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Fishin Michigan

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

Fishin Michigan

Postby pszy22 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:36 pm

I've been interested in giving Tenkara techniques a try for a while now. I've primarily held off due to the fact that the fishing has just been too good. I know it's a tough problem to have, but the past month has been pretty much prime time in Michigan for big fish on big dries, and quite honestly, I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle the larger fish. I decided to spend the past week giving it a go.

I appreciate the collective knowledge and wisdom I've learned here, but my experience was slightly off the general curve. To begin with, my home river is the Muskegon, it is a large river, usually about 200' across in most sections -

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I did not have a problem fishing and covering water. Of course Tenkara techniques provide superb control and presentation, and was very effective.

One thing I did not expect is how different the casting technique and feel is using Tenkara. I don't know I can accurately describe the feel involved with non-Tenkara fly casting, but certainly there is the input of energy to accelerate and transfer energy into the cast. I didn't feel that at all using Tenkara, my first impression was more akin to using the rod to paint the line, everything was soft and slow. No speed involved. It did take me several minutes to get used to the feel and tempo most every time I fished. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

My wife on the other hand is a much less experience fly fisher than I, she was comfortable with the Tenkara feel from the first cast. She and I both practice Iaido, she said she thought the movements were very sword like, and as I thought about it, I agreed. The Japanese sword is a cutting machine, the primary goal is to guide and direct it, the sword does the cutting. I think it's the same with Tenkara, guide the rod, the cast will take care of itself.

The one thing that surprised me the most is how effective Tenkara was as a fish fighting tool. From other readings, I expected it to be a handicap, quite the contrary, I thought just the opposite. I was amazed at how fast and easily I was able to bring fish to hand. The biggest fish I caught was a 16" football of a rainbow. This was in fast current, I had no trouble totally controlling the fish. Granted I'm not ready to tackle chinook salmon on Tenkara (yet), but I had remarkable control over every fish I caught the past week. I can't always say that with fly rod and reel. The length and flexibility of the Tenkara rod really lends itself to apply fish fighting techniques and strategies. I was very impressed.

Bottomline, had a great week of Tenkara up here in the great white north. If any of you are ever in the area, let me know, I'd be happy to take you out fishing.

Again, thanks to everyone here for introducing me to the technique, as well as all the info you have so freely shared.
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby flamjamming » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:49 pm

Hello pszy22,

I am also from Michigan (near Grand Rapids) and am thinking about buying my first Tenkara rod. I originally thought of using this on small streams in the state, but have to tip my hat to you for trying it on the big waters of the Muskegon. Which rod did you buy and have you tried this same rod on any small waters in the state? I was looking at the Yamame. If by chance that is the rod you purchased, how do you think it would handle small streams. I am thinking of rivers that still can harbor some larger fish so I figured a little more backbone might be a good thing.
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby pszy22 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:15 am

Flamjamming,

PM sent.
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby Berner9 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:54 pm

Ive learned about tenkara from backpackinglight.com and finally made a purchase of a Hane rod. I have a lot of fishing background but no fly fishing. Anyways I got together with my dad and his buddy who has about 5000ft of property on the Manistee below m72. Hes saying there is no way this type of rod will work on this size of river.

Im just confused on weather or not I should start learning fly fishing or just stick to the tenkara that I had planned.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Andy
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby wrknapp » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:39 pm

Berner9

I think Tenkara can work for you but the short length of your Hane will be a limiting factor on bigger water. On bigger water the 3' extra of an Ayu will be significant. I get an easy 10 foot further reach with my Ayu over my Hane if I want and that can be a big advantage. If you are worried about the strength than I would add a 12' Yamame which is probably closer to the Hane in action. That said, I wouldn't discourage you from learning to fly fish with rod and reel, but I would buy a low end outfit from Cabelas or BassPro if I were you. I say that because Tenkara fishing is addictive. It is a whole lot easier and more fun in my opinion. Since you sound new to the sport, I would advise you to invest some time on YouTube and at your library and see what appeals to you. There is enough info on this site to learn about Tenkara fishing and I urge you to do so. For the cost of a moderate fly rod setup from your average fly shop (rod, reel and extra spool, lines, and leaders) you could get an Ayu and Yamame and maybe another.

