Tag Archives: Fly-Fishing

“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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CIMG5516     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

The Fly Fisherman & The Satori Fish

6 Oct

The following is my fly fishing inspired retelling of an infamous Zen tale. The traditional tale is known as “The Woodcutter and The Animal Satori.” To those who are not familiar with the term Satori, the name of the animal, Satori, is loosely defined as a Zen state of enlightenment. I call my tale “The Fly Fisherman and The Satori Fish.”

In a far-off land there lived a man. The man’s life was devoid of pleasure; save for one. He loved to escape the blandness of his existence by fly fishing. Once a week, he would escape the drive two hours to escape the city to fish “his” river. Although the beauty of the river provided him a respite from the bleak landscape in which he lived, the man fished many weeks without hooking a fish.
One day, the man had had enough. He wasn’t sure if he really wanted to take the long trip to the river. Despite his malaise, he again drove to the river. Once he arrived, he dutifully donned his waders and set up his fly fishing rod. To the end of his leader, he tied on his newest, fanciest dry fly. It was a fly pattern called a “Great Expectation”, size 14. He was about to cast when he noticed a beautiful silver streak in the water. The man could not believe his eyes. He blinked as if to clear both his vision and his mind. The silver streak remained and defined itself. The silver streak was in fact the mythical Satori Fish.
He focused his attention on the Satori Fish and began to cast. The Great Expectation gently kissed the surface of the water. The cast was perfect, the fly floated high on the water. Satori turned its gaze upward and with a swift, powerful stroke of its tail, swam towards the fly. His heart pounding in his chest, the man focused his attention and tensed his muscles. Surely Satori would be seduced to take the fly. Had man’s Great Expectation actually seduced Satori? No, instead of Satori engulfing the Great Expectation, Satori brushed it aside and swam downward. Satori was again laying peacefully at the bottom of the River.
“Damn”, cursed the man. “Surely, I must change my fly.” He checked his box of flies. Thinking that Satori could be tempted with a delicate, subsurface fly, he selected a fly tied in a pattern known as an “emerger.” He selected a size 16 “Emerging Intention.” Again the man cast upstream. He diligently watched the end of his line for the slightest indication of a strike. Again, the Satori Fish eluded his offering. His frustration heightened.
He cursed his luck. So many weeks and not even a hint of a fish within the river. Now, this magnificent silver fish spurned his offering. His desire to feel that magnificent silver Satori tugging at the end of his fly line heightened to a frenzy. He angrily dug into his fly box and tied on a larger, hopefully, more appetizing fly. This time he selected an “attractor” pattern. The fly was garish, brightly colored and multi-feathered. It was a size 10 “Temptress.” The worker imagined that Satori would attack the brightly colored “Temptress” out of instinct and a desire to protect its territory within the river. This time the man cast the fly across the river and retrieved it with a fast stripping action of his line. His mind was filled with a burning desire to hook Satori. He wanted nothing more from life this day than to hold the shimmering silver mass of Satori flesh within his hands. He would possess Satori. Once caught, he would keep the Satori fish. He would mount it as a magnificent possession on the wall of his dim home. He would possess Satori for all the rest of his days. The worker saw the Satori burst towards the “Temptress.” Instead of engulfing the fly, Satori merely swam past it. Satori turned and watched the man. By now, he had had enough. He was done. “To Hell with Satori.” Satori was not for him.
He walked out of the river and sat on the bank. He cut the “Temptress” off his leader and tied on an bland, simple fly, a # 12 “Bare Bones.” He cursed and put his rod down on the bank. He sat angrily on the river bank and realized that he was hungry. He had pursued Satori all morning without eating. He opened his pack and retrieved a thermos and a sandwich. “To Hell with Satori”, thought the worker. “I will eat my sandwich and go home.”
As the worker ate his meal, he noticed that the “Bare Bones” fly was in the river. As he was eating, he did not pay attention as he put his fly rod down and the fly fell into the current. It was drifting downstream, a few feet from the bank. The worker did not want the unattended fly to get tangled in the waters. He put down his sandwich and picked up the fly rod. Instantly he felt a tug. He cursed his luck for he was sure the fly was tangled. As the man sought to free the fly from the tangle, he noticed that the line was moving. He began to fight the weight at the end of the line. As he did so, the water erupted. A silver flash momentarily glistened in the sun light and disappeared into the river.
A few minutes later, the man was holding the Satori Fish gently in his hands. So as not to harm Satori, he held the fish gently just below the surface as he unhooked the fly from its jaw. Satori was free. It did not swim away. Satori remained gently cradled in the man’s hands. He smiled. He caressed the side of Satori as if it was the check of a lover. Satori gently swam from the man’s hands. Satori turned to face the man. For the briefest of moments, the man’s world stopped. No longer independent of Satori and nature, all was one; the man knew Satori and Satori knew the man. Each then turned; Satori to the depths of the river, and the man to his car. For the man the long ride home was, perhaps, not so long, to a not so bland city, to work at a not so boring job and life in a a not so bleak home.

vulture-me  Fishing in the strong sun of Arizona,  I’m always 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

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

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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

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.

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

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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

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.

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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, 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

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t-shirt

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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.

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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.

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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.

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FISH LIKE A WHITE BELT

16 May

There is a Karate-Do maxim, “Observe with the mind of a white belt.” The white belt worn by novice students is said to symbolize purity and innocence in terms of preconceptions as to Karate. (See Endnote # 1). When a novice first enters the Dojo, the fledgling observes without preconceived thought or emotion. Thus, one observes every detail, even the most minute, with the pure eyes of a child. In doing so, the neophyte student is able to capture the inner most aspect of a Karate-Do technique and incorporate it into their personal repertoire.

Prior to the advent of modern colored belts, a Karate-Ka (practitioner of Karate) would wear the same belt (a white belt) during his entire training. Although the Karate gi (uniform) would be laundered regularly, as a sign of respect, the Karate-Ka would not wash his belt. Over time, the white belt would become soiled. The belt would even be used to wipe the sweat from one’s brow after training. Thus, the belt would grow discolored, eventually turning black from use and wear.

