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Bamboo Tenkara

Tenkara is a new type of fishing to the US, and information (particularly in English) is sparse. This is the place to build a knowledge base of Tenkara.

Bamboo Tenkara

Postby Leadwing Coachman » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:36 pm

Are there traditional tenkara fishermen who still use handmade bamboo rods - or even horsehair or silk lines? Or any current anglers who try to replicate the tackle? If so, can you share any stories or second-hand stories of what they had to say?

Were these rods single piece? How were they stored? Were they disassembled after fishing or left intact for the season? Were there clubhouses by the water were they were kept between fishing? Did other anglers recognize the rods by wrappings or finish?

(Very) curious to learn more about it.
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby dwalker » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:53 pm

Leadwing Coachman wrote:Are there traditional tenkara fishermen who still use handmade bamboo rods - or even horsehair or silk lines? Or any current anglers who try to replicate the tackle? ..

Were these rods single piece? How were they stored? Were they disassembled after fishing or left intact for the season? Were there clubhouses by the water were they were kept between fishing? Did other anglers recognize the rods by wrappings or finish?

(Very) curious to learn more about it.


Hello LC,

I think there are modern day tenkara fishermen who occasionally use traditionally made tenkara tackle on special outings. I don't think there are any traditional tenkara fishermen today who make their living catching fish with tenkara gear. I don't think there were ever any clubhouses. At that time traditional tenkara fishing existed it wasn't a recreational activity it was an occupation. No need for a clubhouse.

I have seen videos from Japan wherein on special days they pull out old bamboo rods and fish with them on special days, which are probably days like the first day of fishing in the new year when the fishing season opens.

The rods were made in sections, from natural pieces of bamboo with the proper taper and fit together, and when disassembled fit inside a tube. Usually several sections. However, some of the old tenkara rods in museums appear to be made in only two or 3 sections.

Here are 3 videos, filmed by a Japanese guy living in Calif., fishing with a bamboo rod made in 1948/49 that had belonged to his grandfather. Two of the videos were made in 2011, but about a month ago he posted a 3d video. I don' think he uses it for an everyday rod, just fishes with this rod on special occasions. In one of these videos you can see how the rod is stored and assembled. His rod is 10 feet in length and consist of ten sections. Certainly more compact when disassembled than any other tenkara rod I am aware of. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puqzZrGQ8Y4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXHvDS-Rmfw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5zQqz3bu9s

There is a Japanese video about tenkara, posted by some folks in Italy, which is why you seen some Italian text on the screen along with Japanese. At 3 minutes they show some tenkara gear, used by traditional tenkara fishermen, from the museum in Omachi, in Japan.

It also includes an interview with one of the last occupational tenkara fishermen. However, it is not in English. There is also some footage of modern day recreational tenkara master Masami Sakakibara, aka, Tenkara no oni, ( Tenkara Demon)

Tenkara 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyXNE0bJxoA


There is a company in the USA that imports traditionally made bamboo tenkara rods made in Japan, they have also recently started offering a split bamboo version. But I think that is not the traditional way they were made. You could buy 3 or more TUSA rods for the price of one bamboo rod. I see they are also now offering a rod they describe as an Italian Valesesiana type rod. Which is a style of fishing in Northern Italy very similar to Tenkara.

Tenkarabum offers a kit for making traditional horse hair line. The kit has been on his web page for a long time. I think people must keep purchasing the kit and making the line and fishing with it.

Tenkara no oni , has some images of historical tenkara gear on his web page

http://www.oni-tenkara.com/english/history/tenkarahistory.html

If you click on the images you get a pop-up with enlarged images.

All that to say, - Yes traditionally made Tenkara bamboo rods can be found and ordered, at a high price. And some people are still making and fishing with traditional horse hair line. Not sure I've seen any silk lines.

Maybe this was of some help. I certainly have no first hand experience with any traditional tenkara tackle.

D
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby tntom » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:49 am

A fishing buddy of mine who builds bamboo fly rods has a bamboo tenkara rod but has not fished it yet. So they are stioo out there. I wouldn't want to fish it it's way heavy.

