Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lite-Brite Sakasa Kebari

I made an online comment this evening about how I had spent some time this afternoon tying up what I had previously called my "Summer Kebari", while our youngest daughter, Libby, played with her Lite-Brite on the floor next to my tying table.  The Lite-Brite just happens to have been invented by my friend and author, Reg Darling's, father-in-law Burt Meyer.

After my online comment, TJ Ferreria, who works for Tenkara USA, replied that I should call my fly the "Lite-Brite Kebari".  After a little chuckle, I realized that TJ was making perfect sense!  Is my fly light?  YES!  Is it bright?  YES!  Not to mention that here's our little girl, sitting on the bedroom floor next to me, playing with Mr. Meyer's invention (the same toy I played with over 40 years ago), his daughter married to my friend Reg, whos writing has entertained, inspired, and captured me for a number of years.

Good grief!  Sometimes this old world and its happenings are simply amazing! 

The Lite-Brite Sakasa Kebari!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Writing About What I Write About

Driving across the high elevation shortgrass prairie of northwestern Fremont County today with Jason Klass, we wiggled our way into a conversation about the content of our respective blogs, both of which are based on tenkara.  The talk centered around what we write in our blogs, and why.  As for Tenkara Tracks, I've purposely chosen to write more about how tenkara feels, rather than provide how-to instruction on fly tying, casting, reading water, or any of the zillion other things that I could provide instruction for.  There are plenty of websites and blogs devoted to that, and they're doing a fine job for the most part.  I would much rather write about my tenkara experiences.  How it feels to hike down from a high lake in the pouring rain and pounding hail, hoping you don't get struck by lightning.  How it feels to have an ever-so-slight breeze behind you as you cast upstream, watching kebaris land on the water as they only can with that faint breeze.  How it feels to anticipate what that fish will look like, in the moment between when it takes your fly and your first glimpse of it, your only indication that it's a really big one being it's quivering pull on the tip of your rod.  Yes, I'll still throw in a gear review now and then, but look for more of my experiences in the backcountry, and less how-to.  Now, I have a whole day of fishing to think through, and it sure was a grand day in the canyons.  More on that soon!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Marrow of the World

Photo by Chris Harvey

…"the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world," and by God, I was right. Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.”
--Del Gue, Jeremiah Johnson (the film) 

Marrow.  Deep in your bones, that place in your body that keeps you immune to the things that will harm you.  The marrow of the world.  That place in the world that keeps you immune to the things that will harm you.  It’s home, a place of protection and peace.  Mine is a 74,401-acre expanse of granite, tundra, golden aspens, subalpine fir, bristlecone pine, pocket water, high lakes, brutal storms, sunshine, brookies, cutthroats, grouse, snowshoes hares, and microscopic wildflowers.  Bighorn sheep and mountain goats bounce on the talus above timberline, and elk, moose, and mule deer range between the krummholz and the bottom of the creek canyons.  Black bears, coyotes, and mountain lions work the shadows and the night.  I’ve been coming here since before it was even federally designated as wilderness, in the summer of 1978 when my parents dropped me off, alone, on one end and two days later I showed up back at home.  It was handy, because the southern boundary was only two miles from our home. That first solo trip across this place set the stage for over three decades of hunting, angling, and rambling in my own little piece of the Colorado Rockies, and what I’ve come to claim as my own “marrow of the world”.
We each have our own marrow. This just happens to be mine.  Each of us have those special places where we recharge our batteries, challenge heart, lung, and muscle, and breathe deep.  It may be a desert canyon, a snowfield of unbroken powder, or the quiet corner of a city park.  Wherever your marrow may be, please seek it out often, get your head and heart back on track, and fill your soul with peace and strength.  Those are all things my own marrow has given me since before I could shave.  It’s a magnet, a force that pulls me back home often.

Here’s hoping you find your marrow and visit it as frequently as you can.  It can be a place of peace and introspection.  It can be home.  Go there, fill up, and come back each time a different and stronger person.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Zen and the Sprit of the Nanopool

During the summer, I had a chance to take my tenkara rod, and guide others, to a wide variety of Colorado high country water.  I fished ripping, reddish-brown freestones blown full of summer rain, in which the only places a trout could survive were the leeward side of boulders in the deep recesses of nooks and crannies out of harm’s way.  I fished relatively big (on the tenkara scale) tailwaters, so deep and fast I could barely shuffle my 130-pound body halfway across without being torn off the bottom and deposited in the next larger river forty miles downstream.  And I fished slow, meandering sections of meadow water, working the cutbanks and oxbows with hoppers.  But the greatest joys of my summer were seeking out the tiniest blue lines on the map and on the ground, and putting dry flies on pools no bigger around than a skillet.  I call them nanopools.  The fact that tenkara makes fishing these spots not only possible, but productive, made it all that much better.

What is a nanopool?  Well, they come in all shapes and sizes, but most of them are so small they usually only hold one fish.   They occur on only the smallest streams.  Streams that you can easily spit across and ones you really don’t need even hip waders for.  Late in the summer they shrink even more, as the snowfields on the peaks melt and evaporate their way into nonexistence.

Trout holding in nanopools are feisty and will smack just about any dry fly you put in front of them.  They will hold at the far end of the plunge pool, and the edges of the pools where they can feed but remain hidden.  If you catch one, you’d better move on because he was the only one. 

 Luckily, small mountain streams are dotted with nanopools and you can spend a while day fishing just a half-mile of water, letting the spirit of the nanopool take you away as you lose all sense of time.

Seek out these tiny streams and pools, and you’ll be as addicted to them as I am.  Be ready to spend most of your time on your knees or hiding behind boulders.  The water is so clear and shallow that you must use all the stealthy skills in your quiver to remain unseen.

Tiny places in an immense landscape…what’s not to love!