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Tenkara and Canoes?

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby CreationBear » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:33 am

As a new "Tenkara evangelist" I've been busy spreading the word down here in Tennessee :) , but I'm not quite sure if I can recommend a Tenkara rod to my cousin who floats the upper Susquehanna for smallies. I'm sure it would be a great approach if you could tie up and wade a little, but I'm thinking it might be too much of a rodeo to try to handle a nice fish from a canoe.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:05 am

Although I usually use a spinning rod when canoeing (limited to ponds for bass) I have use both a fly rod and tenkara rods. Relative to a spinning rod, I find using a tenkara rod in the canoe to be more difficult*. However, I found it to be much better than a fly rod, because the fly line as I stripped it in would constantly get caught on everything - the paddle, my lunch, my flybox, etc, etc. If your cousin uses a fly rod now, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend tenkara. The rodeo gets even more exciting when you have a nice fish on and you have to maneuver to miss a rock...RIGHT NOW....and your fly line's wrapped around your paddle!

*The main reason it is more difficult for me has more to do with my specific situation than with a tenkara rod in a canoe per se. I always go with a friend (it's his canoe), he always sits in the stern, we always go around the pond counterclockwise, so my backcast is always right over his head and I have to time my cast so he and I don't cast at the same time, and what's worst, he likes to make long casts (he doesn't fly fish), so where I really want to fish is just too far to reach with a tenkara rod. Landing the fish has not been a problem.
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby CreationBear » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:16 pm

C.M.-- Thanks for the insights...if nothing else, a Tenkara rod would be a really compact package for his canoe camping trips. Maybe my Yamame will find a new home while I obsess on the differences between the Ayu and 12-foot Iwana. :lol:
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby craigprice » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:34 pm

As many would know, the biggest danger to rod preservation when fishing from canoes is at landing, either when you bring something in the boat that falls on a rod or you forget what you are doing with the hand holding the rod in the excitement, and many from just plain high sticking, which is disastrous for western fly rods, while landing in the water beside the boat to release and the fish sees the net and makes it final lunge.

The tenkara are much softer and seem to be far more forgiving - I've seen the videos of daniel's "sensai" with his rod well back for a catch, and my personal experience with the iwana is in a similiar vein. There's no way you can do this sort of stuff with western fly rod without being left with a couple more sections to it.

Now, as experienced canoeist-fisherman know, you get to get real close and personal fishing from a canoe/kayak, which is also aligned with one of tenkara's main themes. Finally, tenkara is about softly softly, very difficult with a western setup to ensure that there is zero line slap on the water. And, the tenkara does stack away neatly into the gunnels or beside a seat in my kayak (I can shove it down the spaycover into the boat when the rapid approaches). All this leads me to think Tenkara might actually be a better suited tool for fishing from canoes-kayaks than conventional fly rods, despite the length. (this is completely the opposite to current "wisdom" on conventional fishing sites, which are currently recommending shorter rods the better for float tubing and boating). I'm thinking maybe tenkara is what i need to fool those hard to get bream under the pier also, on the odd occasion when I salt the flyrods (I guess rod maintenance might be higher in the salt though).

Anyone have some real life experiences to share to guide me and others? Chris, since you seem to have done just about everything with the tenkara, maybe some sage words from yourself on how the tenkara manage, and how it fishes by comparison with western, from canoes-kayaks, please? Any hints, suggestions, etc appreciated also.

craig
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby CreationBear » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:09 pm

Craig--

Thanks for the reply--to be honest, though I grew up floating rivers back in Arkansas, I've not fly fished from a boat of any sort, so it's great to get firsthand information. In my imagination at least, as long as Class IV water isn't on the agenda, I could think of worse ways of spending an afternoon than to paddle along and use a nice Tenkara outfit to put a deerhair popper into every nook and cranny along the bank... :)
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:20 pm

Craig,

I would bet that by now there are others who have more experience fishing with a tenkara rod in a canoe than I do. I have never fished from a kayak or float tube with any rod. Also, there's not that much more I can say, really. Personally, I think a tenkara rod is a better choice in a canoe primarily because with a regular fly rod my line got caught on everything it could possibly get caught on. I would think a tenkara rod would be much better in a kayak because you could stow it easily when you need to. If you are fishing solo, so you can go where you want (reach the spots you want to fish) I would certainly choose a tenkara rod, with one major "except for": if the bass were only hitting big deer hair bugs, or they were deep enough that I needed a heavy clouser or cone head bugger to get to them, I'd use my 8 wt fly rod instead. I just don't see a tenkara rod as the right choice for heavy flies - at least not for me. A fairly sparse bucktail casts reasonably well, though. They say Clouser tied the flies for his own use so sparse that no one would buy them. Do the same without the lead eyes and you have a tenkara bucktail.
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby craigprice » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:07 pm

thanks guys. I concur totally.

I played around on the river last night in my kayak, not really serious, more for gear testing. Tenkara IS the way the go. As Chris says, no mucking about with line when you catch a fish, and it packs down real nice and quick. Great when the wind is giving you a bit of stick, and you are trying to cope with drogue, spin, and fishing. This is going to open up a whole new range of possibilities if it catches on.

I still have trouble using the large unweighted dries on tenkara, but that's due more to my own limitations than the rod. You see, I'm tournament trained in western fly fishing, trained to flick 60ft of fly line in one pickup and snap, so have a serious disadvantage to overcome with tenkara with my power application and reactions. I'm slowly training my synapses to not snap so hard so fast, but it's hard after so long. (I've read every word on this on the forums, and it helps. Constant tension casting is the best way I've found to soften myself down for tenkara - as well as "paint the rod tip" etc). I find a long level line is easiest (longer the better for me with my disadvantages).

You could even use the weighted clousers, but you'd have to be extraordinarily careful with the tenkara, as one miscast would cap your rod, not just nick the tip. I was lobbing double rigged tongariro bombs (heavy tungsten nymphs) with both my 1 wt zed and an iwana last Tuesday on the river for really deep down and across. Quickly decided that while I could do it, I didn't like it and it's akin to hurling chunks of metal like spinners. I'll stick with light dries and nymphs that I can flip in without lobbing a great weight each time - imho "not the tenkara way" and not why I flyfish.

craig
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Re: Tenkara and Canoes?

Postby LarryTullis » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:44 am

Tenkara out of a pontoon boat is deadly because of the stealthy approach, the fin control (leaving hands to fish), the portability and stability that inspires confidence. Canoes are great for transportation from A-B but are not the greatest to fish from, pontoon boats, like www.northforkoutdoors.com make, are great fishing machines. Since Tenkara only takes one hand, you can float a river, fish Tenkara and eat a sandwich all at the same time! But you'll likely have to put the sandwich down to land fish every bite or two.
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