Thursday, December 13, 2012


Innovation.  Webster's dictionary defines it as "something newly introduced" or "a change in the way of doing things".  There is a reason I contacted Tim Patterson, owner of RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service, this past February, asking him if he would consider offering guided tenkara fly fishing trips.  RIGS has embraced tenkara from the get-go.  Not only did they introduce the first and only guided tenkara trips in Colorado (yes, they hired me in the process), they also grabbed the ball and ran with it.  In the ensuing months, the RIGS staff has done extensive R&D in the development of new and innovative tenkara lines, to include a floating line and a weight-forward nymphing line, as well as new tenkara fly patterns and techniques.  And I admire my team for their willingness to take chances and push the envelope.
One reason I feel fortunate to belong to the RIGS staff is that they respect the traditional tenkara methods, and at the same time are looking at new and different ways to offer tenkara to inexperienced fly anglers or experienced western fly anglers who are looking for something different.  One size does not fit all, and that philosophy is one that I've come to realize is very true.  We all fish different water and conditions.  We all come from varying backgrounds and experiences.  Having a fly shop and guide service here in Colorado that recognizes that diversity within the realm of tenkara is a godsend.

A case in point is the new tenkara nymphing line, designed and offered by RIGS...

Today I took a day off from my teaching duties and spent some time on the Arkansas River testing the new weight-forward tenkara nymphing line, a RIGS exclusive.  This 12'6" line is comprised of sections of high-vis multi-colored flourocarbon line, with a section of heavier line toward the tippet end of the line.  The hi-vis indicator sections, coupled with clear running line sections, allow for maximum depth control and added strike detection without sacrificing visibility.  I found the knots between sections to be a very good way to monitor depth, as the knots gather more light and are a bit more visible than the line itself, especially in low light conditions, which is common on mid-winter late afternoons on your favorite ice-free tailwater.  This line, teamed up with an unweighted to weighted nymph, turns over nicely, and delivers the fly to the water with ease and still allows you to keep much of the line off the water.

During my testing today, I partnered this new line with one of my self-tied Killer Kebaris.  The line performed as advertised, and the results speak for themselves.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Rhythm of the Vise

There are those evenings at the fly vise when things just come together.  I've been tying a lot of flies lately, to the tune of at least a dozen a night lately.  It's all part of a larger project that'll come to fruition in early January at the Denver fly show.  What I'm getting at is that there's a certain "rightness" to spending an hour or two at the vise, getting everything right, and putting together some really great flies.  It's not like the planets have to align, and that you have to do this in the light of a full moon.  All it takes is an open mind, quality feathers, and touching turns of wire and Shetland yarn.  Some really good music and a glass or two of Colorado microbrew don't hurt either.  Allowing a perfect hen pheasant soft hackle to spread like a tiny flower around a barbless hook, wrapping with precision, and finishing that fly with care is time well spent.  May your winter tying be as rewarding as mine.