Tag Archives: Arizona fishing

Bluegills & Warlords

29 Jun

What does a fisherman catching a bluegill and a Daimyo (Warlord) ordering a Samurai to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) have in common? They are both affected by perception.
When I lived in Arizona, fishing in the hot dry summer months was summed up in one phrase – brutally tough. “Low” temperatures often hovered in the mid-ninety degree range and high temperatures, more often than not, exceed one hundred and five degrees. Though an occasional largemouth bass can be found in these extreme conditions, the most plentiful species is the humble bluegill. When fishing for bluegill, I adjust my tackle accordingly. I fish a ultra-light equipment with light leaders usually with a 7x or 8x tippet. Catching bluegill in this manner is productive and fun; with each bluegill released, my smile broadens and my mood relaxes more and more.

boulder-green sunfish-bluegill- copy

My suffering through the summer would pay dividends in the late fall when temperatures finally return to a level that is tolerable. It is at this time that Arizona Game and Fish would embark upon an aggressive rainbow trout stocking program. All thoughts and efforts on the water turned to catching that lucent shimmering magnificence that is the rainbow trout. During my quest, it is inevitable that a bluegill will also be caught. It is somewhat disingenuous to the bluegill species that so delighted me during the summer that hooking one now brings a thought of, “Ah, only a bluegill.”
What is different? It is still the same bluegill species that had me smiling all summer. It is still just as much fun to catch. But, it is not a rainbow trout. It is only a matter of perception. My perception of catching and releasing a bluegill has been altered.

As I hit the keys of my laptop producing these words, it is early Spring. After a decade in Arizona, I’ve relocated back to my home state of New Jersey. As I reacquaint myself with the waters of my youth, one goal is ever-present; find fish. Though I’m presently targeting bass and pickerel, I am grateful for any tug on my line. That tug is more often than not provided by bluegill.

blugill rat-l-trap

Whenever I am fortunate to have my six year old grandson fish with me, the one species that provides consistent action and mile-wide smiles and laughs is, well you already know. Ah, perception once again exalts the status of the bluegill.

bluegill-stratt

Perception affects not only how we technically fish but also how we react to the overall fishing experience. The ancient sages knew the power of perception. In fact, oral traditions and myths told of the ramifications of how perception shapes our world.
Here is a mythical tale from the oral traditions of the martial arts that illustrates how perception can alter the manner in which you perceive a current event. The next time you fish, think of the tale and the manner in which perception affects your fishing reality. It is called the Daimyo and the Samurai.

In feudal Japan there was a powerful daimyo, a warlord. Amongst his many retainers, the daimyo had an extremely loyal Samurai whom he favored. The samurai had accompanied the Daimyo to the Shogun’s Court in far off Edo, many days journey from their home. One day the samurai received an urgent message advising that his father, also a very distinguished samurai loyal to the daimyo’s family, had fallen gravely ill. Being in a hurry to attend to his dying father, the samurai desired to mount his horse and rush home. The samurai found that his horse had become lame and could not make the long journey home. Worried about seeing his ill father, the samurai made use of the daimyo’s favorite horse. This was a serious crime punishable by beheading.
When the daimyo heard of the samurai’s use of his horse, he declared, “The samurai and his father are loyal retainers of my family, what a devout samurai to be so concerned with the welfare of his father that he risked his own life so as to attend to his ill father.”
Business at the Shogun’s Court had concluded and the daimyo returned home to his castle. The samurai went to see his master and they walked in the daimyo’s gardens. The samurai saw the most lovely cherry blossom. He picked it and offered it to his master as a token of his appreciation, saying, “Amongst flowers, the cherry blossom; amongst men, you, my Lord and master.” The other samurai that were in attendance were shocked that he dared to pick a cherry blossom from the daimyo’s favorite tree. The daimyo took the proffered cherry blossom and praised the samurai for his generosity.
As happens in all human relationships, the daimyo and the samurai eventually had a falling out. The daimyo angrily and publicly chastised the samurai, “You impudent servant, you disgraced me by making use of my horse.” “You insulted me by picking my own cherry blossom and giving it to me as a present.” In the presence of the daimyo’s court, the samurai was ordered to commit seppuku (ritual suicide).
The next time you are on the water hunting for a game fish and are “only” catching “junk” fish, think about the Daimyo and the Samurai. Adjust your perception and relax and enjoy the simple pleasure of being outdoors, catching a fish.(See Endnote #1).

Samurai seppuku

Samurai seppuku

I hope you enjoyed the tale and the within exploration as to how perception is a key ingredient in your fly fishing repertoire.
In closing I remain, open to my perception of my world and wishing I could cast a fly into clear water and find a bluegill at the end of my line.

Sensei John

Sensei John

wicked catch  In the photo I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes). Or, you can also log in with my personal link (as of January, 2015)
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ENDNOTES:
1. I had heard this fable several times in the Dojo. I was able to locate a similar tale, which you may also enjoy reading. It is called “The Thief Of The Peach” and may be found in: Furuya, Kensho, Kodo: Ancient Ways (Lessons In The Spiritual Life Of The Warrior/Martial Artist (O’Hara Publications, Inc., 1996)   p. 48.

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.75 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.75, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

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“Fish On!” – Fishing Kiai

2 Jun

   CIMG5462  “Fish on!” – “Got one!” – “Y-E-S!” – “Woo-hoo!”

These are all examples of an exciting characteristic of fishing that has its roots in the martial arts. Ethnicity and language do not affect this characteristic.“Et Viola!” is an example from Andre Paradis, host of one of my favorite fishing shows, King Of The RiverOther examples include,

    CIMG3943 “Damn!” – “Lost him!” – “He’s off!”

What is this fishing characteristic?
It is a yell, born of excitement or frustration that occurs when we fish. It does not matter if you fish with bait, a lure or a fly. It matters not that you are young or old, a weekend angler or competitive tournament angler, anytime a fish bites and you set the hook, you will shout or yell. A few tournament fisherman have an almost trademark-type yell that is known by the public as specific to that fisherman.
This yell is interconnected with a martial arts practice known as “kiai” (pronounced “Key-eye”). When written in kanji (Japanese calligraphy) the word kiai is composed of two root words, “ki” meaning “spirit” and “ai” a contraction of the word “ to yell.” Thus kiai loosely translates as “spirit yell.”

