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OldredbarnMarch 4th, 2010, 6:44 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Allan,

Great photo! You should of used this as a start of a thread and asked us to come up with funny captions for that poor sucker. "Damn! That's a long ways down." or maybe "My morning is just not shaping up to be the one I had in mind!" Etc...Or..."Hey! At least I didn't fall to one of those funky Japanese flies...I would of never lived that down!"

Spence

Maybe we have worn out the Tenkara thread...What do you think?
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchMarch 4th, 2010, 12:10 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
"Maybe we have worn out the Tenkara thread...What do you think?"

Yea, probably but I'd like to see a picture, and not one from the Tenkara site, of someone actually catching a trout.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CM_StewartMarch 4th, 2010, 12:52 pm
Posts: 4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yic4bzvUvpE
WbranchMarch 4th, 2010, 2:28 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
I decided to Google Tenkara and found many sites but clicked on this one; http://www.amago.jp.lv/b-streams/flytying/tenkara.html
I don't know how to make the link active here so just copy it and paste it into your browser window.

The site owner is one amazing fellow! He made his own vest, leather reel case (the site is not just Tenkara)fly box, travel fly box kit, and many other items.

He also has many great pictures of Tenkara flies used in different locales in Japan. He also lists, and has photos and narrative about all his favorite streams, many of them we would consider to be creeks, but they are pretty. Check it out as I think you will enjoy the flies and photography. He also draws beautiful pictures of trout and salmon.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanJuly 3rd, 2015, 3:26 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Ok, I have to weigh in with a bit of a confession. I met the owner of TenkaraUSA 6 years ago while fishing with a friend on his club water on the American River. The guy was there to do some videos promoting his new company. He has them (videos) on his site to this day. Anyway, he gave me a rod to try out. Since that day I have caught hundreds of large fish with the tackle, many well over 20". Here's what I've learned:

1. To paraphrase a popular political catch phrase, "It's the tackle, stupid!" For reasons beyond my understanding it's promoted as a method. Using the tackle outside the "method" is considered heresy by its most prominent practioners. The idea of needing one fly pattern only (as promoted) is also patently absurd. Their mindset holds acceptance of the tackle back IMO.
2. Conventional tackle isn't even close to presenting a fly as stealthy. My theory is that this is because there isn't a heavy fly line landing on the water and drag is much easier to avoid.
3. You can fish water untouchable by any other method - like those little patches of stillwater on the other side of rips.
4. It's for streams where large fish can be controlled. Any fish over about 15" that runs cannot be stopped if it has the room and will to do so. Have I landed nice fish in larger rivers? Yes... But the ones I remember most are the many lost. :)
5. To me it's a tool, but for the rabid practioners it's a myopic method I haven't found much use for. I use the tackle mostly for dead drift dry fly and nymph fishing. Traditional Tenkara fly designs and presentation methods usually perform abysmally on the waters I fish. The one exception is when the fish are dialed in on moving caddis pupa. The forward slanting hackle and presentation methods of Tenkara are a boon for imitating the pulsing rhythms of their emergence. This can't be duplicated nearly as well with any other presentation method or fly design I'm aware of. It's a pity they (practioners) scoff at direct imitation. A whole world would open up to them if they fished Tenkara style pupal imitations at those times.
6. The tackle requirements are just as nuanced and sophisticated as our tradional gear. It is not pole and string fishing.
7. It isn't dapping. A regular casting stroke is required. The rigs I use fish out to 30 ft. on average (including rod and body reaching length) and as far as 40 ft. when necessary.
8. It is much better at fighting the wind. The specialized lines are denser and cut the air much better than any fly line.

