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Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby SWriverstone » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:06 am

In another thread on casting with collapsed rod segments (or not), I mentioned that almost every Tenkara video I've seen online features wide-open streams with lots of room to cast. While wide-open streams are indeed a joy to fish...there are countless excellent native brook trout streams in the Appalachian Mountains that are densely obstructed by fallen trees and branches hanging 3 feet and less over the water.

Some might say "I wouldn't fish those streams." But my response would be "Then you're missing some of the best native brook trout fishing in the East!"

As a new Tenkara angler, I'm already perplexed as to how to fish streams like this with my 12' Iwana. Just this past weekend I attempted it...but it required enormous patience to keep the rod and line out of the branches...and I ended up using a technique (really the only technique that had a chance of working) of carefully lowering my line straight down through a tiny gap in the branches and dapping the fly on a small bit of water---there was no ability to cast or move the rod at all without ending up in the branches.

In another post, I suggested that this might be a shortcoming in the TenkaraUSA rod lineup---and said I think an innovation in Tenkara would be to develop a 6-7' "mini-Tenkara" rod precisely for fishing streams like this.

So I'm just curious...does everyone here limit themselves to wide-open streams? Or if you have successfully fished densely-obstructed water, please share some of your technique!

NOTE: When I say "densely-obstructed" streams...I'm not talking about the stream banks (a stream could have high brush along the banks but still be wide-open over the water). I'm referring to streams where thick branches and logs are right over the water, obstructing access to this water.

In the meantime...though I'd love to fish these streams with a mini-Tenkara rod...I'll probably stick with my trusty 7' 3-weight Orvis rod...which is much more maneuverable amongst the branches.

Scott
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby ferrulewax » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:27 pm

I have the same problem, I routinely fish streams that can easily be stepped over, and maybe a foot deep at the deepest, I would love to Tenkara fish them buy there ishardly enough room for a 7 foot rod, much less a Tenkara rod.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby tvdavis » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:49 pm

These type of rods exist, but are not tenkara rods. I have a 240 cm keiryu rod that works great in these situations. My 4 year old granddaughter uses a 210 cm version. Despite being little rods, they have landed some pretty good sized fish. Do a search for Kiyotaki rods. Again, these are not traditional tenkara rods as they are much too short and without a cork handle, but they are fun small stream fixed-line rods.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby tsegelke » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:56 pm

I fish this type of stream several times a year. I typically use a bow an arrow cast, dapping, reach, tenkara version of the roll cast, air mending etc.. The most effective is to use a short line, so my line and tippet will be as long or shorter than my rod. Then I move the rod in a circular motion until the whole line is moving and then flick the rod tip in the direction I want to cast.

I used to do this type of fishing with a 2 weight or smaller western fly rod, but find it much easier with my 12 foot Iwana. I saw Joe Humphrey do a demo at a fly fishing expo, and was amazed at his line control. It was like a magic trick. I am still amazed at how much more control I have with my Tenkara rods. The techniques still apply to larger streams when you don't have room for a back cast, or want to wrap around bushes, rocks or other obstructions. His whole approach to fishing in tight areas is adaptable to use with a Tenkara rod.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby tsegelke » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:00 pm

By the way, I have collapsed a piece or to when all else failed.

It is not always the size of the fish, but the pride in doing things that takes true skill to be able to get the fish to rise.

That is how I had to fish for these earlier this year.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby achilles38 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:11 pm

tvdavis wrote:These type of rods exist, but are not tenkara rods. I have a 240 cm keiryu rod that works great in these situations. My 4 year old granddaughter uses a 210 cm version. Despite being little rods, they have landed some pretty good sized fish. Do a search for Kiyotaki rods. Again, these are not traditional tenkara rods as they are much too short and without a cork handle, but they are fun small stream fixed-line rods.


