This is my second season of trout fishing with a Tenkara fly rod. Some might ask what is Tenkara? So here’s a little something about it.
Tenkara is a style of fishing (like fly fishing) going back at least 200 years in Japan. Long rods, line, and flies are used in simple forms to catch fish. Notice that there is no mention of a reel to hold line in Tenkara fishing, and this line is a fixed length. It sounds like crazy talk to a western fly fisher, but in realty it means less gear and often more fish.
I love Tenkara, and it’s simplicity. It has revolutionized all my techniques of fly fishing (both with a western rod and Tenkara rod). I carry so little gear compared to my old outings and less flies. I use to carry four to five boxes, and now I carry one. My focus is more on getting the fly to the right spot than matching food sources exactly. With the fixed length line and the delicate presentation, it excels in the type of water that I like to fish (smaller streams).
When I was growing up, we had a cabin on a small lake. My father never fished, but that’s where I learned to fish- on our little pier and with a cane pole. It didn’t have monofilament attached to it. It had a fixed length string with a hook- sound familiar. Well, it wasn’t fly fishing back then, but it was easy. Just add a worm and I was ready to go. Tenkara has brought back this simplicity to me. Fly fishing is the only type of fishing that I do now a days, so in a world where everything is getting more complex, it was pure joy to find something moving the other direction.
Being simple isn’t it’s handicap. I honestly think that I catch more fish. When fishing with this set up, it’s easy to keep your line off the water. This further helps not to spook the fish and often the fish hook themselves.
So there is a little about Tenkara. As it stands now my western gear is gathering dust and the moths are moving in to my old vests. I’ve been out fishing eleven times this year and ten were with my Tenkara rod. You can almost hear my old Orvis rods crying.
To find out more:
http://www.tenkarausa.com/about.php is a great resource for the Tenkara angler. You’ll find tons of videos and how to information.