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First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

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

First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby statikpunk » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:03 pm

I took my tenkara gear out for the first time, this weekend to one of my favorite spots.
unfortunately i got skunked on the fish :? (not sure if they are further up stream or down stream or what, this is much earlier in the year than i usually fish this stretch )
but I learned a lot about Tenkara, and raised a few questions that maybe others could answer.
my first few cast were a little unwieldy, with several tangles, but after about 20 mins of practice i was getting the hang of it.
one of my problems was when i was casting i was having a hard time, my line was piling up and i found myself trying really hard to drive my line forward. (a stark contrast to the light gentle touch Daniel has in his videos) the line is so light that i cant "feel" it when casting maybe my timing is off.
anyway after having those initial problems, I started spinning my line in a half circle above my head which worked great! its basically the same technique that Daniel uses in his casting video to get under logs and things but I was doing it more above my head, I remember Dr. I doing it in the "on river demo" on the tenkara DVD. between that and roll cats it got me through the day but maybe someone has some tips on the timing of casting a Tenkara line.
one thing I have to say about my first impressions of tenkara fishing is that, even though your line is shorter you can cover much more water than with traditional equipment and in record time too! i could do 5 really good dead drifts in the same time it would have taken me to get off a regular one.
so, even though I dont have any fish to show for it i loved my first experience with Tenkara
here are some pics of my trip, as well as a picture of my hand tied Dr.I flies in my fly box.
the pictures are a little grainy they are from my cell phone sorry. i love when people post pics so I figured I would lead by example :D

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RODS: Ito&
Iwana I/II 12ft & 9ft
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby blatt1970 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:41 am

:D
Very nice report, i loved those pictures very different from my place!
Here in Brazil we use to say tha a report without pictures is nothing but a gossip! :mrgreen:
With or without fish, Keep them coming!
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby wrknapp » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:46 am

The casting method you ended up with works great. If you try the straight cast try putting your index finger on the handle and don't try to accelerate the cast to the back like you do with a regular heavier fly line. It is more like a slow half cast for me. Others have described it better so do a search and watch the videos again and again.

Beautiful stream. It is cold still so the fish should be in the deeper pools right now and you may have to cast a weighted subsurface beadhead nymph or small bugger.

Randy
Last edited by wrknapp on Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby LMarshall » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:56 am

Statikpunk, which line were you using? Just wondering since the furled line has a pretty different feel from the 10 lb level line (I haven't yet tried the 15lb line). After you've fished awhile with your tenkara gear your sense of what qualifies as a "light" or "heavy" line is going to be completely different :D

It takes a little while to really develop a feel for how the rod loads as you cast, but over time you'll find that it does give you quite a bit of feedback. The most important part of the tenkara cast as with western casting is the stop, even though your hand is tracing a smaller arc (due to the length of the rod) you still want to stop the rod abruptly on the forward and back casts to transfer the energy of the cast to the line. That doesn't mean you need to put a lot of force at all into accelerating the rod and line before the stop, but the stop itself should feel "forceful."

Here's a Japanese site with some info on casting. Piecing through google translate is a bit of a chore but there are some good tips here: http://translate.google.com/translate?h ... tenkara%2F

I prefer to cast following the method shown in the first diagram. This allows you to fish with only the fly, tippet, and maybe a little bit of line in the water.
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby Morgan » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:21 am

Statikpunk, good report & great pics. Looks like really pretty countryside. Good for you for getting out.

I agree with LMarshall. It seems a little counterintuitive since tenkara rods have a slow action compared to regular fly rods, but I find I need a short but fast stroke and a good abrupt stop on the back and forward casts. The lines are so light that they won't load the rod the way a 5-weight line loads a regular fly rod, so -- at least on my Ebisu, which is a little stiffer than some models -- I need to cast with some authority in order to help flex the rod.

As for the line piling up, for me the trick is to let the line unroll on the forward cast, as you would with a conventional fly rod, then lower it to the water. The trouble is, the 13-foot line unrolls in about one second. I'm used to waiting for 30 or 40 feet of fly line to unroll, then setting it down. If I wait that long with the tenkara rod, the line starts to collapse. So it's really just a very brief pause at the end of the forward cast, then lower the rod parallel to the water and let the line land fully extended. Hope that makes sense.

Also, different lines do work better with different rods. The braided line casts sweetly, like a mini fly line. On my rod, the 10-pound level line is difficult to cast, but the 15-pound line is great.

You make an excellent observation about how much more quickly yiou can cast and cover water with the tenkara rod.

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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby CM_Stewart » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:05 am

statikpunk wrote: my line was piling up and i found myself trying really hard to drive my line forward. (a stark contrast to the light gentle touch Daniel has in his videos) the line is so light that i cant "feel" it when casting maybe my timing is off.


From the pictures, it looks like your rod is an Iwana. That rod will cast any of the lines well, including the 10# level line. It is hard to diagnose casting problems without watching someone cast, but my guess is that you may have been starting out with a standard flyfishing 10 to 2 casting stroke (muscle memory from years of fly casting is hard to break). That will throw off both the timing and the plane of your cast. A 10 to 12 tenkara cast will result in a very high backcast and a downward sloping forward cast that ends with your fly just above the water's surface as the line becomes fully extended.

