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Bakassa Kebari Vindicated

Posted by on November 20, 2012

Bakassa Kebari at the moment of birth

In an earlier post I included a video explaining the tying of the Bakassa Kebari, a tenkara fly I “invented” based upon the iconic tenkara fly, the sakasa kebari.  As you know, the sakasa kebari is a “reverse hackle” fly,  the hackle facing forward over the hookeye instead of backward as in a traditional Western wet fly, such as the Partridge and Orange.  One day while contemplating the sakasa kebari, mentally dissecting the fly, trying to identify the ingredient(s) that contribute to its effectiveness, it occured to me that  the reverse hackle was the key.  Why not, then, try a “reverse-reverse” hackle, tied so that the hackle was attached at the bend of the hook, facing backwards.  As the video explains, this is essentially a sakasa kebari tied “ass backwards,” hence the name Bakassa Kebari.  To recap, the Bakassa Kebari consists of just the hook, black tying thread, and a single partridge feather.

Well, yesterday I had the opportunity to test my theory.

My wife and I arrived at Spring Creek just after dawn, the air temperature hovering at the freezing point.  Everywhere at the base of bankside vegetation were beautiful frost flowers.

Frost Flower

The streamside forest had relinquished its color to the oncoming winter.  Except for the pines and eastern red cedars, the trees were either barren of leaves or, as in the case of the oaks, clad in copper-brown.  Skeletal hands of a few white-barked cottowoods reached skyward.  Before long, the sun gained the treetops on the creek’s eastern bank, and I began to  to fish.  Initially I attached a #24 white parachute mayfly to the 6x tippet and applied a little floatant.  Soon the rainbows were impaling themselves on the hook with some regularity. The trout this day were inhaling the flies, natural and counterfeit, with an unusual daintiness, the fly often just disappearing in a gentle sip.  When the parachute became too waterlogged to float, I decided to try the bakassa kebari.  I caught my first trout on that fly on the second cast, and the bakassa kebari continued to work until I felt  that I had proven its effectiveness  and resorted again to the white parachute.

First to be fooled

I continued to fish dries until late afternoon when the slanting late-fall sunlight, with its singular clarity, announced the approaching dusk.

The Shadows Grow Long

Overhead, the usual multitude of turkey buzzards danced to the wind’s choreography.

Waiting for Me to Fall In?

A chevron of probably a hundred Canada geese honked their way across the sky, foretelling a change in the weather.  Folding the Iwana, I walked contentedly back to camp, anticipating the campfire, grilled filets, and a Schlafly pilsner, knowing that I would have to burrow myself deep in the sleeping bag this night.


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