Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

The Duty to Act

Below is a trailer to the film CO2LD WATERS.

You need to watch it.

As Thomas McGuane wrote in The Longest Silence, “if the trout are lost, smash the state.”

Fortunately, Todd Tanner of Conservation Hawks has started the process. In this new project he joins fly fishing notables Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, Steve Hemkens of Orvis and Tim Romano of Angling Trade in pointing out the consequences of ignoring global climate change.

If you don’t think climate change is problem, then you are just not paying attention.

Not sure what you can do about it? Share this video, add your voice and stay informed.

 

 

Tenkara Subdivisions

Loadout edited-1The Tenkara Jam last month was loaded with good information and hands-on opportunities. One of the better presentations was by Rob Worthing of Tenkara Guides LLC. Rob’s presentation was a detailed exploration of handling big fish and is now a guest post on Casting Around. If you are interested learning a field tested way of handling big fish you will be hard pressed to find a better resource.

While Rob’s article is educational, helpful and very well illustrated (courtesy of Anthony Naples), what caught my attention was his insights into the Japanese tenkara world. He points out that there are three “subdivisions” of tenkara in Japan. Subdivisions is a good word as the distinctions are geographic:

we’ll refer to these subdivisions as headwater tenkaramountain stream tenkara, and mainstream tenkara. Rods intended for tight, small headwaters located deep in the mountains are relatively light and usually shorter. Rods intended for mountain stream tenkara are a bit sturdier. Rods intended for mainstream rivers, where casting tends to be more open, are frequently longer, and may be beefier still.”

This then becomes a great way to help tenkara anglers look at the spectrum of fixed line rods that are now available. For quick reference here in the Valley, I would equate these subdivisions to the following local waters; headwater = Rapidan or Skidmore Fork, mountain = Dry River or Mossy Creek and mainstream = South Fork of the Shenandoah.

Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. has rods that work in all these subdivisions and I plan to adopt Rob’s explanation as a way to help my clients and customers understand what rod to use where.

 

 

Tenkara Jam!

Come and get it!
The registration for the Tenkara Jam is open!!!
Thanks to Jason Sparks and Lance Milks we will have Tenkara in the Appalachians!
Saturday October 11th 11:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday October 12th 9:00AM – 6:00PM

Just click on this link to the Tenkara Jam Registration page.
The cost per person:
1 day $30.00 this can be for either day for those that cannot attend both days.
2 day $48.00 this is for both days and covers all expenses.
Sessions will be held at Foscoe/ Grandfather Community Center (http://www.foscoecommunitycenter.com/default.php)

And there are a pile of vendors bringing their toys to the party!

Wait there’s more, a Kebari swap too!

More Details from the Tenkara Jam website:

Tenkara Community gathering in Foscoe, NC.
There will be presentations on the tenkara style of fly fishing covering topics such as:
1. Overview: Rods, Lines, Flies
2. Kebari History and current patterns
3. Big Fish Wrangling
4. Small Stream Techniques
and more…

Special Guest presentations by:
Lance Milks
Robert Worthing
Tom Sadler
Al Alborn
Bob Ivins
and more…

Day One: Big screen presentations and live demonstrations inside
Day Two: Casting Clinics, Technique Tutorials, Stream-side Classroom, Small Group Guides

We have set Day One to begin presentations at 12:00pm. This is to accommodate travel for people needing to come in Saturday Morning. We will still have a full day of content going into the evening. The Foscoe Community Center will be holding/ serving (independently) a fund raising breakfast at the Center that morning. For $8 you will get all the country breakfast fixin’s you can stomach.

For those coming in Friday evening I will be providing maps to local waters should you want to get wet that evening. Hit up the breakfast Saturday morning and go back out for a few more hours on Saturday morning. There is plenty of fishing to be had.

