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Tenkara

VanLife and Bass Fishing with tenkara

On July 28, 2017 • Comments (1)
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We have been on the road for 11 days now. Margaret and I have been enjoying our time together (we actually celebrated our 10th anniversary on the road last Sunday!). Living the “Van Life” is not glamorous, but we have seen some beautiful country, fished some gorgeous waters and enjoyed a few experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Time has been short, and it is going by fast. I have been working on some videos and photography but it’s been hard to find reliable data connection or wifi along the way, so almost no time for writing and sharing things. I have been good at keeping our Instagram posts going when I find a bar or two of service on my phone.

This morning I turned the tenkaravan into a makeshift studio to record a new podcast episode about living life off the tenkaravan and about our very cool experience fishing for smallmouth bass with the fly-fishing author Dave Hughes and his wife Masako. If you’re interested, below is the episode I just posted (more information referenced in the episode please visit the podcast page.

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Tenkara Guide Spotlight: Daniel Pierce II

On January 25, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Dan Pierce

In this installment of the Tenkara Guide Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Pierce II of our Tenkara Guide Network. Daniel Pierce has been a great help to Tenkara USA and the north eastern tenkara community for some time now. Dan guides classic trout waters in his home state of Maine, wild places with beautiful native book trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth bass. Besides guiding, Dan is very active at teaching tenkara at area events and can usually be found in the Tenkara USA booth when we are in New England.

Besides tenkara activities, Dan works as a middle school counselor, enjoys spending time with his family, and bow hunting for deer and turkey, all of which influence his fishing and guiding. Dan genuinely enjoys sharing the outdoors with others, as his responses below will support.

What types of environment do you guide tenkara anglers and how long have you been guiding?  About how many guide trips and tenkara guide trips do you do in a season?

I guide in the great state of Maine.  The number of days I guide changes year to year and depends on the weather but it is usually 20-25 days a year of guiding with clients and then a few tenkara classes through out the year.  I work full time as a school counselor at a middle school and started guiding when people asked at fly fishing shows where they could find a guide in Maine.  I saw an opportunity and jumped on it!  People come from New England to fish in Maine with me because of the native brook trout we have here and because there are so few tenkara guides in New England.

Daniel Pierce tenkara guide Maine

Do you guide only tenkara or also western fly-fishing (or spin fishing)? 

I exclusively guide fixed line fly-fishing which has given me my niche in Maine.  Maine has a number of outstanding fishing guides but only one tenkara guide!

What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of guiding with tenkara?

Tenkara is great for people who are new to the sport of fly-fishing because there is a quick learning curve if you have someone knowledgable with you.  I have found tenkara to be a great “add on” activity to recreational guiding here in Maine.  Disadvantages would be sometimes people don’t fully understand the limitations of tenkara fishing.

What are your favorite Tenkara USA rods for guiding on your favorites and are your personal favorites different that what you guide with?

Ever since I got the Rhodo and Sato, I have never looked back.  There are times I still fish my Amago but 95% of the time both guiding and fishing on my own, it is one of those rods.  The rods are well made and reliable which is why they are my go to rods.  Between the two rods I can effectively fish a rod between 8 and 13 feet.

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What types of rigs do you fish as far as terminal tackle, i.e. single dry fly, indicator rigs, dry dropper, etc. ?

Especially when I am guiding, I do not get very technical with rigging.  Many of my clients are looking for simplicity and effectiveness.  For this reason, we rig with level line, tippet, and a single fly.

Has there been anything about fishing and guiding with tenkara that has been a surprise to you compared to your initial impressions of the fishing method?

My biggest surprise was the effectiveness of this method of fishing and the range and variety of fish I have been able to target with tenkara.

11781688_966302743391924_2565133519501835744_nAs a guide, what are your thoughts on using few (or one) fly pattern?