As the student continued to wear his, now black, belt, it would begin to fray and tear. In this manner, over the course  of many years, the outermost layer of fabric would often be shed. Through this shedding process, the inner layer of clean, white fabric would be revealed. Thus, a circle of training would be completed; from pure white to soiled black and again to pure white. This return to a white-belt-like appearance of the black belt is the highest, most treasured belt a Karate-ka can possess. Having earned various formal black belts denoting advanced black belt ranks, I can attest to the fact that none have the endearing quality of my black belt which is now a grayish white from having been worn for decades.

The phenomenon of the pure white to becoming a soiled black belt is emblematic of the fishing experience. Recall the child-like amazement that we all had during our earliest fishing experience. The sights, smells, sounds and feel of being out in nature. The thrill of catching a fish and the desire to repeat the thrill enraptured us so as to demand our fullest attention. As a novice fisherman, we carefully selected a lure, bait or fly. Each live bait, whether worm, cricket, shad or other bait was inspected for “freshness”, “liveliness”, etc. Each lure was inspected to make sure there were no defects in the paint, the right color, size and shape was considered, hook sharpness was assured and the like. Young fly fisherman agonized over the choice of general fly pattern and then debated the size of the fly finally inspecting the specific fly to insure the feather were pristine, the hook sharp and the like.

Once a lure was selected, the knot was carefully tied and tested. Finally, the youthful, novice, white belt, fisherman was ready to cast the selection into the unknown waters in hopes of attracting a fish.

With time and experience, the white belt fisherman gained knowledge, experience and confidence in his or her ability to attract and catch fish. With this experience, the symbolic white belt of the fisherman, turned black.  At this stage, the black belt fisherman gets a bit sloppy from his or her experience. Perhaps a bait, lure or fly is selected because he or she simply knows it will catch a fish. Even one’s choice of fishing location becomes a function of experience. After all, “Surely this location holds fish at this time of year and day.”

I suggest, that based upon the “Mind of a white belt”, to maximize fishing results and the fishing experience in general, a fisherman needs to return to the mind set of a white belt, novice each and every time he or she is on the water.

By way of example you may wish to:

  • Choose your fishing location based upon experience, but pay close attention to what specific conditions are telling you;
  • Choose your lure, bait or fly not based upon YOUR expectations, but based upon what nature is TELLING you; to wit: are bait (worms, shad or other prey fish), forage (shrimp, crayfish, etc) or insects present?;
  • Notice each and every detail of the surrounding environment; are there indications of fish present at other locations that warrant a move?:

To be sure the above list is not inclusive but provides you with the general idea that, while experience is invaluable, remember to shed preconceptions. Allow your fishing black belt mentality to begin to fray and shed its outer layer. Let your fishing black belt begin again to turn back to white and fish with the mind of a white belt.

In closing, I remain eager to fish and be fulfilled by the experience each and every time I am fortunate enough to be on the water, if that makes me a fishing white belt, then so be it,

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. From the Academy Of Goshin-Do Karate-Do student handbook, page 29.

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

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

FISHING & PHYSICAL CONDITIONING

15 Nov

Is physical conditioning applicable to fishing? The short answer is a resounding, “YES.” Further, I submit that an easy approach to physical conditioning is found in a Karate-based procedure known as “Sanchin.”

Sanchin Kata at the Lower Salt River, Arizona

As you may see in this video, filmed while fishing at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, Arizona, Sanchin is easily incorporated into your fishing regime.

I am always intrigued by the lack of physical conditioning of fisherman. Perhaps, the weekend angler may find an excuse in the fact that the sport of fishing, from his perspective, is merely an escape from the banality of the grind of everyday life. Assuming that such justification is correct, then, one may assume that at the opposite end of the fishing spectrum, that of the competitive tournament angler, the physicality of fishing would be of importance. Once again, I am surprised at how little a role one’s state of physical conditioning plays in fishing, even at this competitive level.

When I address physicality or the lack thereof, I refer to a minimum or slightly above minimum level of physical conditioning. I do not refer to athleticism in terms of being able to achieve physical feats above the status quo level of physical performance. Rather, I refer to the fact that many anglers fail to achieve their full fishing performance potential because they find themselves out-of-breath from a minimum level of physical exertion, suffering from aching joints, including the back, knees and ankles, from standing for so-called “extended” periods of time, suffering from aching shoulders, wrist and elbows from numerous casts and the like.

The question then, is how to achieve this level of physical conditioning without entering into a strict physical training regiment? Clearly, the stricter the training regiment, the less appealing it is to one who partakes of a “sedentary” activity such as fishing, even competitive fishing. The answer is relatively simple. First, maintain a physical existence in your daily life, second, physically prepare your self to fish, third, breath properly and efficiently and fourth have correct posture. Sanchin is the ONE procedure that incorporates all of these factors and more. Further, Sanchin takes less than three minutes to perform. SANCHIN can be performed regularly by ANYBODY, ANY PLACE and at ANY TIME. By instituting a simple regime of Sanchin, you will achieve an enhanced level of fishing-physicality.

I submit that if an angler pays attention to achieving a minimal level of physical conditioning, then the burden of the physicality of fishing will not impede their ability to achieve a level of performance that exceeds the stats quo. The idea that an angler should pay attention to the physicality of the sport of fishing is far from new or novel. Ernest Hemingway was not only a great writer, he was an avid outdoorsman and fisherman.

Big Game Fishing – a Hemingway favorite

He was acutely aware of the need, not for athleticism, but for good physical conditioning of fisherman. In an article entitled “The Great Blue River” published in 1949 in Holiday magazine, Hemingway had these observations and comments surrounding the state of big game fisherman.

. . . I have never lost a marlin nor a tuna to a shark. . . We try to fight them fast, but never rough. The secret is for the angler to never rest. Anytime he rests the fish is resting.

So now, say, you have this marlin down thirty feet, pulling as strong as a horse. . . He is as strong as a horse. Treat him like a horse. . . . You do not have to kill a horse to break him. You have to convince him, and that is what you have to do with a truly strong, big fish. . . To do this you have to be in good condition.

You have to be a fisherman, or at least in very good shape. . .  You don’t need to be an athlete. . You ought to be in good condition . . .

In almost any other sport requiring strength and skill to play or practice, those practicing the sport expect to now how to play it, to have at least moderate ability and to be in some sort of condition. In big game fishing they will come on board in ghastly shape, incapable of reeling in 500 yards of line, simply line, with no question of there being a fish on it, and yet full of confidence that they can catch a fish weighing twice or three times their weight. (See Endnote # 1).

