Wow... what to say about the recent weather? It's been unusually warm. And I've been busy. Tying flies for an international fly swap, launching the NYC Tenkara Anglers Club, writing, and its been "go-time" for work since late October. But that doesn't mean I have been staying off the water. I just haven't had as much time to write about it all...
Journey along in a wild forest with me, one full of wild browns. This forest is mostly not on public land. In fact, it is considered trespassing to be here for reasons other than fishing - as is the case with some of the more interesting water I've come across in this state. But fear not, some of the land is public and the water is clean.
The fish are spooky but there is a lot of cover to make use of to stay out of their line of site.
The tools of the trade are a hand-tied bead-head nymph, a lightweight Keiryu rod, some #3 level line, and just the right mix of sun and clouds.
The beautiful wild browns were willing and ready to take a fly on this unseasonably warm almost-winter afternoon.
The stream cascades gently down a small mountainside. Many of the best fishy spots are guarded by nature's hand as branches and trees restrict one's cast. The 270cm Nissin Pocket Mini made quick work of many of these tight spots...
... and in a stream of this size, there's no need for the longer 360cm rods that are mostly used for Tenkara.
The placement of the fly is key as you can easily spook a run or a pool if you can't hook a fish on the first cast or two.
Fast reflexes and an astute-eye on the end of the line lead to plenty of hook ups. Even with a few lost on the barbless hooks, plenty of fish were brought to hand. The mini-rod handled it all with ease.
These wild beauties brightened my day, and it was worth the long drive and hard work to get to the remote location they call home. I also took a moment to photograph this fine work of art that I've been carrying in my pack recently.
Turning my attention back to the stream I paused for a moment to take it all in. A sip of water. A snack. The sun was still high enough. I was pleased to see that I could move up to new ground that I'd yet to have fished on this pristine mountain stream before...
The things I saw on this journey were both beautiful and delicate, with the bright red spots of a wiggling trout, and the fiery orange of late-fall fungus, creating a beautiful contrast to the faded colors... of what didn't really feel like an early-winter scene.
The light faded and I had some ground to cover to return to the car. One last fish I said, and there it was.
It rose from the deep, slamming my fly like a fish easily twice its size. Admirably, the energy of these little wild beauties is often a big surprise.
One close-up and then it was over for the day. I returned this little one to its home carefully and quickly, then collapsed my rod to leave.
On the way back to the car I walked a dirt road. The caretaker for the private property stopped to see what I was up to. I was happy to see the area being watched and patrolled to help protect it. I asked his name so that I could say hello next time. Respect.
This was one of those afternoons to remember fondly... a memory to return to when the cold of the deep winter sets in, when you need some fuel to keep the fire burning inside... before long it will, once again, be spring.