I would also like to add...
visgids wrote... Quote "The equipment plays a very small part in the matter"
NOT...in my oppinion.
You know, twice I wrote comments saying that I disagreed with that, and laying out the reasons why (very similar to jd's, by the way). Both times I deleted them before submitting my post.
I feel very strongly that the equipment is important, although I don't know exactly where you would draw the line between what is tenkara and what is not tenkara, or what equipment would allow you do do tenkara and what would just not work. What muddies the waters even more is that there are rods and lines that are sold as tenkara rods and lines that I do not believe are suitable for tenkara fishing. On the other hand, there are rods and lines that are not sold as tenkara rods and lines that are suitable (not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but suitable).
Tenkara is a method or style of fishing. In order to do it effectively you do need specialized equipment. Just using that equipment, though, does not mean that what you are doing is tenkara. I've seen more than a couple people doing Western fly fishing with a tenkara rod. (I'm talking about the fishing, not the casting.) Their fishing method was not tenkara and the way they were using it, the long rod offered almost no benefit over what they would have been able to do with a 9 foot 4 weight fly rod.
I often wonder if the people who tried tenkara and gave it up did so because they fished with their 11' tenkara rod as if it was a 9' fly rod and reel with the drag tightened down all the way. If that is the case, and there is no way to know, it is not at all suprising that they didn't understand what all the people who do like tenkara are going on about.