Whether you are fishing from the shore, or a boat, fishing for trout or tarpon, you need to acquire a minimum degree of physical conditioning to enhance your fishing experience as a weekend angler, or “put more dollars in the livewell” as a competitive angler. Sanchin is an easy, convenient means of attaining that level of physical conditioning. Until the next article, I remain,

Sensei John

HOW TO PURCHASE THE SANCHIN KATA DVD OR BOOK:

for purchase information, please visit my website at http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

ENDNOTES:

1. Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 146-149, originally published as “The Great Blue River” in Holiday magazine, July, 1949.

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.

BLUEGILL TO BASS – A Martial Arts Based Fishing Strategy

21 Sep

I thoroughly enjoy fishing for a variety of species of fish. In my opinion, the freshwater king of the hot, hazy, humid, dry and long summer is the largemouth bass. I whole heartedly enjoy pursuing this prize fighter of fresh water lakes, rivers and streams. For a brief time I was also a competitive bass fisherman. I often fished in the now defunct Bassin’ America Tournament Circuit on the east coast.

Here in Arizona summer is a brutal, challenging season. Fishing provides a respite from the dry heat of the arid desert known as “The Valley Of The Sun.”  It is a great pleasure to fish in the early hours as the sun rises over your favorite water and the temperatures are “only” in the ninety degree range. While being on-the-water, in nature provides a welcome diversion from the heat, it does not provide a guarantee of success on the water. Bass can be especially finicky at such times. To add to the frustration of casting spurned flies to these finicky bass is the fact that you can often see them cruising in the shallows. After observing the behavior of these fish, especially their aggressive and territorial nature, I devised a strategy for fly fishing for them. “Bluegill To Bass” is a fly fishing strategy that I employ on days when you can usually see bass but catching them is slow. This strategy will apply to fish of any species that are categorized by a symbiotic relationship of predator and prey. Further, while my “Bluegill To Bass” strategy is discussed in terms of fly fishing from the shoreline, with a little imagination, it can be applied to casting artificial lures from either the shoreline or a bass boat. It can even be extended to saltwater fishing and any other fishing that involves an aggressive or territorial predator fish in search of prey.

The “Bluegill to Bass” strategy finds its roots in the ideology of the martial arts. In a famous work entitled Go Rin No Sho (A Book Of Five Rings) the legendary sword master, Miyamoto Musashi defines and analyzes the strategy of the sword.

Miyamoto Mushashi, "Ken-Sei", "Sword-Saint"

His strategic analysis is a defining work of martial arts strategy and ideology. The strategies of Musashi have been extended into ventures that transcend the martial arts, including sports and business. Now, it can be used to apply to specific instances of fishing. In fact, one such strategy described by Musashi is the cornerstone of the Bluegill To Bass strategy for fly fishing for bass.

Musashi described a strategy he termed “To Move The Shade.” “To move the shade”, in the martial arts genre, is used when you cannot see the enemy’s spirit. In single combat this means that when the enemy takes up a position so that you cannot see his intent, you make a feint attack, and the enemy will show his spirit thinking he has seen yours. (See Endnote # 1).

I extended the strategy of “To move the shade” to fly fishing for bass. This strategy is used when you can see fish that the bass prey on or otherwise exhibit aggressive behavior towards, namely panfish and specifically, bluegill. You may or may not necessarily see bass when you begin to fish; however, employing this strategy is meant to flush out bass by targeting and tempting their predatory, territorial and aggressive instincts. The targeting of the prey species represents the feint attack described by Musashi. This feint is meant to draw out the hiding predator (the “hidden spirit” in Musashi’s description). Since I use this strategy to target the prey species, the bluegill, with the hope of drawing out the predator species of bass, I call this application of Musashi’s “To Move The Shade”, the “Bluegill To Bass” strategy.

Before employing this strategy on your favorite water, you will need a little advance preparation. I prepare two fly rods that I will use during my bass fishing. The first fly rod is used to target the prey species, in this case panfish. To this end, I prefer an ultra-light fly rod in the six to seven foot range, a four weight floating line and usually a nine foot leader ending in a 6X tippet. Unless there is an indication of dry fly action on the water, I start by fishing with two subsurface flies, tied in-line, one about 5 inches behind the other. For the head fly, I favor a small streamer or larger nymph, usually about size 10 or 12. For the tail fly, I favor a small nymph or wet fly in the size range of size 14 to 18. This light weight outfit makes catching the panfish fun and enjoyable. It is the actual hooking and catching of the prey species that acts as a catalyst to catching the predator species of largemouth bass.

My second fly rod is ready and rigged to target the bass. I prefer a larger, longer fly rod; usually an eight or nine foot fly rod with a six weight floating fly line, seven and a half foot leader with a 4X tippet. Again, unless there is an indication of dry fly action, I will have two sub-surface flies tied onto leader. For the head fly, I prefer a big, usually “flashy” streamer or even a salt water fly. This fly should resemble the prey species as much as possible. The tail fly is streamer, wet fly or nymph in a size range of size 10 to size 16. While targeting the predator species of bass, these flies will continue to interest the prey species. Thus, bluegill may still pursue these flies. In the midst of the bluegill’s interest in the pair of flies, the bass may be lured out from its cover to pursue the flies. The head fly is meant to target the bass’ desire to pursue the prey species and the tail fly is what I call a second-chance fly. In the event the bass misses or turns away from the head fly, it may be interested in the tail fly.

The above tackle is what I prefer when I fish for largemouth bass using this strategy. Again, depending upon the species of predator and prey fish you are targeting, you should adjust your specific tackle accordingly.

Once “on-the-water”, the “bluegill to bass” strategy begins like so many other fishing strategies; to wit: working water quickly and efficiently to locate and catch fish. I employ this strategy while walking a shoreline casting flies in areas that I know from experience to be productive or casting flies in the most productive looking water (on water that I have not fished before). The point of departure from other strategies to find fish is that in the bluegill to bass strategy, during this exploratory phase, I am specifically targeting prey species while looking for lurking predators. When hoping to catch and release a few bass, my initial target species are panfish, bluegill, crappie and the like. I use my most productive fly patterns to target these fish as a means of luring and seducing a predatory or territorial bass from its safe and secure hiding place. Naturally, I am excited to catch and release a few of the larger members of the species; however, with each hook-up, I purposefully play the fish so as to infuse its immediate environment with the”tension of being hooked.” I pay particular attention to the water so as to be able to see any quick rush, turn or other sign of a bass that is attracted to the tension of the hooked prey fish.

