Friday, May 16, 2014

Tenkara Hero PNW #1

Greetings from Portland, Oregon, USA!

This is report #1 from Tenkara Hero Pacific Northwest Division. I'll be testing flies tied by Chris and seeing if the trout out here have an appetite for them. (Sneak preview: they do!)

I am a tenkara novice. Completely. While I am on and off fly fisherman I hadn't yet gotten into tenkara even though it made complete sense to me the first time I heard about it. I spend a lot of time outside and in most of Oregon it is difficult to find water that doesn't have fish in it so I finally decided to bite the bullet and get a tenkara setup to have with me at all times.

After asking Tenkara Hero Central about what setup I should get, I was delighted to find a tube from Chris, now officially my Tenkara Sensei. Included were some rods, flies, traditional lines and other miscellaneous goodies. Hot damn!

A few days later I headed out for an evening fish after a delicious taco cart dinner. I packed up the Kiyotaki 24, and peddled to a local creek. A place I'd never fished.

The creek reminds me a lot of one of Tenkara Hero Central's main fisheries: the Salt Creek. This one too runs though an urban area and has suffered from abused. Much like Salt Creek, things are sort of looking up for this one and it has been the focus of some restoration efforts.

Though it is still polluted in recent years there has been a small and fragile return of Coho and Chinook. It is illegal to fish for them, but fishing for the few resident, wild cutthroats is a-okay.

I made my way down, parked my bike at the first sign of a fishable spot, and - as promised - set up my rig in about 15 seconds. Already I loved tenkara. It seemed appropriate to use a reverse hackle fly for my virgin tenkara experience. Here's what I chose, now looking a bit wary.

I cast four times upstream, getting a feel for casting the furled line. Easy.

I cast downstream to a seam along the bank and - I could hardly believe it - something flipped its tail up at me. Hoping I didn't startle the thing off, I cast again.

Instantly, the fish gobbled my offering and a few seconds later it was in hand. A great looking cutty! 10"? 11"? Not that it matters.

You might be able to imagine how pleased I was. After a nice ride and an easy setup, I had a great fish after six casts. The simplicity of tenkara encouraged me to get out and do it.

The rest of the evening I poked around other parts of the creek, getting a feel for it and experimenting with some different flies. I caught one more trout on a heavy nymph with a small tail, not bothering to match the hatch. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

My first tenkara outing was a total success.

Tomorrow I'm headed out to the Coast Range with the Kiyotaki 24 to target some rainbows that are rumored to live between two waterfalls on a rugged mountain stream.

Thanks to Tenkara Hero Central for making this happen!