So we come to the question of fly choice.  I generally guide people who are interested in being outside, learning something new, and hopefully catching fish.  For this reason, I fish very few fly patterns.  From 2011-2014 I fished one fly; a black hook, black thread, grey turkey feather sakasa kebari.  Early in 2015 I started to mess around with killer bugs AKA ( UKB, Sawyer’s, Crane fly larva).  I now fish a sakasa kebari 3 different colors and a killer bug in 3 different colors, although 9 out of 10 flies I tie on is a black sakasa kebari.  My general philosophy is the more time my fly is in the water, the better chance I have of a fish seeing it.

Do you have a favorite fly? What is it?

Most people would think spring in Maine means early season fishing, when really it means turkey hunting.  The two spring male wild turkeys I shoot each year  will give me enough feathers to refill my fly box for the season and beyond.  I started using turkey feathers in 2011 and have exclusively used them for my sakasa kebari since then.  The feathers are a blackish grayish color that have an unbelievable amount of action and turn almost translucent when underwater.  So my favorite fly is a simple one; TMC103bl size 13, black thread, turkey feather sakasa kebari.

Do you have a fly fishing or tenkara based online blog?  What is the URL?

No blog yet but keep your eyes open!

Do you have an social media presence for your services?  What are your Facebook or other social media accounts names?

You can find me on Facebook.com/Mainetenkaraguide and on Instagram @Mainetenkaraguide.

 

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Tenkara Transitions, Casting Goals

On January 24, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Sebata-tenkar

Here at Tenkara USA, we’ve been very excited about sharing tenkara with people new to fishing in general. This has been incredibly rewarding for all of us, but I would like to spend a bit of time in Tenkara Transitions helping those who are experienced and accomplished fly-anglers transition to tenkara.

While tenkara casting is usually much easier for beginners to pick up than western fly-casting, we have seen instances where casting a tenkara rod is difficult or clumsy for an experienced angler. As the physical requirements of tenkara casting are minimal, (after all, we’re casting a much shorter and lighter line with a longer lever) the difficulty some experienced western anglers  have can be attributed more to a mental block than a physical inability to execute the task of a good tenkara cast. In my  opinion, this block can largely be conquered once the different casting goals of western fly-casting and tenkara casting are understood.

For sake of brevity, I’m going to define these goals in the aspects of western fly fishing and tenkara that I and most of my friends seem most enthusiastic about, casting dry flies on rivers and streams with a western fly rod and casting unweighted flies (dry or wet) on a mountain stream with a tenkara rod.

With western casting, the cast begins with a straight line back cast roughly parallel to the water’s surface. Once the line has straightened behind the angler, the forward cast sends the line roughly parallel to the waters surface until it unrolls above the target, usually about eye level. Just as the line falls, (hopefully) controlled slack is often put in the line in the form of an arial mend. The rod tip then follows the plastic fly line to the surface of the water to leave the intentional slack in place and at the ready to place additional mends in the line as conflicting currents have time to take hold. Obviously, there are many different scenarios a western fly caster may find themselves in, but I hope this provides a good baseline for comparison.

In tenkara, the cast begins with a backcast above and behind the angler. Usually a bit before the line straightens out behind the angler, the forward cast begins and throws the line in front of and down from the rod tip. The line should unroll relatively straight to the target, roughly ten inches from the surface of the water. As the fly and some tippet hit the water, the rod tip should be left high, holding all or at least most of the casting line off of the water so that no mending is required. Again, there’s a lot one can do with a tenkara rod, but this is the norm for myself and many, (perhaps most) of the tenkara anglers I speak with.

Once a western fly-fisher understands these different casting goals, tenkara casting can be the simple and elegant act it should be; not much more than a flick of the wrist sending the line above and behind the angler followed by a flick of the wrist sending the line down and in front of the angler. There are more detailed and well done tenkara casting articles and videos that I encourage aspiring tenkara anglers to seek out, but believe understanding these basic goals will help the information in those sources be more accessible for someone entrenched in western fly-fishing. I also feel that understanding these goals will help the angler transition back and forth from tenkara to western fly fishing, should they so choose.

If you’re a western angler who’s had issues making a tenkara rod cast the way you think it should, please let us know if this explanation helps you. If not, we’d love to hear what you’re having troubles with in an effort to help you on your tenkara journey. Best of luck and happy casting!