Bottom line, it's my go to tackle for small streams now. I'd love to experiment with it on streams like the Letort, where it is my understanding trout will scurry for cover at the slightest hint of a fly line hitting the water or were drag free drifts in certain situations are impossible by conventional means.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchJuly 3rd, 2015, 7:09 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
I was thinking of getting one for Spring Creek in Bellefonte, PA where it seems 90% of the little wild trout I catch are subsurface and my casts are seldom longer than 20'. Might be a great birthday present from my wife. But on the big rivers I normally fish where 16" rainbows run your fly line and a 21" rainbow can run the fly line + 50 yards of backing I knew it wouldn't work. Besides I want to hear the reel singing as line is peeling off the spool.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRobertsJuly 3rd, 2015, 9:59 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I knew Kurt was the one for the job on this topic. I have been blissfully unaware of the social chains imbibed in "Tenkara". As I've used it I've just called it "pole fishing", although I've yet to try an actual Tenkara line on it.

Apparently, the owner and/or founder of a major Tenkara company recently moved here to Boulder.
BnorikaneJuly 3rd, 2015, 10:31 am
Colorado

Posts: 15
Entoman - very well written and reasoned post.

Your experience matches mine. I've added a Tenkara rod to my 4 and 5 wt flyrods, and use each in conditions that match their strengths.

I use the Tenkara rod for presenting dry flies into small pockets surrounded by swirling currents. The primary advantage of Tenkara is the long rod length combined with very light flyline that allow me to hold all the fly line off the water to eliminate drag.

Before Tenkara, I often "high sticked" dry flies in pocket water with a fly rod, but this method was limited in reach. Longer fly rods and lighter line were needed, and Tenkara is the ultimate in long and light.

Like you, I won't limit myself to the "one fly" tradition. Tenkara tackle is simply long fly rods with very light flyline. It can be used for many of the traditional fly fishing techniques - dry, wet, nymphing, etc....

Tenkara one fly should be considered it's own technique. The adherents focus on varying subtle movements of the fly rather than changing fly pattern. I have nothing against the one fly method, and I've seen the expert practitioners catch fish in very tough situations. They are incredibly tuned into the subtle movements of their flies in ways that I cannot match.
OldredbarnJuly 3rd, 2015, 5:47 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Nice discussion Kurt...Interesting.

When Craig Mathews was here in May to speak at our banquet he told a great Tenkara story.

I will paraphrase what I remember of it.

He was selling a rod to a customer and a regular drove in named Ken...I guess Ken is a big time streamer fisherman. He over heard the sales pitch and told them to give him one of those rods...

They thought that this wasn't going to work out and especially when sometime later they saw his diesel pickup doing a u-turn out front of the shop and coming to an abrupt stop.

Craig thought that they all should run and hide, but it turned out the guy was thrilled with it. Had fished streamers with it, and loved how he could control the drift etc.

The guy was so happy he ended up with a personalized license plate that read "Kentara"...

You have to see the vids of Mathews throwing the rod in the river and letting the trout run, only to have it return to where he had originally hooked it, he steps back in the river, picks up the rod and lands the fish!

Interesting stuff for sure.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchJuly 3rd, 2015, 8:06 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Knowing nothing about the art of Tenkara what do you do when you only want to throw a 15' cast and you have a 30' line hanging from the end of the rod?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
BnorikaneJuly 3rd, 2015, 9:56 pm
Colorado

Posts: 15
the only thing you can do is "cast with your feet."

another problem with 30 foot line - how do you set the hook, when a fish strikes 10 feet away from you?

Although you can cast a fairly long line with Tenkara, it quickly gets cumbersome with lines more than 1.5 times the rod length.
EntomanJuly 4th, 2015, 12:04 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Thank you for the kind words, Paul. BTY, yes indeed he did move to CO. :) Why not? The Bay Area of CA is not the most friendly environment for a young entrepreneur... And the cost of living is ridiculous. How about 4G a month to share a bedroom with a stranger in a tiny two room flat? Insanity! :) It doesn't hurt that the little freestone streams of the Sierras open to the public aren't up to CO standards either. :)

Matt, Bnoricanes' (thank you for the kind words as well) comments are right on. All I can say is that setting yourself in the proper position for presentation is not much different with Tenkara from what we do all the time with conventional tackle. If you want to cast closer simply hold the rod higher or move back a bit. If the fish working is particularly interesting and you can't do either, temporarily shortening your line is really quick and easy anyway (about the same time it takes to change a fly)

