jeudi 30 juin 2016

Tenkara during a sunny spell

The month of June comes to an end as it has been full of gray days, rain and storms; one must not let a single opportunity to go tenkara fishing because it is difficult to make forecasts as these weather conditions are unstable. A few sunny hours can be followed by a full day of rain or a storm. Rivers bear the scars of these recurrent rains, they remained stained as they were in April.

But as soon as there is a sunny spell trout show some activity. Eventually these frequent rains that keep the water at a low temperature is good for them, at least allows them to be quieter than usual because many anglers have decided to put the rods to rest. Personally I have chosen to fish but only for brief sessions of thirty minutes to an hour, it saves me the risk of being caught in the rain or the storm before you have at least a trout. 

I fish with my Yamato kebari and I must say it is a pleasure to see the trout rishing out of their shelters to pick it up. I would not trade a single kebari of this pattern for the whole word weighted nymphs because that would deprive me of seeing those little yellow and gray beasts rise to the surface.

Fishing a river that I do not visit often I think I have chosen the good stretch of it because the trout density is interesting and trout in question are very cooperative despite a rather dark water and the very few insects to emerge or drift dead on the surface.

I will of course not complain! Fishing even with difficult weather conditions, temperatures really below seasonal averages, and I can at any time be surprised by a downpour, is a thousand times more interesting and meaningful than thinking about fishing without being there.

Casting a fifteen feet tenkara rod into the river that is about thirty feet wide I easily get "natural" drifts, my short and light tippet makes my kebari drift in a way that must be very convincing because trout decide to come and bite it very quickly.

After fishing the straight part I arrived in a bend where the stream is very shallow, the water is a little clearer. Satisfied with this outing I was feeling that the time of the last cast had arrived but there is a quiet small area on the right side of the bend behind a big rock. It would be surprising that there is not a trout in that spot. I cast my Yamato kebari who barely has not time to start drifting before a trout takes it.  This is a big trout! I am  surprised but my hook setting is instinctively made in a very wide move.  The stream being very shallow that trout can not even try to swim to anywhere. I let it struggle on the wet gravel.

This is not a native brown trout, its dress betrays its origin but I noticed that its fins were in excellent condition so it is definitely a trout that survived its introduction in the river and did grow big in there.
I did raise it gently and released it exactly where I had just got it from. I did spend a few minutes to observe it in its shleter as it was catching its breath quietly. I did collapse my rod back and put back my line on a spool, it was time to go back home. Until the next sunny spell.

samedi 18 juin 2016

Tenkara Fest 2016

After the first edition of Tenkara Fest we were determined, Eric Robert and myself, to organize this event annually and this year we did chose Lozère for the meeting. Like many tenkara anglers we are members of various social networks and forums, but we share the opinion that nothing will ever be better than meeting other enthusiasts, or novices, in real life and share some good times together.

After an about five hundreds and thirty miles drive I arrived in Lozère on the banks of the Alignon stream where I was to meet a young man who had contacted me through this blog and asked me to introduce him to tenkara as he wanted to discover it because as he did tell me it was exactly the image he had of fly fishing. 

It was a pleasure for me to advise that angler who quickly showed good casting skills and also quickly got his first trout with tenkara.

Then I did join my friends in a cottage located in a place where we had a really spectacular view. My comrades were returning from a great session of successful fishing on a stream stretch located in the nearby village and so we were all in excellent mood and glad to meet each other after a year.

We spend a great evening in a spirit of sharing and exchange. After this first day we were tired and not long resisted the urge to jump into the arms of Morpheus. Personally after nine hours of driving and two hours of fishing I was literally washed away. The next morning we did wake up at dawn with the singing of a cuckoo, took a quick breakfast before heading down to the banks of the Tarn.

On this stretch the banks are very steep, the stream is narrow and it was for me a great time to discover it in tandem with my friend Edouard while Guilhem, Eric and Jean-Marc did fish an area downstream. The area we did explore is populated by wild and very discreet brown trout and it was a pleasure to make them bite some of our lures, seeing these trout rush to what they believe to be an insect landing on the water is a lot of fun. When two hours later we walked back towards our starting point we realized that we had not gone about three hundred meters upstream despite our climbing sessions. It was also an opportunity to observe under the bridge from where we observed a beautiful big trout in the tail of a current waiting for food from the upstream.

Back to our starting point we did find our friends who had also spent some time fishing on a downstream portion and we decided to have lunch before going to the Tarn river gorges.

The fishing in the early afternoon was difficult because of the wind rushing into the gorge, it was difficult to keep control of our lines, which is essential to success in tenkara but we had the chance to practice in beautiful surroundings and had no doubt about our ability to counter the difficulties. Edward was the first of us to deceive a trout.

The wind went down about four o'clock offering us two hours during which we will take a lot of trout.

We did fish successfully as we did take altitude. The latest waterfalls offered us a great show and then we arrived on the plateau where the Tarn flows between meadows and forests.

Arrived on the plateau we did fish a little bit and it was with surprise that I realized how much the trout differed from those caught in the gorges.

Delighted by this afternoon of fishing we decide to collapse  the rods and we were joined by Eric and Jean-Marc, who had fished earlier upstream on the plateau.

After this great day of fishing we returned to the cottage where we did spend a memorable evening.
The next day we went fishing a few miles away, on the Lot river, but the morning was very cold and very windy, making fishing very difficult although we had the opportunity to observe many trout on the spot where we were.

The sky cleared in the late morning and it is in the shade of a plane tree that we had lunch before being joined by several people with whom we did go fishing a few miles downstream on a beautiful catch and release area. We did make a tenkara fishing session there punctuated with nice catches. I will come back in a few weeks to tell more about this tenkara fishing session.

After three days spent together we separate, all happy to have shared our passion for tenkara we said: "See you next year!"

dimanche 5 juin 2016

Tenkara Moments

June has started like May has finished which means cold, temperatures hardly rise up to fifteen celsius but as the week was over I really wanted to visit one of my favorite local streams and check the conditions and perhaps, i.e. probably, fishing it to give the weekend a good start. The area has hopefully escaped the torrential rains of the week. 
The water is still very cold and greyish but once standing on the edge I did see that this cold weather did not interfere a lot with the insects, mainly mayflies and caddis, emerging and flying away regularly. Trout are very discreet, much more than usual at this time of the year but I rigged my Nissin Zerosum Oni rod and started fishing the spots most likely to shelter some trout that would bite on my Yamato kebari.

To fish these shallow spots, not more than a foot deep, I use the current to sink my kebari. Carried by the stream it easily takes a natural drift, different sasoi manipulations can help to make a recalcitrant trout bite. 

Like my previous tenkara outings I could not expect fishing until the evening rise because the temperatures were going to drop, we really are far from the typical June's fishing until complete darkness with high temperature. Fortunately accurate casts, controlled drifts and a little bit of concentration did give very good results. 

Trout adapt to the new spots created by the trees fallen across the stream. Downstream natural drift revealed to be the most effective technique today. 

Downstream fishing with a single fly is a very simple technique and that is why it is so effective. I already had experienced this technique when I was still (western) fly fishing but a tenkara rod drift control is even better. 

There were a good number of trout on the spot created by this submerged tree. 

I finished this nice tenkara outing downstream the pillars of a long disappeared ford oxen where I also did catch some brown trout thanks to the same downstream fishing technique.

It is a great pleasure to fish with finesse and improving your technique. Rod, line, kebari; it is not only a simple principle but a guarantee of effectiveness. 

After releasing the last trout of this brief tenkara outing I did turn back carefree and happy to have been at the place at the right time.