Tenkara Fly Fishing

A stick, some string and a fly

My Tenkara Fishing Buddy

I usually like to spend an hour or so fishing my local subdivision pond with my Tenkara rod in the evenings. Very relaxing a peaceful, usually catch a mix of bluegill with the occasional bass.

Last year about this time, I acquired a fishing pal, a Great Blue Heron. For a period of about 6 or 7 weeks, I had a Great Blue Heron follow me around the pond like a puppy dog. The first time I saw this heron, he landed on the other side of the pond, about 60' across. He (not sure if it's a he or she) followed me along our respective sides of the pond, all the time intently watching the Tenkara fishing process. I caught a small bluegill, and decided to see if I could toss it underhand across the pond. I fell short and the fish hit the water and swam off. The heron was taking this all in, and then decided to fly over to my side of the pond. He landed about 25' away.

The next small bluegill I caught, I tossed his way. He pounced on it, downed it, and then headed for the pond to wash it down. After finishing his snack, he came a little closer, maybe 20' off. I ended up feeding him one more small bluegill. I had no idea what a heron's stomach capacity is, so I decided to call it quits for the evening.

The next evening, no sooner did I approach the water, in swoops the heron, and establishes a station about 15' away. Again he followed me along the shore, watching my fly on the water like a hawk. Again fed him a couple of fish that evening. This went on for the next 6 or 7 weeks, the heron ended up following me about 7' away. You could see him react every time a fish stuck my fly, and he'd get excited as the fish was brought to hand. I never fed him more than a couple small bluegill, not knowing how many fish, and what size he could handle.

As the colder weather moved in, I stopped fishing and left Mr. Blue to fend for himself.

I only saw him one day early this spring, that was the last I saw of him. Until tonight, in he swoops, just like two old pals getting together over a plate of nachos and a cold beer.

I'm not sure what surprises me the most, the behavior, or the memory the bird exhibited. Not every day does the bird see a dummy waving around a big black stick.