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Up or down?

Up or down?

Postby Richard_Barrett » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:34 am

Most of the streams I fish are narrow, with shallow water deepening to maybe 4' 5'. The banks are high so you have to fish up or down and wade. Down (walking wading) can make the water dirty, not as big a problem if you move slow.

So reading about Tenkara it seems fishing downstream is popular.

First question. If I do fish down do you make an upstream type mend with the rod and then follow it down. I imagine this is the only way.

Second. If you fish up how do you control the line without and strike.

Thanks. I hope to get out this week, so will put into practice all the kind advice.
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Re: Up or down?

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:06 am


I usually work my way upstream on a small stream. Sometimes I'll cast across and slightly down, but only after I've walked upstream to get into position. I think most, but definitely not all of us work upstream most of the time.

When I do cast downstream, there is still no mending in tenkara, unless you're using heavy lines. I make the cast and follow it down with the rod tip, unless I'm trying to hold the fly in one place in the current (we call that the pause and it works really well in certain instances). It you're fishing a small stream that muddies up easily, I imagine fishing downstream would be very difficult and I might concentrate on upstream presentations, or across stream if I have the room to do so without spooking fish or getting caught up in debris and vegetation.

If I'm fishing upstream it's the same concept, I'm moving my rod tip back to keep pace with the fly and line as it's drifting back to me. Getting a feel for moving the the rod the right speed when doing this is one of the keys to fishing effectively. I mostly fish with unweighted wet flies, but I think it's easier to learn this skill with a dry fly for most; everything is more visual and it's easier to see when you're moving the rod too fast and dragging the fly across the surface. All of the above is assuming you want to fish a natural drift and are not trying to move the fly to entice a strike.

Kind of long answers, hope this helps. It might be easier to watch good tenkara anglers fish; there are lots of good videos on Youtube that I think should help you get the basic idea of what we're doing. Also, just go fishing and pay attention to what's happening. A lot of this stuff will be much more obvious once you've gone fishing with the gear a couple of times.
John Geer at Tenkara USA
John @ Tenkara USA
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Re: Up or down?

Postby tsegelke » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:39 pm

If working down stream may cloud the water, I usually work upstream. Use the length of the rod to lift the line off the water and control the drift. It works great for me.

Either way, it is a choice of how to deal with the situation.
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