In the event that a bass makes its presence known, I immediately land and release the prey fish in a manner so as not to disturb the immediate environment. I then pick-up my bass fly rod and cast my bass flies into the tension-filled water in the hopes that the bass will still be excited so as to strike. More often than not, the bass is excited by the tension in the water and can be induced to strike. I find that you can usually cast two to three times during this phase of excitement. Once the tension dissipates, the bass may once again return to its lair. If so, then I once again change fly rods in favor of the lighter rod and again begin to target the bluegills. Once I feel that the potential of a particular section of water has diminished and is exhausted; usually indicated by fewer catches of the prey species (the bluegill), then I move on to another stretch of water.

Here is a “Rogues Gallery” of bucket-mouths caught using my “Bluegill To Bass” strategy.

The PREY (including a Double!)

      

The PREDATOR:

      

If you find yourself fishing for a predatory species during the “dog days of summer” with less than favorable results, then remember the sword master Miyamoto Musashi. Try the strategy of “To move the Shade” and target the prey species. Do not simply locate the prey and hope that a predator is lurking near by. Affirmatively fish for the prey species and hook a few. The tension of a fish trying to escape the taste of a hook in it’s mouth may sufficiently infuse the water with sufficient energy and excitement to spark the interest of  the predator species. If so, land and release the prey and immediately target the aroused predator. You may just be surprised at the results. At the least, you should have a fund day on the water catching and releasing a species that would otherwise be dinner for a larger, more aggressive and hungrier fish.

For your viewing pleasure, there are links to several bass & panfishing videos on the “VIDEO & MEDIA” page tab above.

Until the next article, I remain, “moving the shade”,

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. Musashi, Miyamoto, Go Rin No Sho (A Book Of Five Rings), Translated by Victor Harris, (The Overlook Press, Woodstock, NY 1974) p. 76.

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.

AUGUST, 2011 – FLY FISHING JOURNAL

9 Sep

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, August, 2011, a record-breaking month for the State of Arizona. No, the largest fish wasn’t caught. August was the hottest month ever in the history of Arizona; there were 33 days all summer with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees. Reminds me of a quote by the literary and fishing master, Ernest Hemingway.

No one can work everyday in the hot months without going stale. To break up the pattern of work, we fish . . .  (See Endnote # 1).

For my part I mixed fishing pleasure with the business of filming my Sanchin Kata for non-martial artists DVD. I used various locations in Tonto National Forest, and my favorite fishing locations at the Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake, as background for the videos. Here is a link to a free promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Well, with cooler months in the near future, let’s proceed with the “hot” fishing report.

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

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished several locations on the Lower Salt River that were not readily intruded upon by float tubers. These areas included up river from the Water Users Recreation Area and down river from Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area. Fly fishing produced small to mid-size largemouth bass, mostly on # 12 muddler minnows and a few on # 12 sparkle shad streamer. In both instances, I fished a nymph behind the streamer. The top producer for the month was a # 14 bloody mary nymph and a # 16 red serendipity nymph. There was definitely something about the color red provoking strikes in the bass.

Small bass on a Rebel Pop-R - up river from Water Users Rec Area

In addition, during filming of the DVD, the videographer had caught a few carp drifting a hook baited with corn kernels downstream. Something different to break up shooting video footage in one-hundred degree plus temperatures.

Filming video for the DVD at Phon Sutton. 106 Degrees but the river was cool.

Without a doubt, I am looking forward to being on the Lower Salt in cooler temperatures with decreased water flows and the return of rainbow trout stockings.

Di with another bass taken on a muddler minnow

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

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished my preferred locations, including Boulder Recreation Area, roadside locations along Highway 88 and the shoreline around the first one lane bridge with moderate success. Moderately sized panfish were prevalent with respectable catches of largemouth bass.

I even hooked into one catfish that, for whatever reason, known only to the fish itself was induced to strike at a # 12 apache lady wet fly. The whiskered fish eventually ducked under a log and broke my 5X tippet.

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Due to the time constraints of shooting video, my only visits to Saguaro Lake were for filming purposes. Many a morning I looked longingly at the shoreline wishing I could flick a fly or two; but, alas, duty and responsibility called, and so, the task of the day was performing Sanchin for the video camera. Now that the DVD is completed and available to the public, my “irresponsible” self can again settle down to the task of fishing at this lake.

Tough fishing? Try the FFD STUNT FISH!

URBAN LAKE FISHING – GENERAL COMMENTS

With the hectic video shooting schedule, I was only able to visit two of my favorite Urban Lakes. I’m anticipating cooler temperatures and the stocking of catfish starting in the middle of September by Arizona Fish and Game.

VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ

I feel I neglected regularly visiting my favorite lake in the Urban Lake system as I only fished it about twice. The best time was early morning when, in addition to bluegill, bass could be caught and released on a fly.

The most productive pattern proved to be a # 16 black serendipity tied in line behind a # 12 apache lady wet fly.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

This lake seems to be recuperating from the harshness of July. Bluegill and small bass could be taken on various nymph and wet fly combinations. This seems to be a good indication of promising fishing to come in the cooler months.

FEATURED VIDEOS:

BLOODY MARY BASS, a nice sized largemouth that decided to sample a bite of a # 14 bloody mary nymph. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

SANCHIN KATA FOR FLY FISHERMAN: Filmed at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, AZ, this video was designed for the fly fisherman prior to the release of my Sanchin Kata DVD. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

FISHERMAN AS WARRIORS: For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

This months featured FFD logo product is shown below. With cooler temperatures forecasted for the coming months, I thought you may find a need to “heat things up.”

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

  1. Ernest Hemingway from:Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 153, originally published as “As Situation Report” in Look magazine, September 4, 1956.

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. This months new product  FFD LOGO CLASSIC THONG

– only $ 9.99 plus delivery.

Here’s a convenient link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459914580#

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.

ZANSHIN FOR FISHERMAN

18 Jun

Whether one is a casual fisherman, a competitive angler, or a “weekend-warrior”, one’s state of mind is an all important element of successful fishing. The various states of mind experienced and cultivated by the martial artist can uniquely improve one’s success on the water and also one’s enjoyment of the entire fishing experience.

