Archive | November, 2010


26 Nov

The following is a a continuation of FLY FISHING DOJO’S “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series of articles. In the first two installments, “Improve Your Fly fishing With Proper Breathing” and “Fly Fishing and The Mushin State Of Mind”, Karate-Do protocol was explored as a means of enhancing the fly fishing experience. This article will continue such exploration with a means of mitigating the all too common nagging back ache that many experience during and after a long day on the water.

A day of fly fishing involves more than just casting flies to fickle fish. It often involves hiking rough terrain, rock climbing, wading swift moving water and periods of standing stationary; all of which can result in an aching back.

Thanksgiving Day, 2010: Sensei John has a long hike to find moving water at Coon Bluff on the Lower Salt River, AZ.

The cause of this experience is bad posture. The remedy is to be found in a unique posture derived from the Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (See Endnote # 1). The key to the posture is to stand erect.

To stand erect for purposes of Karate, the natural curvature of the spine must be temporarily straightened. To manipulate the back into a straight position, one should stand relaxed with both feet shoulder width apart and flat on the ground. Slightly bend your knees. The Goshin-Do Karate-Do technique to stand erect and straighten your back   is to squeeze the cheeks of the buttocks tight and to rotate one’s hips down and forward. In this posture, the curvature of the spine is removed resulting in a straight back.

Take a moment to try this posture and then feel your lower back with your hand. If you have performed the hip rotation properly, you will notice that such rotation has removed the natural curvature of your spine so that your spine is now straight from top to bottom. You can repeat posture by standing as above and rotating your hips to achieve the posture and then subsequently relaxing the hips so as to again achieve natural curvature of the spine. Repeat this a few times to begin to have a feeling of comfort with the posture.

You can easily incorporate the posture into your fly fishing regime. For example, you can use it to facilitate a long hike to your favorite water. Simply adopt the posture while stationary and continue hiking while maintaining the posture. Further, you can readily perform the posture while in the process of fly fishing will little or no effort. In doing so you will find that repeated performance of the posture will alleviate pressure on your back. This will mitigate any back pain encountered during and after a day of fly fishing.

(7-11-19): Here’s a link to my new online school where you can learn more about the benefits of my Kata-RX for wellness – – Now For a limited time you can enroll in the first course for only $ 10. with a full 30 day money back guarantee. You can use this link to view the full curriculum and click the “enroll” button if you would like to start your class.

In closing, I remain, confident that you will stay on the path to “Fly fish like a Karate Master.”

Sensei John


  1. The posture referred to in this article is elemental to performing the Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do. It is particularly emphasized in a Goshin-Do Karate-Do Kata called Sanchin (pronounced “Sohn-Chin”).

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16 Nov

I went fishing early this morning to clear my mind.

I wanted to placidly revisit this article. I hoped to transform a straightforward  tale of a good day spent on a river into a melody of words worthy of all who cast feathery little flies with the hope of seducing nature’s magnificent creatures to our offering. This was the result; “A good day of fishing?”

I arrived at a favorite fishing location along the Lower Salt River here in Arizona. Prior to casting, I stood upon a rock outcropping and performed my form of moving meditation, to wit: several Goshin-Do Karate Kata

The rock outcropping on top of which I performed Kata.

I performed several Kata with exotic names, Sanchin (Three Battles), Seienchin (Walk far to quell and conquer), Nami Kiribi (Cutting wave), Chinto (Crane on a rock) and Hakutsuru (White Crane). I finished. I was physically and mentally sound. This state of being reminded me of a quote by Ernest Hemingway, “All I must do now was to stay sound and good in my head until . . . I can start to work again.” (See Endnote # 1).

Being “sound and good in the head” I set about fly fishing. Then it happened. A simple mental glitch. Clarity of thought was invaded by clouds of a once slumbering sentiment awakened. In the end,  all that remained was a haunted shadow of a poem, a tanka. So, I’ll simply relay Sensei Bob’s dazzling fishing journey and leave you with the tanka. Maybe after enjoying Sensei’s Bob’s good day on a river, you can figure out the rest.

FLY FISHING DOJO’S New Jersey Contributor, Sensei Bob had recently spent a bountiful day on the Ramapo River. He had previously fished a certain location on the river to no avail. After several visits to this unfruitful location, he once again cast into its seemingly barren depths. Drawing upon his martial arts induced tenacity and his instinctive feel for nature, he knew this location would bear fruit. This past Saturday was the day. In less than thirty minutes he had caught and released three shimmering rainbow trout. All exceeded fifteen inches in length.

One of three of Sensei Bob's magnificent rainbow trout.

Sensei’s tenacity and instinct bore fruit; it did not fail him. I know Sensei felt a sense of natural redemption. A feeling that nature inured him with the ability to enter its domain and leave fulfilled with a pure sense of satisfaction. It was a good day of fishing on the Ramapo River.

I had hoped that my own fishing sojourn would intuitively formulate the words that would breath life into Sensei Bob’s day. Words that would coalesce into phrases that would capture the essence of triumphing over frustration; eventually seducing three majestic rainbow colored trout. Those words failed me. All I was left with is this tanka.

  • On a river
  • In a barren desert
  • A trout rises; a fly is cast.
  • A fisherman recalls
  • A moment in time
  • Best left forgotten.

In closing I remain, shrouded in the cocoon of thought, perhaps to be forgotten on another day, on another river. Another “Good day of fishing?”

Sensei John


1. Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (The Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 78 excerpting “The River” as appeared in A Moveable Feast.

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1 Nov
Arizona, October, 2010, at long last we are rewarded for enduring summer with moderate temperatures. A result is that fishing is more enjoyable and productive. Without further adieu, here is of Fly Fishing Dojo’s fishing journal for October.

 PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

 LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Cool temperatures and consistent water flows made for enjoyable mornings on the Lower Salt.

Sensei John on the Lower Salt

 Catches and releases of largemouth bass, bluegill and trout were enjoyed. The favorite areas were Sheep Crossing and Phon D. Sutton.

The most productive fly patterns were (Streamers) # 14 Wooly Buggers in black and claret, # 12 and # 14 Muddler Minnows, (Nymphs) # 14 Gold ribbed Hare’s Ear, # 16 Rainbow Warrior, (Wet Fly) # 14 Alexandria, # 14 Red Ass, (Dry Fly) # 14 Foam Dragonfly (blue), # 14 Purple Haze-parachute, # 16 Mosquito and # 16 Adams.

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

The cooling temperatures meant less shoreline swimming and picnicking activity. This resulted in more shoreline access for fly fishing. Though Fly Fishing Dojo was only able to fish two days on this lake, the results were more than satisfying. Fishing a dry # 14 Foam Dragonfly one particular morning was difficult, but produced a breathtaking fishing experience. The fish were actually jumping from the water to catch low-flying, mating dragonflies. You would have to calculate where the mating pair would set down on the water and cast within close proximity. As soon as the fly hit the water – BAM – you had better be ready to set the hook or you would have an empty hook coming right at you.

I fished the dragonfly close to reeds as pictured above. With shoreline cover, you had to make use of a water-loaded roll cast. If you timed the cast with the living dragonflies, you were sure to entice a fish; hooking it was a different story.

Fly Fishing Dojo also shot its first test video footage on this lake. Hopefully, during November we will soon begin to have video coverage of the topics and reports submitted on this weblog.


The urban lake system continued to provide convenient, accessible fishing. Catches of bluegill and largemouth bass started sluggish, but increased steadily as the month progressed. The bait fisherman I talked to reported nice catches of the recently stock, farm-raised, catfish. The third week of October saw a stocking of bluegill and small to medium largemouth bass. The recently stocked fish were skittish at first. After a few days of acclimating to their new surroundings, they became eager to take a fly. Such eagerness resulted in one memorable morning at Water Ranch Lake.

Trout fisherman can look forward to the Fall/Winter stocking of farm-raised rainbow trout which will begin the end of November.

Except as noted, the most successful fly patterns remained those previously mentioned.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Note # 1)

Due to its close proximity, I continued to be able to fish this lake at least twice a week. I never have a disappointing day at this lake. Fly fishing this lake will, at a minimum, produce steady catches of bluegill. Call me simple, but on a day when I only have an hour and a half to two hours to fly fish, I would rather catch and release a few bluegill than catch nothing at all.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ (See Note # 1)

Water ranch produce steadily; however, catches of largemouth bass seemed to fall off at the beginning of the month. After the recent stocking, fishing improved.

On Friday, October 26th, I had a dazzling morning of fly fishing at the Water Ranch. I arrived at the lake about seven in the morning. I only had about two hours to fish and was really in the mood for consistent action catching at least bluegills. I tied on my favorite brace of exploratory flies, a # 14 McGinty wet fly on the head and a # 14 Rainbow Warrior nymph on the tail. I walked to one of my favorite starting points adjacent to a bank of reeds and started fishing. After about six casts, I was disappointed; usually my choice of flies would produce at least a bluegill. I decided to take one more cast and move on when I noticed a silver streak in the water pursuing but not taking the flies. The streak was larger than a bluegill so I decided to change flies to something larger and perhaps more appetizing. I hoped that the prospect of a more satisfying meal would provoke a strike from the mysterious flash of silver. I tied on a # 14 Claret Wooly Bigger on the head followed by a # 14 Apache Lady wet fly on the tail. On the very next cast, a decent size largemouth bass had kissed the Apache Lady and was hooked. Clearly, there was no need to move so I continued casting. For the next two and one half hours, I steadily caught and released largemouth bass ranging in size from seven inches to twelve inches and numerous bluegill. I took “a few” photographs of the fish for this weblog. I arrived home and discovered I had downloaded nineteen pictures of bass released and eight pictures of bluegill released. I didn’t even take a picture of every fish caught. What a morning!


I had a fly fishing lesson to give at dusk that same day. I called the student and changed the scheduled location of the lesson to Water Ranch. At 5:00 pm, I arrived and met the student. The location I fished in the morning was taken, so we walked to the section where water enters the lake from the recharge basin. After a fifteen minute lesson, the student was roll casting and retrieving the same brace of flies sufficiently well enough to land four largemouth’s. The size was about ten inches on average, but to that first time fly fisherman it was a delight. I knew she was hooked on fly fishing.

Di now happily addicted to fly fishing



Though not aesthetically pleasing, from a fly fishing viewpoint, this lake continued to produce well. Again, due to its small size, the only way that this lake will continue to provide good fishing is through conscientious management via a catch and release system.

I had two memorable days at this lake. The first was on Saturday, October 2nd when I finished working and desired some sunset fly fishing. After a half hour, a dust storm began to move in. The winds and dust soon made fly fishing impossible.

As this bass was caught & released, the dust arrived.


The dust & wind arrived ending fly fishing.

The second memorable day was Thursday, October 14th when my youngest daughter, Kim, arrived for a visit from New Jersey. After she unpacked we were able to get 2 fast hours of successful catch and release fishing in.




Due to time constraints, I was unable to visit the following lakes previously reported, Red Mountain Lake in Mesa and Cosmo Lake in Gilbert. I will make an effort to fish these lakes next month and report.

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water. Fly Fishing Dojo is now on Facebook; Please see the Video and Media Page tab above.

Sensei John


1. These lakes are part of the Arizona Urban Fishing Program. The program which provides man-made fishing lakes in close proximity to major population centers is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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