23 August 2020

The Gift of Tenkara

2020's summer has not been kind to our family.  One instance was me breaking my dominant arm while fly fishing in Pass Creek near South Fork, Colorado my first day on vacation!  The following week, I had surgery to repair both my radius and ulna.  Wanting to be able to still enjoy fly fishing, I began seriously investigating Tenkara Fly Fishing, since that can be accomplished with one arm.  While researching, my uncle called to talk, check on me, and wish me a speedy recovery, and during our conversation, I enthusiastically told my uncle all about Tenkara Fly Fishing in great detail.  A few weeks later and with the help of my cousins, my uncle gifted me with a Tenkara USA Rhodo Rod and Tenkara Rod Co. Crossbreed fly line.  Our postman, Rance, had no idea the joy he delivered when he brought that rod and fly line to our doorstep!

Still incapable of quite a lot, I couldn't rig the rod myself, so Cody had to also learn about Tenkara lines.  Having watched several videos himself, Cody set to tying knots, adjoining lines, and tying my fly (a CodyBugger christened my rod), and we headed to a very small pond in our town.  Neither of us had fished the pond, but we figured there just had to be fish in it.

Finding a shady spot near a downed branch, I made my first cast and was rewarded with several hits.  Talk about excitement!  I continued to adjust to the Tenkara-style of fly fishing, though not in the traditional sense, as I was fishing warm water that wasn't moving!  Finding another shady spot with overhanging branches and switching to a topwater grasshopper, I had fishing slurping, hitting, and aggressively slamming that fly, which now has little bite marks in the foam body and one less antenna and leg.  Still though, I had no hook-ups.  Cody selected a wet fly pattern with a size 16 hook, and it was FishOn!  I hooked a Green Sunfish first, but I failed to execute the hookset correctly, so I had an LDR (long-distance release).  I did manage to land my first fish--a small but aggressive Bluegill.  Then, at dusk, I told Cody "Five more casts," and on the first of the five, Bam! FishOn!  A bigger, hungrier Bluegill grabbed my fly on the second twitch.  I thought I'd exercise my winged hand by trying to hold the line in it and the rod in my good hand, but that didn't work too well.  However, Cody patiently helped me get the fish and the rod situated and then snapped my photo.  My fish weren't World Record fish, but they brought me great joy and taught me a thing or two.  

I have much to learn about Tenkara, but it was a great christening!  My Dad, who passed away suddenly in June, put my first fly rod in my hand to help me heal from breast cancer.  My uncle put my first Tenkara rod in my hand to help me heal from a broken arm.  Fly fishing truly is a powerful gift!

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