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February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:12 pm
by Adam Trahan
Tenkara USA is putting on another contest!

The theme of this contest will be: "Tenkara +"

Write a short story about tenkara and another pastime (example: tenkara + mountain biking or hiking, travel etc) and if you desire, include one or two pictures and post it as a reply to this topic.

It's that easy.

No questions, just follow the rules and post your entry as a reply to this topic.

At the completion of the contest time frame, we will judge the entries and announce the winner here.

Your story will be yours but we retain the right to publish throughout the Tenkara USA media.

The contest will run until March 31, 2018.

1st place prize will be your choice of a Tenkara USA rod in the "Shop Tenkara: Rods" tab.

2nd place prize will be a Tenkara USA tamo (net.)

Please make sure you read the below instructions.

1. Write a story with no more than two images.

2. Post your single entry (enter as many times as you like) as a reply to this topic, include the images in the story post.

3. Entries by user login account.

4. Make sure you post on or before March 31st, 2018.

We will announce the winner in the first week of April, 2018.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:55 pm
by Andrew_Wayment
By Andrew M. Wayment
I’m an angler and a grouse hunter. Most grouse hunters I know are also anglers because in my neck of the woods, trout and grouse live in close proximity. I don’t think I could choose one over the other.

During the spring and summer, I focus primarily on fishing, but always keep my eyes peeled for new places to pursue grouse in the fall. Then, when the frost comes and the leaves start to turn colors, my attention and devotion turns to grouse hunting. However, some of the very best fishing occurs during the fall while I’m out following my bird dog in the grouse woods. I often wished for a way to do both, but realized hiking with a shotgun and fly rod would not be easy. Then I discovered tenkara.

What first attracted me to tenkara fishing was the small retractable rods without reels that could be stowed away in my game vest while searching for grouse. I wanted a simple rod that could be fished at a moment’s notice whenever I came across a likely looking run on a mountain stream. My first tenkara rod that I acquired in 2014—a 12 footer—was a little too long for the tiny brushy creek I nicknamed “Trickle Creek” near my favorite grouse covert. However, I subsequently got a Tenkara USA Rhodo—which adjusts to three different lengths—that works just perfectly on this little creek full of Yellowstone Cutthroat. While hunting, I can pull out my rod, extend it and be fishing in less than a minute.

During the glorious days of October when the quakies are aflame, nothing is better than to take a grouse or two with my Brittany up on an alpine ridge and then finish the day casting a Renegade to a few hungry cutthroat down on Trickle Creek. Following a grouse hunt last fall, I pulled out the Rhodo and fished a deep, dark pool with an overhanging rocky bank at a bend in the creek. I know from experience that a fifteen-inch cutty lives beneath that undercut. I snuck up to the hole, cast a Renegade into the pool, and watched the fish slowly rise from out of the depths to sip the fly off the surface. After a scrappy fight, I admired his beauty and released him back into the pool. I fished for him numerous other times that fall. Sometimes I succeeded in catching him and sometimes I didn’t, but I always caught a few of his smaller siblings and enjoyed every second on this special creek.

Tenkara works perfectly to accomplish the goal of catching a few trout while grouse hunting. For me, tenkara and grouse hunting are two sides of the same coin that can be enjoyed on their own—or even better—together.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:03 pm
by Jutt12
My short story is not going to be about using a Tenkara Rod, rather, it is about a time I wish I had one.

Tenkara and Hiking

I am a fairly avid fly fisherman from Central Pennsylvania, surrounded by some of the greatest trout fisheries in the country. I fish whenever I am not bombarded by school work. This past summer, my fiancee and I were able to go on a road trip out west. We drove straight from PA to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore for 30 minutes and left to Colorado. Making it just in time to set up our tent at our campsite in Estes before it got dark. The months leading up to the trip, I couldn't think of anything but hiking up into the snowcapped mountains and fishing the lakes for one of my bucket-list fish, the cutthroat. The vibrant colors on these fish are simply a work of art. I could barely sleep that night, knowing the following day we would be hiking up into the Rocky Mountains in search of this magnificent species. I am blessed enough to have a beautiful fiancee that enjoys fly fishing as well. Now, we are from a lower altitude geographical location compared to Colorado. Knowing this, we anticipated on trekking out early so we could pace ourselves.

