realize the evolution of their state.

One Sunday morning on the banks of one of my favorite streams I met this baby jay and I was intrigued not to see him fleeing all wings out at my approach. When it decided to take flight it found itself at the first flapping of wings suspended under the branch on which it was sitting. I took off my jacket and used it as a net to catch the bird in a harmless way, and I was not even surprised to see that its legs were tangled with fishing lines and a bunch of shots. If the jay is usually a pretty vindictive bird this one seemed to have understood that I did not want to hurt him and let me cut the fishing line that condemned him to certain death. Released, he landed a few yards from me and I turned my back immediately.

I finally found fishing areas near the sources of many streams in the area; the condition of the water being less affected by heavy daily rains made fishing possible. I had to cast short and precise and that is why I did use the Nissin Pocket Mini in 270 which is a rod of choice for fishing small streams.

Since a few days the storms and rain have stopped is then it remains only to wait until the rivers find their summer finery back and return to visit them.