Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Simple Way Of Fly Fishing That Is Tenkara

I've been reading quite a bit lately about an ultra simplistic style of fishing known as Tenkara, a traditional Japanese style of fishing which seems to be gaining a lot of followers in the western world.

To briefly outline the principles of involves nothing more than an extremely light telescopic rod which extends between 11ft - 13ft6in in length (and closes down to 20") to which a long leader and tippet is added to the end (approximately the length of rod or longer). The fly or flies are then attached. No reel is used when fishing Tenkara.

    20" overall length when closed

            Traditional hand woven leader

The appealing aspect of Tenkara is that it requires a minimal amount of tackle which can be carried in a small pouch, together with a lightweight rod that will close down to 20" in overall length this offers the roving angler total freedom to wander unhindered.

If I'm honest I would have to admit that Tenkara's simple approach takes me back to a childhood time of fishing some local waters with a wooden stick, some line, a hook and a lump of bread trying to catch some of the resident fish.

I fancy that at some point in the future I will be trying out the Tenkara style of fishing, if so I'll be sure to let you know how I get on.

If you want to find out more then there is a wealth of information HERE

Tenkara Basics - Instructions and Lines from Tenkara USA on Vimeo.

Tenkara fly-fishing from Tenkara USA on Vimeo.

All photos and videos courtesy of TenkaraUSA

Monday, 14 February 2011

Rising River Woes

Saturday was a lovely spring-like day with warm temperatures and most rivers running at good fishing levels...unfortunately for me this day was tied up doing other things leaving Sunday to 'wave the wand'.

The forecast wasn't looking good with widespread rain predicted for my destination in the Welsh Marches but we decided to give it a go.

To be fair the river looked ok when we arrived but the rain was falling hard and there was a lot of surface water lying on the roads and fields.

It was soon apparent that this was going to be a short fishing session and after a couple of fruitless hours we made the best of the riverside Inn to sample the local ales.

I am now starting to turn my thoughts towards the start of the trout season and long for those days when I can feel the heat from the sun on my back. This winters fishing has been a real struggle and even when the rivers have looked right the fish have been hard to catch.

The only living thing hooked!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Stripping Peacock Quills

My latest experimenting with my fly tying has involved stripping, bleach and rubber! You guessed it...I've been attempting some of the fantastic flies that I have seen on some of the forums which incorporate the use of a stripped peacock quill to create the effect of a segmented body.

The way in which you should take carry this out is really down to what you find best yourself. I have read many different processes that people undertake to strip the fluff from their quills and I would have to say that they all end up with similar results.
The following is my process based on my limited experience but its a way I find works well for me:

First important thing is to ensure that you select the 'right' type of feather, look for a large then need to look at the colour of the quills, this is best done by gently squeezing between thumb and forefinger whilst looking at the back (dull side) of the eye. You should see a nice lighter shade appear.

I then cut out enough quills to more than cover the amount of flies I intend to tie with them.

This next step is open to a bit of debate as to the best way to do it, the way I found works is to mix up a solution of 1/3rd household bleach to 2/3rds warm water then soak the quills for around 10 minutes of so. Some say that bleach weakens the quill but I have found no problems diluted to these proportions.

This will start to remove the fluff and you will see the water start to change colour as it gets to work on the quills. Most importantly I think the bleach in the solution alters the shade of the quills making them brighter which adds to the effect of the finished fly. The quills then need to be washed out thoroughly to remove all traces of the bleach solution.

Some tyers will be happy just to use a rubber to remove the fluff, others will just soak in water and there are others who use a different solution to remove the I say its what you find suits you best.

I then finish off by gently rubbing an eraser along the length of the quill on both sides to remove the remainder of the fluff.

This leaves the quill looking bright and shiny and ready to be used.

The end result produces a body that looks pleasing to the eye and offers a realistic segmentation. (this fly is tied on a Tiemco 103BL #17)