On the previous day we fished Spring Creek – a valley limestone stream. Today it is up to the hills. The fishing of course is quite different. When we got to the stream fish were rising in the pools. At first it seemed they were taking the drakes. But upon closer inspection they really seemed to be enjoying the tiny yellow stoneflies. However, these fish were not so persnickety and gladly attacked my peacock and pheasant sakasa kebari. I couldn’t help but to think of the song Summertime: “Summertime’s here and living is easy, fish are jumpin’…” It was that – easy. Casting was pretty open for a small mountain stream and the fish were willing to play along.
It was a day that makes you think “This is the way it used to be…” Maybe I’m simple minded, but walking along casting to likely lies and watching small brookies charge a fly…and then admiring the fish…well I can do that all day. Sometimes you’d see the v-wake on the surface as they came at the shallow drifting fly – cool.
So this is where the unweighted sakasa kebari fished with a gentle pulsing action seems to really shine. The water was fairly shallow, a heavy fly would sink too quickly and snag. The gentle pulsing serves several purposes:1) To activate the reverse hackle and attract fish, 2) to keep the fly drifting along and off of the stream bottom thus preventing snags, 3) to increase positive hook-ups.
The first point is often discussed but points 2 and 3 seem to be often overlooked in many discussions. Getting snagged on he bottom is of course not the end of the world and on small streams retrieving the fly is usually not too difficult – but every bottom snag that you have to retrieve is a spoiled fishing hole. As far as point 3 goes I’ll say that fish take in and spit out flies so fast sometimes you’ll never know you have a take. Gently pulsing the fly on the drift will often result in hook-ups that you may have otherwise missed I believe. Plus with a long tenkara rod and a low hanging canopy if you can avoid dramatic hook sets that send your rod-tip, line and fly into the trees then all the better.