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Fly angler describes his first experience with tenkara

On May 28, 2013
Comments (2)

A few weeks ago I arrived back home from a fishing trip. I got home at night time. As I removed stuff from the back of the car I noticed someone crossing the street in my direction. It was dark and hard to see, but I noticed he was carrying a long item in his hand. It would either be a baseball bat and he was coming to beat me up, or it was a fishing rod case. Luckily when he got near enough for my heart to race I noticed it was a fishing rod case. And, not only that I could see it was a tenkara rod case. Cool.
This was my neighbor, Allen, who a couple of weeks prior had bought a tenkara rod. He then noticed my car with the TENKARA license plates and figured I probably liked tenkara too.
A couple of weeks went by and I finally was able to join him for some tenkara fishing. He drove to the spot before I did and gave tenkara a try on his own for a couple of hours. When I arrived I asked him how he’d done. He didn’t sound too happy about it and said he beginning to wish he’d brought his western setup. I figured I would just have to show him a couple of things and he’d be good. And, indeed that’s what happened.

To avoid any frustration I highly recommend watching these videos:
How to tie tenkara knots
How to cast with a tenkara rod

Another couple of tips:
– Stop the rod tip high to fish with most of the line off the water as you get started, as opposed to laying the line on the water and mend. Or maybe put about 10 inches of the main line in the water to serve as an anchor.
– Make sure your line is tight, if it starts getting too slack or close to you, recast. It is very common for people to want to get the longest drift they can, but if the current is not pulling your line to keep it tight, it will be slack and difficult to cast or set the hook. Work with shorter drifts on more likely spots
– Don’t be afraid to cast. Many people coming from a western fly-fishing background are afraid to backcast and want to do a roll-cast or some type of flick. CAST! Just make sure to stop the backcast at 12 o’clock and don’t wait very long to do the forward cast, the casting stroke is quick and short to avoid getting caught up in trees.

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2 Responses to Fly angler describes his first experience with tenkara

  1. mike says:

    fantastic stuff. though i haven’t made it to trout waters yet (headed up for a week on the west walker mid june!!!!), i had a chance to “introduce” a couple guys to tenkara last evening at a local brewery. both are backpacking, singlespeed bike riders who fly fish western style. a lot of what i said, as well as thier concerns, echoed what allen had to say re: reaching pocket water, and mending and such. by the end of the conversation, both were stoked to get just a rod, a line and a fly in their hands…

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