What are the odds for ‘tencarpa’?

tenkara

WHAT MOST of us don’t have: a Nissin Red Dragon carp rod. (courtesy TenkaraBum)

Who is using a tenkara rod on the river to catch carp? If you haven’t see this “experiment” from a couple of guides in Salt Lake City, it’s pretty cool. Have a look here.

My thought, though, is that if you can’t take some of the fight out of a carp, you’ll never land it, especially if your rod is geared for trout, at 4x or 5x. As our friends over at TenkaraBum said, ” Fishing for carp with a tenkara rod is like taking a knife to a gun fight.

Let me know if you’ve had any luck with tenkara and carp. My son gave me a one for Christmas (for trout), but I’ve yet to check it out.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

 

 

I am so excited to see this post on your blog Jim! This past season I caught my first carp on a Tenkara rod, the Tenkara USA Ito rod actually. I was using 5x tippet and kebari style fly I tied myself. This rod was certainly not made to fish for Carp and I was glad to have the 5x tippet, which theoretically should break before the rod does. The fight lasted a good 10 minutes but I successfully landed the fish without a net. The fish was pretty tired afterwards though and it took a long time for me to revive her before releasing.

ISSAC'S FIRST carp caught on a tenkara rod.

ISSAC’S FIRST carp caught on a tenkara rod. (Courtesy Issac Tait, fallfishtenkara.com)

A rod with more power (like the one you pictured above the Nissin Red Dragon carp rod) would allow you to bring the fish to hand much quicker, therefore reducing their stress. Chris at Tenkara Bum recommends 2x tippet for the Nissin Red Dragon carp rod so you can really put a nice bend in the rod with large fish and not worry about anything breaking. Here is a picture of my first Carp (right around 55cm long not sure on the weight though)

Easy steps to clean that dirty reel

If you've fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

If you’ve fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife's Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife’s Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It's a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It’s a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Man, that's shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)

Man, that’s shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)

Easy steps to clean that dirty reel

If you've fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

If you’ve fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife's Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife’s Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It's a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It’s a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Man, that's shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)

Man, that’s shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)

Bam! Four kinds of fishing on the L.A. River

WINGING IT: Two locals affix this beautiful rendition of a Great Blue Heron, a reminder of all things riverly. (Jim Burns)

WINGING IT: Two locals affix this beautiful rendition of a Great Blue Heron, a reminder of all things riverly. (Jim Burns)

Yesterday, I came upon three fishermen on the Los Angeles River. Since this is opening weekend in the Sierra, you might ask yourself, “Only three?” Literally thousands of winter-weary anglers invade Bishop, California, the third Saturday in April in search of trout. Lots and lots of hungry, not-too-picky trout.

So, why would coming upon three anglers on our own river be in the least bit unusual? To clarify, it wasn’t actually the number of fishermen as how they were fishing:

— spin cast

— Tenkara

— line tied to a tree

Of course, if you also counted my son and me, you’d have to add fly fishing to the mix.

Earlier on, we’d gotten advice from a young dad, who was pushing his two toddlers in tandem along the bike path.

“Lots of fish in there, but you gotta use the right bait,” he said. “Bologne sandwich. Or tacos.”

And he was serious.

Whether the spin caster was using either of those, or the more traditional masa mix, I didn’t ask, but we did manage to make out in a mixture of Spanish and English that he’d just hooked a 20-incher, and released it.

Meanwhile, under the bridge, a dapper Asian gent explained that he was fishing with a Tenkara rod, which he had extended all of its 15 feet in length over the water, suspended in a type of harness, so you could just make out the colorful backward-hackle fly.

CARPILICIOUS: River Wild hosted a pop-up cafe that served Pig + Pastry meat pies.

CARPILICIOUS: River Wild hosted a pop-up cafe that served Pig + Pastry meat pies.


“I’m not sure of the name in English,” he said, but the fact that he used no reel told me this was my first time to see this newcomer to the states in action. Created some 200 years ago for fly fishing streams in Japan, the name translates intriguingly as “from heaven.” Tenkara USA opened in San Francisco in 2009.