We were on the trail by 7 am. Our goal was to reach Fern Lake, which is known to hold cutthroat trout in the cool waters that feed it. Now, I don't particularly enjoy the hiking aspect, rather I just like the rewards it provides such as beautiful views and amazing places to fish. I haven't worked our in quite some time, the biggest workout I get is casting my rod. Also, using a hiking map is somewhat novel to us. I of course thought it was not a big deal and off we went. We had with us two 9ft fly rods, my chest pack, backpack, my fiancee had her backpack with her camera gear. They were both indeed heavy and bulky, but we didn't think much of it. The elevation at Fern Lake is 9,500' and 7.6 miles out. We started hiking and enjoying the sight of the "real mountains" compared to the puny hills of the Appalachian Mountains back home. We stopped and took pictures from time to time and enjoyed the sights. After a good chunk of time went by we began to hear the sounds of the roaring Big Thompson River. Hearing water excited me and I was getting more and more eager to fish. We finally made it to the Big Thompson River Pool. We were excited because we made it to a maker on the map that was on our route. Saw signs of catch and release fishing only, which I loved to see. It was fueling my fire more and more. However, this is where things went wrong. We made it there around 3:20 pm. We thought we were making great time because we believed we were just a mile or so away from the lake. We took pictures of the pool and kept going, feeling somewhat fatigued but knowing we were so close we moved on. However, this is where we made a big mistake.

We looped around and was now on the opposite side of the river. I was able to take a few peaks down in and spotted my first cutthroat, my excitement was even greater now. It was close to an hour or so we were still not at the lake, we finally made it to a trailhead to our surprise. Here we want the wrong way and were completing a loop.... We were so exhausted and frustrated now. We were not use to this type of hiking and now knowing we went the wrong way we were bummed. Debating whether or not to hitch a shuttle, I said there was no way we were going back without reaching the lake. So, we retraced our steps and made it to the pool. Still lugging all of this equipment around and running low on water, we made it to the pool. Now it was decision time, to start heading back or finish what we started to do. We decided to finish our trek and go to Fern Lake in search for the cutthroat.

Finally at around 5:30 ish, we made it to the lake. Immediately I started hunting for my first attempt at catching a cutthroat. I was able to spot a set of two swirling around the area. I was anxious and ignored my surroundings. I made my first cast attempt with my 9ft rod, and go hung up in the tree. I had to cut and redo my whole leader, which got caught in my reel as well. I wish I had a more simplistic set up such at a Tenkara rod with me. They would be so much easier to haul on a hike like this, and much less of a hassle to fish a lake such as this that doesn't necessarily require an overwhelming amount of like to fish. The fish were hanging close to the banks, perfect for this setup. The fish were gone and I had to find a new spot. I was finally able to find a large opening were some fish were working. I put on a size 16 flash back pheasant tail on a barbless hook, and laid it out. They swarmed to the fly and I set the hook. Finally, my first cutthroat trout was on the end of my line, and my heart was pounding. It may have been small, but the colors it had were mesmerizing. I was then able to get my fiancee onto her first cutthroat as well. We were then forced to cut the journey short because of having to make the trek back.

On the way back, I spent most of the time carrying both backpacks, my chest pack, my rod and rod tube, and my fiancee's rod as well. My back ached and we were so hungry and thirsty. We didn't make it back to the car until 8:00 pm. We thought we would never make it back. Needless to say, it was quite the adventure. Having Tenkara rods would have made it much easier because of needing less equipment and they would be so much more efficient. I have always wanted one, but have just not been able to financially afford one because of school. I would love to throw one around here in Central, PA and keep it with me on all the travels I take.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:11 pm
by Fly_Tyer_Mike
Tenkara and chasing native brook trout with a fly rod

Where to begin with this short story? I grew up bait fishing in Pennsylvania. I started fishing pretty much before I could walk. My dad would take me out for panfish and such with a hand me down ice jigging rod. Fishing itself always just gave me a rush. Seeing my bobber go under, or feeling a tug gave me a sudden rush of adrenaline and I wanted more. It gave me a chance to use my skills to catch a glimpse at an animal that you cannot see up close any other way without the use of SCUBA diving gear. So my earliest fish were bass and panfish on bait. I moved to trout a few years later.

As my story continues I began trout fishing with my uncles around 6-7. By the time I was 8 I was stringing minnows and drifting worms with the best of them. I remember grown men getting mad because a 10 year old kid was catching more fish than they were. But as true with most of my outdoor obsessions, I wanted more. I wanted more of a challenge. Catching fish with a minnow was too easy for this hot headed teenager. So at the age of 16, I decided I would become a fly fisherman. I was finding any means possible to make a few extra dollars, to buy flies, leaders, and tippet. Oh, how those early years were troublesome. I would become agitated that I couldn't cast without getting snagged in a tree. I was frustrated knowing that there were trout there and I could not catch them. I would "fly fish", if you could call it that, then resort to my spin fishing gear to put up the numbers of trout I needed to feel satisfied. Numbers... numbers and size of fish.. at the time that was the most important thing to me.

