I caught a fish! Tenkara rules!

I fished – as in, I caught a fish! It was a wee rainbow trout and there are no pics. I am so inexperienced and I had to get him unhooked and back in the water without any more stress.

I spent my weekend tent-camping at Wildhorse Lake Provincial Recreation Area, 25km west of Hinton, Alberta. I hadn’t been out there for years and this year the lake has been stocked with rainbows.


Just go for it.


Saturday was a windy day and I didn’t think I’d get a chance to practice casting with the Tenkara rod. The wind started dying off in the evening and I bit the bullet and gave it a whirl.

A trail circles the lake and I went along the south shore, hoping for a little shelter from the wind.

After setting the camera up on a nearby log I enabled the connection between phone and camera so I could remote trigger some selfies and got started setting up my line and rod.

An inexpensive ‘whatever’ fly was already set up on the rod so that I could see if casting was even possible in the wind.

Sure enough, I was able to cast in between the gusts, but it wasn’t quite far enough – the fish were jumping just outside my reach. In attempts to reach them I kept casting too hard and splashing the water with my line. I decided to change to a black ant fly I picked up at the recommendation of my local fishing store and I attached a longer tippet to see if I could keep the line out of the water. It worked!

And then I started to figure it out (when the gusts died down) and fell into a steady rhythm of casting. Across the water I could hear the fishermen in the boats joking about my “interesting” fishing equipment. I could also hear how they had 50-100 feet of line out there, getting nothing. So I continued with my roughly 15 feet of line.

I have no idea if my technique holds up under scrutiny, I’ve never been taught to fish. I started tapping the water surface with the fly … thinking it would bring fish in. Sure enough, when I managed to cast accurately a few times in a row and then let the fly ride for a bit I would see fish chasing it down.

I’m going to have to learn their behaviour better. Bring on the research!

And then it happened.

Suddenly I felt the pull on the rod, watched it bend, and next thing I knew a young rainbow trout was jumping at the end of my line. It took a couple of seconds to get my wits about me and properly point the rod to the sky as I’d seen in the many YouTube videos. Tilting the rod brought the line close enough to grab with my free hand.

For a split second I considered grabbing my phone for a photo “pics or it didn’t happen”. However, I was already stressing the little dude out with my inexperience and he was too small to keep (and eat).

The hook I used was small and it took no more than a second to let him loose and he was off like a shot.

I can’t lie … it was extra awesome when I came in at approximately the same time as the two boats (after listening to them curse each other for catching a line in the motor). As I passed one of the men he asked, “Catch anything.”

“Sure did.”

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