dimanche 8 octobre 2017

A tenkara season ends

Since my return from Isère we have entered the summer and it has quickly taken on canicular paces, to the point that given the very rapid rise of the temperature of the water of the rivers (up to 26 ° on some) the fishing authorities have decided to close the trout fishing in all streams whose width is less than two meters.
For myself in the last three months I went fishing only for very short sessions, one hour maximum, and always very early in the morning, the only time of the day when the trout show a little bit of activity.
I left at home the 13 feet rods and more to use only the 360 Nissin Royal Stage offered to me by Fuji sensei during our meeting and also one of his furled fluorocarbon lines.

I have fished the whole summer with a single kebari which is nothing but a "reduced size" version of my Yamato Kebari. The grizzly cock feather has been replaced by hen pheasant and the head has changed from rusty brown to fluo orange.

The month of July was excellent, the temperatures were high but the stable weather allowed me to go fishing every morning knowing beforehand the state of the river; it was very different in August during which the storms were numerous. The month of September began in the rain and storms and fortunately for the trout the level of the rivers began to rise. 
Because of these heavy rains the end of the trout season for me was about two weeks before the official closure but I had no regrets to have since I had fished a lot during the previous months.

The hot summer and the rainy beginning of autumn  have at least a positive aspect: a very good vintage for mushrooms!

mardi 20 juin 2017

Tenkara Fest 2017

This year it was in Isère, more precisely in Pont-en-Royans, that we had rendez vous for the third edition of the Tenkara Fest which was going to take place in the Vercors massif.

As every year I arrived first and took rather quickly the direction of a stream that we had planned to fish during these three days ie the Bourne.

But before fishing I took the time to prepare an excellent lunch on the bank of this beautiful stream bathed in sunshine and took advantage of it to relax after the almost ten hours of my night time drive. It was very hot this friday afternoon, 82 F  in the shade to be exact, and so I did not expect trout to be particularly active. The Bourne is a beautiful stream where you feel incredibly good to look for trout even if this afternoon the conditions were hardly favorable to trout fishing. So I spent a good time observing another tenant on the premises.

Joined by Guilhem we decided to climb further up the river. The atmosphere began to feel strongly stormy but we were confident and wanted to start this weekend devoted to fishing by simply tenkara fishing. In spite of the stormy atmosphere then the wind started blowing but our fishing met the success. Our simple approach to tenkara, faithful to the basic principle of this sport fishing: a rod, a line, a fly, once again demonstrated its effectiveness even in difficult conditions and in my case on streams of which I knew only the name a few hours ago. 

This first fishing session completed, we did hit the road in the opposite direction to join our friend Edouard, who had just arrived at the guest house. We did spend an excellent evening which was followed by a good night of sleep for the day that was awaiting for us the next day. This second day began with our first encounter with a tenkara angler whom we knew only through social networks and I must say that as we had expected, we had the pleasure of meeting a very nice fisherman and really passionate about tenkara. 

After we met, we observed the river where some trout had been stocked for the "fishing festival" and decided to go fishing on the Vercors plateau. As we were driving to the plateau the sky darkened very quickly, and once we reached our destination, we could only see that a storm had swollen the surrounding streams, and we decided to drive back to the gorges of the Bourne where we hopefully found clean and clear waters.

We arrived in the middle of the morning and even at the bottom of these deep gorges the temperature was already very high. Despite the warm weather our morning of tenkara fishing in this magnificent place was crowned with success. We will observe many mayflies but it must be said that during this day they did not seem to interest any fish because only small black kebari were taken by trout. 

The weather forecast was correct and the afternoon ended in a violent storm, it was almost 7 pm when we stopped fishing.

The next day the temperature had dropped sharply and as we found when we arrived on the banks of the Vernaison the water was slightly stained because of the night rain. If the beginning of the morning was rather difficult the fishing became good around noon as the sky uncovered and the temperature rose.

Once again simplicity was rewarded and all trout were taken with zenmai-dou pattern.

In the afternoon I resumed the north road where dantesque storms awaited me and compelled me to cancel the visits and tenkara fishing that I had planned to make in Savoie but I had just spent a weekend with friends passionate of tenkara and that's the main thing.

mercredi 17 mai 2017

Tenkara in Focus

For six months now John Pearson and Paul Gaskell regularly offer us a program called "Tenkara in Focus" which is very interesting because its contents come from the best Japanese sources. There is no other way to learn anything serious about tenkara than to be interested in its authentic techniques.

If the Discover Tenkara channel offers a program that is in itself very interesting John and Paul also offer excellent quality download contents and genuine mines of information for those who want to learn even more.

The latest installment is fully dedicated to Masami Sakakibara.

I have had the pleasure and the privilege of being taught Oni tenkara by Masami san and if he is known in the west for his long line casting it it is necessary not to make the error of not understanding that it is only one of the many aspects of what constitutes his own technique called Oni tenkara.

As I wrote many times on this blog what makes an excellent fisherman a tenkara master is not only his casting technique, although in the case of Masami san he brought it to a level unknown until then, but also the fishing techniques that he has developed from a rational observation of fish and their environment. Masami san's teaching is based on mutual observation between the teacher and his pupil. Masami san does not speak any foreign language but he is a very pedagogue and his pedagogical technique is excellent and effective. I have often wondered how Masami San would transmit his tenkara to us westerners if he spoke one of our languages and I am convinced he would do it the same way because it is simply the best.
The 51 minute video is very rich in information and the combination of fishing scenes of Masami san and the comments of John and Paul is perfect. It deserves to be watched several times because it contains so much information that you are not going to assimilate everything from the first viewing and it puts into perspective all the aspects of the tenkara of Masami san.