Well finally I hit the point where, I just had to become a fly fisherman. Not some kind of hybrid who does both, NO! I had to be a fly fisherman. So I started leaving the spinning gear at home, and only took the fly rod. I began to catch a few. But now, I was too good. So now I needed a new challenge. I decided that now I must learn to tie my own flies and catch all of my fish on something I created. This hot headed teen was going to be the best fly tyer, and fly fisherman out there.

Well those early ties were just awful. There was no youtube then. There was not Facebook, Instagram, "insert social media platform here", that I could find someone to ask for advice. It was a few years before my flies got good enough, and my skills decent enough to put up any sort of numbers, again always with the numbers.

Now lets jump to two years ago. This is when I would say I hit the peak of the "numbers- and size of fish high" it was nothing to catch 30-40 trout on most outings. Now this jumps me back into my ongoing struggle with wanting more. But this time it wasn't about needing a bigger challenge. I was over that idea, I mean how many fish does one really need to catch? I needed to feel more in touch with nature. I needed to feel the connection with the environment, my surroundings. With work, and kids now my fishing time was cut drastically down. So now when I went out I just become one with the stream.

I turned to Native brook trout fishing and my whole outlook on fly fishing changed. I am a sales engineer by trade now, so numbers are just something that reminds me of work. I wanted to get away from numbers and focus on nature, and being connected to the stream. Again the length of a fish, and quantity of fish just more numbers to keep track of.

Around this time I saw a live feed pop up on my Facebook and it was Daniel, discussing tenkara. I had multiple questions that were all answered, live. I enjoyed this interaction and felt a slight "spark" like when I had first started fly fishing, but nothing that was enough to make me commit to a tenkara outfit.

So now when I go out I don't even worry about the numbers of fish I catch. I focus on nature, and drift off into a zen like feeling of being connected with the stream. I especially enjoy winter fly fishing for native brook trout. The only thing you hear is the stream, and wind. Birds, are even quiet this time of year. Numbers just are something that interfere with this zen. Keeping track of the length of a fish, or quantity caught just hinder my zen feeling, and is something I now avoid at all costs. I cant remember the last time I measured a fish. I would say my fish sizes range from dink, small, decent, big, and huge. Its easier this way. Too many fisherman out there are too quick to question these numbers anyway. They are inclined to question the length of your fish, quick to question the number of fish caught during a trip. All of this just draws me more towards Tenkara. It sounds crazy but when I am fishing for natives and trying to become totally immersed in nature, the sound of the fly reel, is bothersome. The weight of the whole outfit in my hands only makes me feel more confined. I am trying to seek total freedom when focusing on brookies. I want to forget all of the worries of switching flies, and worrying about the weight of my flies and such. All of that just, takes away from the whole experience.

I feel that is why I am being so drawn to tenkara. The simplicity of it all, really sounds like something that can only increase the zen type feeling that I seek from fishing for native brook trout. I feel that this zen will only be increased when I mix tenkara with hunting turkey in the spring. The thought of being able to store my tenkara outfit and a few flies in my turkey vest is very appealing. If the turkey are not cooperating, I can simply just pull out my tenkara outfit and forget my stress and worries of bagging a turkey. If I am luck enough to harvest a bird, I can tie a fly from him, and catch native brook trout.

I guess to end this short story, I am at the point now where that spark that was lit when I watched the Tenkara USA live stream has grown into more. It has me joining facebook groups to learn about Tenkara. It has me experimenting and learning tenkara flies. That spark grew into watching every youtube video I can to learn more about the history of Tenkara, and how it has grown.

I honestly feel that the only way I am going to be able to achieve the full zen I am hoping for when I seek to escape life's issues will be with a tenkara outfit, and becoming a Tenkara Angler.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:04 pm
by Fly_Tyer_Mike
Since my first story I have built my own hybrid tenkara/ fly rod hybrid from a 6'-6" 1 wt fly rod. I am in love with this rod, and the style of bluelining with tenkara type gear.

Since I had built it I have pretty much, not used anything but this rod. I live in SWPA and have many native brook trout streams around me. I tried to go fishing with my fly rod but it just wasn't the same. The weight of the reel, and the sound of it was bothersome to me so I went and explored some blue line streams. I landed quite a few Native Brookies and was falling more in love with the idea of keeping my fishing simplified.

So this past Saturday my wife gave me a few hours away from her and the kids. I hiked way up into the mountains to see what gems I could find with me hybrid tenkara rod. I fished for about a mile and only landed one tiny brookie. I was ecstatic because this fish was such a hard earned fish. A beautiful little native with par marks and spots of orange/pink.