KiaiKanji

Kiai is therefore not simply yelling. It is a yell or shout derived from, and incorporating your internal spirit. It is completely different that a loud exclamation lacking of emotion. Spirit or emotion is the driving force behind the kiai. The physical source of the kiai is from the inhaled breath stored within your lower abdomen. (See Endnotes # 1). This is important because a poorly executed kiai which originates from your throat will produce a sore throat whereas a properly executed kiai will not.
In addition to an expression of excitement or frustration there are other reasons to kiai. Within the martial arts, there are three reasons to kiai. They are, to scare your opponent, to boost your confidence and to provide or add to the strength of your technique. In fishing, only two of these three reasons are applicable. Since it could be argued that the fish is your opponent, while fishing, you would not kiai to scare your opponent. You may; however, wish to kiai to scare away those fisherman that are encroaching on your fishing waters, but perhaps that topic is best avoided.
Let’s look at the kiai from the perspective of boosting your confidence. In battle or any individual fight, one fighter may feel out classed by his opponent. To overcome this negative attitude, a sharp kiai is helpful as a confidence booster. Similarly when fishing during difficult conditions a kiai may be helpful. These external difficulties include wind, driving rain, excessively hot temperatures and the like. Through no fault of your own, these external factors make your fishing difficult. They often have the effect of dampening your spirit, decreasing your confidence and making you susceptible to giving-up. A sharp kiai may serve to cast out the negativity and rejuvenate your desire to fish enjoyably and successfully in these adverse conditions. Examples include,
saguaro   “Come on already!” – “To Hell with this weather!” – “Enough!” – “Get your head back in the game!”
Similarly, adversity may come from factors within yourself. Even on a picture perfect day and conditions that are optimal, fishing can be difficult. During these times, you may experience negative emotions. You may begin to doubt your abilities, doubt your chances for success (“There’s only three hours in this tournament and there’s no way I can win.”) or you may simply prematurely accept defeat (“What’s the use of changing lures?”). At this time, a deep breath and a powerful kiai can snap you out of your negativity and turn your attitude into a positive one. During such times, I take two minutes to kiai, perform an aggressive form of Sanchin, called Shobu (combat) Sanchin and again kiai. Then, with my mind back in the game, I return to my fishing. Here is a video of Shobu-sanchin filmed on the Lower Salt River, Arizona with watchful vultures.


Even the esteemed author and fisherman Ernest Hemingway was known to kiai. “Fornicate the illegitimate!” was heard during one eventful fishing trip on the Gulf Stream. (See Endnote # 2)
Kiai is also used when you find it necessary to increase your strength. Imagine a martial artist about to break bricks or a weightlifter lifting a tremendous weight over his head. Does he remain silent or does he yell and groan? Naturally he yells, grunts and groans. This is a clear example of kiai used for the purpose of increasing your strength. In fishing, you may encounter times when such a kiai is useful. If so, go ahead and kiai. This aspect of kiai is the one that is commonly manifested during the hook set. You finally feel a tug at the end of your line and your spirit swells from within and produces that kiai, that exclamation of excitement – “Yes”, “Fish-on”, “Got him”, etc. So, go ahead and kiai as you reel that fish in.
Another aspect of kiai to to alert others to your predicament. In karate, very often the sound one produces with a kiai is akin to “ai-ya.” I have students modify this. When I teach children karate, I teach them to kiai the word “help.” Similarly, I teach adult students to kiai the word “fire.” Why? Again, the word itself has no effect on the kiai so use the word to your advantage. Most people that hear a child yell for help will look in that direction and offer assistance. However, “help” yelled by an adult may not elicit the same response, rather people may actually look away. Thus, the kiai of “fire.” Everyone looks to see where the fire is. Similarly, the word used in your fishing kiai should be of additional help to you. Once a fish is hooked, you want to alert your partner to that fact. Once alerted they can help land the fish. They may need to get the net or gaff, pull in other lines to avoid tangles, adjust boat position, and the like. A kiai of “Fish on!”or “Got one!” accomplishes this goal whereas “Yes! or “About time!” may not.
Ultimately, the exact wording of you kiai is unique to you. It serves its intended purpose and represents your own uniqueness. Hey, you never know, you could become a famous fisherman and trademark your kiai. “Bam, Fish on!”
So, enjoy your kiai. Kiai often with tight lines.
In closing, I remain, casting, (hopefully) hooking, but always with kiai.

Sensei John

Sensei John

hatch helicopter copy  Whenever I fish, I wear sun protection shirts I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaffkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes). Or, you can also log in with my personal link

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FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor    As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.75 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

ENDNOTES:
1. Deep abdominal breathing can easily be practiced with a procedure known as “Sanchin Kata”. You can acquaint yourself for free with this procedure using this convenient link to my karate blog: http://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/
2. Lyons, Nick (editor), Hemingway On Fishing, (The Lyons Press, 2000) p. 119. From “On Being Shot Again: A Gulf Stream Letter”, originally appearing in Esquire magazine, 1935.
Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

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Au Revoir Arizona Fishing

13 Jan

Now that I’m settled in in New Jersey, I wanted to post some final thoughts on fishing in Arizona. Simply put, I hated living in Arizona. It is dry, dusty and damnably hot. Having placed myself in a situation where relocating was not possible, I was doomed to try to endure. The one saving grace was fishing. During the triple digit temperatures of the Arizona summer, you would have to be out the door by four o’clock in the morning. This gave you at least until ten or so when triple digit heat would radiate from the Sun. I do not write about my intense dislike with living in Arizona to simply air my gripes in cyber-space. rather, I write of my dislike only to highlight the manner in which fishing provided if not an escape, then at least a respite. I write to that another, who is disillusioned with the Valley Of The Sun, might discover these words and be led to explore fishing in the desert.

My first exposure to fishing in Arizona was through the Urban Lake System (now called the Community Fishing Program). Frankly, the lakes in this program were a God-send. They are easily accessible and extremely user friendly, even for the novice fisherman. They are regularly stocked with catfish in the summer and rainbow trout in the cooler winter months. If you are an Arizona resident or winter visitor, you owe it to yourself to get the necessary (and relatively inexpensive) fishing license and try out one of your local Urban Lakes. While many of the videos on my video page (see the tab above) show some of the Urban fishing, here is my most memorable catch, a huge catfish on a fly rod, yes, a fly rod, filmed at Red Mountain Lake in Mesa.

Simply put, I cannot recommend the Community Lakes system enough for any Arizona resident, or winter visitor.

While the Urban Lakes provided easy access fishing, the big waters provided the most beautiful experiences in spectacular natural environments. By the big waters I mean Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and my “watery-mistress”, the Lower Salt River. Even if you do not fish, take a ride and enjoy the day hiking at one of these locations. Not sure if its worth the trip? Then check out my fishing videos and see some unbelievable scenery. So spectacular is the scenery and so profound is the experience of being at these locations, that in addition to fishing, I often filmed my martial arts videos in these environments. Here is one of my most memorable filmed my very last day on the Lower Salt River amongst one of the many wild horse herds that call the river home.

You can also use this link to access all of my kata videos, all have a description advised of the filming location. Check out a few and then get in your car and check out these big waters. http://senseijohn.me/kata-syllabus/

In the last few months of living in Arizona, I was exposed to a very unusual aspect of fishing. That is fly fishing for carp (both common and grass carp, or amur). You can find exciting fly fishing in almost any irrigation canal that is not posted otherwise but, I recommend you checkout SRP’s website for regulations and further details as ALL fishing is catch and release.

canal

In addition, you will find carp, and largemouth bass, at the lakes at ASU Research Center in Tempe, again, consult the local regulations.

carp

Checkout any of the articles in my Fishing Journals category prior to the date of this post and discover the therapeutic beauty of Arizona fishing.

And so, with this post, I say “Au revoir Arizona.” In the next article, I’ll look to what’s ahead as I prepare to once again fish New Jersey waters, both fresh and salt.

vulture-me

In the photo I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaffkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes). Or, you can also log in with my personal link (as of January, 2015)
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Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.75 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.75, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

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Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

September & October, 2014 Fishing Journal

2 Nov

September & October, 2014, Valley of the Sun. With many things on our personal agenda, including an upcoming relocation to New Jersey, we fished when we could and not as often as we would have liked. As of this writing, one of our team members has already relocated to New Jersey. Here’s a photo of her last bass in Arizona, a beauty caught at the Lower Salt River on October 3rd.

di last bass

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With seriously decreased water flows, the key to success is finding deep, moving, well oxygenated water.

   salt-Sept   salt oct

Areas that previously had water may now be dry

Areas that previously had water may now be dry

Depending on the area you desire to fish, this can involve some degree of hiking. The results; however, are worth the hike.

