Tenkara and the Sulphurs

It is the time of year when a young man’s thoughts turn to…sulphurs. Well, at least if he’s an eastern fly fisher. Again I’m presenting an experimental set of flies. This time I’m focusing on the sulphur hatch through a tenkara colored lens. Make it what you want, but in my opinion tenkara angling really shines for fishing unweighted (or lightly weighted) wet flies and nymphs, after all that is how it evolved. Sure you can fish heavy nymphs – but the wispy tenkara rod tip is just not great at handling these, it can be done but it is not aesthetically pleasing (it’s sort of a round hole/square peg thing). I don’t prefer it for dry flies – although tenkara handles dry flies beautifully and I don’t hesitate to fish dries with the tenkara rod. Some tenkara anglers may disagree with me but I find t difficult to create the “snap” necessary to really dry out a soggy dry fly with the tenkara rod. Sure that’s a small complaint, and you can always squeeze the water out with a shirt or whatever – but nonetheless…I will stick with my assertion that wet fly fishing is my favorite application of tenkara.

With that in mind I turned an eye to my sulphur box and tried to create some tenkara inspired flies based on old favorites. These are not tried and true patterns but I have no doubt that they’ll fool a few fish anyway.  Once I give them a try on the hatch – I’ll report back on the results.

This is a selection of soft-hackle emergers, all but the bottom left fly are tied with biot bodies.  They represent a range of emergence states.

A couple of more traditional sulphur wet flies tied with bunny fur bodies and grouse hackle.

Sulphur nymph wet fly: This is based on a basic sulphur nymph pattern with a black wing-case to suggest a nymph about to “hatch”.  In this version I simply used black fur abdomen and a wet fly style collar of grouse hackle instead of a wingcase and legs.

Sulphur Sakasa Kebari: This bunch is perhaps the most typically “tenkara-esque” of the flies that I tied.  I’m pretty new to the whole reverse-hackled sakasa kebari style wet flies, so I’m anxious to give these a whirl.

Sunken spinner wet fly – this is based on Pa angler/writer/guide Eric Stroup’s pattern as seen in  a Rise Forms Studio TV fly tying video.



what say you?