We exchanged quick greetings as the morning sun had already begun to rise over the New York City buildings.
It was our first meeting but we had already gotten to know a great deal about the “bum”. It seemed through our research that Tenkara as it is now in the US, is closely linked to Tenkarabum, Chris.
Even in the heat of the New York City summer morning, he was in his signature long sleeve camo. A New York City resident since 1977, he seemed out of place that morning with his wading staff and full camo talking to us in the urban landscape. He did not have a lot of gear which made sense as Tenkara advocates simplicity and an almost minimalist approach to angling.
We quickly made our escape from the city and headed north away from the honking and growing traffic behind us. We soon were on our way to the not so wild waters that New York has to offer. Chris over the years has been fishing the waters close to home. He has chosen to fish areas that were overlooked by others.
These waters do not hold the mystique and glam of the more fabled and well known waters of Upstate New York. These waters however, do hold trout. And that was proven that day, along with the effectiveness of the Tenkara style of fishing in those waters.
So much is said about the pros and cons of the controversial fishing style. It is the “new kid on the block ” that has been causing people to reassess fly fishing, and their own definitions of fishing and reasons for fishing.
Chris is a realist. He uses what works for him. What works for him, is that which gives him enjoyment. It is apparent when watching him fish.
After finishing our one day shoot we clambered back in the car to head back to the city. On our way down, we decided a quick stop to check out a small creek would wrap up the day well. I stopped the car by the creek which was next to a busy highway. The target species were not big trout but rather “micro” fish from the unassuming water. As we began to pull out tiny little fish from the water as the cars buzzed by, I noticed that we were all having a blast. The glee on all our faces was proof of the tie that all anglers share.
In a way this summed up the experience of the “bum”. It wasn’t about the big name, big fish, big story. It was about the smiles and the bend of the rod no matter how small.
We dropped Tenkarabum, Chris on a busy sidewalk of NYC. As I watched him melt away into the crowd I realized he wasn’t out of place at all. He was an inherent piece of the fabric that made up New York City. He is a character of an individual expression and we anglers all share that expression in the grand scheme of the human experience.