back to nature - bamboo diaries #1

This moment was inevitable, and my heart is in my mouth. The fly lands just ahead of the fish, off to one side. A tail twitch but no take and I'm wondering if the crimson hothead is too much today as the fly swiftly drifts back towards me, unmolested. But for some reason the fish turns at the last second, pursuing the kebari downstream, jaws open, hunting it down, hooking itself, I can't miss. A good fish, a couple of pounds and the first proper test of the horsehair line and of the bamboo rod now bucking in my grip. There is no time to wonder now if either are up to the job, as the fish pulls strongly towards the snags. Rod over to the side, parallel to the water, turn the fish, another run, same again then rod held high, get the fishes head up, tire it quickly. Fish in the net, breathe, sense of relief then a realisation that my fishing system of bamboo & horsehair was never really challenged at all. Evolved, tried, tested and used for generations by those who know. 

So it works, surprisingly well, and thinking about that last statement, there shouldn't really be any surprise at all. But there is more. While I'm not sure if this system will enable me to do more or different things on stream (though time alone will tell on that) there is another dimension to the experience of fishing with bamboo and horsehair, in that it feels different, both physically and metaphysically. 

Physically in many ways - more of this later. Metaphysically, in that the interface, the connection, between angler and environment feels fundamentally different - for this angler at least. Of course there is the aesthetic, the pleasure of fishing with the beautifully handcrafted. Then there is the uniquely warm feeling that is  reward for supporting and engaging with fine, traditional, artisan craft. These things I sought and gained when I acquired my own bamboo tenkara rod. The unexpected dimension, that of connection, is harder to put into words. But I'll try. Bamboo rod and horsehair line creates for me a natural continuum between angler and fish in a way that carbon and synthetic casting line just can't. It's like my fishing gear grew out of the ground itself, formed of nature itself, and of course in way it is. 

I can't really explain why, but when I'm fishing, this notion just makes me feel.. well.. happy.