I had previously explored an omnipresent state of mind within the martial arts known as Mushin (pronounced “Moo-shin”) and how maintaining Mushin can enhance the fly fishing experience. (here is a convenient link to the article: https://flyfishingdojo.com/2010/10/10/fly-fishing-using-the-mushin-state-of-mind-2/) (See endnote # 1)

There is an additional state of mind derived from the martial arts that can increase the productivity of a day spent fly fishing. This state of mind is known as Zanshin (pronounced “Zahn-shin”). The kanji (Japanese writing) of Zanshin translates as the “remaining mind”.

Kanji for ZANSHIN

Within the martial arts, Zanshin refers to a mental state whereby the mind “remains in the battle”. A very simple example of martial arts based Zanshin is as follows. One may strike or disable one’s opponent and victory may appear to be at hand. Although seemingly victorious, one’s mind must remain in the battle so that one is not lured into complacency by a wily opponent.

Zanshin applies equally to fishing. At the moment a fish strikes your lure or your fly, or takes your bait, invariably, one’s mind flashes thoughts of excitement and jubilation. It is at this most jubilant of times that Zanshin is called for. One’s mind must remain attentive to the circumstances that led to the successful encounter. What was different from every other cast? Was it a difference in specific location that led to success, or as it the manner in which the fly drifted or was retrieved. If retrieved, was the retrieve steady or was it paused? If paused, did the fish strike the fly or lure on the retrieve or the pause. If the fly  or lure is fished below the surface, at what depth in the water column did the fish take the fly?

Zanshin can foster a greater productivity when on the water and enhance your overall fishing experience.

Largemouth Bass caught with a #14 Bloody Mary Nymph

For the competitive fisherman understanding and using Zanshin means more fish in the live-well, which means more money earned. For the weekend fisherman, this means a more enhanced fishing experience. By being attentive to the circumstances that led to success, one can replicate the successful technique so as to hopefully once again be productive and lure a fish to the fly.

Until the next article I (and my mind) remain,

Sensei John

NEW VIDEOS:

BLOODY MARY BASS, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

DOUBLE BLUEGILL (2Flies – 2 Fish), Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVZlgyR1zb8

ENDNOTES:

  1. For those interested in a more detailed exploration of the Mushin state of mind, here is a link to a four part article that I had previously posted on my Sensei John weblog: http://senseijohn.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/mushin1/

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

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

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

THE FLY FISHING EXPO, Somerset, NJ

26 Jan

RATING:

Black Belt – 5 out of 5 – A Must See

Friday, January 21st dawned cold and with snow falling. For most people, the day foretold a cold gloomy weekend. For most that is except for those consumed by the passion called “fly-fishing”.  For those driven by a passion to flick feather and hook, at the denizens of the deep, there was a warming respite from the cold, gloomy, snowy weekend; as warming as a steeping cup of coffee laced with a good Irish whisky (for medicinal purposes, of course). That warm respite was The 19th Annual Fly Fishing Expo held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, New Jersey.

As I post this article, the snow continues to fall on the Garden State, so grab yourself a cup of java; better still grab a mug of java in the official FFD logo mug (http://www.cafepress.com/FLYFISHING_DOJO.459912522) and allow me to tell you about this magnificent exhibition.

A shameless plug - I know

Over the course of many years, I have attended a cornucopia of expositions, to wit: fishing expos, hunting expos, gun shows, motorcycle shows, model railroad shows and the like. In evaluating any exposition, one must inevitably critique the promoter’s choice of venue. The Fly Fishing Expo’s choice of the Garden State Exhibit Center must be commended. The venue served to enhance the pleasant experience in attending this event. The Garden State Exhibit Venter is conveniently located and has sufficient parking for the anticipated number of attendees. Further, the parking is free. The venue provided readily available food, drink and refreshment. The floor plan for the exposition allowed for steady traffic flow, accessible lectures, and two well situated fly casting pools.

The next consideration I look at in evaluating an exposition is the quality of the “featured celebrities”. The Fly Fishing Expo provided access to a great many celebrities of every genre: authors, lecturers, fly tiers, artists, guides, lodges and even a master and a living legend. In fact, there were far too many celebrities to name each and every one of them here. That said, my two favorite dignitaries were a “Master” a “Legend”; both to be named hereinafter.

Due to my schedule I was not able to attend the exposition on “opening-day”, Friday, the 21st. I awakened Saturday morning, picked up my New Jersey comrade, Sensei Bob, and we ventured out. With each mile we drove down the NJ Turnpike, our anticipation grew. We arrived at the venue and were smoothly guided through the admission process and entered the vast exhibit hall.

Sensei Bob and I were soon standing aside the casting pool witnessing a stirring Kata performance by the Master, Lefty Kreh. What, you did not know that Lefty knows Karate Kata? Frankly, I do not believe that Lefty ever studied Karate. His Kata is the Kata of fly casting. There is a plaque in our Goshin-Do Karate Dojo which reads, “Only Through Man Does Technique Become Art.” Lefty is a living embodiment of this maxim. I will not divulge Lefty’s secrets in this article; it is not my province to do so. Having said that, I am sure his books, DVD’s and seminars will help everyone that just read these words become a more efficient fly caster. http://www.leftykreh.com/

My personal “must-stop-at” booth was the Cortland booth. I have fly fished with Cortland line since I first saved and saved and saved (that is pre-credit card days for you younger readers) to be able to by their 444 line when I was a boy of 14. Since then, Cortland line is always spooled on my reel.

Due to an overwhelming popularity of the event, during our stay, crowds were impressive. Sensei Bob and I negotiated the aisles as if they were swift rapids in a stream and went about the task of perusing vendors displays, watching the various fly tiers execute their craft and chatting with the various manufacturer representatives. As to the fly tiers, they all executed their craft magnificently. There were two talented and innovated tiers that stood out in my mind on this particular day.

This is not to say that the other tiers I witnessed on Saturday were less than talented; rather,  Pat and Steven’s skills and innovation with feathers and deer hair, simply struck a colorful cord in the dark recesses of my mind.

Steven Wascher holds one of his creations

 

Pat Cohen:

Pat Cohen

Pat's creations

After a few hours, Sensei Bob and I decided to take our leave.