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Tenkara Guide Spotlight: Jim Mitchell

On January 18, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Jim Mitchell Tenkara on the West Fork Bitterroot

This is the first installment of a new series of blog posts we’d like to bring to you. The Tenkara Guide Spotlight will bring some of the experience and knowledge of the professional guides in our Tenkara Guide Network to the spotlight so we can all learn from tthem. You’ll see a diversity of tackle preferences and techniques used and hope this will help you in finding your own tenkara.

We start the series with Jim Mitchell, a full time fishing and hunting guide form the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana. Jim is a consummate professional and a super nice guy. I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with Jim a few times, and always find it an enjoyable and informative experience. His to the point answers give a nice glimpse into the thinking of a professional guide.

 

Where do you guide tenkara anglers and how long have you been guiding?

I started guiding in 2001 and became an outfitter in 2009. I guide float and wade trips on Rivers and Small streams in Montana.

Do you guide only tenkara or also western fly-fishing?

I guide Western and tenkara fly-fishing.

About how many guide trips and tenkara guide trips do you do in a season?

I guide about 150 client days per season 10 to 20 of those are tenkara

A cutthroat caught on one of Jim's secret streams.

A cutthroat caught on one of Jim’s secret streams.

What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of guiding with tenkara?

A few advantages to tenkara are the simplicity and a drag free drift. One disadvantage is casting distance on big rivers and that is irrelevant when tenkara float fishing from a raft.

What are your favorite Tenkara USA rods for guiding on your favorites and are your personal favorites different that what you guide with?

My personal and guide rods are the same the Amago and the Sato.

John Geer of Tenkara USA with a rainbow caught on a trip with Jim.

John Geer of Tenkara USA with a rainbow caught on a trip with Jim.

What types of rigs do you fish (i.e. single dry fly, indicator rigs, dry dropper, etc.) ?

I fish single dries, dry dropper, double fly indicator rigs and nymphs without indicators. The one thing I have not tried is streamers

Has there been anything about fishing and guiding with tenkara that has been a surprise to you compared to your initial impressions of the fishing method?

The freedom. It’s nice to leave the big bag of flies and equipment and just take a small pack with a few essentials.

As a guide, what are your thoughts on using few (or one) fly pattern?

It’s fun to do at times, but I am not a one fly guy.

Do you have a favorite fly? What is it?

A prince nymph for the nymph. A Purple Haze for the dry.

Do you have a fly-fishing or tenkara based online blog?  What is the URL?

It’s a hunting and fishing blog, but I don’t update it often.
https://montanahuntingfishingadv.com/blog/

Do you have an social media presence for your services?  What are your Facebook or other social media accounts names?

Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/montanahuntingfishingadventures/
Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/mthuntfishadv
Twitter, mthuntfishadv
Instagram, montana_hunting_fishing_adv

Tenkara guide Jim Mitchell with Daniel Galhardo in Montana

Tenkara guide Jim Mitchell with Daniel Galhardo in Montana

 

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How to open and close an adjustable tenkara rod

On November 8, 2016 • Comments (2)
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In this video Daniel will cover how to open and close an adjustable tenkara rod (also known as “tenkara zoom rods”). The Tenkara USA rods, such as the Sato, Rhodo and Ito, can be fished at different lengths and it is important to know how to properly use them.

Further, here’s a short video on how to replace segments on a tenkara rod, including the adjustable tenkara rods.

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Questions and Answers

On November 2, 2014 • Comments (78)
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Tenkara FAQ questions and answerPlease ask any questions you may have about tenkara. It doesn’t matter if it’s been answered before, if you’re not easily finding it, I’ll be happy to answer it here. Ask away!
Of course, feel free to continue calling us at 888.483.6527 or emailing us at info@tenkarausa.com

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LEARN TENKARA HERE – Tenkara is who we are

On April 1, 2014 • Comments (4)
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When I started Tenkara USA 5 years ago, I knew that tenkara fishing was destined to take off. Teaching tenkara through these years has taught me that people are hungry for simplicity and connection to our environment. Tenkara created a revolution in the fly fishing industry by improving the way people fish and changing the way they think about and teach fly-fishing. We are always excited to see more people learning about tenkara and want to welcome Patagonia to the tenkara community. Whether you’re a large company or one person teaching a buddy how to cast, you are spreading tenkara and that’s what we love!

