On one of my trips back to waters outside of my home town in Wyoming, I stopped into the Reef Fly Shop to pick up a few flies for a solo mission. I snapped the lid on my fly puck, and as I walked toward the counter Jay Johnson walked through the door. Jay, Addison Berry, and Berin Wachsmann were on their way back through from a Pig Farm Iron Fly event up in Jackson, and were planning to fish the Platte that day. It’s truly amazing in this industry to see how tight-knit the community really is. We’re all fisherman after all – and that morning, the man upstairs brought us together for one of the greatest days of fishing I’ll ever have.
As it turned out, they weren’t quite sure where to go that day, and I had the pleasure of being able to guide them into one of my favorite areas. We chucked streamers with little response for a while, then, as the morning developed, clouds of Trico’s began to form that continued downriver (literally) as far as your eye could see. If you’ve seen the Matrix – and are familiar with how the clouds of sentinels would flow together in a long stream, each with the other and as a single immense cloud – you’ll know what we saw develop. I immediately pulled out my Tenkara rod – and tied on one of the size 22 spinners.
Within a few quick moments, the drop began, and the fish erupted. Cast after cast, drift after drift, I caught a series of beautiful 18″ class trout. The simplicity of the rod, the line, and the fly was perfect for that application – letting me get a consistent presentation without the river’s sharp currents ripping my fly down before it could get taken. Extending my fly’s time in the strike zone, meant more fish to the net.
As was the opportunity to share local haunts with my friends from the Farm, I handed over the rod, and gave each of the others an opportunity to fish Tenkara on one of the most amazing spinner falls I’ve ever seen. Each in turn, Addison, Jay, Berin, and I all played the small flies into the seam, and did well – with each of the Farmer’s getting their first taste of the simplicity and fun of fishing with a Tenkara Rod.
One fish forced Addison to net him off of a small boulder in the middle of the current, where he was forced to hold the rod in his mouth to avoid falling in. I was next to cast – and targeted a nice brown I’d seen rise in a pocket on the side. A take – a hook set – and the rod snapped above the cork where Addie had accidentally bitten the rod while netting his fish. I thought the fun was over – but I was vastly mistaken. With what remained of the rod, we kept fishing – landing dozens more in the time that followed.
One fish in particular stuck out. Not the biggest – but perhaps one of the coolest trout I’ll ever catch. In the net, I noticed a set of marks on both sides of his back where skin had regrown over a wound likely caused by an eagle. I’m still so amazed by trout, and how tough they really are.
Looking back – the chance meeting and perfect storm of spinners dropping to hungry fish below made the impromptu adventure one none of us will ever forget.