There is a campground on site (next door) that has tent pads, RV space and Cabin Rentals

Lodging:
Right next door to our facility is Grandfather Campground
Tents, RV space and Cabin rentals available.
http://www.grandfatherrv.com/grandfathermtn3.htm

The Reel Case for Tenkara

Earlier this month I traveled to the International Fly Tackle Dealer show (IFTD), the fly fishing industry’s trade show in Orlando, Florida. There is a virtual smorgasbord of fly fishing gear at the show and much has been and will be written about that.

However, one item caught my attention and appealed to my tenkara loving ways.

Dan Rice at Bozeman Reel Company got my attention when he showed me what they had done to the reel case they include with every reel they sell.

First Dan showed me how they had put a series of small holes in the bottom and a some stretch fabric in the top flap to aid in air circulation. They added a space on the label so you can mark the line weight.

Bozeman Reel Case closed Bozeman Reel Case open

Then Dan pointed out two pieces of velco inside the top flap and a band of elastic fabric inside the main section of the case. He pulled the top flap under his belt, securing it with the velco and the reel case now had a higher purpose; a beer holder!

Genius!

Of course, I immediately saw this as essential tenkara gear. You may not need a reel but a Bozeman Reel case is a whole other matter…

Five Great Trout Streams for Tenkara (fini)

This is the final installment and instead of pointing out just one more great trout stream, here is a way to see all of Virginia’s trout waters courtesy of the GIS folks at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

They have created Google Earth files for the Commonwealth’s trout waters and when you load the file on Google Earth you can explore to your heart’s content.

So grab a tenkara rod, now you have no excuse not to “ramble out yonder” and find some new water to try.

Enjoy!

A tip of the Kromer to Mike Kelsey of the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook group for the heads up on this cool tool from VDGIF!

source: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/gis/google-earth-files.asp

Tom and Lily search for new water

The Tenkara USA Rhodo and Sato

Two new tenkara rods

Tenkara USA recently brought out two new rods, the Sato and the Rhodo, earlier this month. I picked up one of each this week at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and celebrated a 60+ degree winter solstice giving them a work out on one of our local spring creeks. You can get the Rhodo and Sato in the store or online from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and they don’t charge for shipping!

While it was warm, it was also breezy, giving me a chance to see how these new rods handled in the wind, a common tenkara nemesis. I took along my two current favorite Tenkara USA rods, the Iwana and the Ito so I could compare the new against the tried and true. I am not a level line guy (Tenkara Talk has excellent level line review here).  I like lines that let me feel the rod load and level lines don’t do that for me. I fish the tapered tenkara lines and some lightweight, narrow gauge, fly lines that we have been using at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for a year or so. The lengths are noted in each rod review.

Rhodo

Fish long enough in the mountain streams and you find yourself in tight cover. If you are fishing an 11’ or 12’ rod it can be challenging. TUSA invokes the pretty but incessantly fly grabbing rhododendron bush when it named the shorter of the two new rods.

I can relate…

The Rhodo is a “triple zoom” rod letting you fish it a three different lengths, 8’10”, 9’9” or 10’6”.  This is a great option for our mountain streams. Over the years I have taken as many as three rods on trips to my favorite streams; a 12’ Iwana, a 9’3” Iwana and the Ito, using each as conditions dictate. Many times however, I didn’t want to hassle with switching rods, lines and flies and instead “just make do.” The ability to change lengths at will is fantastic, giving you a variety of presentations at your fingertips. When I saw the rods I was amazed at the difference in profile. The Rhodo is much slimmer than the Iwana. I was surprised because I had expected the rod to be thicker not thinner given that it was a zoom rod.

here’s the skinny…

I noticed this slim profile was an advantage in the wind. Switching between the Iwana and Rhodo there was a marked difference in the feel of wind resistance casting the Rhodo. This translated into better casting accuracy and increased confidence in choosing tenkara in windy conditions. The Rhodo feels lighter as well. It is listed at 2.1 ounces and the 12” Iwana is listed at 2.7 ounces. The difference is even more pronounced when you cast them. The Rhodo “feels” lighter.

