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Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby zvonx » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:46 am

Hello!

First a little introduction.

I'll be heading out this weekend with my new Tenkara rod (I decided to start with a Tenkara Rod Co Sawtooth)for the first time. I have been fishing trout streams with spinning rigs but wanted to give fly fishing a shot and Tenkara appealed to me for it's simplicity and portability.

I typically only trout fish in the winter because I do a lot of bass, pike/muskie, catfish and sturgeon fishing in the summer and fall. But I am looking forward to giving tenkara a try for bass and panfish this summer and if I enjoy Tenkara perhaps even picking up a carp rig to try for carp, northern, channel cats, steelhead. But we'll see...

So I made myself a cheat sheet based off of Daniels 'Tenkara Techniques' podcast episode and youtube video to help me when I am out on the water.

Am I missing anything here or other suggestions on tips to add?


Dead Drift:

Use this 80% of the time and best way to start fishing.

Cast Up Stream:
- Lift rod tip as fly comes towards you
- Cast again once the fly gets below your rod tip

From the side:
- Cast 1/4 upstream and follow fly back down the stream with rod tip
- Start with arm close to body. Start extending your arm out and down
stream to make sure you have a drag free drift
- When casting stop your forward move at 10 or 2 o’clock

Pulsating Technique (2:36/

Most effective technique with reverse hackle fly. Won’t work well with traditional nymph. If dead drift isn’t working this is 2nd best. Works well when fish are active. Good to try early in the day to see if they are aggressive.

- Cast 1/4 upstream
- Bounce rod tip up and down as the fly floats downstream
- Keep a good rhythm
- Keep a few inches of line in the water to serve as an anchor
- Upward motion can act as a hook set
- 2” - 3” movements in slow or shallow water
- 12” movements in fast or deep water or with a bigger fly

Pause Technique (1:18/25:10)

Use where you think fish might be holding. In front of large submerged rocks.

- Use when Fishing Across or Downstream
- Put your rod tip upstream from the fly and hold it still. That will make the fly stop in one place.
- If rod tip is high then fly will ride on surface of the water
- Rod tip low or in the water will allow fly to go below the water
- Cast, stop the fly for 2 seconds then cast again
- Might miss a lot of strikes

Pause and Drift Technique (1:55/29:19)

Fishing across and down stream. You don’t want to get to the end of your reach downstream because if you catch a fish it may break you off because there will be no flex in the rod if your arm is fully extended and rod is point straight down stream.

- Pause the fly with rod tip upstream then allow fly to drift a foot or two then repeat the pause and drift. Pause and drift, pause and drift, pause and drift
- Be sure to push your arm out from your body and downstream as you drift
- Focus on shorter sections of stream


Pulling Technique (3:25/32:45)

Use to impart action that is contrary to the current.

- Cast downstream and pull it up stream
- Cast across stream and pull it towards you. Rod tip low, parallel to the water with a few feet of line in the water.
- Pull the fly a foot to foot and a half at a time
- Do not want the fly to skip across the water

Plunge (3:55/37:20)

- Look for faster water or where it is going to drop (plunge), whirlpools and channels (between rocks) - whitewater
- Cast upstream from the plunge
- Follow your fly. As soon as it drops into the plunge or pool relax your line a little bit.
- The current will move your fly downstream and allow it to sink.
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby Goldkenshin » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:14 pm

i dont think you missed anything. i generally try all these techniques, and if i catch nothing, i try to think hard about what i havent tried yet. maybe even redo all the techniques. sometimes theres just no fish.
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby Bobc » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:59 am

IMHO most important is being able to accurate cast,hit a tea cup everytime, use a rod and line that is long, say 20 ft line
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby dwalker » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:41 pm

Zvonx, your list appears to me to be pretty comprehensive and correct. I've lost count of the number of places I have read that state that when you first take up tenkara fishing First learn to cast. Second learn to cast accurately to a small point. (as Bobc wrote.) Then learn fishing techniques, how to read the water, fish behavior , etc.