A big part of why we exist is to get more people fly-fishing, simply. And, we believe the simplest way to fly-fish is to look at the tenkara anglers in Japan, which is what we have done for the last 5 years with innovative rod designs and sharing techniques.

If you are intrigued by tenkara, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some highlights about the tenkara story and techniques to get you started. We hope that you will dig into our resources and let us know if you have any questions or want to learn something specific.

1) How to cast with tenkara

Tenkara casting does not have to be fanciful. It is super simple actually. Here’s a good video on how to cast with a tenkara rod:

2) How to setup your tenkara rod

3) Main techniques for tenkara

Here are the 6 main techniques I have learned from tenkara anglers in Japan to help you entice fish.

4) How to open, close and care for your tenkara rod</h3>

5) Use only one fly pattern

Ever wonder how simple fly-fishing really can be? Tenkara fishermen in Japan don’t even change flies! Seriously. This is the hardest concept for most fly anglers to embrace, but by far the most liberating. Over the last several years we have followed this philosophy, and have not lacked for fish. Learn more about how to use only one fly and simplify all the way!

6) How to Tie a Tenkara Fly

OTHER SOURCES

Tenkara USA forum
Tenkara USA Facebook page
Tenkara-fisher.com
Discover Tenkara
Tenkara Talk
Podcast on tenkara with Tom Rosenbauer, Orvis

And, of course, we invite you to continue perusing our blog. We have some great posts and videos accumulated over the years, such as this one combining canyoneering and tenkara fishing, or this “Tenkara Diary” video of spending time with one of the tenkara masters in Japan, or this story about the last commercial tenkara angler in Japan.

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A small tip for tenkara casting

On March 15, 2014 • Comments (5)
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Here is a small tip that may help you in casting with your tenkara rod. It surprisingly makes a big difference in the cast. Having a hand fully gripping the rod makes the cast very “stiff”, all feels stiff this way. When you relax your grip and support the tenkara rod grip toward the edge of your palm all seems to work way better. Thanks John Geer for observing and pointing this out.

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7 Tenkara Videos you Must Watch

On December 3, 2013 • Comments (4)
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We have put out a lot of videos since our inception in 2009. 88 to be exact. Here are 5 videos we think you must watch to learn tenkara, tenkara fly-tying, or just for your entertainment as the cold weather sets in:

1) How to cast with tenkara:

2) Tenkara Techniques:

3) Tenkara Pronunciation Guide:

4) Tenkara Knots:

4B) You may also want to watch this video on my “one knot”, used for tippet to level line and fly to tippet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eemGKr-GYrE

5) How to tie a tenkara fly:

6) Landing a larger fish on tenkara and long line:

7) Tenkara and Canyoneering

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Tenkara Techniques – 6 basic techniques for tenkara

