February 5, 2015

Tenkara Video Log -- January 16, 2015

Due to a variety of different reasons I haven't been out lately. I plan to go in a day or two, but here is some information from a trip I took January 16, 2015. This trip was a trip of discovery for me.

I fished the same river I usually fish in winter, but this trip I fished a new section. The section goes through private land, so I had to walk a ways, be stealthy and stay off the bank. This section offered me some new water and some new water features, like pools, cascades and runs. I've always just driven by, but I wanted to fish this section to complete my tour of this particular stream.

The second reason for discovery was that I used multiple different fly patterns; to test them out. I would fish a section with a certain fly and after I had caught three fish in rapid succession, I'd change the fly. I did this all the way up the reach that I fished that day. I found a pattern that didn't yield any fish, but I found two that did very well.

The first new pattern that I used was a gold bead red Squirmy Wormy. I've not fished worm patterns very much in the past. Maybe it's because I don't have any typical tail waters near me. The pattern I did fish in the past was a micro chenille pattern and I wasn't impressed. But recently Chris Stewart of TenkaraBum has challenged us to try worm patterns. So I got some worm rubber from Spirit River, in both red and pink, and I tied up a few that had a gold bead in mid body. It worked quite well! It's funny looking but it is now in my arsenal.

The second pattern comes from Dynamic Nymphing by George Daniel.  I really like this book. It has taught me more about subsurface fishing than any other book I've read, other than Presentation by Gary Borger. The pattern is a competition nymph tied on a jig hook. It is called that Red tag PT, where PT stands for pheasant tail.  I used a tungsten bead and like all jig style nymphs this fly rides right along the bottom. I was impressed with its catch rate.

It was a good couple of hours. The water was nice, although I didn't take anything of good size. I'll keep using these flies, to get better data, but they both seem promising.

Here's the video log:


  1. What rod were you using there Tom? Thanks

  2. Hi Tom, It is an interesting subject that you have posted on pattern testing. I have been doing something similar myself for a number of years now, except that I fish a particular pattern until it has caught 10 fish before changing patterns. 10 seems to be the magic number. Fewer than 5 is not a big enough sampling to prove much one way or the other, while more than 10 fish becomes redundant and does not contribute much more validity to a fly pattern's delivered effectiveness.

    Of course there are a number of other factors that necessarily come into play in evaluating any fly pattern's effectiveness: Things like how far and how fast the fish are willing to move to take the fly pattern you are offering to them, and how quickly the fly pattern being tested fills its 10 fish limit. Of course the relative lack or abundance of fish in the water or section of the stream being fished has to also be taken in to account.

    While it is somewhat rare to have an utter and complete fly pattern failure on any reasonable offering in a freestone stream, some fly patterns will work better than others will on any given day, and in any given place. And, as you mentioned above, there is no point in trying to beat a 10 fish limit out of a dead horse of a fly pattern when it becomes obvious it is not what the fish want, and that can be determined pretty quickly. A very good example of which might be fishing a dry fly under the conditions you are fishing under in in the dead of winter, when there are almost no flying bugs out and about on the water or in the air.

    Speaking of dry flies, I have often wondered why you do not fish dry flies in the excellent streams that you are fishing when it would be appropriate in the warmer parts of the year? Your videos would have a lot more interest and appealing if you viewers could see the fly floating on the water and the trout taking your flies off of the surface of the streams you are fishing....Karl.

    1. Thanks for your input, Karl.

      As for dry flies, I prefer, at least currently, to fish subsurface. I fished dries predominantly for 30 years, but now I enjoy fishing subsurface. As far as making the videos more interesting using dries, I doubt it, as the size of flies I have used are too small to see with my GoPro -- I've tried. My videos are not designed for awards or accolades. They are just a log of my outings. Nothing fancy, that's all.

  3. The videos get my own personal awards, Tom - always a pleasure to watch! (I especially like watching to the end, to see the choice of rod, line, and fly.)


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