“Hey!” my Tenkara reverie was interrupted from the other bank as a man with his dark hair pulled back stuck his head out of the bushes, smile on his face, big, bruising carp occupying his hands.

“Want it?” he asked. “People say you can’t catch ’em, but what they eat is worms, worms from the river.”

I shook my head and he respectfully tossed the fish back and disappeared.

I ran into my son a few minutes later, who told me a guy had just asked him if he wanted a fish. “And look,” Will said, “he’s already got another one on the line.”

Sure enough, across the water, a large carp tried to free itself from a line tied to a tree.

“I watched him get his bait on. As soon as the hook went into the water, he had another fish on.”

For our part, all we got using fly lines with a variety of flies was a vicious bite off. I’d carefully maneuvered my crawdaddy imitation close to the mouth of a waiting carp, one who, with at least four friends, waited outside of the strong current.

Will and I watched as the fish inhaled the fly, felt something amiss, turned to run and then jerked his muscular front section, as well as his mouth, dislodging the fly. My No. 3 tippet severed without much of a fuss.

It’s all true.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

How to clean your fly rod cork

 

 

Enter the bread fly

A couple of weeks ago, we got on a roll trying to figure out what, exactly, carp are munching on in the L.A. River, and how we fly fishers can use that knowledge to best advantage.

First, we agreed about carp and crayfish, with McTage writing:

Crayfish, crawdaddy or mudbug, whatever you like to call them, they’re alive and well in the L.A. River.

“If there are crayfish, they are on the diet, guaranteed. Crayfish are high on their list of favorites just about everywhere.”

And so it is on our river.

Next, Sean Fenner widened the discussion, commenting that:

“They eat anything they can find. In the L.A. River, they live mostly on crayfish, tilapia and other carp eggs when they spawn, worms, other insects, and their favorite, BREAD. In my opinion, that’s why the Glo-bugs work so well. I also tie a fly that I call the Tortilla, and they seem to jump all over it. People are always down there feeding the ducks, and the left over bread makes for a great meal.”

Now, I haven’t tried fishing during duck feeding time, mainly because of the legendary Duckman, who supposedly kept the Griffith Park Rangers on speed dial, and was always ready to call them in when he saw a fisherman poaching “his” territory. This is most likely ancient history (2007), as I haven’t heard of park rangers anywhere near the area. In fact, one told me that because of budget cuts, they no longer patrolled our water. And now that there’s been a pilot kayaking program on the water, official attitudes have changed, big time.

But … back to the story. After agreeing that Glo-bugs were a potent carp fly, commenter Gregg Martin went on to write:

YOUR DAILY BREAD: The second fly, from left, is bread of duster wool, the second, fourth and fifth are loosely spun and packed, while the first and third are created with a dubbing loop. (Courtesy Gregg Martin)

” We use bread ties in a local park greatly, casting a SUNKEN fly next to the ducks and geese eight inches under an indicator blind. It’s hot when they’re on it! This sure-thing lasts only a couple of weeks, and then they seem to become jaded by our flies. Mine is a spun and packed wool duster material fly on a weighted size 4 M3366 hook, or similar, or the same material spun in a dubbing loop and brushed out. Or, white glo-bug yarn. My son uses a white or flesh colored bunny leech and does well with that, actually no matter what with that.”

Also, he wrote in an e-mail, that the bread fly tied with wool floats like a cork!  Martin found this out, to his chagrin, one day with new ties tightly spun on the Mustad 3366. They wouldn’t sink.  So now he packs a few of those, but also some that are less tightly spun, with the wool packed over a shank full of .030 lead.  His boys use a dubbing loop with wool or Glo-bug yarn over lead as well. He wrote that they often use often a std. wire TMC #4 200R.

Which brought us full circle to McTage, writing:

“Yeah, I have a park here where they feed the ducks like crazy and I have tried a time or two to take advantage of the urban bread-hatch. Not my fault if somebody else is accidentally chumming them in, right :) No luck though, I have always tried something on top, will try something wet next time.”

Me, too, after I get some time to tie this recipe up. Hopefully, the water will be still enough and the dreaded Duckman won’t lift a feather to stop me.

See you on the river, Jim Burns