As LMarshall indicated, a crisp stop to the cast is absolutely critical. When you try to "drive your line forward," it is easy to end up without a crisp stop, as you extend your arm subconciously trying to almost "push" the line forward. That in itself will almost assure that your cast piles up rather than turns over.

Until you learn the feel of the rod, I would suggest watching the backcast. Make a hard stop at 12 and watch the line straighten out, then make your forward cast. Accelerate the cast right up until you make your crisp stop. It almost feels like trying to flick a water droplet off your index finger tip. The cast is fairly quick, but requires almost no force.

Interestingly, rather than dropping my rod at the end of my cast, as Morgan mentioned, and as Daniel has also illustrated in one of his videos, I will often raise the rod tip a little bit, which I find helps a light line turn over. That also ends the cast with the rod tip high and most of the line off the water - ready for an immediate strike.

Watch the crispness of Dr. Ishigaki's casting in the "Land of Little Rivers" video.
Last edited by CM_Stewart on Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby CreationBear » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:04 am

Very nice thread, gentlemen. :) On a related note, I found myself daydreaming yesterday about what a "parabolic" Tenkara rod would be like...something tells me that taper design is just in its formative stage.
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby LMarshall » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:13 pm

CM_Stewart wrote:Interestingly, rather than dropping my rod at the end of my cast, as Morgan mentioned, and as Daniel has also illustrated in one of his videos, I will often raise the rod tip a little bit, which I find helps a light line turn over. That also ends the cast with the rod tip high and most of the line off the water - ready for an immediate strike.


Thanks for the tip Chris! I'll have to try that out next time I'm fishing the 10# level line with a long tippet.

Along these lines, ever since I started using the 10 to 12 cast that Chris explained, I haven't cast with the rod finishing horizontal much to speak of. Casting on a downward plain allows you to fish a very tight line with natural drifts as you have maybe only a few inches of line in the water. This works great with light level line, the furled line will drape a bit, putting more line in the water. It's an awesome way to fish nymphs and wet flies upstream. If a fish takes the fly you'll see the line stop where it enters the water, with such a tight line setting the hook is swift.

Just watch out with your back cast! If you're casting 10-12 your back cast is going to go very high in the air. I often use a side arm cast in tight quarters, and try to hold line off the water using the length of the rod.
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby statikpunk » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:16 pm

wow lot of info there thanks for the tips everybody..to answer a few of the questions out there i was using the traditional furled line ,(i also have some 10 level line but didnt try it) with about 2 and a half feet of 6x tippet and i fished with both: one of the#12 Dr. I flies i tied and i also fished a#18 tungsten beadhead red/gold zebra nymph, since the traditional fly wasnt getting deep enough for me.
Im gonna work on my casting, I think my problem is that i am trying to use more force than i need, that being said the "little circle" cast that I was using was working so good that i think i might stick with it for a while ;)

as for the fish, i have no idea where they were, the water was fairly clear and i could see well into all but the deepest pools, and i didnt even see a fish except for a few minnows way up in the spring wells, and this stretch of river has a dam upstream and a flood gate down stream of me, so the fish cant very well get away, maybe they traveled up stream to the deeper waters at the base of the dam, i dont know weird stuff.
anyway thanks for all the tips, hopefully my next post will have a few more fish in it :D
RODS: Ito&
Iwana I/II 12ft & 9ft
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Re: First trip with Tenkara equipment (Northern nevada)

Postby Adam Trahan » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:09 pm

statikpunk wrote:I think my problem is that i am trying to use more force than i need


I bet that you are right.

Coming from fly fishing, you have to un-learn not to drive the loop, it's almost more of a slight sweep to the cast, gentle.

Practice at home if you need. Watch the videos. Try going to the park or out in the yard and placing a paper plate on the grass and casting a fly to that. Don't do the same distance all the time, vary it. The rod will tell you how to cast it, that is the best way I can think of, the 12 and 10 is a good rod position reference. Look at photographs (I know there aren't that many) of guys who have been at it for a while, their hand is almost at face level at the forward with a gentle grip...

Getting skunked; keeps you humble but with tenkara, your skunking days are limited, truly. Water that still is hard to get within striking distance, tough tenkara water. The broken water seems and behind the rocks looks good always working upstream. I can't see the top row of your little Okuma box, any bead head nymphs in there? Careful not to tick the rod with the bead on a cast.

Oh, try stepping down the last bit of tippet, 5x then 6x. A longer level tippet will typically be harder to straighten, if you taper it down, it helps. This is excentuated on light lines such as tenkara, without a lot of experience, I believe this is also working against you.

Sorry if you know all this.

I bet Chris has the exact line formula for the rod you have, that would be a great help for you.

I'm glad you are getting this sort of help, it is so cool to see people people respond positively. What a cool discipline and nice group.

Keep at it and keep writing (with pictures), thanks for sharing.
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