  CIMG5462   CIMG5467

Notwithstanding the consistent low flows, I always consult the flow chart for the river before heading out the door. WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

   CIMG5470   CIMG5505

Our last visit to Canyon Lake was on September 30th. At the time, the fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation Area was still closed. We will attempt to verify the status of the bridge by the time of our next report.

URBAN LAKE FISHING:

Arizona Game and Fish will start stocking rainbow trout in mid-November.

Riverview Lake, Mesa

On Sunday, October 12th, 2014 saw major blooms of green algae in various locations on the lake.

riverview algae

From talking with other fisherman, it seems this phenomenon was relatively new. Our experience that day was that the algae seems to have hampered the bite. One small largemouth bass was caught.

   CIMG5487

 

vulture-me  In the photos I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

sunsu-cactus Please feel free to view my weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts at http://senseijohn.me

August, 2014 Fishing Journal

8 Sep

August, 2014, Valley of the Sun. August proved to be cooler than normal. By “cooler” I mean that while temperatures did exceed 105 on some days, they never went over 110 as in prior years. Strange, but I’ll take it. Our fishing centered around the Lower Salt River and Canyon Lake. We also had two or three trips to the community lakes. Naturally, in retrospect, we would have liked to fish more days and on a larger variety of waters. I don’t think any fisherman would say that they were out on the water as many days as they would like. Well, here’s how our month went (and one really great day).
PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER
During the summer months the flows of the river tend to run high and remain somewhat consistent. August was different. Flows were slightly less than the same time in 2013. Additionally, flows varied quite a bit, sometimes quite drastic.

 

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

salt-august

I don’t like to fish the river when flows have increased by more than 200 c.f.s. over a twenty-four hour period. I did; however, decide to “test the waters” on a day that the flows decreased significantly. Thursday, August 21st the flows significantly decreased.

8-21-flows

The weather forecast called for a forty percent chance of thunderstorms and much cloud cover. Curious as to the effect of the decreased flows and weather on fishing we headed out. We started at Coon Bluff Recreation Area. We stayed there three hours. On the first six casts, we hooked and released five largemouths. We even had a double.

bass-double

More fish followed. When the bite slowed, we hiked a few yards up and down the river. At each new location, the bite was on for the first dozen or so casts. Then we moved on. But, at all times we remained at Coon Bluff. The size of the bass varied from the micro to a decent size of sixteen inches or so.

bass-16   bass-rat-l-trap   bass-small

 

horse sign  We were also blessed on that day to catch a few glimpses of one of the wild horse herds that call the river home.

horses

The most productive lures proved to be rattle traps. As for flies the most productive was a # 12 red/white streamer with a # 16 bead head pink nymph as a trailer.

bass-flies-collage

All in all, it was one of the best days of fishing we’ve enjoyed so far this year.

I would love to commit time and energy into an informal study of the effect of the changing river flows on the largemouth bass population. Unfortunately, the need to earn a living limits the time that can be spent on the water. No-one that I know has the financial resources to fund such a project. I’m sure even if I did have such an acquaintance, their resources would be used for other endeavors. Hell, even the great author and outdoorsman, Ernest Hemingway bemoaned such matters.

“All the people I know with enough wealth to subsidize (a study of the marlin) are either busy studying how to get more wealth, or horses, or what is wrong with themselves with psychoanalysts, or horses, or how not to lose what wealth the have, or horses, or the moving picture business, or horses or all os these things together, and, possibly, horses.” (See Endnote # 1)

One benefit of fishing the river is that it is close to Saguaro Lake. On days where the river is less than productive, we often make a fast run to the lake to check on the bite.

saguaro

CANYON LAKE
As is the case with fishing in general, some days on Canyon Lake had better results than others. One particularly slow day, the only thing I hooked was a dragonfly. Yeah, that’s right, while fly fishing, my backcast hooked a dragonfly. I didn’t even feel the “hook-set,” I only noticed it when I cast forward and my fly line hung in the air, flying on its own.

drgonfly

There is one thing of interest for those readers that fish the Boulder Recreation Area.
August 12th fishing bridge was closed. That particular day was very windy & thunderstorms so, we weren’t sure if the closing was temporarily weather related. We fished that area again on August 19th and it was still closed. So, I wonder if it is closed due to a structural problem, like two years ago. As of this post, I am not aware of the status of the bridge. Here’s a few photos from a more successful day at the lake.

canyon bass collage-crankbait

hatch helicopter copy   In the photos I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor    As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.25, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. Ernest Hemingway from: Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 119, originally published as “Out In The Stream: A Cuban Letter” in Esquire magazine, August, 1934.

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sunsu-cactus  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts at http://senseijohn.me

Catching A Specific Fish – Like An Asteroid Hitting The Earth

25 Aug

eath asteroid     I was recently watching a science themed show. The show discussed all the random factors that would have to come together for an asteroid to hit the Earth. The odds are all these random events coming perfectly together where staggering.

The show made me think about all the random decisions, factors and events that converge to put man and fish together at the exact moment in time so that man hooks fish. When you think about all the randomness that goes into hooking a specific fish, the odds are as staggering as an asteroid hitting the Earth.

For example, July 2nd, 2014 I hooked my largest catfish ever on a fly rod (video is below). Here is a list of all the random choices, decisions and factors that went into catching that one fish.

Before heading out to fish:

  • We woke-up later than normal therefore a trip to the big waters of the Lower Salt River or Canyon Lake was not feasible given our time allotment and weather;
  • weather forecast hot triple digit temperatures before noon;
  • our team member that beat cancer was still not one hundred percent and has difficulty on hot sunny mornings;
    the above considerations led to a decision to fish a a community lake (previously Urban Lake system);
  • the most likely candidate was Water Ranch Lake as we hadn’t fished there since our member finished chemotherapy and we needed video footage of this lake for a DVD project;
  • we began to get ready with this “plan” in mind;
    loading the truck the sun was already intense so we decided to change locations to Red Mountain Lake which offered more shade than Water Ranch Lake;
  • the plan was to walk once around the lake sight fishing and casting in locations that were previously productive and then call it a morning;

Once we arrived at Red Mountain Lake:

  • We tied on our most productive lures and flies and set out;
  • on the fly rod I chose a fly that I purchased for carp fishing but that was also productive for bass;
  • walking along the bank we fished the entire lake in about an hour and a half;
  • at this point, we were done fishing;
  • I stopped to talk to a fellow fisherman (who is heard in the video) and took a few moments to show him fly fishing. This took about ten minutes;
  • we continued to walk along the bank back to the truck;
  • about fifteen feet from where we would turn towards the parking lot, we spotted a huge cat fish right by the bank;
  • with all rods rigged, and the carp fly already tied on, I made a decision to try with the fly rod;
  • six or seven casts later, it was “Fish on!”

ALL of the above led up to that exact moment in time and place when our path crossed with that of the catfish. A different lake, a few minutes sooner or later, a different choice of lure and the hook-up would have never happened.

So, catching a specific fish is like an asteroid hitting the Earth. A series of random choices, events, decisions and factors that come together to put man and fish together under exactly the right circumstances.