(Kuwahara Gentatsu sets an even higher standard in his book How to Enjoy Kebari Fishing - first learn to hit the can of water, then learn to land the kebari in the water without splashing water outside of the can. Then you are ready to start fishing - :shock: I still can't do that and this June will be six years since I started Tenkara, but still a goal to aim at.)

http://www.tenkara-fisher.com/content.php?239-Casting-Practice-for-Accuracy

I've gotten so I think of line length, (not including the length of the tippet) as being:
Line Length = Rod Length + X meters.
On many websites I have seen that a 6 m ( 20 ft ) line is popular choice for a 3.9m/4m rod.

I probably fish 75% of the time with a 4m rod. But my experience is I catch fewer fish with a 20ft ( 6m) line. Even with a light #3 line. I can not hold all the line off the water. And I catch more fish when I can hold the line off the water.

With a 4m rod, most of the time I fish with 5m line. Rod Length (RL) + 1 meter. Sometimes 4.5m or 5.5m line. RL + .5m or RL + 1.5m.

Very seldom do I fish a line equal to RL or a line equal to or longer than RL + 2 m. Only sometimes on wide rivers, where I can't reach a spot I think will hold fish.

The Sawtooth is a 3.6m rod. I would suggest you fish with a line length equal to RL + 1 m = 4.6m (15 ft). Or up to RL + 1.5m = 5.1m (16.7ft ~ 17ft) .

Just my personal preference, and I fish with mono level lines 95% of the time. I'm not into the floating line methods promoted by Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia. Maybe it works fine, but its a method that has yet to appeal to me.
But local stream conditions and fish attitudes may vary from my experience. You might do fine with a 6m line ( = RL + 2.4m)

2¢ advice,
David
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby zvonx » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:18 pm

David,

Thanks for the great reply!

The line that came with the Sawtooth is 10.5 feet. I will consider a longer line.

I fished both Saturday and Sunday. I did have trouble keeping the line off the water. The way I was casting the tippet would usually lay out nicely on the water but also the line. Perhaps I was coming to far forward on my front cast.
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby dwalker » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:53 pm

zvonx wrote:David,

Thanks for the great reply!

The line that came with the Sawtooth is 10.5 feet. I will consider a longer line.......Perhaps I was coming to far forward on my front cast.


Cool, I'm happy to find you found the information helpful. I think you might find the following 4 minute video helpful. It's in Japanese, but the graphics about the proper casting arc are pretty good. And I haven't seen anything similar in English.

The video is an introduction to Tenkara fishing. The man in the video is a field tester for Daiwa, Katayama Etsuji. You can skip the first 2 minutes which basically says you need rod, line, tippet, a fly, and a fishing license. He also recommends a line 2 meters longer than the rod.

I think that is to long. However, I also believe most people can quickly learn to cast a short line with bad casting technique. And as soon as you can cast half way decently you should practice casting a line that is 1.5m to 2m longer than the rod. It will teach you better casting technique before you learn bad casting habits. I think it's a useful training method, though you might never fish with a line longer than the rod, or only slightly longer or shorter. Just my opinion.

If you listen carefully you can pick out him saying you lose power in your cast if you go to far forward on your forward cast, as in the rod parallel to the water. You can pick out the word power because it's an English word adopted into Japanese, not because he starts speaking in English near the end of the video. Whether you use his suggested grip is up to you. But I will mention Dr Ishigaki promotes the same grip on the Honda fishing webpage.

http://www.daiwaweb.com/jp/fishing/fishing-ch/movie/1238712_4385.html

Or, try this. Open the below link. Then click on the top picture. It should open the same video.

http://daiwa.globeride.jp/column/tenkara/index.html

If you click on the bottom picture it will open a short 4 minute fishing video. Showing how to read the water, where the fish will hold.

Good luck,

D
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby zvonx » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:46 am

Thanks again for another excellent reply David.

