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Tenkara Forum – Tenkara is tenkara

On May 18, 2010
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I have been delighted by the level of discussions and activity in our tenkara forum. It’s one of the web’s friendliest forums, with a lot of experiences being told, and much knowledge being gained. But at the same time I have been VERY surprised by the activity. You see, I never really used forums before, I keep things simple and mostly to myself. And, I thought, well, people will post a question here and there, and maybe some experiences, but, since tenkara is really that simple, we’ll stop talking pretty soon. Obviously it hasn’t gone that way, which makes me happy. But, it just goes to show that we can take something so simple as a rod, line and fly and generate Total posts 3773 | Total topics 567 WOW!

I’m also thankful for honest opinions of our users. Today I saw a post by one of our members about how we can take something so simple and perhaps make it what it is not. As he says, “Tenkara is tenkara. Everything else… is just something else…”. Discussions in our forum will continue pushing some boundaries, and, yes, they will stretch tenkara in different ways – sometimes pushing it away from tenkara per se, sometimes pushing it away from simplicity. But, overall, I think these go in a full circle and bring tenkara right back to its simple roots. And, we’ll strive to keep it pure, and most importantly, simple and personal.

I’m a big tenkara purist (maybe not a 100% since I use an elk-hair caddis as a go-to fly, but pretty pure). I like everything about tenkara: its knots, its lines, its rods, its way of fishing and most of all its philosophy. And, I’d love to keep tenkara what it is: tenkara, pure, and simple. That’s the reason I have not made heavier rods as many people have requested or ever suggested anyone try a western fly line with it, and why I generally condone floatant, and do not use or suggest use of an indicator. And, that’s why I hardly discuss line tapers, or scientific formulas for rods and lines. I like to keep it simple. But, I understand these adaptations will happen, and it’s while I’ll probably never adopt any of them (I have never used flotant, split shot, or indicators) it’s still interesting to see a few experiments in different directions. In my view, not often, but sometimes something good may come out of it.

Yes, we can define tenkara as: using a rod between 10 and 15ft long (longer rods are not tenkara rods as they are too heavy, shorter rods lose any advantages of a tenkara rod); the rod will have a handle for comfortable casting; two types of lines are used: furled or level flurocarbon of up to 40ft; no floatant, indicator or split shot are ever used; the line is attached to a rod tip called a lillian by using a very simple knot; the angler is primarily using dry flies or soft-hackle (incl reverse hackle) flies, and one fly only. The angler will also embrace simplicity, less gear, more personal enjoyment. That is tenkara, purely. But…

What is your tenkara?

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One Response to Tenkara Forum – Tenkara is tenkara

  1. Suspect it is not just the discussion that will go full circle. Like most other American anglers, I’ve tried to “see what I could do” with a tenkara rod, and tried the whole range from Czech nymphs to panfish poppers. Gradually, and subtley, I was drawn back to the single unweighted fly and light simple line. Mostly upstream fishing with relatively short drifts, and quick casts to all the likely spots. The rods are so well suited for that style of fishing. Simplicity will win if we only let it.

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