I returned early Sunday morning. Given that it was early, the crowd was smaller than Saturday which allowed for a more direct and intimate contact with exhibitors.

My first stop was the booth of the local chapter of Project Healing Waters. I first learned of this organization, that assists our veterans in finding solace and enjoyment in the fly fishing experience, on a television episode of Curtis Fleming’s Fly Rod Chronicles. David Bucko was at the booth and gave freely of his time to further acquaint me with this organization. Take a moment and check out their website and Facebook pages (http://www.projecthealingwaters.org).

The Project Healing Waters Booth

The highlight this day was stopping by the booth of a living legend. I have known his name since the first time I purchased one of his books and tied one of his innovative fly patterns. The legend is, the distinct, Dave Whitlock (www.davewhitlock.com). In Karate there is a saying,  “It was my mother who bore me, but my Sensei who made me a man.” Well, since Sensei made me a man, Dave got me playing with feathers, hair and hooks – and – I am the better man for it.

The Legend, Dave Whitlock's, Booth

I very much enjoyed all of the people I spoke with. Several of them even greatly assisted me in purchasing a few Valentine’s gifts for my charming wife. Now, since this article will post well in advance of that most heartfelt of days, I cannot divulge certain facts that pertain to these vendors, less my spouse gain advance knowledge of the gifts that I will rain down upon her. I will, nonetheless, give a special “shout-out” (to use the modern vernacular) to: Scott Cesari (WWW.ScottCesariFlyTying.Com), Fish Pimp Co. (WWW.FishPimpCo.Com) and Bill Black (WWW.OTETackle.Com). Thanks in advance for helping to make February 14th great.

While shopping for gifts, I was intrigued by the use of flies as jewelry as displayed by Shawn Davis. His designs and jewelry are magnificent. They can be seen at WWW.Davisflydesigns.com

In addition, I spent a delightful time chatting with a talented artist who deserves a mention. She absolutely sparkles and her artwork is inspiring. She is Anne Dixon.

Before leaving the exhibition, I was treated to a glimpse into the very near future. Cheeky Fly Fishing will soon be debuting a new light-weight, technologically advanced fly fishing reel. I spent a few minutes with Ted Upton enraptured in a discussion about the technological marvel that this reel is. Look for it in the near future. Perhaps I will post a review of the reel upon its debut. www.Cheekyflyfishing.com.

And, thus, my visit to the exhibit drew to a close. It is impossible for me to mention all the people I spoke with or encapsulate the great time I had at the exhibit in this short article. As such, if you are not mentioned directly, please forgive me.

Until the next article, I remain,

Sensei John

If you have a minute, check out my “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman” video. Proper breathing will help, not only your fly fishing, but every aspect of your life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

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

FLY FISHING FUTANREN

19 Jan

Futanren is a term derived from Goshin-Do Karate. It is used to define one of three martial , combat-related, fears. The within shall explore Futanren as it applies to fly fishing. Futanren describes the fear derived from inadequate training. Training in this context can also be read as “preparation”; thus Futanren can be used to described fear derived from inadequate preparation. (See Endnote # 1).

Anytime you have hooked “The fish of a lifetime” and wondered, “Did I tie that knot properly?”, “Is my reel mechanically sound?’ and similar questions, you are engaging in Futanren. I think back to my early years of training in Goshin-Do Karate. My Sensei would use various means to motivate us. One of his favorites was to rhetorically ask, “If you knew you would be attacked by an assailant first thing tomorrow morning, how earnestly would you train (at the Dojo) tonight?” Sensei’s motivational question can be applied directly to fly fishing as follows, “If you knew that four days from now you would be fly fishing and HOOK the biggest fish of you life, what would you do now to prepare?”

The answer to the question invokes a related question, namely, “When would your preparation begin?” Would you begin to prepare now or wait until the fateful day that you will set out to your favorite water? Perhaps you would immediately begin to check the physical integrity of your fly fishing equipment. For example, you may inspect your fly rod for nicks or gouges on the guides that would cut into your leader or fly line. You may also inspect the fly line for signs of wear and tear. Your fly reel should be inspected for mechanical integrity. You may also choose to examine your older flies for soundness. Perhaps you would inspect all hook points and sharpen those that require sharpening. You may inspect the new flies to insure that eyes of the hook are free of dried head cement.  So, knowing that you would hook the fish of a lifetime, you engage in such preparation to avoid Futanren invading that momentous moment. But, is such preparation enough?

So far the analysis of the method of preparation has looked to the tools involved in the process of fishing. In addition, preparation would encompass external factors. These factors may include advance knowledge of the weather forecast so that one may properly dress. It may also include advance knowledge as to the tides in the case of salt water fishing. To be sure, advance preparation is limited only by the imagination of the fly fisherman and one’s individual comfort zone as to the extent of variables to be considered and prepared for.

As to the extent of tangental preparation, permit me to submit the following observation from perhaps the greatest fishing author there was, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway thought deeply about fishing. His thoughts, and advice, even extended to the type of breakfast one would eat prior to a long day of fishing for marlin.

There are two opposing schools about breakfast. If you knew that you were not going to be into fish (Marlin) for two or three hours, a good big breakfast would be the thing. Maybe it is a good thing any way but I do not want to trust it, so drink a glass of vichy, a glass of milk and eat a piece of Cuban bread, read the papers and walk down to the boat. I have hooked them on a full stomach in that sun and I do not want to hook any more of them that way. (See Endnote # 2).

If your preparation to meet the predestined encounter with a once in a lifetime fish is detailed and thorough; it is now time to ask, “Why not prepare in that manner prior to every fishing oddessy?” You may not have knowledge aforethought that you will hook a magnificent fish; but isn’t it better to prepare for each fishing adventure as if you did.

Preparation is the means of eradicating Futanren from your fly fishing. Such eradication will increase not only your productivity, but also your enjoyment of the overall fly fishing experience. Certainly you want to be able to hook that wonderfully majestic fish and  be fulfilled in the moment rather than be enveloped with Futanren.

Sensei John

ENDNOTES:

1. There are two other identifiable martial fears, to wit: Kiki Oji: The fear of an enemy’s reputation and Mikuzure: The fear of an enemy’s appearance.

2.    Lyons, Nick, (editor), Hemingway On Fishing (The Lyons Press, New York, By, 2000), p. 102. There is a full review of this book on my weblog archived in the category “Sensei’s Reviews”.

