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Sophia on the First Fishing Adventure

I have taught fishing to a lot of kids over the years, Sophia stands out the most, she loves to fish and to cast. She always wanted to catch and eat fish on her journey as a part of being with nature. But she ends up release them all, she just wants safe them others...

Early this year, Chris Korich, a fly casting coach for the women's team USA, introduced me to Sophia, an eleven years old fly caster of the GGACC (Golden Gate Angling Casting Club), to teach her Tanuki fly fishing (tenkara fly fishing). The difference between tenkara fishing and Tanuki fly fishing is in the area of casting and using flies.

Tenkara fishing is an ancient Japanese fly fishing. It needs just a rod, line and a fly (kebari). First, tenkara fishing only use one fly (Japanese soft hackle pattern, kebari) and casting is not a tenkara fishing strength. Tanuki fishing focuses on casting with a fixed-line rod and a fisher can use multiple types of flies - dry flies, nymphs and streamers. If I use the term "tenkara fishing", I feel I am short of respect of the Japanese ancient art of fly fishing.

Back to Sophia. She and her mom, Leslie, were preparing for a month-long trip on 220 miles of JMT (John Muir Trail). Sophia wanted to catch fish and eat her own catch on the trail. I met her last March and taught her how to cast with a very fine level line. It did not take more than two casts and less than 5 second, and the casting lesson was accomplished. Time for fishing. We couldn't go on any fishing trip at the time because the water was so high this year. I invited her to my golden trout trip in early July. She is a natural: I didn't have to show her anything. She was ready, she tied her fly. I just told everyone back away and watch. One minute later, she got her first fish. She fished for an hour. We started hiking up stream, on the way, I showed her where the fish liked to hang out...

A few weeks later, she and her mom were heading to the JTM. Today, I got a message from her mom, saying "We are safe and have a wonderful trip. Sophia loves fishing and has caught so many fish. She taught other adults on the trail and introduced them to tenkara fishing."

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