Article by Brian Lindsay
I was born into a fishing family.
My father was an avid Fisherman and took repeated reel-based lure and fly fishing road trips in southern and northern Michigan and Canada, with our family before and after I was born. He eventually taught all three of his sons to fish, while my mother peacefully sat and watched us all enjoying our summertime fishing fun.
When I was one, he took us all on a grand Canadian fishing expedition up to Flin Flon, Manitoba. At the time it was the farthest north you could travel by car in Manitoba without shipping your car by train up to the “polar bear” town of Churchill on the western shore of Hudson Bay.
In Flin Flon (a historic copper and zinc mining town), I was told there was not much interest in recreational fishing. So ironically, in the middle of the summer the campgrounds were empty. The lakes were empty of fishermen, but full of local, indigenous, mature, giant, walleye pike, which hit on any lure or fly tossed into the water. My dad caught more walleye pike each day than my family could eat, but we enthusiastically ate all the deliciously pan-fried fish anyway, and I am told they were the best fresh fish that my family ever had.
When I was two or three, I was on a more local weekend fishing trip to a lake in southern Michigan, when as my Dad told the story for years after, we were out in his 16 foot aluminum fishing boat with an outboard motor, and while he fished, I rolled my Matchbox cars back and forth along the bottom interior hull of the boat. It was coated with a light grey rubberized non-skid coating with little rough-surface particles embedded in it, so that my continuous rolling made a horrible rattling racket, only amplified by the aluminum hull’s natural resonance.
Years later, as my Dad would re-tell this story many times, he would always smile and say that he never caught more fish in one day than he did on that day, with my unknowing acoustic assistance.
I never forgot that story.
Many years later, only recently actually, I had the opportunity to live for a few months in Missouri, with easy local access to Lake Taneycomo (the major fly-in fishing destination outside of Branson), which is well stocked with rainbow trout and other species of fish from nearby hatcheries. It offers exceptional shore fishing opportunities, which I was able to take full advantage of.
When I went to Missouri, I was determined to become a good tenkara fisherman. I took it on as a personal challenge to teach myself, without being taught, the way that you can most effectively catch fish with a tenkara rod.
It was during this period that I remembered my father’s story. Having now discovered, trained, and dedicated myself exclusively to tenkara fishing, I wondered if there could be any common ground between the successful vibration of an aluminum hull into the water so many years before, and the vibration of a tenkara line and kebari fly that has already been cast, as it floats serenely on the water.
Throughout months of experimentation and 200 days of fishing I concluded that the most effective way to fish was to add an acoustic vibration to a kebari fly that is on the water. After I experimented with the technique many times, I developed a standard acoustic vibration method that typically attracts fish.
To further explain, I put my hand on the handle of the rod and rest my index finger on the handle. After the fly has been cast and gently lands on the water, I tap my index finger three times, three times, three times, three times, which creates both a physical and acoustic vibration. Typically, that attracts a fish and they’ll hit the fly right away.
I’ve also experimented with using a beadhead kebari, where the physical and acoustic vibration of the bead landing on the water typically attracts many different species of fish.
These two techniques, landing a dry fly on the water and tapping the tenkara rod, because it is a fixed length, allows you to instantaneously transfer a very light acoustic vibration to the fly. In the case of the beadhead kebari that is meant for drifting at depth, so you can also transfer your acoustic vibration into the deeper waters. Both techniques keep tenkara fishing simple and helps you catch fish.
The acoustic vibration techniques that I developed during my time at Lake Taneycomo were more successful than I would have ever imagined, and I caught (and released) many beautiful rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegills, during that season.
Brian Lindsay currently lives in North Texas in a little town called Vernon that is well known for its oil, cattle, and now its wind farm industry. It is also the birthplace of Roy Orbison. In early retirement, Brian spends his time helping others in the community. After a lifetime of fishing he is dedicated to fishing tenkara in its true form. He wishes all the readers of this article “Peace & Tenkara”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.
Do you have a story to tell, a photo to share, or a fly recipe that’s too good to keep secret? If you would like to contribute content to Tenkara Angler, click HERE for more details.