On November 21, 2013 • Comments (11)
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In this video Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, shares six basic presentation techniques for tenkara. These techniques were taught to Daniel directly from the main tenkara anglers in Japan, namely: Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, Sakakibara Masami, Katsutoshi Amano and Yuzo Sebata. After learning and understanding the Japanese tenkara techniques, Daniel has synthesized the knowledge and developed them into a system of tenkara techniques listed below, which he uses when teaching clinics around the world.
1) Dead-drift: allow the fly to naturally drift with the current
2) Pausing: move the rod tip upstream from the fly to pause the fly in place for a couple of seconds in spots where fish are likely to be, such as in front of rocks.
3) Pause-and-Drift: Put the rod tip upstream from the tenkara fly to pause it for a second or two, then let it drift, pause it again, let it drift.
4) Pulsing: with a rhythmic motion move your fly up and down, making the tenkara fly pulse with life. The tenkara fly will open its hackle when you pull it, but close a bit when you relax it.
5) Pulling: this is a bit like using your fly as a streamer, where you will impart a lot of action. Part of the tenkara line must be in the water to serve as an anchor as you pull the tenkara fly across or upstream about 1 1/2ft at a time. It is particularly useful in faster or higher water conditions.
6) Plunging: This is a technique that may be combined with any of the previous 5 techniques and is used to help sink your fly without using any weight, using currents instead. Cast upstream from a place where the water drops, plunges or gets channeled between rock, as the fly hits the part where the water is more turbulent, let some of the line into the turbulence to take it down. If you’re doing it correctly and hitting a good spot, your line will seem to stop for a couple of seconds, then it may move in circles a bit, and then it will move downstream, typically fairly deep. The best way to learn this technique in particular is to go out and try fishing without weight and observe what currents do to your fly.

These techniques are the foundation of tenkara. The best way to learn them and improve on them is to go out and give them a try. There is no right or wrong in terms of how much you should move your fly, how long you should pause the tenkara fly, etc. However, in the video I do share a couple of tips that will prove useful, especially: when pulsing the fly avoid having a lot of erratic movement and focus on an easy rhythm that will allow fish to take the fly. When dead-drifting across or a bit downstream, try starting with your arm close to your body then extend it out and downstream to create a better drift.

Tenkara is simple fly fishing; these techniques for tenkara are most effective used a tenkara rod, but may also be tried with rod and reel. The tenkara techniques above, presented as they are here are a system of techniques copyrighted by Daniel Galhardo and Tenkara USA.

 
If you missed the first video in the series of tenkara foundations, here is the video on how to cast with tenkara:

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Stay hydrated (and healthy) without carrying much

On November 14, 2013 • Comments (23)
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Water Filtration and tenkara fishing

A few years ago I went fishing with a friend. After a few hours my water bottle was empty. Yet, in a twist of irony 350 cubic feet of water passed by me every second. He smiled, pulled out his bottle and gave me a sip of his precious water. I noticed the bottle was full, and it also had something inside. “It’s a water filter. Never run out of water!”, he said. GENIUS!

For someone who spent so much time in the water, it baffled me that I hadn’t come to that solution sooner by myself. For years I’d either run out of water and tough it out for a bit ; or I’d simply drink water directly from the stream I was fishing. If I was fishing high elevation water I never thought twice before taking a sip from the stream. Not the smartest idea in the world, I know. I know it because after years of drinking from streams, yet never having any symptoms, I finally asked my doctor to get tested for Giardia. I told him I often drank directly from streams which could have giardia and never used hand sanitizers. He gave me a dirty look but prescribed the tests. Sure enough, I had giardia. Never a symptom, I was just a carrier.

To a minimalist who doesn’t like carrying a backpack, but who is usually out long enough to require more than a “mere” 8 cups of water,  the small water filter was like discovering fire for the first time. Immediately after fishing I went and bought myself a water bottle with a nifty filter built in. More often than not I am also surrounded by water, so it isn’t a matter of supply. It is a matter of clean supply.

I wasn’t crazy about the bottle solution. It was bulky and difficult to carry. Luckily the filter didn’t last me very long, so I did some more research and came across the minimalist’s water filtration dream. Straw-type water filters that I could put in my pocket when not hiking far, or couple to a water bottle if I was going to be away from the water for any period of time. The straw filters allow me to drink directly from the stream whenever I needed, and are very compact.

So, in case you’re looking for a solution not to run out of water again, carry a small water filter with you.

My preferred filter at the moment is the Aquamira Frontier Pro. They run only about $20, are only as thick as the handle of your tenkara rod, but 7 inches long. If  will be hiking for any period of time I couple it with a flat bladder. My preferred one at the moment is the Platypus Softbottle, 0.5L for most of the time, 1L for slightly longer hikes. Often I just leave the bladder folded in case I need it, but drink directly from the stream otherwise.

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Wade up or not?