I have been using the 'pointed finger' grip. Although I did notice that Daniel from TUSA demonstrates holding the rod at the bottom of the cork grip while in the video you linked to he has the tip of his finger extending just past the top of the cork grip. I suppose that would be dependent on your rod, line length and maybe even the weight of the fly you are casting.

On the forward cast, when you stop at the 45 degree angle what should the rod tip be doing? It's a bit hard to see in the videos but for me the rod tip would often vibrate quite a bit as my forward motion came to a stop. I also think I was probably coming forward with too much force and almost like I was flicking the line forward.

This week has gotten quite cold and windy here in Minnesota so I didn't get out to practice last night but hope to give it a shot tonight if the wind dies down.
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby dwalker » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:17 am

zvonx wrote:Thanks again for another excellent reply David.
I have been using the 'pointed finger' grip. Although I did notice that Daniel from TUSA demonstrates holding the rod at the bottom of the cork grip while in the video you linked to he has the tip of his finger extending just past the top of the cork grip......


Hey, you're welcome. I would recommend you hold the rod grip how ever it feels most comfortable to you. If you watch Daniel's earlier casting video from 2009, he used a different grip. But like everyone as his skills evolved he changes how he does or teaches things. Worth a look if you haven't seen it. I think it has some details not covered in the newer video.

Tenkara Casting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrfBexhWzsY


zvonx wrote:... On the forward cast, when you stop at the 45 degree angle what should the rod tip be doing? It's a bit hard to see in the videos but for me the rod tip would often vibrate quite a bit as my forward motion came to a stop. I also think I was probably coming forward with too much force and almost like I was flicking the line forward. ....


(Sorry, this explanation became longer than I intended.)

Casting is kind of a paradox, the cast needs to be relaxed, finding that balance between being fast in the right places, but not to much power. Most of the time I find my poorest cast are when I try to hard. The excess vibration of the rod tip at the end of the forward cast, I think, comes from two things. Holding the grip to tight, or poor rod design. Try relaxing your grip. And not stopping the forward cast to abruptly. You have to make a definite stop, but stopping too quickly probably makes the end of the rod flex to much, taking it longer for the tip movement to dampen out and stop. Relaxing how tightly you hold the rod grip will also help dampen out the rod tip movement.

Maybe the following diagram, from the Honda pages will help. It's a diagram found on many websites. It is in Japanese. But I don't know of anything similar on English language sites. Stopping your forward cast at 45˚ is ok, but you can go a little farther. To about 60˚ is good. If you think of the casting arc as the numbers on a clock face. You stop your back cast at 12:00. 3:00 would be 90˚. Thus every 5 minutes is 30˚. If you stop your forward cast at 2:00 that is 60˚, or 2:30 is 75˚, which is ok too. You don't want the casting arc to go to 3:00. Lowering the rod to be parallel to the water robs the line of the energy to move forward.

Look at the bottom diagram. Labeled テンカララインの軌道 Tenkara line trajectory (is probably an accurate translation)
There are 8 steps in the cast.

http://www.honda.co.jp/fishing/enjoy/season/season-201208/step-1/

Casting in a relaxed manner is more about timing than the speed or power put into the rod with your arm or wrist. What you are aiming for is for the rebound of the flex of the rod tip to add the energy from the rebound of the rod tip into the line. If you accelerate to fast or put to much power into the start of the forward cast it will tend to make the middle of the line drop down toward the water. Try to start the forward cast kind of gently, but not to slow, and with a linear increase in the acceleration rate of the rod movement. Till the position where you stop the forward cast.

Step 1 is the start of the back cast. Note how the rod tip is loaded or flexed forward, as the line is dragged from the water. The rebound of that flex will help throw the line back and up at about 45˚. You stop at 12:00 so that the rearward flex of the rod will add it's energy into the line on the forward cast. That is where the timing comes in. You pause at 12:00 to allow time for the rearward moving line to tug the rod tip rearward. When it is fully flexed rearward, you start the forward cast. Note that in Steps 1 and 2 the text mentions 12:00 ( 12時). It will take time to learn to sense that point and get the timing correct for when to start the forward cast. Just no substitute for spending time casting. If you try side casting a little, with the rod tipped the side just enough were you can see the line position. Might help.

