There used to be a guy that fished the Missouri trout parks and he always seemed to catch the biggest fish. I’d see him silently stalking along the far bank, weaving in and out of the underbrush and overhangs...places that few of us would dare to tread for fear of snakes and the glares of our fellow fishermen. He’d quietly drop his fly right on the nose of the biggest trout in the creek....the ones that were only occasionally noticed by those of us fishing from the “right side” of the stream. Unseen by the fish and using such a short line that only his leader touched the water, this guy would invariably land the big ones. He didn’t mess around with the average “stockers.” Also, I never saw him make any sort of cast for distance...he “dappled,” if you know what I mean. On any given day he caught more trout...and bigger ones...than anyone else, and he did it with far less effort. This guy was a meat hunter.
Last summer, feeling that my granddaughter Gracie was in need of new rod to replace her Barbie model, I was trolling through Wal-Mart looking for good priced Zebco, (more on that later) when I came upon an unusual fiberglass outfit. To call it an “outfit” was a stretch. It was a telescoping thing of probably twelve feet in length, with no reel seat, no handle and only one guide on the far end of its very delicate tip and it got me to thinking. You know those very wise and spooky monsters that hang out under the trees in the Davidson...the ones that Joe Humphreys would have trouble getting a fly in front of? Well, I was thinking that this new fangled cane pole might just do the trick, and with it costing just a few bucks, I might give it a try.
Then I did some more thinking. I couldn’t imagine myself wading out across the stream in full view of the other well outfitted anglers with my black cane pole. I imagined the scorn I would feel, and decided that although I knew it would work...I just couldn’t do it.
Then along comes Tenkara! Have you heard of this? It’s the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing and it’s the latest craze of the “I’ve got to have the latest and greatest” crowd. It’s been featured on a number of national websites and blogs and its getting the attention of fly-fishing’s trend setters. What is it? Well, you can check it out for yourself, but it appears to me to be an exotic and expensive version of my Wal-Mart special. And though I am by no means one of those “trend setters” let me say right here and now that I know this thing will work! Now, the dilemma: Do I fork over $150 for the Tenkara or a ten spot for the black cane pole?