A Warm Water Tenkara Float Tube Trip
I tried some warm water Tenkara float tubing the other day. When I got to the power pond the surface was calm and there were periodic rises, but by the time I got the Fat Cat inflated and my waders and fins on the wind was blowing pretty hard. It was clear, sunny, warm and windy, with the water considerably colder than the last time I fished here - last spring. I had the pond all to myself on this day. The flume that feeds the lake was surprisingly low for this time of the year but the pond was up to its normal spring water capacity.
FLIES FISHED: I fished a Peacock Sheeps Creep fly pattern (more or less a reversed hackle Sakasa Kebari pattern) for 10 bluegill and 5 small, large mouth bass. Then I put on a Water Boatman pattern and caught 8 small bass and 2 more bluegill before I was done for the day. Both flies were tied on size 14 hooks of different designs, so they did vary a little in size. The technique was to cast the fly out, let it sink for a while, then give a short, pulsing retrieve with hand and rod movement with the Sheeps Creek Pattern. The water Boatman pattern is a floating fly, so no waiting for it to sink was required and it was also pulsed a cross the water to make the Water Boatman's sculling oars kick like it was swimming on the surface. The water was still pretty cold for bass and bluegill to be active and feeding on that day, so the fishing was really slow. I probably fished for about 4 hours, total, before I quit for the day at about 2:30 in the afternoon. There were a few midge shucks to be seen on the water but no fish hit any of the knots on my leader, which was a little more than 9 feet long including the 5X tippet.
THE LINE FISHED: I used the Blue Ribbon Flies sourced 000 Tapered Floating Tenkara Fly Line that I made up last week, which seemed to work well enough in the wind conditions I experienced on this day. Most of the casting was done toward infrequent surface disturbances and to structure that might hold fish. While moving to new casting positions I let my line and fly trail in the water (think very slow trolling here), and I caught a few fish on both of the fly patterns I tried being pulled in front of me in the water as I was kicking my way backwards to the new fishing locations. Flies only catch fish when they are in the water, so I try to keep my flies in the water as much as I can fishing or in moving to new casting positions.
THE ROD USED: I fished with the Daiwa 43 MF Zoom rod in its 14 foot length to get maximum line above the water casting height for my low to the water casting position while fishing from a float tube. I caught nothing that would tax this rod in the least on this day. But I did catch big enough bluegill to put a full flex in the rod, and I really appreciated the sensitivity of the rod and its corkless grip. It was very easy to sense what was going on with your whole hand right on the blank. I did not find the 14 foot length of the rod to be tiring at all to fish. The 43 MF is much less tip heavy than my shorter TUSA Amago rod is, with a lot more sensitivity.
CONCLUSIONS: I found the casting to be more difficult while being seated in a float tube than it would have been if I was standing on the bank or wading, but doable for sure. I usually use Western tackle when float tubing for trout because sinking lines are often required to have any success in a lot of places that I float tube fish. But I enjoyed the outing so much with my T-tackle that I am encouraged to give the Tenkara float tube fishing a try on some of our cold water trout lakes when trout season really gets going. Because trout will often rise within a rod length or less of a float tube fisherman, I believe Tenkara's limited casting range will not present too much of a problem for a float tube Tenkara angler to be able to catch fish feeding on or near the surface.