In addition to the video John and Paul also edited a 18 page PDF which is very well done because it explains the content of the video and if both media are available individually I encourage you to have both as they are complementary.

This documentary and the PDF are in my opinion the best possible basis for learning one of the most advanced tenkara techniques that has proven its effectiveness everywhere Masami san has been fishing in his life. For a very good price you have the opportunity to have at your disposal the best information available at the moment about tenkara.

mercredi 3 mai 2017

Since the tenkara season opening

It has been six weeks now that the trout season is open and I have not been fishing a lot because of the lack of time to dedicate and because the spring has not really settled in the area. If hawthorns and cherry trees whiten while anemones and daffodils flourish temperatures have remained really low.

Since the season opening the weather has been particularly dry and the small creeks have seen the water level significantly drop but low temperatures and strong winds do not encourage trout to activity. Fishing has been difficult but very interesting and very technical. 
A few weeks ago my friend and teacher Masami Sakakibara wrote this brief sentence which I think is a perfect summary of tenkara as a sport fishing: "The important thing is not the number of fish I take but how I catch them."
I have seen, as every year, gatherings of fishermen on the most easily accessible areas of certain rivers where the fishing associations put a large number of trout, salmo trutta stockus to be precise, and as every year they already evaporated leaving the field free for the better days to come.
If I have not been fishing a lot so far I have taken great pleasure and these few exits also offered me to harvest many feathers that will be very useful to me. But I will not deal with fly tying before the season ends.
I had been waiting for the long weekend of May 1st hoping for a truly springtime weather which I would enjoy on the banks of a stream but as a storm passed over the region it was not possible, I contented myself with an excellent reading on which I shall return in due time.
I wish each of you my fellow tenkara anglers to have a great trout fishing season! 

jeudi 16 mars 2017

Season opening 2017

As every year the final preparations for the trout season opening were made without eagerness on Friday night, the last thing I do after tying the last kebari and checking the contents of my bag is to print  my license.

I had tied some sakasa kebari a few days ago but I had to complete my box with models more suited to small streams that I fish at the season opening. The patterns are in fact the same but smaller in size and suitable for fishing in shallow water.
I also took a little bit of advance by tying the kebari that will fish in larger rivers where I will go fishing when the water level has dropped. For now they will remain in my box but no one knows if the heavy rains of the last few weeks may not occur again.

In the early evening I was ready, I had enough kebari to make the opening, I had printed my license which was duly stowed in my strap pack, my bag contained everything I could need during the day to come.  I was not worried about the state in which I was going to find the creek where I had planned to go for this opening day because I had made several visits there during the previous days and I knew that like many others it was in flood.

The long-awaited saturday  I did arrive shortly after eight o'clock on the banks of this brook, where I open the trout season every year. The weather was nice, the light was soft and the water looked a little less gray than the previous days. However, I did not start fishing when I arrived, I preferred to walk up the river until the temperature rises a little bit. 

Having reached a spot where I considered to be good, I did put my rod into action and began to fish. The high and cold water was not very favorable and I had to control the drift of my kebari to have a chance to make it pass into the holes where the trout hide under such circumstances. I had to ignore many spots because of the high water level but my efforts of accurate casts and controlled drifts were rewarded.

The important thing for me anyway for the opening is simply to be near a stream even if the conditions are horrible, like last year, and I can not fish at all. Of course it's even better when fishing is possible. I did catch a couple of beautiful brownies in the morning of this opening day and that is enough for my happiness.

I collapsed my rod back a little before noon, satisfied with the opening morning.
As every year I took the time to lunch near the river before turning back.
The season is just beginning and it has started well!

lundi 6 mars 2017

Still a few days to be ready...

We are only a few days away from the opening of the fishing so it is still time to prepare for the trout fishing season. As always I approach the preparations with calm and without haste because I know that whatever happens I will be ready. 
It has been raining a lot these last few days and there is a chance that it will continue, so it is at the last minute that streams and rivers that did not have a flood during autumn or winter will see their water levels rise. It is therefore useless to rush, since the opening will undoubtedly be symbolic and the fishing in itself reduced to the congruent portion.

I do not devote the winter to tying hundreds of flies like some people do first because I usually take only a very limited number with me when I go fishing and also because this will of compulsive accumulation does not seem to be a good idea. I prefer to tie only few flies, use them then if necessary to tie a series again. In any case, the only box I carry with me to the fishing can contain little more than two dozen.

So I started this morning by tying the large sakasa kebari for which I used cock and ringneck pheasant feathers. I had not used feathers from farm roosters instead of "fishing" roosters fir very long time, but a blog reader offered to provide me on condition of sharing the tied flies with him and it was a pleasure to accept.
Feathers from farm cocks have longer fibers and really softer fibers than those of the genetically selected roosters but since I intended to use them to tie sakasa kebari this is no problem, quite the opposite in fact.
I use the Oni hooks that were designed by Masami Sakakibara and manufactured by a famous Japanese firm, it starts with a "G", which is the world leader in the market. They are excellent quality and the four different sizes, from 8 to 14, cover my needs.

I will also of course use feathers from ringneck pheasant wings.
The dubbing used this year will be only three: zenmai, squirrel tinted in black and washed squirrel. Natural materials, inexpensive or even free, and which make solid kebari.

I will not use these kebari at the season opening.They are not suitable, because of their large size, to fishing in small streams. If I started with these patterns it is only because that they are the fastest to tie fast.
The sakasa kebari, especially if tied on large hooks, are mainly interesting flies for fishing downstream because it is the current that gives life to their soft hackle.  Function determines shape.