The $60 trout

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

The $60 trout

Postby dwalker » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:21 am

I was starting to put away my Tenkara rod and line when the uh oh moment was realized after spending about ninety minutes on the Williams River. The first trout river I had ever fished. The Williams has a mix of wild and stocked trout. I fished a couple of miles down stream from the 4.5 mile catch and release section of the river though I did not plan keeping any trout I caught. I borrowed my son's Nikon Coolpix camera to take a picture or two of the river and of any interesting fish I might catch. I've had my Tenkara rods a couple of weeks and had been having really great success catching pan fish on streams close to home. With a week of vacation it was time to spend a few of those days by going to the family cabin in Pocahontas County , locate the many trout streams there and find out if I could have similar results.

About fifty yard up stream from where I entered the river I could see a small water fall and had little success until made my where there and I cast my a wet fly into an eddy in the middle of the the water fall. To my surprise after only a few cast into the eddy I hooked what I think must have been a golden rainbow. At least gold was the only color I saw when I felt the strike and jerked out of the eddy a fish that looked about 14 inches. A foot at least. I had him hooked long enough to get him vertical in the air above the rapid water as I pulled him out of the eddy pool. Then he was off the line and gone. Oh man. What might have been as a first trout taken with a fly using an Ayu Tenkara rod. I cast back to the same eddy a few times with no more hits.

Moving on up stream I later hooked and successfully landed a 7 or 8 inch brook trout, I think, I am not yet used to identifying the different varieties of trout. I released him and continued fishing on up stream a short distance before deciding I need to start working my way back down stream to the car since it would soon be dark. And I was finding it pretty slow going in this slick , unstable, boulder, freestone river. I now have a new interest in reading the wading staff thread on this forum.

Coming back by the same water fall I decided to try the same eddy pool again. Again after only a few cast I hooked an all gold colored fish. Pulling him out of the eddy and into the rapid water but never getting him vertical before loosing him too. I wondered if it was the same fish or another one from the same eddy. He was certainly the same size and color. I cast a few more times back into the eddy and then I saw something which I am not sure was real or just my imagination. For an instant I thought I saw another gold colored fish in the eddy looking down stream at me. It was just an instant and then it was gone. Did I really see it ? Was it a different fish or the same one which had somehow swam back up stream and back into the eddy? I will never know. I cast again a few times before giving up and wading back to the car.

Getting to the bank by where I parked I reached in my pocket for the furled line spool. It wasn't there. Then I looking into the small GG hip pocket pouch that I keep my tackle in , hanging it on a neck line so it hangs near my ribs and it wasn't there either. Normally I carry extra tippet, nippers, an extra furled line and a level line and a small fly box in the pouch. But today I had put my son's camera into the pouch to keep it out of the water and put the fly box into the pocket of my shorts . Then I remembered I had put the spool into the same pocket with my fly box. The pocket on the left. Pockets that closed not with a button but with a velcro fastner. Not there either. It must be in the other pocket. Check the pocket on the right. Not there. Did I leave it in the car since I was breaking routine and carrying a camera? Nope. I finally had to admit that somewhere on the river when I waded through one of the deeper pools to avoid back tracking to shallower place as I worked my way up river that the fly box and the spool must have floated out of my my pocket. :cry:

On my way to the area I had stopped at an outfitter and purchased a few more flies and new fly box which had little compartments with doors. Spent the previous evening , crimping down the barbs, dry flies on one side, wet on the other, nymphs in the bottom section, making sure the hook eyes where not clogged. And now they were all gone. 25 or so flies , and a new though not expensive fly box. About sixty bucks worth of stuff. I had also recently made the spool a bit more useful by gluing a couple of small foam blocks onto one side to hold the fly when I coiled on the line.

Still kicking myself for not leaving on the fly box lanyard, for trusting the velcro fastener on the pocket and for breaking the routine of where to keep stuff. So lessons learned. Secure stuff, find better shoes to use on stony rivers, look into a wading staff.

OTOH - I still had fun, caught my first trout on a fly and not all my new flies were in the box. Though I did not land the fish at the water fall, at least with the Tenkara method I managed to get them to take the fly and with only a few cast too. Enough fun to be worth $60. I might have kept him and had him for dinner if I had known he would cost me $60 in lost flies. Still , it wasn't his fault, but mine, so I am glad he's still swimming around. But I don't want to loose there replacements. Now to learn a better hook setting technique and replace my lost flies. Oh, get some of those nifty tenkara line spools when they come back into stock. :)
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: The $60 trout

Postby CM_Stewart » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:11 am

1. Could have been worse. Could have been your son's Nikon that got lost.
2. Completely agree on the wading staff - even if it's only a broomstick from Home Depot.
3. If I undertstand what you mean about getting the 14 incher "vertical above the water," I don't think you want to do that. For fish that size, you'd be better off with a net, keeping the fish at the surface as you slide it into the net (or the net under it). Even smaller trout won't hang quietly like panfish, they'll wiggle so much that you'll lose a lot of them, too if you try to hold them out of the water for very long at all - particularly with barbless hooks. If you have a net for the larger ones, use it for the smaller ones, too, or just wet your hand and then slide your hand down the line until you can either hold the fish or reach the hook to unhook it without even touching the fish. That, too, is easier to do if the fish is still at the water's surface.

Congratulations on your first trout on a fly. There will be more - many more!
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Re: The $60 trout

Postby wrknapp » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:44 am

Congratulations! Most of us have had similar experiences. As usual, CM's advice is right on the mark. Read his blog and posts and you'll learn a lot.

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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Re: The $60 trout

Postby dwalker » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:38 am

Chris and Randy,

Thanks for responding and for the advice. A poor description on my part. The hooked fish was still 25 feet away from me. He hit the fly. I pulled the rod to set the hook, pulling him out of the eddy and into the cascading water as I tried to glide him toward me. It wasn't so much that I lifted the fish vertical above horizontal water. It was closer to being that the water fell away from beneath the fish as it flushed down stream. Though I was certainly trying to hold his head high. The second time the fish was pulled out of the eddy and into the fast moving water but was off the hook before the water dropped away vertically. In both cases the hook time was only a couple of seconds. The river was fairly wide but the eddy was near one side and there were tree limps overhanging, fairly high but low enough that the rod tip hit them a few times if I didn't stay aware of them and stay back toward the middle of the stream before raising the tip to high. Next time perhaps.

Not sure about the camera, the box of flies may have been more valuable. The memory card would have likely survived with any captured pictures. Its a low end Coolpix that is cheap, slow to capture and even store an image. I gave it to my son after I purchased a nicer dslr.
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: The $60 trout

Postby rvrgzr » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:18 am

When I'm fishing in the rhododendron-lined streams in the NC mountains, I rarely lift the rod vertically. I use a parallel-to-the-water's-surface hook set. With my long, flexible Amago I actually two hand the rod: pulling with the upper hand and pushing with the lower. This uses the entire rod and often tires even a large trout fairly quickly.
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