Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby yhchoi71 » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:34 am

(this is a thank you note).

Hey guys, I received my first Tenkara rod and took it out for a spin in the creeks of eastern Korea. I live in the Chicago area but travel frequently to various parts of Asia for work (naturally fishing gets squeezed in with every possible excuse I can find). Small creek fly fishing in eastern Korea is very clear waters with super wary fish which requires careful stalking, small flies, and natural presentations … all which seems appropriate for Tenkara fishing.

Fall in Korea is a good time for trout fishing in general, but on this day I was targeting the Manchurian trout, also known as Lenok (Brachymystax Lenok). During these months, they are active and the larger ones find its way downstream to feed in preparation for the coming winter months. I am a big fan of the native lenok, as they are considered to be the oldest member of the trout family (lenok are found in Korea, Siberia, Mongolia, and parts of northern China – Korea being the southernmost habitat).

Literally having just received the rod, I was peeling off the packaging by the creek side and waving this rod for the first time. I was immediately impressed with how light the rod was smoothness of the presentation. The particular creek I was fishing has received a lot of fishing pressure recently and the water was running lower than normal, which meant that fish will be even more wary. My friend watched me with a concerned face, letting me know that he’s got an extra triple zero Sage rod in the car, just in case things didn’t work out with this Tenkara thing. As he started to walk away, I could hear him say just loud enough for me to hear – “Sorry that I won’t be there to see your face when you lose the bigger fish with that thing…”. He was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to manage anything substantial in size without a reel. Honestly I was too and the wind was picking up which added more pressure for me. I tied on my 7X tippet to the line and I was off.

Long story short I had to keep myself from rubbing it in too obviously at dinner. I did good this day, real good. Not only did I catch plenty of lenok, but I caught the largest one of this year on my new rod. Tenkara affected the way I fish in three different ways … (1) since I don’t have the luxury to make a long cast from far away, I found myself stalking more carefully than I’ve ever done. (2) With the longer rod, I was able to keep the fly drifting naturally for incredible amounts of time. Basically you are freed from the issue of your fly line being dragged by multiple speed currents, and (3) setting the hook with Tenkara is almost unfair to the fish… highly responsive, which resulted in a lot of hook ups. I have to admit, netting the fish with Tenkara takes some getting used to since the reach is further away and I found myself struggling to reach the fish with my net… it will take some practice to do it gracefully.

I still love regular fly fishing but I’m pretty sure that my Tenkara rod will remain permanently as part of my gear bag. Right now, I am looking forward to catching some cherry trout at the end of this week. As my friend dropped me off back at my hotel, I could hear him say just loud enough for me to hear – “you can leave that thing in the car, let me take a closer look at it …”.

Tenkara USA - thanks for making this wonderful rod.

Sincerely,
‘Gone Fishing’ from Four Seasons Angling Club.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby Jerry in SC » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:57 pm

Very nice, looking forward to more Tenkara stories from Korea.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby rsetina » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:03 pm

Now that's a great report. I would have liked to see some of the water you were fishing. Maybe next time? Congratulations. You may have a friend that will be looking into getting a Tenkara rod soon.
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テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby Morgan » Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:41 pm

Great report. That's a beautiful trout!
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby rsetina » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:04 pm

Now I see the photos. I couldn't see them with my iPhone.
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby Tenkara USA » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:55 am

What a great post. Thank you for posting, we're very glad you had such a positive experience and thanks for posting. It really looks like the old Japanese adage that tenkara will outfish western fly-fishing is consistently holding true.

by the way, was the last fish with the very bright belly a lenok?
Image
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby yhchoi71 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:13 am

Hey, thanks for comments! You’ll certainly hear more from me on my Tenkara experience soon, I love it. I couldn’t post larger photos here so I posted them on my fishing blog. ( http://fourseasonsangling.blogspot.com/ ... stern.html ).

The last fish on the photo is not a lenok, it is a fish locally called “gal-gyun-ni” which is basically a creek chub. People don’t like to catch them as they get in the way of getting your fly to the trout, but I have always found them beautiful. They change colors as they get closer to spawning periods.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby jeffkreager » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:54 am

Great post and photos. I recently read an article about trout fishing in Korea. It's good to see Tenkara has made it there.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby rvrgzr » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:11 pm

Thanks for the photos. The chub(s) is quite colorful.
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Re: Tenkara … chasing lenok trout in Eastern Korea

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:32 pm

Ah, all those fish. I think your blog just gave taught me something I have been wondering for a while.

While fishing in Japan last year I caught this fish:
Image

I had no idea what it was, except that it reminded me of a small carp, but with a more streamlined body to live in the fast stream I was fishing. Interestingly it took a dry fly, even thought it seems to be a bottom feeder.

Now I read your blog, http://fourseasonsangling.blogspot.com/ ... asure.html, and this fish seems to be what you refer to as UGUI. Like you, I thought it was beautiful.
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