On November 9, 2013 • Comments (13)
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We like to say that all you need to fly fish is a rod, line and fly. And, to a large extent that is very true. That really is all you need.
But what about the other stuff that will make things more comfortable, more accessible, or more effective? Like waders, for example?
Wading into a stream for tenkara
Should you wear waders?

We can tell you that you do not need to wear waders to fish. In fact, leaving the waders behind and going in with whatever one is wearing, or trying to stay out of the water a bit more, can be great way to reduce the load. Like the reduction in gear brought about by tenkara, leaving the waders behind can feel liberating. However,  waders can open up water that is difficult to fish without waders. On a long day out they can provide a lot of comfort, and depending on the weather and terrain they may be a necessary thing to avoid coming close to hypothermia.
If you’re just getting into the world of fly-fishing and contemplating whether you should invest the money for a pair of waders (as low as $50 for cheap hip waders, or $600 for a good pair of waders and wading boots), here are a few considerations I usually keep in mind.

Tenkara in Italy with no waders

Intent
The first thing that comes to my mind when deciding whether to wear waders or not is my intent for the day. Am I going mushroom hunting or backpacking and fishing on the side if I find a good pocket? Or, is fishing the primary reason I’m going out? If my primary intent is to fish, I’ll wear waders. Even if I have a side of me that really likes to rough it, I also like to be comfortable when I can. If I’ll be spending a lot of time in the water, and I want to focus on fishing waders will make me comfortable and will open up a lot of new water. Plus, I admit I’m not crazy about getting my undies wet if I have to cross a deep pool, even if it is hot out there.

But, if  the focus is on other activities and tenkara is the secondary goal, then I often leave the waders behind. Nothing says “simple fly-fishing” and “I’m just that cool”, like posing with a pair of torn-up jeans and sneakers.

 

Seasons and Weather
Winter is fast approaching. Those of you who are going fishing right now are noticing the water and air temperatures dropping. If you plan on fishing during the winter, then waders are a must. I have fished in the winter time wearing my skiing clothes when my primary intent was backcountry skiing. But, when you spend enough time near the water, you’re bound to get wet. And, getting wet when it is freezing out there not only feels “uncomfortable”, but can be outright dangerous with hypothermia a real possibility. So, wear waders and warm socks, and another pair of warm socks, and warm underwear…
Tenkara waders
If it is summer and it is warm out, not wearing waders is a good way to go. If the weather is hot and you are not going to be in the water for most of the time, then no matter how breathable your waders are they will feel very hot. In that case, think about intent and terrain. You can go either way in the summer. Some opt to wear wading boots with some neoprene socks and “wet-wade” when the main intent is fishing. This past summer I worn some fast-drying shoes fairly often when going hiking and fishing on the side. Your choice.
Wet wading with tenkara
And, of course, if it is really really hot out, swimming-wear may be the way to go (bonus: without a reel you can fish at the same time you swim!).
Swimming with tenkara.

Terrain
Terrain also comes into play on making the decision. In most streams you can fish from the shore, or fish well by hopping rocks. In lakes you can certainly fish from the shore.

Tenkara in California on rocky terrain

But, some streams seem to call for waders. In particular, I like to wear waders in three types of places:

Streams that have a lot of trees and brush on the shores but a relatively open canopy in the middle. In these waters, which I admit may be a lot of waters, wearing waders allows you to fish in the middle of the stream and casting mostly upstream. By being in the water you can more easily avoid getting caught on trees behind you.

John Geer wading a stream in Virginia with tenkaraLarger rivers that have fewer features (e.g. boulders). Wearing waders will allow you get a little closer to the parts of the river you think the fish will be. Of course, you can fish from the shore very effectively in many parts of these rivers. But, once in a while you’ll come across a bend on the river where the riverbed is very shallow close to you, but there is a great looking whirlpool or something on the other side. Wading closer may mean getting your pants and underwear wet, waders will keep that from happening.