I'd second tvdavis' note, I have a Kiyotaki I bought for my daughter and I've used it a several times. It's 7ft I believe, no cork handle, just some grip. It's not your traditional tenkara rod, but its a blast to use and has caught rainbows up to around 12". It's fixed line fly fishing, not sure if most would consider it tenkara, but I do and it works real well in small, dense, obstructed streams. I can cast it with the rod tip about 6" off the water without any real problems and be accurate with about 5-9' or total line (level and tippet together). You basically whip it around with quick, short casts. Landing fish in such tight overhead is harder than casting, :lol:

here's the info on the rod, and a small trout caught with it in tight cover. I don't know what any of that says, but its a kiyotaki 24.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby Tenkara Elevated » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:00 am

You know I get a lot people ask me how is it I can fish streams so covered by trees that if you walked past it, you might not know the stream was even there if you did not hear it. This is just my thoughts, don't take it for gospel or anything. I personally feel the single kebari technique is the best way to fish tenkara is places like this. First lets get something out of the way you are gonna hook a few trees and bushes and perhaps if you are not careful you may even leave with fewer kebari then you showed up with. Now that you are not expecting perfection, lets talk about some fun fishing. Some might say that shorter rods work better, for what seems like obvious answers but I have fished my ayu 2 in some very tight places. First before I ever make a cast I find a casting zone and hooking zone and then a landing zone. Let's face it you can't catch a fish if you can't get the kebari to it. I try to avoid the fancy bow cast if possible but sometimes its all you have. Before casting I will find an area where I can set the hook and this varies greatly depending on leader length. Then lastly before casting I find a place where I can land the fish (hopefully without spooking the rest of the fish) that is free from too much obstruction. Then when I find all three zones, I make my cast, hook, then land my fish, and take a few pictures before releasing. Also if you are looking for a good color and size for small waters think earth tones.
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby rmcworthing » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:58 am

SWriverstone wrote:n another thread on casting with collapsed rod segments (or not), I mentioned that almost every Tenkara video I've seen online features wide-open streams with lots of room to cast. While wide-open streams are indeed a joy to fish...there are countless excellent native brook trout streams in the Appalachian Mountains that are densely obstructed by fallen trees and branches hanging 3 feet and less over the water.


I have spent a great deal of time in the Apps, especially TN and NC, and am familiar with the types of streams you describe. We have similar streams here in Utah as well. Examples include City Creek (right here in Salt Lake City) and Daniel's Creek (off 40 out of Heber up to Daniel's Pass).

I think there are two reasons why you don't see more videos of these creeks:

1) they are simply hard to catch on video. For an example, you can see one of our early videos of THE most open hole on City Creek. I am using an 11ft Iwana, and manage an abbreviated steeple cast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXFf6wRhIOM

2) the types of streams you describe in the Apps don't really fall on the radar of Japanese tenkara anglers. Even headwater tenkara is usually more open. There are other forms of fixed line fishing that can match these waters a bit better.

My advice echoes the others:

1) consider taking a look outside the tenkara box among fixed line fishing for a shorter rod you can use to employ tenkara-esque techniques.

2) consider working on more advanced casting techniques (many of which have not been mentioned here - such as the incredibly difficult "corkscrew").

3) you can use your 7ft western rod for fixed line techniques as well (just like you use a stiff western rod for may european nymphing techniques).

I will be in GSMNP in February, if you have any interest in fishing together.

Rob
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Re: Techniques for Highly-Obstructed Streams

Postby CraigP » Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:27 pm

as a suggestion =
try a short line on the long rod, rather than imediately stepping down rod length so you can backcast. use the longest rod you can and still set the hook. it's this aspect that places an absolute limit on length.
use a softer (no more than soft 6:4) rod in longer length (11-12ft), but let the rod do the cast rather than you, and it will deliver the fly on a single forward stroke without need for backcasting. e.g. cast upstream, work the lie, bring the fly beside you and anchor fly or line in water or hold in hand, cast forward and fish - not roll casting, but similar motions.
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