In the video I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

office-mug-shirt  Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above. In the photo is the FFD logo coffee mug and baseball shirt.

sunsu-cactus  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

July, 2014 Fishing Journal

8 Aug

July, 2014, Valley of the Sun.
I’m driving to the Lower Salt River one morning hoping to get in a few hours of fishing before the triple heat swoops in. Classic rock plays on the radio. A song ends. The D.J. begins the weather report, “Today’s weather; Christ is gonna be hot!” “One fourteen in Phoenix later, but now, the Talking Heads Burning Down The House.”
I think, “What a great way to sum up fishing in the Arizona summer.”

Hemingway once said,“No one can work every day in the hot months without going stale. To break up the pattern of work, we fish . . . “ (Endnote # 1) So, in these unbearably hot days, when one’s spirit can easily go stale, I turn to fishing whenever I can and my karate kata when I can’t. Before my fingers go stale, I best get on with July’s fishing.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

When time permits, fishing the Lower Salt is a double bonus. First, you’re fishing – ‘nuff said. Second, you’re able to wade its cool waters and keep your body temperature within a comfortable zone. Do; however, use caution. The river moves fast and has some tricky currents. A few people drown each year.

                     bass-c00n-b-rat-l     bass-tellico-coob-bluff

The problem with fishing the river is one of changing water flows. I always consult the flows before planning a trip. You can also do so by visiting
http://www.watershedmonitor.com/contentView.aspx?DT=0&KW=WW_LwrSaltRiver
If there is a change of more than 200 c.f.s. within a day of my trip, then I fish elsewhere. Here’s what the flows looked like for July, 2014.

salt-july

More photos from the river.

   bass-mask      salt-coon-bass-bh-eggi-juan-kenobi

 

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

On those summer days when I can spare a few hours to fish and the changing flows keep me off the river, I fish Canyon Lake. My exact choice of location is a function of the difficulty of hiking to the location compared with the temperature. My relevant temperature measurement isn’t the forecasted high temperature but rather how early it will hit one hundred degrees. The earlier the time of day, the less hiking I do. In those instances, I’ll fish the more readily accessible locations all along the lake.

 boulder-green sunfish-bluegill- copy

I always look for new fishing spots along the lake’s shore. If I’m on the lake and the heat’s a bit much, I’ll scout out new fishing spots for future trips. I recently began to explore the area in and around the Laguna Beach boat launch. I hope to have more in future reports.

CIMG5096

 

community fishing sign  URBAN LAKE FISHING

The Urban Lake System, now the Community Fishing Program, provides easily accessible fishing; often within a driving distance of less than fifteen miles. or so. On days that I cannot spare sufficient travel time to the big waters, then I fish these more accessible lakes.

Health issues, drastically cut into our time to fish these lakes. There are; however, two items of distinction from this month.

Riverview-Mesa   Riverview Lake, Mesa, AZ

The first is our trip to the newly renovated Riverfront Lake in Mesa. This lake is not quite in “our neighborhood” as are Veterans Oasis, Water Ranch and Red Mountain, but I wanted to see it after its renovation. All I can say is, “Wow, what a great job!” The lake is beautiful and well planned. We caught a few small bass, but did see quite a few larger fish. I think in the coming months that I’l do a full feature and video on this renovated lake. Definitely worth the trip.

Red Mountain   Red Mountain Lake, Mesa, AZ

The second item of distinction occurred July 2nd. We were fishing Red Mountain Lake in Mesa. It was a hot morning. We were walking the bank, going back to the truck when we saw a huge catfish an inch or so away from and facing the concrete retaining wall. He was feeding on something. I’ve seen largemouth bass also do this. I can’t seem figure out either this behavior or what they’re feeding on. We had a few rods with a soft plastic grub, a rat-l trap and my fly rod with a big nymph. To avoid spooking the fish, I decided to throw the fly.

catfish-collage copy

I cast about six or seven times letting the fly hit the edge of the concrete. I would then ease it into the water. On about the eight cast, the fish took the fly and a twenty-plus minute fight was on! Di was able to get some really great video.

I hope you enjoy the new collage editor I downloaded, it is my goal to be able to show fish caught and fly or lure used in future submissions.

7--20-13 inch-asu_Fotor_Collage

In the photos and video we’re wearing uv protection shirts we purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Until the next submission, thanks for stopp’in by,

Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor   As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Until the next submission, I remain,

ENDNOTES:
1. Hemingway’s quote cane be found in my favorite book on “Papa” -Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 153, originally published as “A Situation Report” in Look magazine, September 4, 1956. For my review of this “must read’ please use this convenient link: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2010/07/26/hemingway-on-fishing/

You can follow the adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. This months new product – Fly Fishing Dojo Coffee Mug

Taking a coffee break from blogging and vlogging with the FFD logo coffee mug and FFD black and white baseball t-shirt.

office-mug-shirt

 

sunsu-cactus   Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

Here Comes The Sun – Damn!

26 Jul

Sun, Sun, Sun, here it comes.
Unfortunately, I’m not referring to the Beatles song. Here in the Valley Of The Sun, the lyric is a warning. A foreboding of the inevitable. Most people embrace the coming of summer, and the joy of being on the water fishing. Not for me in Arizona. The forecast almost always includes temperatures that are in triple digits before noon. Many a day there’s an excessive heat warning and advice to refrain from outdoor activities. The summer heat is a challenge to fishing. So how to get out and fish?

7-1 temps

For some, the answer is to avoid the blazing sun altogether and fish at night. The option of becoming a fish chasing vampire is not available to me on a regular basis. So, the key is sun protection. I never really enjoyed slathering sun block over exposed areas of skin. For others in the Fly Fishing Dojo, the effects of chemotherapy mean that the idea of putting the harsh chemicals in sun block on is not even an option. The alternative is simple, sun protection clothing; including face masks, shirts, pants and gloves.

So, as often as possible (usually 4 days a week) we don our uv clothing, pack copious amounts of water, our home-made organic energy snacks and hit the water.

wicked catch

On days when the high temperature is expected to exceed 105 degrees, I also pack a water soaked hydration vest into a cooler. In a heat related emergency, the vest can put put on to immediately begin to lower body temperature.

The results of being able to fish under the drastic sun conditions pay-off. Here’s a video of a huge catfish caught on a fly one hot summer morning when the temperatures were already one hundred degrees by eleven o’clock.

CIMG5067  In the photo and video both Di and I are wearing an uv protection shirt we purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

sweat-hat_Fotor

In closing, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-sticker-website  Look for updates on my pending book, Fishing Dojo, coming by the Fall of 2014.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

sunsu-cactus  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

May & June, 2014 Fishing Journal

5 Jul

May and June, 2014, Valley of the Sun, 

May 15th, that’s the day.
The sun rose warm promising temperatures approaching a hundred degrees. A bit early for near triple digit temperatures here in the Valley. But that wasn’t what made the day standout. It was the first day since mid-October when medical reasons kept us off the water that we were able to fish. It was only for an hour on a local urban pond and no fish were caught, but what a great day! If fish caught and released were the sole criteria for determining the quality of a day on the water, then some days were better than others. Thankfully results are not the sole factor in determining whether the overall day was good or not.

blk-ant  The first fish actually caught was this palm-sized bluegill on a # 16 dry black ant. I firmly believe that fishing results are a matter of perception. After all those months of surgery and chemotherapy, hooking this bluegill was like catching a blue marlin.

