With tenkara, only a rod, line and fly are necessary. Compared to western fly-fishing, which require a bevy of equipment (some of which is prohibitively expensive), tenkara may seem downright pedestrian. But its simplicity belies its effectiveness. My recent trip to Upper Piru Creek can attest to that.
Waking up to a frosted tent, I made my way out to Frenchman’s Flat and eventually to the bridge of Upper Piru Creek. With the cold weather keeping most visitors away it was a pretty pristine site compared to what I’d read about Piru Creek’s infestation of garbage.
I set up my 12-foot Iwana rod (the first iteration of this rod) and found a clearing from which to cast. A few casts later there was a splash of water and a tug at my line. Fish! But alas, the hook didn’t set. How am I ever going to get my fly near those rocks where that fish probably is? My casting abilities with a bait rod aren’t the best so I doubted my ability to accurately cast with a tenkara rod even more so. However, I discovered my very next cast landed in nearly the exact spot I wanted it to. It was merely a matter of see where I wanted to cast it.
And sure enough, another bite. This time I set the hook and out came the fish.
I might have set the hook a little to hard, however, as the fish ended up in the branches behind me. With a little bit of finagling my prize landed back in the water. And it was no wonder the thing was so willing to take flight. He was only about 3.5 inches. After snapping a photo I released the swift moving baby rainbow trout. Hopefully, the flight didn’t cause too much trauma.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” If that’s true then I don’t feel so bad extracting a feeder fish-sized trout from Upper Piru Creek. A solitary journey, the biting cold and a chance to discover simplicity are sometimes what the geriatric mind needs.