DECEMBER, 2010 FLY FISHING JOURNAL

9 Jan

New videos released this month:

The following videos were released during this month. Convenient links are provided below. Hereafter, the links will be archived on the “Video & Media” Page.

  1. Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI
  2. Urban Lake System, December, 2010 Supplement. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFTgzXg1E58

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, December, 2010, the sometimes wild winter weather heralds wild fly fishing. December saw tempestuous swings in temperatures ranging from average highs in the mid-seventies early in the month to highs of only in the fifties later on. There was even one week of record high temperatures in the low eighties. In addition, rain, fog, winds and a winter storm all contributed to the atmospheric excitement.

By New Years Eve, there was snow on Four Peaks

Fishing was equally turbulent. Early in the month, there were good catches of largemouth bass. Throughout the month, thanks to a biweekly stocking program, there were excellent catches of rainbow trout. I was even surprised to see an occasional catfish caught by bait fishermen despite the lower temperatures. On and around Tuesday, December 14th early risers were treated to a spectacular celestial show courtesy of the Geminid Meteors. I was awe struck as I watched this dramatic, cosmic display.

Fly patterns that produced well this month were those that had some flash or sparkle. The following patterns worked nicely: Nymphs: JuJu Bee # 14, Rainbow Warrior # 14, Myosis Shrimp # 14, Perfect Scud (pink) # 14, BH Bloody Mary # 14 and Swimming Roe # 8. Wet Fly: Alexandria # 14, and McGinty # 14 Streamers: Sparkle Shad # 12, Sparkle Claret BH Wooly Bugger # 12, and Hot Flash Minnow # 12. I always fish these pattern in tandem, usually with the streamer at the head and the nymph as a dropper. On the Lower Salt River, I would dead drift them while on the Urban Lake System, I would retrieve them with a twitch of the rod tip and a pause. More often than not, the fly was taken on the pause.

Without further fanfare, here’s a synopsis of the waters Fly Fishing Dojo fished. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest

Fishing the Lower Salt River continued to be a joy. Each trip I made was one enraptured with the spectacular natural environment.

I will; however, note one disturbing trend. Those familiar with the Lower Salt River know that during summer months, she is used and abused by recreational water craft users. Last month I wrote that with the colder temperatures and the end of river tubing season, she was, finally, being restored to her quasi-virginal self. Now, it seems that some selfish persons, who purport to call themselves fisherman, are electing to use her as a depository for their negligent disposal of waste.

fishing waste is replacing the empty beer cans of summer

Again, as a few of the recreation areas are closed, when I make reference to a location, it is for informational purposes. More often than not, the reference is to the recreation area where the official FLY FISHING DOJO vehicle was parked rather than a specific location fished. These areas included: Water User’s Recreation Area, Bluepoint Recreation Area (provided parking for the down and across river hike to Sheep Crossing), Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area and Granite Reef Recreation Area.

Using the fly patterns referred to above produced reliable catches. Largemouth bass and nice sized bluegill were to be found at Water User’s, Sheep Crossing and Granite Reef. Rainbow trout were found at Water User’s (on occasion) and Phon D. Sutton.

Water flows remained low, but consistent. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

URBAN LAKE FISHING

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

This lake continued to provide a regular respite from my daily routine. Early in the month, largemouth bass and bluegill would regularly take a fly, particularly a rainbow warrior or perfect scud nymph. As the temperatures decreased, these fish moved to deeper water, but could still be lured to a fly late in the day, about and hour before sunset.

While trout fishing on this lake is always enjoyable, one or two days in particular were truly memorable. The first memorable day was the morning of December 23rd when the lake was enveloped in a shroud of fog.

That particular morning, while standing on the shoreline casting into an etherial vapor that rose from the lake, I almost had the feeling of being in a vintage horror movie where surely a sinister creature dwelled within the fog.  Naturally, such was the result of my overactive mind at work. In reality, the only creature that dwelled within the depths of the smoky water was a nice, playful rainbow.

This was 1 of 2 fish harvested in December for supper.

The other memorable day was the first day that a huge school of baitfish, that I believe to be shad, first appeared.  From that day, about mid-month, and continuing to the day this report is being generated, this huge school could regularly be seen. A welcome indication of a healthy eco-system. There is a brief clip of a small portion of this school of baitfish on video link above.

The morning of New Years Eve was fun at this lake. Temperatures were in the mid to high twenties. The cold temperatures made for difficult casting as ice built up on the rod guides. Yes, ice on the rod guides, in the desert, in the Valley of the Sun!

Yes, its ice on the rod guides.

Rainbow trout fishing was slow on this particular morning; however, for some unknown reason, fair sized bluegills were extremely active. In a period of about twenty minutes, I had caught and released about a dozen on a BH Bloody Mary Nymph, size # 14. That was fun especially since I could only spare an hour and a half to dedicate to fishing. It proved to be a fun way to end 2010.

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

In my August, 2010 fly fishing journal I wrote about a unique inhabitant of this lake. That inhabitant is a large Koi that I nicknamed “Oishi” after the leader of the infamous 47 Ronin of Japanese history. I am happy to advise that, although I personally have not seen Oishi recently, several people I spoke with have reported seeing him. This month I can report of another unique inhabitant. It is an osprey. Several people, including myself having been shaken from our dogged fishing determination by a loud splash upon the otherwise calm surface of the lake. Seconds later, the lake erupts with the osprey rising from its depths with a fish in its talons. Now thats a real “FLY”-fisherman! When fishing this lake, remain vigilant and you may be treated to a remarkable sight as nature unfolds its drama.

Fishing at Water Ranch proved relatively consistent with catches of small largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The later being particularly susceptible to taking a fly, particularly a sparkle shad streamer, in the first few days after being stocked.

I was fishing Water Ranch Christmas Eve morning and was greeted by a truly beautiful sunrise on that auspicious day. Prior to sunrise, I also received an early gift from Santa when I happened upon a school of bluegill lurking in the reflected light under one of the park lights. Casting a # 16 JuJu Bee Nymph in the pre-dawn dark I caught and released about a dozen and a half palm-sized bluegill in a twenty minute period. Not big fish, but, as I said previously, “Catching and releasing bluegill consistently will make an otherwise dull day of fishing.”