We started out slow, fishing the local lakes and ponds in the Community Fishing Program (formerly the Urban Lake system). We visited Red Mountain Lake and Discovery Pond regularly. We also made a few trips to Veterans Oasis Lake and Water Ranch Lake. The results were good with catches of small to mid-size bass. Enough to keep us encourage to continue building stamina back after chemotherapy and get out on the big waters.

Di first bass  After seven months of weekly chemotherapy, Di hooked her first bass. Oh, what a feeling!

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

bass-salt-   bluegill-canyon     redear-hat

We started fishing at the ASU Research Park Lakes. These lakes are part of an industrial/office park. As such, to avoid the “nine-to-five workday” we tend to fish these lakes on the weekend. The atmosphere is generally pleasing and relaxing. The fishing experience and results tend to be very satisfying. Hook-ups have included largemouth bass, catfish and carp (quickly becoming a favorite quarry for my fly rod).

bass no mask   CIMG4959   carp

In early June, health status was good enough to begin fishing Canyon Lake and the Lower Salt River. Both of these locations involve a fair amount of hiking along challenging terrain. Health-wise we did good. Fishing results were slow, but, hey we were off the water for almost seven months during chemotherapy. So, it may take a bit of time before we’re back up to snuff.

vulture-me  Fishing the Lower Salt River involves a lot of hiking; moving from location to location in search of fish. Our team member that finished chemo was still building her stamina and trips to the river proved challenging. So,we fished the river once a week; more as stamina increases. As the summer progresses, fishing will be limited to those locations that are not impeded by river tubing.

hatch helicopter copy  Our first trip to the Lower Salt River saw an unusual occurrence. US Forest Service and MCSO officers were looking for a poacher. As we cast, we watched the drama unfold with officers on horseback, and helicopter. We often heard “Come out with hands up and we can work this out, if we come in to get you, you’re going to jail.” Here’s a link to the full story: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2014/06/09/match-the-hatch/

In these dog days of summer fishing success on the Lower Salt varies depending on river flows. I check the flow beginning three days before any planned trip and the in morning before heading out. If there is a change in flows greater than 200 c.f.s., I don’t fish the river and wait for more uniform flows.

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

salt-april-may-june

NON-TRADITIONAL FISHING
canal  With the popularity of fly fishing for carp growing in the United States, We started fishing some of the local canals in search of carp and amor.

saltJPG  We hope that we are able to continue to fish in these venues and provide more reports in the coming months.

Sneak-peak at July: July 2nd I caught this huge cat fish ON A Fly (details in the July journal) but, here’s a video (condensed) of the over twenty minute fight:

PRODUCT NOTE (and discount code):

In the photos I’m wearing an uv protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Fly Fishing Dojo FEATURED PRODUCT:
fly_fishing_dojo_bandana  This Month’s featured product is the FFD Logo bandanna. You can visit our “Shop” Page Tab or use this convenient LINK: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.1286760541

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.25 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.25, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

CIMG2517  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

Match The Hatch?!?

9 Jun

Recently, there was a bit of “reality t.v.” type drama at the Lower Salt River.

Di and I were fishing in the area of the Phon D. Sutton parking lot. A few yards up river and across the back there was quite a commotion. Through a crack in a rock outcropping, we were able to catch a few glimpses.

On the far bank, a Maricopa County Sheriff on horseback (with guns drawn) could be seen circling back and forth along a short stretch of shoreline. Federal Game and Fish Wardens rushed to find a safe spot to cross the river.

I heard yelling, “Come out now with your hands up!”

Okay, that got my attention.

I half-heartedly fished as I kept one eye focused in the direction of the yelling. In part I was curious, in part I wanted to know when to take cover in case shots were fired. I cast to a cruising largemouth as “bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do?” drifted through my mind. Suddenly, the exasperated cavalry officer gave one last warning, “Come out and we can talk, if we come in to get you, its jail!

Di and I now paid more attention to the scene as it played out. Off in the distance, I heard a thumping roar. Soon a MCSO helicopter joined the search. I looked upward to watch as the copter flew in ever decreasing circles.

I couldn’t help but wonder –

hatch helicopter copy

My stream-side notes don’t indicate the fly I selected to match-the-hatch, but I do recall it had a hackle tied parachute style. 👀

A few days later, we were fishing at Canyon Lake. A MSCO officer came by to check fishing licenses. I asked him if he knew anything about the incident at the river. From what he knew, it seems that someone was poaching honey from bee boxes. Not only that but in the driest and hottest week so far, this fool lit a fire for smoke to calm the bees and ended up burning an acre of brush. The poacher is now behind bars pending his arraignment.

I hope you enjoyed this submission. Look for my next fishing journal at the end of this month.

In the photo I’m wearing a sun protection shirt I purchased from Wicked Catch gear. You can visit their website at http://www.wickedcatchgear.com/fishing-shirts/
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).

Sensei John

Sensei John

   FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor  As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.00 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.00, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John is available for guest speaking engagements. Please see the “GUEST SPEAKING” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

CIMG2517  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

 

Finally – We’re Cleared To Fish!

7 May

Finally! 

At long last, it looks like we can once again get out on the water.

me shut down  The last time we were able to wet our lines was shortly before the U.S. Government shut-down in October of last year. (Here’s my post link: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2013/10/10/october-2013-fishing/ )

CIMG1685  Almost immediately after that one of our team members was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Since then, its been surgery, weekly chemotherapy, blood tests and highs and lows. The worst of which was depleted white blood cells counts which meant we were under medical “house arrest” – no going out unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, and despite our protests, fishing ranked lowest on the doctor’s definition of “necessary.”
But, the last chemo is May 9th, then scans and tests to determine final health status.

Now, we’re medically clear to go out freely. The first priority is to get our 2014 fishing licenses and get our tackle ready. Time to oil reels, change lines, sharpen hooks and the usual pre-season tackle check-up. You readers know I am a stickler for preparation. One of the three sources of martial warrior fear is “Futanren”, the fear of inadequate preparation. (Please use this link for my article on Futanren -Link: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2011/01/19/fly-fishing-futanren/ ) No inadequate preparation on our end as we look forward to starting our 2014 season.

bass  One area that we will be stepping up a bit is protection from the scorching Arizona sun. While we have always been attentive to sun protection, this season we are ramping that up a notch with greater sun protection clothing. UV protection face masks, shirts, pants and gloves will be standard gear. No more hearing that “Big-C” word at Fly Fishing Dojo. Even though the cancer was not skin cancer, seeing the effects of cancer and treatment first-hand means that no chances will be taken.

3-BASS-SIGN  So it looks like we should be back on the water in as little as a week. What I wouldn’t give to feel a simple bluegill tug on the end of my line. The rewards of fishing are all about perspective and our perspective has drastically changed for the better. Sure a fat, jumping largemouth, a big ‘ole catfish or beautiful trout is great, but the simple joy of being on the water in good company – that’s the best. I had written previously about perspective (“Warlords & Bluegills“- Link https://flyfishingdojo.com/2011/09/21/bluegill-to-bass-a-martial-arts-based-fishing-strategy/ ) but I now have a greater appreciation for my own words.

