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Taking the Tenkara plunge

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

Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby Rebecca Allen » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:41 pm

Yesterday I happened upon a thread on the Classic Flyrod Forum about Tenkara flyfishing. Intrigued I spent a good portion of the night "researching" the style and became smitten. I doubt it will replace my western rods - and most definitely not the bamboo, but it looks like a great change up for cold conditions, tight hiking and small, gin-clear creeks. I ordered the 12' Iwana today - really really looking forward to getting it on the water. Wow - I haven't been this excited about a new piece of gear since I ordered my first - and only - bamboo rod.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby gentleshepherd » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:53 pm

Welcome Aboard! I think you will find a lot of info available for you to utilize. If you have questions don't be afraid to ask. Someone will surely answer them for you.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby fishmagic » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:13 pm

I too took the plunge today. Just ordered the Iwana 11'. Looking forward to hitting some brookie streams here in the Mid-Atlantic region.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:44 pm

Rebecca Allen wrote: I doubt it will replace my western rods - and most definitely not the bamboo


Careful. I fished bamboo for 40 years (and only bamboo for half of that) until I picked up a tenkara rod. Haven't fished the bamboo since.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby pszy22 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:56 pm

Welcome to the club.

As Chris said, it is easy to get hooked. I've been fly fishing for 46 years, and I've gotten very enthusiastic about this style of fishing.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby Rebecca Allen » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:29 pm

It's funny I have been fishing small streams with a 9' 3wt for awhile now and find it far preferable to the short "small stream" rods others often recommend. I found I could very efficiently cover water just by pinching down the line at a certain distance and highsticking it through a run. Often I even found myself wishing for a longer rod - and now presto - here it is. I suspect fishing the Tenkara method will feel much like what I currently do just with a lot less weight and an even more efficient and effective rod length.

The other thing I think it will be nice for is the occasional bouts of fisherman's elbow I get. This method allows me to lift a line easily off the water - whereas the traditional methods leave you to pull heavy line off of strong current which can be quite painful.

The other thought I had was about the whole fish fighting ability thing. I steelhead fish throughout the fall, winter and spring and quite honestly after the first few seasons of getting used to fighting those frieght trains, I have found it is uneccessary 90% of the time to let them run. In fact in the small streams I often fish, you can't let them run - they'll break you off in a hurry on wood. So, I just clamp down on the line once they have taken out the slack and relax my lower arm and let the rod do all the work. Granted I wouldn't want to try to land a steelhead on a Tenkara rod, but the principle is the same I think.

Anyhow, I may have to dispense with steelhead fishing for a weekend after the rod arrives. There's a certain stream that I would love to introduce the rod to before the snow melts.
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:11 pm

Rebecca Allen wrote: I wouldn't want to try to land a steelhead on a Tenkara rod


Not recommended.

(But eventually someone's going to. After all, Simon Hayes landed an atlantic salmon on his Iwana, and Daryl Martens landed a bonefish on his Ayu.)
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby jbenenson » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:39 pm

Even though Tenkara fishing is fun on small, gin-clear creeks, it's also outstanding on any trout river that you can wade safely. If you can get within 15 feet of a fish you can catch it on a Tenkara rod. There is a picture of me holding an 18" brown trout that I caught ten days ago on the San Juan tailwater river in this section of the forum. It was great fun catching such a nice wild fish on a big river on my Tenkara rod. Once you start this kind of fishing you will find that there are fewer limitations to it than you think. ;)
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby pszy22 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:11 pm

Rebecca,

I think you'll find that you'll make the transition to Tenkara from Western Fly Fishing quickly and without issue.

Don't know if you always fish smaller streams, but I've found that Tenkara works great in large Michigan Rivers as well. The Muskegon is my home river, I've had great success and fun on it.

I may have caught a smaller drop back steelhead last spring. It's sometimes hard to tell the migraters from the resident trout. It's amazing what an effective fish fighting tool a Tenkara rod is. However it would be tough to corral a prime silver bullet.

have fun,
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Re: Taking the Tenkara plunge

Postby Rebecca Allen » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:41 pm

I read the Michigan thread earlier and if I lived closer to the Muskegon I would have picked up the Ayu rod instead of the Iwana. I'll bet that length is just perfect. I have long thought the Muskegon fishes like several small streams unlike the lower Manistee which is just plain intimidating. I am planning on introducing the rod to the upper Rogue when it arrives - safely away from steelheaders and steelhead. The Rogue isn't a tiny stream and I have broken the 20 inch mark on it, but typically I catch fish in the 8 to 12 inch range - which ought to be a hoot on this rod. I'll make sure to report my first experiences with her.
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