During Step 3 your goal is to move the rod forward at the right speed to be ahead of the rod tip rebounding forward. At Step 4 you stop the forward cast at 2:00 (2時) , not an abrupt stop, like hitting a mechanical stop, but more a rapid deceleration to a stop at 2:00. That is where the rebound of the rod tip adds it's energy into throwing the line forward. The rod tip will have added it's full energy into the line when it has flexed forward at Step 5.

The rebound of the rod tip rearward at Step 6, will tend to draw the line back, but this whipping action will help the line continue to curl forward, and in Step 7, if not holding the rod to tightly. The rod tip movement will quickly dampen out, and not oscillate to much, as the line continues to uncurl and lay out straight and hopefully gently land the fly on the water at Step 8.

To long an explanation I know. But maybe that will help you understand the fundamentals of casting, or at least my theory of what happens. It has been said that the power for the forward cast comes from the energy in the back cast.
Anyway, try to understand what the diagram is trying to illustrate. But when casting don't try to think about it to much. Keep it in the back of your mind that is what you want to do. Let your subconscious mind figure out the mechanics from an understanding of the fundamental principles.

What has helped me, and maybe my way of thinking about it is wrong, I am totally self taught. Is keep the diagram steps in the back of your mind. And watch the following two videos of Masami Sakakibara ( aka Tenkara no Oni) casting. Kind of play these videos in the front of your mind, while casting. Back cast, throwing the line up & back at 45˚. Pause, till the rod tip loads from the line pulling the rod tip rearward. Forward cast, with smooth linear increase in acceleration rate of the rod movement. Come to a quick, but not abrupt stop, at about 60˚, 2:00. Keep a light grip on the rod to dampen out tip oscillation, let the line uncurl forward.

10 second video of Oni casting. You might need to pause slightly longer at 12:00 than it appears. I tend to favor casting from the shoulder as he does. But everyone has their own body mechanics. And I'm not sure he is actually casting a line in this video. Maybe just showing the basic movement. Nice and relaxed. Don't try to hard. Let the rod cast the line. Not your arm movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGpsadqTO8

The next video is pretty extreme. Oni is casting an 11 meter (36 ft) , tapered salt water line. I can cast a 7 m line fairly well, and 8 m line if I am having a good day, a 10 meter line, remains beyond my skill level. Only occasionally do I get the timing just right to get a 10 m line to fully extend. You can not cast a line that long and pause long enough for the line to nearly fully extend rearward. You have to start the forward cast when the end of the line is somewhere just above your forehead, and still moving back, when you start the forward cast. I think it takes years to develop that skill level.

Note he cast from the shoulder, the pause at stop of the back cast. Then the forward cast and stop. And note also in this video he is holding the rod grip near the top. Though I don't see him using that grip position to much in his fishing videos.
I think you can not cast a line like that with arm movement. You have to get the timing just right so the rod flex throws the line.

Anyway, this is the video I play in my mind when I am casting a line that is 1 m or 1.5 m longer than the rod. I rarely fish with any thing longer. But I do practice casting 7m and 8 m lines, and once in a while a 10 m line. For 30 or 40 minutes. I believe it helps me improve my casting of shorter lines. But don't rush to try casting a line more than 1.5 m longer than your rod. Leave that till next year or later.

Each combination of rod model and length of line will require a bit different timing or length of the pause, and speed of moving the rod. Others do not agree with my theory. But that is what works for me. So try to keep these principles in mind when you try casting a line of rod length or a little longer. Keep in mind the timing and movement you see in the videos while casting maybe it will help improve your line casting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jalWBL9iuf4

btw - if you are curious about the left side middle drawing on the Honda page. What that is - is an exercise to teach you proper rod movement speed. If you can circle the rod tip at the right speed to keep the line trailing behind in a circle, and in a flat plane. Your rod speed is about correct. I've tried it a couple of times, with a line of about rod length. I'm not sure if I learned anything from doing it. But it was something interesting to try.
(wow. I made it. I typed all this in earlier today, then had the forum time out on me and I lost it all).