 

We'll miss Chloe on the water this year - R.I.P. little one

We’ll miss Chloe on the water this year – R.I.P. little one

We’re going to start on the smaller waters and the Arizona Urban Lake system while our stamina builds back up and the neuropathy from the chemo decreases. By early to mid June we hope to be one the bigger waters of Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and the Lower Salt River. Maybe will see a few local readers on the water.

FFD-sticker-website   Look for updates on my “Fishing Dojo” book which should be available in hard print and an E-book by October, 2014. I’ll have a few promotional giveaways prior to that, so check back often.

Until then, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

CIMG2517  Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life at http://senseijohn.me

October, 2013 – “Fishing”

10 Oct

With the recent Federal Government shut-down dragging on, I thought I would share of few photos from my fishing trips this week in and around Tonto National Forest, the Lower Salt River, Saguaro Lake and Canyon Lake.

me shut down

   saguaro   CIMG4360

   blue point   blue point-2

dry cast

With the shut down in full swing, I optimistically thought I night try to cast a fly the quarter mile from the gate at Phon D. Sutton recreation Area to the bank of the Lower Salt River – needless to say, my fly pattern was “dry” in more ways than one.

The irony, for me, is that I (and many other users) pre-pay an annual fee to enjoy the use of all of these facilities. Can anyone say, “per diem refund”?

Since the Arizona Urban Lake System (a State system) is unaffected by the Federl shut-down, I will be fishing those lakes for what seems to be quite a while.

Until the next submission, I remain, optimistic

Sensei John

Sensei John

May, 2013 Fishing Journal

7 Jun

May, 2013, Valley of the Sun, the first full month of fishing since my return to the Valley. It felt – – good. If fish caught and released were the sole criteria for determining the quality of a day on the water, then some days were better than others. Thankfully results are not the sole factor in determining whether the overall day was good or not.

fishing - welcome

As I write these monthly reports it always seems that there never was enough of time spent on the water. The reports seem too “short and sweet” – nonetheless, here it is. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

While most of this month’s fishing was on Canyon Lake and the urban lakes, there was a trip or two to the Lower Salt River. As the summer progresses, fishing will be limited to those locations that are not impeded by river tubing.

salt  salt-2

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

salt-may-2013

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

The fishing bridge at Boulder Recreation Area has been repaired and is again open for fishing. Most of our fishing this month centered around Boulder Recreation Area in general. Largemouth Bass, small Stripers and Bluegill provided regular activity.

bloulder dock

Fish could be caught on small “swimm’in squirt” tubes, small crank baits and a variety of flies. My usual fly rig included on lare fly for largemouths and a smaller trailing fly for blueill. Often, if a bluegill took the small fly, I would leave the rig in the water as largeouth were often attracted to the commotion caused by the hooked bluegill. In such a case, the larger fly was soemtimes taken by the bass.

bass rig

bass

bluegill with fly

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Fishing along the shoreline adjacent to the two fishing bridge (and on the bridge themselves) provided action from Bluegill and Largemouth. On one trip, we were joined by a friend who was more than happy to chase down the bluegill we threw back.

heron-saguaro

bass-2

URBAN LAKE FISHING

We were able to visit Veterans Oasis, Water Ranch and Red Mountain during May. Due to work commitments, we missed out nighttime cat fishing at these lakes. As catfish stocking will soon end, we’ll have to wait for the fall stocking for these tasty fish.

CIMG3943

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

This month’s FEATURED PRODUCT – Logo T-shirt

t-shirt

you may purchase this item using this link: http://www.cafepress.com/mf/42689803/fly-fishing-dojo_tshirt?shop=FLYFISHING_DOJO

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Me You may also visit my karate blog at WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com

Finally! My 2013 Fishing Season Starts

3 May

April, 2013, Valley Of The Sun,

After five long months of being out-of-State – exiled to the cold wintery east coast, I returned to the Valley Of The Sun the end of last month. After obtaining the necessary fishing licenses and National Park passes, I was ready to fish. To this end, I was able to squeeze in two fast days on the water in April.

My "secret" urban pond

My “secret” urban pond

Now, it’s time for final preparation of equipment and pre-fishing matters. May should begin quality (and quantity) time on the various waters of “The Valley.” Pre-fishing preparation is crucial to a successful and enjoyable day on the water. The import of this preparation increases in proportion to increasing temperatures in the Arizona desert. For a quick review of the the need for pre-fishing preparation as it relates to the martial arts concept of “Futanren”, please use this convenient link:  https://flyfishingdojo.com/2011/01/19/fly-fishing-futanren/

In addition to equipment preparation, it is also necessary to have at least a minimum of physical preparation. You may use the following convenient link to my article on this topic.  link: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2011/11/15/fishing-physical-conditioning/

To facilitate preparation, here’s a quick look at the flows of the Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest for April. Current data may be found using the following link and clicking of the Lower Salt River tab WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com

salt  - april

Summer fishing in the warm Arizona water involves a quest for catfish, pan fish and largemouth bass. As summer progresses and river tubing takes over the Lower Salt River, my fishing tends towards the “big lakes” –  Canyon Lake and to a lesser extent Saguaro Lake. “Quickie” fishing trips are routinely found in the Arizona Urban Lake system. As to summer fishing in the urban lakes, Fish and Game is stocking channel catfish. Here is a stocking schedule for 2013.

STOCKING-2013

Well, for now, there’s a bit more preparation I need to attend to, more fishing to follow,

Sensei John

Sensei John

 Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

You may also enjoy the following related blogs, my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Me  or the Goshin-Do Karate Blog at WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com

December, 2012 – Fishing Report

3 Jan

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, December, 2012, we cast out final lures, flick our last flies and release the last fish of the year and look forward to 2013 with the anticipation of spending more time on the water and enveloping ourselves with the peace and solitude of that activity known as “fishing.” The final month of the year proved to be a little more hectic than planned. Though time spent on the water was not “quantity-time”, it was “quality-time.”

With the cooler air and water temperatures and the State’s stocking program, our thoughts are no longer focused on catfish and panfish for the dinner plate.

catfish-veterans

Our thoughts somewhat remain with the largemouth bass that will still strike a lure or fly in the colder temperatures.

CIMG1612

Bass-streamer      DISCOVERY-BASS-9-23-SUMO

Our thoughts are mostly concentrated on the prize fish for us desert dwellers, the rainbow trout.

CIMG1711 CIMG1685

This one passed Chloe's inspection.

This one passed Chloe’s inspection.

VIDEO:

To inspire you to wet a line, let’s revisit one of our favorite videos, the first stocking of rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake in Mesa. Please click this convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPHyCIdmStY

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

salt-dec

Sunrise, Veteran's Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

Sunrise, Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Chandler, AZ

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

FLY FISHING DOJO – FEATURED PRODUCT – Warm-up after a long cold day or day dream at work with a cup of coffee in our official FFD logo coffee mug

ffd coffee mug

Here is a convenient link to our featured product (please feel free to browse the other items in our store). Link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912522#

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. This months new product

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

NOVEMBER, 2012: FISHING JOURNAL

7 Dec

With thoughts focusing on the Holiday Season, I wish you all a very Happy Holiday; may you all find peace, love and joy as you open your hearts to the Holidays.

merry-x-mas fish

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, November 2012, at long last, despite higher than average temperatures, the valley began to cool down. This can only mean one thing – rainbow trout fishing is back. Get out of the house and wet a line for some fine specimens. With cooler night time temperatures, I am able to enjoy an evening of kata practice under the stars followed by sitting outdoors, fireside with one of my favorite fishing books; Hemingway On Fishing. Here’s one except that put a smile on my face one fireside night:

“Of course, it could never be considered an equal contest (between man & fish) unless the angler had a hook in his mouth, as well as the fish. But insistence on that might discourage the sporting fisherman entirely.”  Ernest Hemingway from: Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 148, originally published as “the Great Blue River” in Holiday magazine, July, 1949.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

River flows continue to decrease, with one drastic drop in flows as evidenced by the flow chart shown below. I do not know what effect such dramatic changes of flows have upon the fish population; however, I speculate that it can not be favorable.