There is a logical, scientific explanation for this I’m sure having to do with weight, balance point and centers of gravity, but I never paid much attention to that stuff in school so I’ll leave that to others (Teton Tenkara does a great job here). What I did notice was that it didn’t change appreciably at the different lengths. From the start, defining action with tenkara rods has been a challenge and there are a variety of measures used these days. So far nothing has emerged as the standard and TUSA has avoided labeling the actions of these rods.

ACTION: We’re phasing out the Tenkara rod index system. We have decided that we will make the best tenkara rods around and the flex of a tenkara rod is not a crucial aspect of selecting a tenkara rod. If you have been tenkara fishing for sometime and want a frame of reference, the Rhodo is a fast 6:4.

When compared to the Iwana, this description seems fair. At all three lengths the rod feels a little crisper and more precise regardless of which line I used. I tested the Rhodo with an 11’ TUSA tapered line and 12’ fly line. I used the fly line to cast the bigger flies we fish on our Valley spring creeks. In the mountains fishing for brookies I fish the tapered line almost exclusively. I fished a size 16 parachute BWO, then added a size 18 bead head hares ear, a very typical combo in our mountain streams when chasing brookies.

I cast into, across and down wind at all lengths. Both rods delivered the fly to target but as noted above, I noticed a big difference in the wind resistance of the Rhodo. The ability to change rod lengths on the fly as I worked across seams made me an instant fan. I made some casts to tricky lies, like under overhanging branches, and the Rhodo was as precise as I could have wanted. Changing lengths allowed me to sneak the fly into those lies without changing positions or try contorted casts.

The “fish the close water first” mantra is a basic fly fishing tenet. With a long tenkara rod we sometimes have to stand back or shorten our casting stroke to hit the close water. Not so with the Rhodo or Sato. You can start with a shorter length and cast close with the full advantage of the rod action. Bottom line, for the mountain streams I will be packing one rod and that is the Rhodo!

Sato

As a Mossy Creek Fly Fishing guide I spend a lot of time on the glorious spring creeks here in the Shenandoah Valley. Those spring creeks hold browns and rainbows from 16” to 24”. Big fish eat big bugs and I need a tenkara rod that can turn over big flies. My tenkara rod of choice for our spring creeks has been the Ito. That is until I fished the new Sato.

more skinny

The Sato, like the Rhodo, is a “triple zoom” rod letting you fish it at three different lengths,10’ 8”, 11’ 10” and 12’ 9”. While not as long as the Ito, it has a much more agreeable casting feel. Like the Rhodo the Sato is light in the hand at all lengths, a noticeable difference from the Ito that feels softer and tip heavy when fully extended. I’m not dogging the Ito, the extra length can be important. The Sato’s more refined feel is much more to my liking.

The Sato’s profile is significantly smaller then the Ito and this was advantage in the wind. The Sato weighs in at 2.6oz compared to the Ito’s 4.1oz or the Amago’s 3.5oz. Sato/Ito pix In the summer, the beetles, crickets and hoppers make for some of the best dry fly fishing around. Big fish eating big flies. Unfortunately level and furled lines have trouble turning over big terrestrials.

To start I fished a little bit bigger fly than I did with the Rhodo, running a size 12 parachute Adams and then adding a size 14 bead head pheasant tail. The Sato fished this combo with ease. Like with the Rhodo, the ability increase and decrease rod length was a terrific advantage. In order to see how the Sato handled big flies I put on one of our 14’ flylines with a size 8 PMX. This would be a typical rig for summer. Fished at all three lengths the Sato turned it over easily and accurately. I added a size 10 CK nymph as a dropper and the Sato handled it just fine. Upping the ante with a 17’ line the Sato still put the fly on target and with a much crisper feel than the Ito.

The take away

These rods are impressive. They provide tenkara anglers with options that static length rods just don’t have. If you are new to tenkara I envy you. You get to start with these rods and save yourself the multi-rod hassle. Tenkara veterans are going to want to give serious thought to adding these to the quiver.

They will be what I reach for first in the coming year! Remember the Rhodo and Sato available in the store or online at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and there is no charge for shipping!

Rhodo and Sato now have a place of honor.