So I went down lower in the valley and came across a large pool. My "Brookie Stick" was severly handicapped on this hole as I could not cast very far, so I had to do the unthinkable and fish this hole the wrong way. I went above and hid in a rhododendron bush. I flipped the rod out and gave my simple streamer a few twitches.

I felt the unmistakable tap, tap of a fish taking my streamer. I set the hook, and looked down expecting to have a 3-4" native brookie on my line. Suddenly a huge white mouth opened up and a monsterous rainbow was on the end of my line. "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS!" I shouted outloud.

I jumped on top of the brush pile while keeping my arm as high as I could. There was 12" of snow on the ground and my ungloved hand was cold as I lept from the log.

I am looking into the pool and see just a small stream monster on my line. I am still 100% green on landing a fish on a tenkara style rod, so my instinct pretty much kicked in. I kept the rod held high and constant upward pressure on the rainbow. She was not happy and filled the pool with head shakes and short runs. I was scared to death that the fish would take the whole top section of my hybrid tenkara rod.

I was not going to risk disturbing any brook trout redds, so I carefully walked into the silty area of the hole. The bend in my 1wt Brookie Stick, as I like to call it, was incredible. I was about hip deep in the water and silt when the fish was finally tiring out.

I reached in to the water up to my shoulder and landed this fish. I walked her carefully towards the bank, and sat there, soaked to the bone, in 26 degree weather, just gasping in disbelief. I grabbed my phone and took a few quick photos, and a video of the release.

This fish really sealed my fate as a small stream tenkara angler. I do not own a true tenkara rod as of yet, but my little hybrid is close enough for now. I am in love with the challenge and this fish taught me so much on landing larger fish without a reel.

I have attached a few photos of the rainbow for you all to see. She was truly a beautiful trout, and I have no real certain answer as to how she got all the way up into this hole. I hope you enjoyed this story as it is forever engraved into my mind.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:30 pm
Fixed Line Fly Fishing and Kids
My two grandsons enjoy sitting on my lap and tying a fly or two with me and that is fun for all of us, but the other day the older one, the 4 and a half one, asks Grandpa when can we go fishing? Since then I have been looking for an opportunity and a plan to make that happen.
Of course, a full-fledged fly rod and reel are pretty much out of the question for a 3 and 4.5 year old. Like many of you, my first experiences of fishing consisted of a cane pole, that green braided line, a hook, bobber, and some worms dug up in the back yard. It was a lot of fun and some fish were landed. Well, Gander Mountain had their going out of business and had some $4 two-piece cane poles on sale at half price and not being one to pass up on a bargain, two of them ended up in the back of the car.
A second factor was that I have been doing quite a bit of Tenkara fishing lately and could see how that would be a good way to get the boys started in fishing. I didn’t feel so comfortable with them handling my new Iwana rod and wondered if those cane poles might work as a viable alternative. The two-piece bamboo poles when put together came out to about nine feet in total length. So . . . . to make it into a two piece bamboo fixed line rod a six foot piece of the running line from the back end of an old 5 wt. line was looped on one end and the loop fastened to the eye at the end of the cane pole. Then a 3 to 4 foot piece of 3x attached to the line with a nail knot as the leader/tippet. A small foam fly was tied to the tippet.
I was a bit surprised that the little cane pole cast a line pretty well, easily propelling the fly to 10 or 15 feet. It was a bit heavy for the boys and a foot or so was cut from the butt end to make it a little more user-friendly for them. A circle of bungee cords made a nice two foot diameter target for them to practice casting with a yarn indicator tied on the end. The 4.5 year old took right too it. The 3 year old . . . . not so much.
After a bit of practice, we walked to the pond at the condos behind the house to try out the fixed line fly rods on the water. The first couple of casts nothing happened, but then a few nibbles would shake the fly. After a bit a small bluegill gobbled up the fly and the older boy pulled it in. The fish was examined thoroughly by both boys, a few pictures taken, and then the little gill released back into the pond. Two more fish were landed on the smaller boy’s pole which prompted his brother to say, “I want to fish in that spot,” or something like that. Soon one of them said “I’m hungry” and that ended the fishing for the day. We all headed back to the house for dinner with big smiles and sparkling eyes.
This was a very inexpensive introduction into the world of fly fishing for the young boys. I’m looking forward to more adventures and more developed fishing gear in the future. Fishing should be fun . . . and this day it truly was.

Re: February 2018 Tenkara USA Contest

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:12 pm
by Adam Trahan
I really enjoyed each story and I appreciate your contribution to the community.

Thank you so much for entering!

Fly_Tyer_Mike, you are the Tenkara USA rod winner!

Jutt12, you are the winner of the Tenkara USA net!

Please contact customer service to pick up your prizes!