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Late fall and winter is always my favorite time of year on the river. Whether fishing is “good” or “bad’ I cannot help but feel connected to this environment. It is a reminder that we, humans, despite our egotistical tendency to believe otherwise, are but one small part of that which is so much larger than us.

On one particular day when fishing was slow, I decided to shoot some video footage for my Sanchin DVD. I was able to catch this footage with a gallery of unusual observers and a few critics; you may enjoy this footage filmed amongst a few vultures by clicking the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf8dlXsBnoI

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This blog is by no means a political forum. I strive had to “bite my tongue” on various affairs within the political realm; even if same pertains to fishing, or the natural environment.

My tongue has enough scars from such biting, and so, it is time to express my views – like it or not.

On November 15th, I wanted to fish one of my favorite spots in the Water Users Recreation Area. Upon arrival, I noticed a sign, which I do not recall from last year, advising that the area was “Closed For The Season.” On searching the internet, I could not find any mention of this. In my humble opinion, this is absurd. These federal lands belong to each and every one of us. We pay our taxes and then must pay a user-fee in the form of a permit or license to enjoy that which WE own. It is absurd and an insult that we are barred from using that which is not only OURS, but also, PAID FOR,  based upon a bureaucratic decision by some anonymous and innocuous little federal drone.

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

salt-nov

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

We visited Canyon Lake a few times with mixed results. Most of our fishing was along the various roadside banks. This is because not only is the fishing pier at Boulder Recreation Area still not repaired (and therefore closed), but the back area of Boulder is “Closed For The Season.” Rather than rant, rave and reiterate my feelings on this state of affairs, please refer to my comments above.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

The cooler temperatures mean that Fish and Game has begun to stock rainbow trout on a biweekly basis. These fish are, in a word – magnificent! They are wary opponents, great fighters and provide a good meal. PLEASE remember daily bag limits. These limits adequately provide for sufficient food for your table, and sport for others. Don’t be a hog, respect what we have!

rainbow-veterans

In addition, please note that in one instance, I witnessed a fist fight almost erupt between two fisherman over one’s excessive daily harvest. Apparently one fisherman caught his limit in the morning and returned in the late afternoon to harvest another limit. I know economic times are difficult and the trout are a food source, but let’s not be greedy, leave what’s fair for others, lest we sink into depravity.

As is my preference, I visited and fished Veteran’s Oasis Lake (Chandler), Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert) and Red Mountain Lake (Mesa) with mixed results, save for stocking dates which were fruitful.

Veteran’s Oasis Lake has a “Solar System Walk” composed of various stone markers along the lake containing photos of facts of the planets and celestial bodies.

CIMG3253

On one particularly slow day of fishing, I was able to photograph a UFO in the form of a muddler minnow orbiting the Earth (as indicated by the arrow).

CIMG3254

IN NEED OF CHRISTMAS IDEAS? 

FFD logo stocking link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.492888429#

stocking

FFD logo ornament linkhttp://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912530#

ornament

Until the next submission, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can follow the adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. This months new product 

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog WWW.SenseiJohn.Me

October, 2012 Fishing Journal

7 Nov

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, October, 2012, after three months in New Jersey, it was good to return to Arizona late in October. There was only a little over a week to fish, but fishing was satisfying. As such, this report may be a little less detailed than previous reports, but I hope you will find something of interest.

With little time to wet a line this month, most of our fishing occurred at Canyon Lake. We fished in the Boulder Creek Recreation Area and the shoreline along the one lane bridge. Panfish were plentiful and largemouth bass were accommodating when offered a fly or lure.

            

Because of the timing of our return to Arizona, we were not able to fish the Lower Salt River. Upon checking the internet, the river is returning to winter flows. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com

Given the havoc of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the country, I thought I would share a few pictures of Sensei Bob’s results fishing various New Jersey rivers and streams prior to the devastation. I’ll see if I can “persuade”Sensei Bob to do a little post-Sandy fishing and advise as to the status of the fisheries.

         

During our stay on the east coast, myself and film crew created a few karate kata videos on the pristine shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Cape Cod, MA. While not of a fishing genre, you may enjoy a video-visit to this pristine location.

A look back – Circa 1988: Fishing the Bass’in America Tournament circuit

You may also enjoy a rather unique video showcasing a weapon the Okinawa fisherman of days gone by used to stave-off marauding Samurai – the fishing oar by clicking this convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

Thought this was “reel” funny.

Until the next submission, I remain, hopeful to spend more time on the water next month,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at: WWW.SenseiJohn.Me

A FISHING BLACK BELT – DON’T FOCUS ON IT

25 Jul

Whether we are fishing in a tournament for money, with a group of (competitive) friends, or simply out for a day of fishing, we all want to be successful on the water. Despite the many intangibles (such as being out in the natural environment, or amongst friends), success on the water is usually measured by one simple benchmark; namely, the number of fish caught. When you are on the water fishing, are you over concentrating on this benchmark? Are you obsessed with winning the tournament or catching more fish than your friends? If you are, you may have noticed that the more you concentrate, the less fish you are catching. If so, here’s a story from the martial arts that should be beneficial to a more successful day on the water.

The story is the lesson of the novice student and the black belt.

At the end of class, before dismissing the student population, it is customary for Sensei to ask whether there are any questions. One night, a novice student asked Sensei, “Sensei, how long will it take me to earn my black belt?” Hearing the question, Sensei looked at the novice and said, “Based upon all my years of practicing and teaching karate-do, I do not know how long it will take you to earn your black belt.” Although the student was somewhat taken aback by the non-answer of his Sensei, he thought it best to accept the answer.

As he lay in bed that night, the student thought about Sensei’s reply. The truth be told, the student felt Sensei had dodged his question. He was determined to  get Sensei to commit to a specific time period.

At the end of the next training session, Sensei again inquired as to whether the students had any questions. It seemed no one had a question, so Sensei was about to dismiss the class when suddenly, the novice raised his hand and said, “I have a question Sensei.” “If I work twice as hard as every student in the Dojo, how long will it take me to earn my black belt.” At first, Sensei was annoyed by the novice’s question. Class that night was particularly sweat-filled and overflowing with information. “Surely, some one must have a worthy question instead of this drivel about belts?” thought Sensei. Sensei hid his disappointment, looked at the novice and answered, “If you train twice as hard as every other student I know you think you will earn your black belt in one-half of the time, but you are misguided.” “If you train twice as hard as the others, it will take you double the time to earn a black belt.” While the senior students nodded knowingly at Sensei’s reply, the novice was clearly frustrated with Sensei’s answer.