Randy
"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: Fishin Michigan

Postby CM_Stewart » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:32 pm

Andy,

You already have the Hane, you don't have a fly rod. Instead of buying a whole new outfit, what I would suggest is find some smaller streams and fish with the Hane for a while. I'm sure it will take you less time getting a feel for it than it would getting a feel for a fly rod and reel.

Read through the "About Tenkara" info on this site, if you haven't already, and watch the videos. If you have any questions, ask on the forum. A number of people here were beginners themselves not very long ago. It doesn't take long to learn, and you should be catching fish before long (once the rivers thaw, that is :D ).

I suspect most people here fish with a fly rod sometimes and with a tenkara rod sometimes. There are others, like myself, who so fell in love with tenkara that their fly rods gather dust in the corner. Like Randy said, it is addictive! I seek out the smaller streams for which my tenkara rods are a good choice.

There are rivers that are big enough that a fly rod probably would be better than a tenkara rod, and the Manistee may be one of them. I don't know anything about it. I would bet, though, that there are streams you can get to that are small enough that the Hane is perfectly suited. For now at least, I wouldn't even worry about the longer tenkara rods like the Yamame or Ayu. You've got the Hane. Give it a chance. I think you'll find that it is a very nice rod for small streams. And since you got it from BackpackingLight, I would guess your initial idea was either to fish while backpacking, or perhaps to fish streams where you would have to hike in. For either of those situations, you made a good choice. I wouldn't let your father or his buddy discourage you. There's a lot more water in Michigan than just the Manistee. And who knows, after you start catching a bunch of fish with it, and see how much fun it is, your dad may want to borrow it some day.
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby LMarshall » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Ditto what Chris said.

You've got brook trout in Michigan. Know any small streams in relatively low populated areas? It might be worth giving them a shot. If not look around online, your fish and game website can be a good starting place to find a few streams to try out. You'll be able to see which streams in your area get stocked, and if Michigan manages any streams for wild trout they'll probably list them somewhere, at least NH does. Failing that, get out the map.

Google Maps and Google Earth are a great resource, if your area is covered by high resolution satellite images. With Google Earth you can also download plug-in map layers for all kinds of stuff. Here's one for USGS topo maps: http://www.usgsquads.com/mapfinder.html These are really useful, and if you can find which quadrangles in the 7.5 minute series cover your area you can download better quality versions from a number of sites. Satellite imagery and good topographic maps are great tools for finding small streams to fish. Look for streams with predominantly forested watersheds, not too much agriculture, and the less impermeable surfaces (roads, parking lots, buildings), the better.

And if you want to just try out the rod, head over to the closest bluegill pond once the ice melts and have some fun. They love wooly buggers and small poppers.
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby Berner9 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:02 am

Wow. Thanks for all the fast responses. I really wanna do the Tenkara thing. I almost bought a western fly fishing set up about a year ago. I bought a couple of books and read everything I could on the internet. Its overwhelming and that is why I like Tenkara and the fact I can use it backpacking.

So If I figure I use my Hane on smaller streams or rivers if backpacking, So if I'm just fishing should I get the Ayu for the extra distance or the Yamame for the 7:3 action and a chance to catch some of those bigger fish? or isn't there that much of a difference? From reading here I know that they are all not made for bigger fish and that they all will be great and will get the job done. The more I think about it, I think I should get the 13ft Ayu.

Thanks guys

Andy
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby CM_Stewart » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:04 am

Andy,

I think that eventually you may want to get an Ayu - which by the way would be an excellent choice to complement your Hane - but I wouldn't buy it just yet. Fish with the Hane for a while. Decide if you really like it. (I'm almost certain that you will, but still.)

Also, after (and only after) you've fished with it for a while, you'll be better able to decide what you'd want in a second rod. Maybe you'd really like the extra length of the Ayu, or maybe you like the lighter weight of the Hane but would like the extra sensitivity of the 12 foot Iwana. The Hane, like the Yamame, is a 7:3 so I wouldn't suggest the Yamame as a second rod. I don't know what you might want, but until you actually fish with a tenkara rod for a while you probably don't either. Besides, Daniel hinted a day or so ago that there might be a new rod in the works. Who knows, it may be a better match with what you already have than the Ayu. Why not fish with the one you have for a while?
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Re: Fishin Michigan

Postby wrknapp » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:00 pm

As usual, Chris's advice is right on. Take your time. Fish as much as you can and devour all there is on this great site.

Randy
"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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