Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trying Tenkara at Maramec Spring

It was the penultimate day of 2016. I was about a mile from the Maramec Spring park entrance when I realized the flies I had tied up for this trip were still sitting in a little plastic box on my desk at home, about 95 miles away. No fly-fishing trip ever goes off without a hitch in the plan, but this moment seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day, a trip fraught with little equipment problems. As with any trip, I would have to overcome the little hiccups to have a decent year-end day of fishing.

For Christmas this year "my wife" bought me a Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Rod on their Black Friday Sale. (Those quotes were sarcastic air quotes. "Emily" bought me the Tenkara rod just as much as "I" bought her the Macy's winter coat she picked out.) I'd been reading about Tenkara fishing a lot this past year, and salivating at the different packages available on Tenkara Rod Co.'s website. When their Black Friday deals arrived in my inbox, and I found out I could save 25% off their entire store, I just couldn't help myself.

As with many fly-fishermen, I am a sucker for gadgets. While admittedly, none of my gear is even close to being in the high-end range (i.e., cost) of fly-fishing gear, I have invested hundreds of dollars into this hobby and really love when I have a new toy to play with. For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with Tenkara style rods (Hi Mom and Dad!), it is a style of fly-fishing rod that has its origins in Japan. A Tenkara rod is a very long and very flexible fly-rod without a reel. Rather, there is a set length of line that attached to a short lillian at the rod tip. The rod itself telescopes, and when compacted, measures only 20 inches in length. Extended, my rod, The Teton, is 12 feet in length - much longer than the 8-foot rods I am used to fishing. The line is a thin, braided fly fly, 13-feet in length. The line attached to the rod using a loop that grips the lillian, and at the opposite end has a small ring where you attach a length of tippet.

The rod seems to be extremely fragile, so I need to be careful walking around with it near the stream. It seems like a stray tree branch could easily break the tip. The rod came with a carrying case, the line, a few flies, and a line holder that fits on the rod handle when not in use. In addition to the Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Rod, Emily also bought me a Nice Pack Co. Midge Neck Pack. This actually was a surprise and I had not heard of this company or product before. It basically acts as a miniature fly-fishing vest, giving you a space to store flies, tippet spools, pliers, a nail-knot tool, and a phone in a small pack you hang from your neck. Between the Nice Pack and Tenkara Rod, I could potentially store everything I would need for a fly-fishing trip in a carry-on bag, and not have to worry about an airline destroying or losing any of my gear. Overnight I became a much more mobile fly-fisherman.

Christmas was on a Sunday, and by that Friday, I was already trying out my new gear on the stream.

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