Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Fur Ant, a Tenkara-able Terrestrial

Today, my wife and I slid across the border into North Carolina to fish a little stream that I hadn't been to in years.  She took off on a trail, and I slid into the creek.  I was surprised by the temperature of the water.  Not only was the stream nice and cool, but it was at a decent volume, especially for this time of year.  I quickly rigged up my Oni type III with a 10.5' foot, old tapered (hand-tied) nylon line that used to be available from TenkaraBum back in the day.  At the business end, I tied on a soft-hackled pheasant tail, a reliable standby.

Quickly I was into fish, including a hot little rainbow that tested the Oni's tip by wrapping the line around a rock.  Fortunately, both fish and tip were saved.

I continued working my way upstream, taking more than enough fish to be satisfied.  On a missed strike that sent my fly into an overhead branch, I decided that I had earned a little freedom to experiment.  I quickly plucked out a #18 Fur Ant, and went at it.  This pattern has always been a day saver for me, even when faced with really picky fish.  I also enjoy the simplicity of the tie.  I used to use it more in slower waters, where I would grease it up slightly and fish it in the film. That way, I could track it better with a fly rod.  But using a light-lined tenkara setup, I chose to fish the pattern wet, as I knew I would have control over the fly as I never had in the past.


The results were more than favorable, and I think my catch-rate went up a little from using the soft hackle.  I dead-drifted the fly, with no manipulation.  I would just watch the line for the tell-tale sign that a fish had taken the fly, and gently lift the rod tip in delight.  

I tie my ants on a light wired dry-fly hook; that way I can keep it in the mid to upper water column. Other than that, it's nothing more than a little dark rusty brown possum and brown saddle hackle. While any terrestrial could be strapped on a tenkara rod, I don't like the way they cast.  Bulky hopper patterns, foam beetles, and the like, are usually reserved for the fly rod.  But if you like to stick with a more traditional tenkara approach, using unweighted or lightly weighted wet flies, I think you would be pleased with the fur ant in your arsenal.  It's deadly effective here in the southeast, but I'm sure it would be in your neck of the woods as well.

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