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Tenkara Meets a Coho

Article by Jared Willadsen

November 13, 2022
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

It was a 32 degree day when I got there in the morning. I was fishing with the Tenkara Rod Co. Rocky rod. I didn’t have any luck for the first hour. What was swimming in the creek looked like prehistoric zombie fish, which I’ve never seen in person before. I was wading in a foot of water and when I spooked them they made giant wakes. I had no luck until Erik got there.

Erik brought his family and, what seemed like, the sun. Instantly it warmed up to 39 degrees and the bite was on. When I went downstream to fish I saw a whole bunch of Coho salmon pooled up. I let my brown wooly bugger fly and bonked them on the head, but nothing. In the next cast, the zombie coho ate the bugger and I was able to set the hook hard. After about a minute of fight I scooped up the coho with my net.

Tenkara Meets a Coho - Jared Willadsen - Tenkara Angler

Erik’s jolly laugh followed the netting of the big hen and I felt a sense of relief and excitement all in one moment as this was my first salmon. The barbless wooly bugger came out easy. I admired her for her beauty, and for the long life journey she had made. I released her back and she was off and swimming into the pool.

What an experience that was catching a coho salmon for the first time, and using a tenkara rod to catch it. In that moment I felt a little bit like a brown bear, to have that chance with a coho.

Tenkara Meets a Coho - Jared Willadsen - Tenkara Angler - Grip and Grin
Photo Credit: Erik Woll

Jared Willadsen is the creator of Tenkara Genki on YouTube and can be found on Instagram @tenkaragenki. He is a Wisconsin-based tenkara enthusiast and obsessor!

This article originally appeared in the 2022-23 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

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