B-canes, all things eastern seem by definition to carry an element of mysticism, and Tenkara is no acception. While I acknowledge that the ability to "impart life" to the fly (no matter the pattern) by the "senseis" of the sport to illicit positive responses of small, opportunistic freestone trout in Japan (and often stateside as well) is impressive , it has no bearing on our larger trout that get keyed in on abundant hatches. The fact that those few enamored by the cultural romance of it all can catch the occasional decent fish on video doesn't change the reality that they will be out-fished 10 to 1 or more in most conditions by competent anglers employing techniques developed for our waters. At least for the size fish I'm most interested in... :)

Our large stream fish usually like their invertebrate food dead drift and also usually in a facsimile of the appearance of the naturals currently on the menu (only they know what that means). This is a fact that cannot be ignored, regardless of angler agenda. :)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
EntomanJuly 4th, 2015, 1:04 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
BTY - with practice, no reel can match the sensitivity of the human hand when controlling large fish on light tippets. A line longer than the rod necessitating "hand lining" at the end of the fight is less risky than handling a large fish on a short line against the reel in my experience.

Even though one can reach out to 40 ft, that doesn't mean a 40 ft. line is needed to do so. Add body reach, a 14 ft. Rod, a five foot tippet, and it only takes a twenty ft. line to make that reach.

Curiously, Tenkara allows you to get closer without spooking even the most cautious fish. I have raised fish 20 ft away that I couldn't have cast to from 40 ft with conv. tackle without risking a spook. The risk of repetitive casting putting down fish is also greatly reduced.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchJuly 4th, 2015, 1:15 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Kurt wrote;

At least for the size fish I'm most interested in... :)


My sentiments exactly. While I have great respect for fly fishers who pursue 5" - 9" wild brookies (or whatever wild trout) in little tiny creeks surrounded by mountain laurel that take an hour to hike into the area. I prefer the pursuit of larger wild trout, preferably at least 18", that stick their noses out, or boil on, aquatic insects.

Possibly by the very nature of the size of Japanese trout and the diminutive size of the waterways they inhabit Tenkara was developed to pursue those Amago trout. Why would one need a reel for a wild trout that seems rarely to exceed 11"? The unusually long rod (by our standards prior to the advent of Euro nymphing) allowed those anglers to thrust the rods out into seams, behind rocks, and into tiny pools to effect a short drift and enjoy the tug of those little trout.

I would love to see how Tenkara would work on the somewhat small and narrow tributaries of Lake Erie when the steelhead enter in early October! I high stick my 10' 6" #6 switch rod to run my nymphs through a slot or run. The difference is when I hook up there is at least 4# of very pissed off chrome feeling a hook and wanting to get back to the lake in as short a time as possible.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WbranchJuly 4th, 2015, 1:18 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
BTW I'm responding at 1:15 a.m. because I'm all wired about leaving for Montana in about five hours for two weeks of great hatches and big rising wild trout. :)
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanJuly 4th, 2015, 1:25 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Have fun, buddy! It's hot out here! Be ready for it...:)

(my interest) (trout) preferably at least 18", that stick their noses out, or boil on, aquatic insects.

Couldn't be said better! .:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
AfishinadoJuly 4th, 2015, 7:12 am
SE PA

Posts: 69
BTW I'm responding at 1:15 a.m. because I'm all wired about leaving for Montana in about five hours for two weeks of great hatches and big rising wild trout. :)


Wow...Montana Tenkara fishing!...lol.

Great time to get out of PA during the monsoon season.

Good luck, Matt.
OldredbarnJuly 4th, 2015, 10:15 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Enjoy Matt! I'm stuck in Michigan this year.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsJuly 5th, 2015, 8:30 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Dunno about Montana. But we're having our CO version of monsoon season now -el Nino inspired. It sure is green however.

I'm sure you'll find plenty of fishing where you're going, Matt. You've certainly done a bunch of it. Enjoy your time there.
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