Last Friday I needed to get outdoors. There are days when the quality of the experience outweigh the quantity of fish caught. While I am not a fish counter nor am I competitive about any of my fishing I do generally prefer to avoid a complete skunk. I spend a lot of time learning about fish and attempting to catch them and more often than not I am successful on my days out.
Friday was one of those days where I wanted to get more out of the experience than just catching some fish. There are places very near me that fish pretty good all winter long if you are willing. It’s nymphing 100% and often windy, rainy and overall unpleasant. I still go often but sometimes it just doesn’t sound appealing. After many weeks of working on my nymphing techniques I really wanted to cast a light fly on an awesome rod.
So I packed up and headed to a beautiful little mountain creek I know of. This place has trout but even in peak season it is never really hot and heavy. I headed knowing I would likely not catch a thing but I would be able to fish some fantastic water in a gorgeous location and I would be completely alone. I spent several hours exploring, casting unweighted flies to likely looking spots and enjoying the clean air and solitude. After the years spent in this pandemic and the ugliness its brought out in society I have become a much more patient person. I am grateful for every good experience I have and seize any opportunity to build more good memories. I’ll find myself in situations like in these photos where I will go out more for peace and a clear mind than to rack up a high fish count.
Take nothing for granted. Enjoy every single second you get to spend on an enjoyable pursuit like tenkara. Tie the flies you like tying, fish the rods you love casting and go to the places you love fishing for the sheer sake that they exist.
5 thoughts on “Time Well Spent”
Nice pics! When I first started fly fishing I took pics of caught fish, probably right in my net. Now I take pics of the scenery to remind me where I’ve been and when I was there. Looks like you do the same.
I don’t really take pictures of fish at all anymore when I’m fishing solo unless it is particularly colorful or unique looking. Trying to handhold a fish with one hand and a camera in the other never works out how I want it and the fish in the net pictures just aren’t really interesting. Plus I just like to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. If I am with a friend I am happy to get a quick photo. I do the same as you now. I was really into landscape photography for years and I like capturing broader images of the scene like the ones in this post. They do a much better job of bringing back the memories of the day. I really enjoy your site by the way! Great stuff you are doing over there and you are a very talented fly tier.
You and I seem to be on the same wavelength although I haven’t really discovered Tenkara yet. At this point, my preference is tightline nymphing (and classic dry flies, of course) but I’m thinking there might be some similarities. And thank you very much for your kind closing thought.
One of the things that really sold me on tenkara/fixed line fishing was how incredibly effective it is at tight line nymphing. I noticed a near double catch rate increase on streams I was already very familiar with. The rods are very light in the 2 to 3 oz range and generally run 10 to 13 feet. Made of carbon fiber they are very sensitive. These ultra light set ups allow one to fish very light casting lines and small nymphs in ways that are very difficult if not impossible by other means. The main advantage is virtually no slack between rod tip and fly. They also are great at protecting tippets. I use 6x to 7x almost exclusively now and I seldom loose fish due to breakages. On top of that I just really enjoy traditional Japanese style tenkara fishing as well. A traditional Japanese made rod is usually very light and very soft action. They are just a joy to cast and for fishing small to medium sized creeks they are really hard to beat. I fly fished with rod and reel for decades but now my gear seldom sees the light of day. Places I will still fish them are stillwaters or for bigger fish like steelhead. Tenkaras biggest drawback is distance. Some people still try to use really long lines with them but to me its just a pain in the ass trying to hand line in 30 ft of line. Since you seem to enjoy classic flies I have included a link to a great Japanese fly fishing/ tenkara web site that is in English and has been around since the 90’s. A lot of information and historical data on classic kebari and other Japanese trout flies.
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I use a 10ft 3wt Syndicate Pipeline Pro rod for tightline nymphing. It’s super sensitive to the slightest take. I build up my own leaders out of mono with some different colors near the end. I mainly use 6x fluorocarbon on small streams and 5x for medium ones. I don’t think I have any 7x. The nice thing about my rod/reel setup is that I can tie on a standard leader and cast dry flies. It casts pretty well but I usually use my 5wt if I know there will be some rising fish. Thanks for the tenkara link … I’ll check it out!
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