Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Tenkara in the River

Sonia decided to go have a wander and fish some holes she had walked past earlier. Simon and I crossed Ithell’s Bridge and dropped into one of the pools on the bottom S bend. The river was about 10” up on normal levels, so Simon put on a couple of heavy-ish hare’s ear concoctions. So rod in hand (the softer Iwana), here we go. I dropped the bugs in, then using a sort of backhand lob, projected them upstream. I then lifted the rod up instinctively to stay in touch, however instinct was like I was using my little seven and half footer or nine footer. Therefore I didn’t lift the rod high enough initially, so it wasn’t until the nymphs were directly in front that I actually connected with them. Anyway, follow them down until on the dangle, small strike towards my bank then fling back upstream for the second pass. I’ve used the term ‘fling’ here for a reason. Remember, the Iwana is pretty soft so when you lift tungsten bugs the fine tip does give somewhat. As such a fling or a lob, rather than flick, is more the correct term for re-presenting the bugs upstream again. Too hard a flick causes the nymphs to bounce back again, thus losing the straight connection you need.
The upstream 'Lob'

On my second pass, I adjusted for the extra rod length and was in contact with the nymphs quicker. This was fantastic. The soft action and fine tip bounced beautifully with the nymphs along the river bed. I can’t remember having touch control like this before. On occasion when using heavy peeping caddis or similar on rod and reel, I have always had the tendency to go a bit too heavy and rythmatically impart bouncing along the river bed. The soft tip of the Tenkara seemed to harmonise with the nymphs rather than the other way round. This has probably highlighted the real flaw in my Czech style with conventional rod and line.
Keeping in touch

The softness of the Iwana also helps in the presentation and re-presentation when nymphing. You know when you bounce the rod tip to impart that little bit of movement when on the dangle; well the compliance of the Iwana feels like it does this beautifully. Another advantage of the soft tip was the switch cast to re-present from a dangle back up stream. With water pressure and heavy bugs this is quite easy with most setups, but the soft Iwana handled this beautifully with smaller nymphs. You can really assess the rod loading and thus time the re-presentation perfectly to, once again, prevent bounce back during the final delivery upstream.
Custom Furle in nymphing action

The set-up I was using included the green flouro furled leader mentioned earlier. I would imagine that you could use anything here if your nymphs were carrying some weight. No massive advantage to the furled leader other than quick change to dry fly (more later) So twelve foot rod, ten foot furled leader, four to five feet of mono, or whatever Simon tied on the end. Pretty self explanatory that the minimum total length needs to be the length of your Tenkara.
I fished the pool out, expectation was high and presentation felt perfect but alas, the only twitches on the leader were met with resistance from the bottom. A little warning here in that if you fasten tight on the bottom etc., it would be prudent to get hold of the leader to yank free. Those Tankara tips are very fine.
NB: This is an edited post. We didn't take any photographs on the Alyn, so I arranged to meet Simon at Llangollen the following week for a photo shootTomorrow: Tenkara Dry

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