Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

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

Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby LMarshall » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:09 am

Yesterday I finally got out with a friend of mine to fish the Swift River for the first time this fall. This a really nice tailwater fishery, with very stable water temps all year long. It's also well regulated for catch and release, with about a mile stretch designated fly-fishing-only. It doesn't fit my definition of a small stream, but it certainly is not a big river.

We got to the river around 3:30pm, this time of year in New England that's getting pretty late, so we were only able to fish till about 5pm. In the failing light it was impossible to see the tiny size 22 black gnat that I often find success with on this river, even in slow water. I switched to a parachute adams, and to my surprise found some fish below a shallow riffle pretty quick. I caught and landed a 4in brookie, and about 2 casts later I hooked a good size rainbow, maybe about 14in. Due to the stable water temps, large holdovers are common in the Swift, so it felt like this fish was on the low end of average in terms of size. After I set the hook, the fish took off downstream, got to the end of my reach, turned around, and came straight at me. Now, I've gotten so used to fighting small fish, I was totally unprepared for this guy! Once the fish got to my feet I made the mistake, out of habit, of grabbing the line about 2ft above the fish. With 6 inch bluegill, this is a pretty legit way to control and land fish. Not so with this trout, in two shakes he was off. Next time I'll let him fight a bit longer haha, and start thinking seriously about a net (Something I never felt was all that necessary until today).

In the next hour or so we didn't see too much action, but drew a number of tantalizing strikes on the parachute adams. By 5 it was getting hard to see anything, so we packed up and drove home. All in all a pretty good trip to the river!

Tenkara worked out great on the Swift, the largest river I've tried it out on so far. I really didn't ever feel all that limited by the equipment, and the Iwana handled that rainbow just fine.
LMarshall
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:31 pm
Location: Southern NH / Central MA

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:56 am

Yeow! I've fished the Swift alot in the last 30 years and lately with Tenkara. Yes it gets dark early but this is when the BWO hatch is on and one must go when the bugs call.
I have hung some big fish in that river on Tenkara and I find it is not appropriate to fish for the larger fish with my rig ( an 11" Iwana). The fish are in control from the get and it takes too long to revive them for release. I never felt that there was breakoff danger, even with 6x and 7x, but it just took too long to control the fish. If you are going to eat them it isn't a problem but if you are going to put them back it is a problem. You'll agree that those fish get pounded on that river. That fish you just hooked might have already had its excercise for the day and should be dealt with respectfully.
Again, the Iwana landed the fish with no problems....eventually. A net sure helps on the bigger ones and perhaps a fishing buddy to net the big ones is a useful accessory.
Again...my views only and I'm glad there is another tenkara crackpot on the Swift.
Stephen McGowen
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:40 am

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby LMarshall » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:25 am

Stephen McGowen wrote:Yeow! I've fished the Swift alot in the last 30 years and lately with Tenkara. Yes it gets dark early but this is when the BWO hatch is on and one must go when the bugs call.
I have hung some big fish in that river on Tenkara and I find it is not appropriate to fish for the larger fish with my rig ( an 11" Iwana). The fish are in control from the get and it takes too long to revive them for release. I never felt that there was breakoff danger, even with 6x and 7x, but it just took too long to control the fish. If you are going to eat them it isn't a problem but if you are going to put them back it is a problem. You'll agree that those fish get pounded on that river. That fish you just hooked might have already had its excercise for the day and should be dealt with respectfully.
Again, the Iwana landed the fish with no problems....eventually. A net sure helps on the bigger ones and perhaps a fishing buddy to net the big ones is a useful accessory.
Again...my views only and I'm glad there is another tenkara crackpot on the Swift.


Haha, I was hoping to be the first tenkara crackpot on the Swift, looks like you beat me to it!

My knowledge of hatches and entomology is slim, I had no idea I might have been fishing a hatch. This is one area I need to learn more about :)

This was the first time I'd tried tenkara out in a stream with potential for big fish, and I think your opinions are justified. Although with a net, I think the fish could probably be landed quickly enough to make a viable release. A stronger rod like the Yammame would probably be useful as well. The fishing pressure on the Swift is just unreal, especially on weekends in the FFO section. We often end up heading downstream of the Rt. 9 bridge for this reason; it just gets too crowded.
LMarshall
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:31 pm
Location: Southern NH / Central MA

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby rsetina » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:24 pm

Sounds like you had a good few hours on the water. I think nets are a must if you have a chance of running into a fish of any good size. I normally carry one where ever I go.
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.
rsetina
 
Posts: 1514
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby CM_Stewart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:55 pm