Anyway, sorry my post was too long. Maybe you read it and found it helpful as something to try to see if it is helpful. Or maybe it was too long and you skipped it. It takes longer to write than to demonstrate in person.

Good luck with the weather giving you opportunity to get out and practice or fish. Minn is to cold for me. I've been through Minn a couple times on motorcycle trips in the summer. And I've marveled at the videos of Shugemery who goes out camping there in - 40˚ temps. To cold for me.

Good luck.

David
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby zvonx » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:36 pm

David,

Another excellent and informative post. Long is good! I really appreciate you taking the time to write all of that out (twice!).

Casting does not come naturally to me. I tried western fly fishing with casting lessons and eventually gave up. The 'simpler' nature of Tenkara appealed to me - but it certainly does not come naturally to me.

If you accelerate to fast or put to much power into the start of the forward cast it will tend to make the middle of the line drop down toward the water.


This is what I was often experiencing out on the water last weekend. I'm sure I was also gripping the rod too tight.

Watching the Team ONI ONI video the cast looks effortless with very little power so I think I was certainly over powering too.

I'm not sure what you mean 'casting from the shoulder'?

The last two weekends the weather was rather nice around 34-40 degrees F. The trout were active and I caught quite a few browns - although none with my Tenkara rod, likely because I had so much of my line in the water. We're very lucky to have excellent trout fishing so close in the driftless area of SE Minnesota and SW Wisconsin. This weekend will be really cold, highs in the teens or 20's so no fishing for me.

Next time I get out to practice I will keep your post and the videos available for reference. Thank you!!!
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Re: Tenkara Techniques Cheat Sheet

Postby dwalker » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:34 pm

zvonx wrote:David, ....Another excellent and informative post. Long is good! I really appreciate you taking the time ........
I'm not sure what you mean 'casting from the shoulder'?......


Thanks, the writing is good practice for me.

Watch these 2 short videos maybe they will show what I mean by casting from the shoulder.

This guy only makes 2 quick cast. Notice he flips his wrist a little, and he pivots his arm at the elbow, but the elbow pretty much stays in the same place. His elbow doesn't rise or fall, or move forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IuGHCwUHI&feature=youtu.be&t=4s

Compare that way of casting to the Team Oni video. Notice how his elbow rises and falls, because he is also pivoting his upper arm from the shoulder, the angle between his upper arm and forearm almost remain locked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGpsadqTO8

It is probably more important for casting long lines, than short lines. And it is largely a matter of personal choice. And the type of cast you are doing. If you watch the newer TUSA casting video, Daniel mostly pivots his cast at the elbow.

It's just my preference. Probably because when I was working to improve my penmanship, writing cursive lettering. If you write with your fingers, your letters will look pinched. If you write from the shoulder, just kind of letting your forearm slide around on the desk top, your letters will be more rounded and graceful. I believe that same thing about pulsing the fly to attract the fish. (Called Sasoi , 誘い, the Invitation . in Japanese) I think pulsing the fly from movement originating in the shoulder makes a subtle difference in the way the fly moves compared to the movement of the fly by pulsing the fly only with wrist movement. Not that that method is bad, I just think they are different, and you should try both.

If you watch the older of Daniel's casting videos he talks briefly about shooting the line by extending the arm forward during the forward cast. Yoshida Takashi (吉田孝) teaches that as the way to always cast a level line. Though he seems to be the only one I see do that. The only place if have seen his video teaching it is in the Tsuribito iPad app.

http://tenkarausa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5458&sid=62333806cce6b9ddc3b57d7c1c051386

http://yoshidakebari.jugem.jp/

Have fun. Catch a fish.

David
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