That night, at home the novice realized his patience was exhausted, he asked a simple question, he thought Sensei should give him a simple answer. A few of the novice’s friends also studied karate but at a different dojo. At their dojo, a new student signed a contract enrolling them in the “black belt club” for four years and at the end of the four years, they were guaranteed to receive a black belt. If only the novice enrolled in that dojo, he would be a black belt in four years. Better still, logic would mandate that if he worked twice as hard as everyone one else, he would have a black belt in two years. Sensei did not use such financial contracts. Students trained on a month-to-month basis and could leave Sensei’s dojo at the end of any month. The novice was determined to leave Sensei’s dojo at the end of the month, but first, he would get to the bottom of the question as to the time period for earning a black belt from Sensei.

At the end of the next training session, Sensei asked his customary question. This time, the novice did not pursue his question with Sensei. Sensei dismissed the class. As the class left the formal training floor, the novice approached the most senior student, the Dai Sempai. “Excuse me, Sempai” the novice said. “Yes”, replied the Dai Sempai. “You seemed to understand Sensei’s reply as to how long it would take me to earn my black belt, is that true?” “Yes”, said the Dai Sempai. “Can you please enlighten me?” asked the novice. As the Dai Sempai turned away from the novice, he answered, “If you do not understand Sensei’s answer, then you must, once again, ask Sensei.” The Dai Sempai continued to exit the training floor, but looked back to the novice who seemed frozen in place and said, “That is, if Sensei feels your question worthy of further explanation.”

As the students entered the changing room and began to change from their gi (uniform) to street clothes, the novice remained standing, perplexed on the training floor. Noticing this, Sensei asked, “Is there anything else my novice?” The question awoke the novice from his puzzlement. “Excuse me Sensei, but I still do not understand how long it will take me to earn a black belt.” Somewhat exasperated Sensei looked at the novice, “Your question is the answer.” “You are focused on the black belt and not obtaining knowledge in karate-do; rather, you are focused on a symbol of the knowledge.” “That is why should you try twice as hard as everyone else, it will not take you half the time, but rather double the time.” “It is the knowledge that should be desired and not the symbol.” Focusing on the black belt will only distract you from the knowledge symbolized by the belt.” The novice thanked Sensei and entered the now deserted changing room.

As the novice changed from his gi to street clothes, he decided to remain at Sensei’s dojo.

Applying the story to fishing, one will appreciate its very simple lesson. In a competitive situation such as a formal fishing tournament, an informal day with friends  or even being on the water alone when you are “competing” solely against the fish, do not concentrate on achieving the final objective. Concentrating on the final objective, such as winning the tournament or catching more fish then your friends often results in loosing the tournament or catching less fish than your friends. How do you achieve success in these situations? Remember the novice’s desire for a black belt and the words of his Sensei; do not concentrate on winning the tournament (the black belt), rather concentrate on simply catching the first fish. Once that fish is caught, concentrate on catching the next fish and so forth. In this manner, the chances of success improve.

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

MAY, 2012 – FISHING JOURNAL

6 Jun

 Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, May, 2012, with triple digit temperatures upon us, mornings no longer have that awakening chill, the temperatures are, as the song goes, “Hot-Hot-Hot” and, if you persevere and have patience, so is the fishing. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

With the float, kayak and tubing season underway, fishing tended to be in the early morning hours and in locations that lay outside of the boundary of tubing operations, namely Water Users Recreation Area and up river and Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area and down river.

Trout and largemouth bass could be found along the shoreline and in the deeper and slower pools. My “go-to” fly patterns included a # 14 wire caddis nymph tied behind a sparkle shad streamer and a # 14 ju-ju bee nymph tied behind a # 16 orange/black wooly bugger.

             

To see a video of the above bass being caught and a rainbow trout caught on the very next cast, please see the “Featured Video” links bellow. Here is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Hiking down from the many roadside locations produced some exciting fishing courtesy of the largemouth bass population. Some of the best action using the fly rod was found with a large purple salt water fly with a # 14 wet alexandra fly tied behind it.

  

 On traditional bass tackle, a Bass Pro Shops swimm’in squirt (red flake and clear/black flake) on a 1/16 ounce jig head induced quite a few otherwise lethargic bass to strike.

The various areas within the Boulder Recreation Area produced consistent panfish action, particularly on a # 16 foam ant. While not as thrilling as the largemouth bass, panfish on a fly in triple digit temperatures will always make me smile.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

Biweekly stocking of cat fish was still in effect this month. As such, the majority of my time on the Urban Lakes was spent in search of these tasty whisker-faces. Most of the fishing was done at Veterans Oasis Lake with a few visits to Water Ranch Lake and Red Mountain Lake.

          

A most memorable night fishing for these tasty urban dwellers was on Cinco De Mayo (May 5th). On this night there was an uncommon “Super-Moon” full moon that provided a beautiful sight.

I was very pleased to have not only visited an urban “old friend” but to have also confirmed that this old friend still held some impressive fish. I was very pleased that the population of largemouth bass remained in tact.

         

I was surprised when a nice tug on my fly line produced an unexpected tilapia that hit a # 14 wet alexandria fished behind a large purple salt water fly. A very unexpected treat that was quickly photographed and released.

          

Noting that, in the past, when I wrote about my summer visits to this urban pond, the population of fisherman increased, for now, I’ll keep this treasure hidden and known only to the hand full of regulars.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

1. For a look at fly fishing at Phon Sutton where the first two casts produced a largemouth bass and a rainbow trout, please click the following link to our video: Lower Salt River – 2 casts – 2 fish – LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbxR6L_n-I

2. For a unique historical look at “Fisherman As Warriors”, please click this convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

FEATURED PRODUCT:

This month’s featured FFD Logo Product is the FFD Logo Trailer Hitch Cover; purchase information and link is below.

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information. You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. 

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

APRIL, 2012 – FISHING JOURNAL

2 May

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, April, 2012, after three months of steady work in New Jersey, it was good to return home. I arrived back in Arizona on April 21st. As soon as the bags were unpacked, it was time to turn my attention to preparing to be on the water. New line needed to be put on the reels, an updated annual pass for Tonto National Forest had to be obtained and other small matters required attention. Finally, with less than a week remaining in the month, it was time to get out on the water. Here’s the results of that final week.

Most of my fishing was at Canyon Lake, specifically the Boulder Recreation Area and the shoreline adjacent to the first one lane bridge. Several large bass were seen. Although they followed several flies and lures, ultimately there were no takers. As the day drew hotter, I switched to a # 16 foam ant pattern. This pattern produced a steady stream of palm-plus sized bluegill. Not trophy fish, but, after three months of no fishing, they most certainly put a smile on my face.

By the time this report is posted online I hope to have been out on the lower salt river. There should be one final stocking of rainbow trout before the heat of the summer (and the inevitable float tubers) settle in. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com

I am looking forward to visiting the urban lakes in the near future as bi-weekly stocking of catfish continue through June. Sunset fishing for these fish provides not only a great way to end the day but also a tasty few fish for the dinner table.

Here’s a preview of next month’s fishing report with action from the Lower Salt River on May 1st.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

Improve your fishing enjoyment and productivity with a simple protocol from Karate known as “Sanchin.” Sanchin takes less than two minutes to perform and is a great way to prepare to fish, rejuvenate yourself during difficult fishing times or simply enhance your fishing experience. For a video sample filmed while fishing at Water Ranch Lake, Gilbert, AZ, please click this convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI For more information on how to learn Sanchin with my convenient one hour DVD, please see endnote # 1 below.

Until the next, more detailed, submission, I remain,

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.

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