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.

lundi 23 avril 2018

Spring tenkara

Since the opening of the trout season last month the weather has been so bad that I have not been able to go fishing once; most streams having seen their waters become strongly tainted. However, I have seen many fishermen strive on several streams throughout the month, surely those people who want to "profitable" their fishing licence by filling their freezer of these famous "farm" trout. Fortunately last week we finally saw spring conditions settle.

Finally blue in the sky and white, pink, yellow, purple on the banks! And the madness of the flying fauna of the undergrowth. Spring has finally begun!

I started fishing a little upstream from where I stopped at the opening. An interesting place, narrow and crowded where the discretion and the casting precision are imperative for the angler who does not want to spend his time to unhook his kebari from branches and brambles and who wants to make visit his tamo to a trout.

The casting accuracy is, any serious trout anglers knows this, one of the most important factors in the success of trout fishing. I take very few kebari with me and if I lose them in the trees or brambles I just have to turn around and go back home. My friend Adam Trahan has written an excellent article on the topic and let us not forget that our kebari will be seen in movement by animals which surely do not have the same view as human beings.

I fished with the same gear at the opening, ie a Nissin Kawashi 320 rod and a Oni-ryu 号2.5 level line. The conditions being ideal during the two mornings of this weekend the trout responded favorably to my requests.

I did take full advantage of it and I was always completely absorbed in my fishing and during these two mornings I made the same mistake and every morning around 10:30 I left this narrow and shadowed area to reach a place where the stream widens and it was the end of my fishing trip.

I took one last trout under the drooping branches of a boxwood, which formed a shelter against the bank, once this trout had returned to its element, I did collapse my rod and left. The temperature had risen and the trout were no longer as cooperative as those in the shaded areas.

But I did not regret leaving because I had spent two very beautiful spring mornings.