I'd have to agree with Rick on this one. You really need a net if you are going to land larger fish without beaching them or playing them to death. I would have to disagree with Stephen to some extent, though. (Although I guess it does depend on the size of the fish.) True, the Iwana is not intended for larger fish, but there is still no need to play a fish to exhaustion. It really should take less time to land a fish with a tenkara rod than a fly rod because you never have to regain any line. My largest fish on tenkara rods were not huge by any means (several fish between 17 and 18 inches - including one that size on my 11' Iwana), but none of them took very long to get in at all, and none hung around long enough to need reviving. If a fish doesn't break your tippet on the first run, you've got him and you don't have to baby him or the tippet. If you felt there was never a chance of a break off, I think you probably could have put a lot more pressure on the fish. Of course, if your line is long enough that you have to grab the line to land the fish, you greatly increase the chances that the tippet will break. Using 5x helps a lot if you have to grab the line. As soon as you can slide the fish toward you at the surface with his head above water, in one smooth motion grab the line with your free hand, trap it under your rod hand (all the while still sliding him towards you on the surface) get your net under him and you've got him. The key is not to let him get his head back down while you have the line in your hand.
CM_Stewart
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:43 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:34 pm

If you are going to fish for the larger fish you should have respect. You should learn how and use appropriate tackle.
Rainbows and Browns in the Swift go to over 20". I have seen numerous dead fish on the bottom and many mishandled fish that later expired, in walking that river for 30 years.
You don't kill your tennis balls when you are through playing with them, do you?
I'm just saying that for me, tenkara is inappropriate for the larger trout. I feel that Iam not respecting them and could inadvertantly kill them after release. I DO acknowledge that fishing is a blood sport.I'm simply saying that I choose not to go after the large trout with my Iwana rod.
Stephen McGowen
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:40 am

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby rsetina » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:05 pm

It's hard for me to think that you could play a fish on a Tenkara Rod for so long that you play it to point of killing it. If you use 5X you'll either break off or land the fish quickly. It will be it a fish the rod and line can handle or so big it runs and breaks off, quickly. I understand that the angler plays a role in the length of fight too. One would have to have the common sense to know when to point the rod at the fish and loose him for the sake of the fish.

I am thinking about a discussion on another board where a group of guys who fished together very often went looking for big fish all the time. They called their outings "Big Fish Hunt #1, #2. etc. One particular guy would boast about catching and playing big fish for 15 to 30 minutes and I found that outrageous. I voiced my opinion about how irresponsible it was to play a fish that long, posting references on the internet on how that can kill a fish, and I pretty much stopped posting there and rarely visit that site anymore after feeling like I was alone in my opinion. I felt ostracized in a way.

I guess what I'm trying to say after reading Stephen's post is that if you don't have the right equipment to responsibly land a fish, break him off. I think everyone here knows that and practices that.
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.
rsetina
 
Posts: 1514
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby CM_Stewart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:50 pm

I agree completely that one should not "go after" large trout with an Iwana, or any tenkara rod for that matter. I certainly did not mean to imply otherwise. The stream where I normally fish has 20+" fish, too, although by far, most of the fish I catch there are under 9", for which the Iwana is the perfect rod. I don't target the large fish, but then again, I'm not going to leave the Iwana home just because I might hook one. The point I tried to make is that if you do hook a large fish (and if you fish in a stream that has them, eventually you'll hook one) you don't have to play it to death just because you're fishing with an Iwana. The fight does not have to be very long at all. Either the fish is large enough to break your tippet or it isn't. If it isn't, it doesn't take that long to bring it in. If it is, the fight is even shorter.

Light tippets do save rods. They don't have to kill fish.
CM_Stewart
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:43 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:29 pm

Interesting posts Rick and CM but I don't think I'm making myself clear to you. I've participated in a number of electroshocking surveys on the Swift and even the State biologists are astonished by the size of some of the fish. Of course , we never catch them and rarely see them, but the survey proves they are in there. There are many more catch and release fish mortalities than folks think. I'm saying the large fish are so rare than we must think twice about ......them maybe three times
May I suggest something to you? Next time you are fishing a clear river with big fish and you hook and release one of those wonderful rarities, watch her return to her lie. Stop fishing and watch her for an hour or two ( yes) . I've done so........and you might be as surprised as I was. OK ...I've released the fish...it swam away...on to the next one. It is not that simple and after a life of trout fishing I have yet to resolve this question. Tackle type is not relevant.
Its my problem...not yours . Please don't think I'm trying to make it yours. I've just come to the conclusion that I don't really know what I thought I knew.
Tenkara is delightful....but it can only do certain things and there is no free lunch. That being said , I occaisionally kill and eat a trout. They are yummy.
Sorry if I'm confusing the issue here. Hey...go fishing!
Stephen McGowen
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:40 am

Re: Tenkara on the Swift River, MA

Postby rsetina » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:08 pm

No offense taken Stephen. I understand where you're coming from and I with on it.
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.
rsetina
 
Posts: 1514
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Next

Return to Your Tenkara Experience

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 2 guests
cron