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Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby AMorgan » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:38 pm

Hi, New to the forum and new to Tenkara. I bought a western fly rod earlier this year to try my hand at fly fishing but have failed miserably. So recently I purchased my first Tenkara rod after watching many videos on it. Today I made my first attempt at Tenkara fishing up in the Smokies. The stream is maybe 30-40 feet across (maybe less) and my first backcast I hooked a tree branch perfectly. Lost that Kebari fly. I moved to another spot with less trees and seemed to get the hang of casting and drifting. No luck with the fish though. I move onto another spot and the first cast I snagged another tree branch. Lost another fly.

I was using a 12' rod with around 16-18 feet of level line with 4' of tippet at the start, after I snagged the first tree I cut the level line to around 12' with the same amount of tippet. Is there a general idea of how much level line to use depending on the size of the river? Anyone on here have any tips for Tenkara up in the smokies? Thanks.
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby tsegelke » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:30 pm

Sounds like you may be in some tight spots. You may want to consider using a 10' level with 3-4 feet of tippet. It will give you a lot more control.
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:24 am

I agree, if it's that tight a 10' line with tippet might be a big help. As you fish more with tenkara and get used to the long rod on brushy streams, you can work out to a longer length if you need it.

You might also try fishing with a tapered line. For many, their more precise to cast in a tight areas. I would try the level line first, since you already have it and go from there.

Remember, if this is only your first trip things are bound to get easier. Tenkara is much easier to get started in than western fly fishing but there will still be a learning curve, especially in demanding situations like very tight streams. I wouldn't be that shocked if your next trip to the stream went smoother even if you didn't alter your tackle. Good luck and have fun!
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby Nagasaurus » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:30 am

Welcome to the tenkara community AMorgan.

Fly fishing, with tenkara gear or other fly delivery methods, certainly has a learning curve and tree avoidance is something you'll start to get a sixth sense about with experience. All of us lose flies on trees regardless of how long we've been at it so I know it is frustrating but keep with it! Even after fishing with tenkara rods for three seasons now I lose a fly or two to snags on average with every outing.

First, are you using waders? With a stream 30-40 feet across you should be able to wade into positions that allow you to have more space to cast. With a shorter line per tsegelke's suggestion and perhaps using a sidearm cast to keep the line lower to the water that should keep you farther away from the trees. A low, sidearm cast will also mean that if you do snag something it should be reachable and you can go over and free your fly instead of it being 12 feet up in a tree.

Also I would recommend increasing the breaking strength of the tippet you are using. I've found that if I'm losing a lot of flies to snags I'll go up a bit on tippet size. You won't get them all but that will increase the odds of getting your fly back. Of course never use your rod to pull on the snagged line unless there is no other choice--collapse the rod down (all the way) and pull the line with your hand.

In summary try these things:

- shorter line
- stronger tippet
- try low, sidearm casts
- wade into position if you can (keep your back casts are over water)
- choke up on the rod, even above the handle a bit, can help in tighter spots
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby tntom » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:14 pm

AMorgan, I live in Knoxville and fish the Smokey's a lot give me a shout on email.

If you aint high sticking, you aint fishing hard enough.
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby rsetina » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:57 pm

When I fish tight brushy sections of rivers I will normally shorten my rod one section if needed and if the trees are too close for a back cast, I will let my line drift downstream and with the line still in the water, I will cast sidearm, low on the water if nessessary, to avoid over hanging branches. This gives me enough resistance for the rod to load some energy, and helps keep me from snaging the trees and bushes. I haven't had to shorten my leader when using this technique.

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13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby AMorgan » Tue May 06, 2014 9:53 am

Thanks for all the help. I went early this morning to give it another try and my casting seems to be getting better, I even tried a spot with overhanging trees and made it out with all the gear this time. But I still can't hook a fish, not sure what I'm doing wrong but I guess I'll figure it out one day. ;)
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby Tenkara Guides » Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm

For better hooksets, do like the others give suggested and shorten your line. We start new to Tenkara clients with a line the same length or 1-2ft shorter than the length of the rod with 4 ft of 5x tippet.

The biggest reason people can't seem to get a good hook set is that they have slack line on the water and the tip of the rod is flat and parallel to the water like a western fly rod.

Keep the rod tip at about a 45 degree vertical angle to the water and only have your fly and tippet in the water. Keep your level line off of the water.

Keep your drifts short like 3-5 ft. If you keep your fly line inline with the rod during a drift, you should have a perfect drag free drift. Watch the end of the line right above the water surface for the slightest pause during the drift and then set the hook.

See if that helps,

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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby GregM » Tue May 06, 2014 8:13 pm

AMorgan wrote:.... But I still can't hook a fish...

Do you see fish? If they are not there, you can't hook 'em.

Do you feel a "take" but miss the set?

Or are you not feeling/seeing the take?

More details will yield better guesses on our part...

+1 on what John said regarding a short line and short tippet.

It is very easy to get slack in a long rig. With a free drifting fly, fish can take and spit in under a second. Overcompensate a bit as a beginner...keep it short and tight (by barely leading the fly through the water). More often than not, if you have a tight connection to the fly, the fish will do the rest.
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Re: Needing advice for fishing small streams.

Postby AMorgan » Wed May 07, 2014 10:29 am

GregM wrote:Do you see fish? If they are not there, you can't hook 'em.

I just don't see them. I've been trying to read up on reading the water to see where the trout would be, but I can't seem to get that down. I cast to where I believe a fish would be according to what I understand from online videos and such, but nothing. Probably something simple I am not reading right :lol: .
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