Tenkara on the Colorado River
Canyons. If I’m fishing a relatively steep canyon I may end up being in the water a lot. And, sometimes I’ll be forced to cross the stream many times as large obstacles keep me from staying the course. So, waders will be a good thing to wear.

Though, of course, if the canyons are steep enough I may just opt for a full wetsuit.

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How to Cast with Tenkara

On November 6, 2013 • Comments (12)
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This new video will show you the foundations of how to cast with tenkara. This tenkara casting video is long overdue but I hope it will help you as you work on perfecting your tenkara casting.

This is the first of a new series of videos on tenkara techniques I’m currently working on. There have been many suggestions on things folks would like to learn (such as how to fish in tighter streams). We’ll be working on those. If there are things you’d like to learn, please let me know here. – Daniel

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Pulsing Tenkara Flies

On October 31, 2013 • Comments (14)
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by John Geer

Pulsing flies has become one of my favorite techniques to use with a tenkara rod, but the idea of imparting motion to flies was very strange to me after having the importance of a dead drift pounded into me for so long. Luckily, I was able to watch Daniel and Dr. Ishigaki catch many fish using this technique and made it a point to add it to my own bag of tricks. Here are some points I’ve learned that I hope will help you:

Distance – This concerns the distance of your hands and rod tip from your body. Try not to over reach or you’ll have no cushion when a fish takes the fly which can cause break offs. This is true anytime you’re fishing tenkara, but becomes more important with the aggressive takes that pulsing sometimes brings on. Don’t work the fly too close to you or you’ll find it hard to set the hook and control the fly. Find the sweet spot for the line and rod you’re fishing.

Rhythm – Trout almost always feed in a rhythm, just watch them rise sometime. Flies pulsed in a rhythmic fashion may not entice more strikes, but will lead to more solid hook ups. Slow usually works best for me, but on any given day the rhythm can change.

Angle – I usually like to cast down and slightly across when I pulse flies. Some very good anglers like to work more downstream. Casting flies upstream and pulsing them back to you can make hook sets difficult. Find your own sweet spot on angle, but remember that sometimes you’ll just have to work with what the situation offers.

Grip – A lot of the time, you’ll want to lay a small amount of your casting line on the water during the rest between pulses. You may not need to do this if you’re fishing a large and/or heavy fly, but it will help you keep from over working the standard size sakasa flies many of us fish. You’ll learn to adjust the grip you use with the rhythm and angle you’re fishing, along with the current speed.

Taking the first letter of all of these spells out DRAG, which helped me remember this while doing the video. I hope it helps you solve some problems on your next fishing trip, and I hope that trip comes soon.

[Daniel’s notes: the concept of pulsing or manipulating tenkara flies is very simple, yet the tips above will help you improve hook-up rates. The main “mistakes” I see when teaching folks how to pulse their tenkara flies are that they just erratically move their tenkara rod with no rhythm, and as a result miss a lot of fish. Also, fishing too close or too far from their bodies, which translates into lack of control. John did a terrific job at summarizing them in the video and points above].

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My new “One Knot”: Double-loop slip knot Tippet to fly = tippet to level line

On April 8, 2013 • Comments (29)
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After 2 decades of using an improved clinch to tie my fly to tippet, I decided to give a new knot a real try. This knot was taught to me by Dr. Ishigaki a couple of years ago, but being so used to tying the improved clinch it was difficult to change. Then, while doing some instructional filming for an upcoming DVD and trying to find ways to simplify tenkara instructions , I was inspired to use this knot. It seems to be a slight variation of the Scaffold Knot, with two loops rather than 3, I will call it a “double-loop slip knot”. It is the exact same knot as tippet to level line, and very similar to the level line to rod tip knot. It is very quick to tie, and as I have found out it is a super strong knot. I have not yet lost a single fly to poor knots (that includes fishing with one fly and not replacing tippet at all for 2 1/2 days of fishing on a backpacking trip where I caught over 40 fish on it, and a subsequent trip with multiple 18-22″ fish).

If you’re looking into a new knot, or are new to fly-fishing and want a simpler set of knots, give this one a try. It has become my “one tenkara knot”.

 

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