Water Ranch Lake was also the location for my first video in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series entitled “Sanchin For Fly Fisherman.” You can view this video by clicking the link at either the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” Page tab above.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I did notice a marked decrease in the number of largemouth bass that I was able to catch and release at this lake. In fact, such catches were unremarkable. Rainbow trout provided good sport in the first few days after stocking with decreased numbers being caught about a week after a stocking. The rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake seemed to favor a # 14 Myosis Shrimp fished behind a # 12 Sparkle Shad Streamer. Each fly was taken equally.

KIWANIS LAKE, Tempe, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I fished Kiwanis Lake on December 11th with okay results. I had lost one rainbow trout due to a “quick release” and caught and released another in about an hour and a half time period walking around the shoreline. Static fisherman, those sitting on the shore casting bait or scented baits, reported mixed results. There were; however, a few static fisherman with catches of three and four supper-sized rainbows.

DISCOVERY PARK LAKE, Gilbert, AZ

I had not fished this lake in two months. So, one rather slow morning at Veteran’s Oasis Lake, I decided to take the twenty minute ride down Greenfield Road to see if I could discover fish at Discovery Lake. All during the drive I thought of the many monumental largemouth bass that I had caught and released all summer. In the extreme heat of summer, this small, almost swimming pool in appearance, lake unveiled a cornucopia of “bass-tastic” delights. I wondered if such finned opulence would still be present. Upon arriving at Discovery and fishing for about an hour and a half, I soon discovered that the lake was a small remnant of itself. The water was filled with dead and decaying leaves, branches and reeds. The natural decay was highlighted by man-made decay in the form of the occasional plastic bottle bobbing on the water’s surface. Even a bloated football and a half deflated soccer ball played upon the surface of this watery field. Gone were the largemouth bass of summer. The melodramatic metamorphosis of this lake from summer to early winter was distressing “. . . It was as though a young person had died for no reason.” (See Endnote # 2).

And so, this concludes another monthly fly fishing journal. It is now 2011, what natural wonders will reveal themselves as we continue to flick our feathery flies in pursuit of finned quarry? Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

Again, you may wish to view the video supplement to this month’s journal by clicking the link at the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” page.

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

ENDNOTES:

1. For exact locations, please see the 2010, 25th Anniversary Urban Fishing Program booklet.

2.  Hemingway, Ernest, A Moveable Feast, (Touchstone, New York, NY, 1996) p. 45.

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.

NEW REVIEW RATING SYSTEM FOR 2011

3 Jan

After considerable thought I have decided to revise the FLY FISHING DOJO rating system to be used for product reviews. The old system awarded a “Tori” as a symbol of the product’s review status. This new system embraces that Karate-Do idea that accomplishments are “earned”. In Karate-Do, such accomplishments are symbolized by a colored Obi, or belt, worn around a practitioner’s waist. Thus, the new rating system will still be based upon a numeric factor from 1 to 5 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”) and will be symbolized by a colored belt commensurate with that product’s review. The symbolic rating is as follows:

WHITE BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 1 – Poor: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed sub-par and is not worth purchasing.

YELLOW BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 2 – Passable: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed marginally. Purchasing the product would be an example of Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware.

GREEN BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 3 – Average: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed as represented. Purchasing the product would be a matter of the buyer’s personal choice and financial capability.

BROWN BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 4 – Above Average: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed above average and exceeded the expectations of the product. Purchasing the product is recommended based upon the buyer’s financial capability.

BLACK BELT: Symbolizes a numeric rating of 5 – Excellent: In the opinion of FLY FISHING DOJO, this product performed in a manner far exceeding expectations. It is a “must-have” product; subject only to the buyer’s financial means; buy it, but don’t mortgage the farm to do so.

I hope you enjoy the new symbolism to be used in future product reviews.

Please note, I have edited the prior reviews to include the new symbolism.

Sensei John

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

SANCHIN KATA VIDEO FOR FLY FISHERMAN

21 Dec

I have just completed the first video installment in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series. This series is designed to improve and enhance your fly fishing using techniques and ideology derived form the martial arts. This first video, taped while fly fishing, is an introductory video designed to acquaint fly fisherman with the unique and ancient protocol, or “Kata” named “Sanchin”. The translation of the Kanji (Japanese writing) for Sanchin is “Three Battles.”

Kanji for Sanchin

Sanchin accentuates three aspects of ALL human activity, namely:

  1. Breathing;
  2. Bodily Movement;
  3. A State of Mind.

There are many versions of Sanchin Kata. The version in the video is the Sanchin Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate-Do style of Karate. Sanchin Kata takes very little time to perform, requires no special clothing or training apparatus and can be performed anywhere and anytime. Again, my performance of Sanchin on this video was recorded in the process of fly fishing and performed on uneven terrain.

This first video is designed to simply acquaint you with Sanchin and hopefully act as a catalyst to further your interest in learning this Kata. Performance of the Sanchin Kata will enhance ANY activity, including fly fishing.

While I will present future videos addressing the technical aspects of Sanchin, allow me to provide the following preliminary comments. As to the aspect of BREATHING, the method of breathing is addressed in an article entitled “Improve Your Fly Fishing With Proper Breathing.”  As to the aspect of a STATE OF MIND, the state of mind is known as “Mushin” (pronounced Moo-shin) and is addressed in an article entitled “Fly Fishing Using The Mushin State Of Mind.” Both articles are archived on this blog in the category “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master.” As to the aspect of BODILY MOVEMENT, all muscles of the body are relaxed during inhalation of air and are dynamically tensed, in an isometric-type manner, during exhalation of breath.

I hope you enjoy this introductory video in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series entitled “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman.” A permanent link to the video will be archived on the “Video & Media” page. For now, here is a convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

08-16-2011:  Here is a new link to the introductory video in my Sanchin Kata technical series designed for non-martial artists who desire to learn Sanchin. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyaHCp2EoUk

I remain,

Sensei John

If you are interested in more information on Sanchin Kata, you may wish to purchase my book on the Kata. You may find information on my book on the “Sanchin Book” page of my martial ideology weblog, WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

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A GOOD DAY OF FISHING???

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

ENDNOTES:

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

Please feel free to shop the FLY FISHING DOJO online store by clicking on the “SHOP” page at the top of this weblog.

You may also wish to read Sensei John’s martial ideology weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

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