Tom
If you aint high sticking, you aint fishing hard enough.
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby adventureR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:45 pm

D what a response to a good set of questions. With a post like this if we should ever fish together a small team of nephews should carry you from one fishing hole to the next to honor you. :)

LC I have tried to make a few Bamboo rods. The variety of Bamboos that grow around the world is immense. Only certain varieties are supple and light/strong enough to make a good fishing tool. The river cane where I live will work but can't compare to modern telescoping carbon rods. Like TNTom found Bamboo is to heavy. The canes here are heavy and dont flex much. The tips also prove to brittle. I've only put a few hours of fishing on my homemade rods. They tend to cause fatigue rather quickly. The rods and gear can be made. Ancient fisherman would use durable light weight materials. I think a common sense approach would drive choices for essential gear. You should try and make some gear I find it fun.
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby Leadwing Coachman » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:33 pm

dwalker wrote:
Leadwing Coachman wrote:Are there traditional tenkara fishermen who still use handmade bamboo rods - or even horsehair or silk lines? Or any current anglers who try to replicate the tackle? ..

Were these rods single piece? How were they stored? Were they disassembled after fishing or left intact for the season? Were there clubhouses by the water were they were kept between fishing? Did other anglers recognize the rods by wrappings or finish?

(Very) curious to learn more about it.


Hello LC,

I think there are modern day tenkara fishermen who occasionally use traditionally made tenkara tackle on special outings. I don't think there are any traditional tenkara fishermen today who make their living catching fish with tenkara gear. I don't think there were ever any clubhouses. At that time traditional tenkara fishing existed it wasn't a recreational activity it was an occupation. No need for a clubhouse.

I have seen videos from Japan wherein on special days they pull out old bamboo rods and fish with them on special days, which are probably days like the first day of fishing in the new year when the fishing season opens.

The rods were made in sections, from natural pieces of bamboo with the proper taper and fit together, and when disassembled fit inside a tube. Usually several sections. However, some of the old tenkara rods in museums appear to be made in only two or 3 sections.

Here are 3 videos, filmed by a Japanese guy living in Calif., fishing with a bamboo rod made in 1948/49 that had belonged to his grandfather. Two of the videos were made in 2011, but about a month ago he posted a 3d video. I don' think he uses it for an everyday rod, just fishes with this rod on special occasions. In one of these videos you can see how the rod is stored and assembled. His rod is 10 feet in length and consist of ten sections. Certainly more compact when disassembled than any other tenkara rod I am aware of. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puqzZrGQ8Y4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXHvDS-Rmfw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5zQqz3bu9s

There is a Japanese video about tenkara, posted by some folks in Italy, which is why you seen some Italian text on the screen along with Japanese. At 3 minutes they show some tenkara gear, used by traditional tenkara fishermen, from the museum in Omachi, in Japan.

It also includes an interview with one of the last occupational tenkara fishermen. However, it is not in English. There is also some footage of modern day recreational tenkara master Masami Sakakibara, aka, Tenkara no oni, ( Tenkara Demon)

Tenkara 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyXNE0bJxoA


There is a company in the USA that imports traditionally made bamboo tenkara rods made in Japan, they have also recently started offering a split bamboo version. But I think that is not the traditional way they were made. You could buy 3 or more TUSA rods for the price of one bamboo rod. I see they are also now offering a rod they describe as an Italian Valesesiana type rod. Which is a style of fishing in Northern Italy very similar to Tenkara.

Tenkarabum offers a kit for making traditional horse hair line. The kit has been on his web page for a long time. I think people must keep purchasing the kit and making the line and fishing with it.

Tenkara no oni , has some images of historical tenkara gear on his web page

http://www.oni-tenkara.com/english/history/tenkarahistory.html

If you click on the images you get a pop-up with enlarged images.

All that to say, - Yes traditionally made Tenkara bamboo rods can be found and ordered, at a high price. And some people are still making and fishing with traditional horse hair line. Not sure I've seen any silk lines.

Maybe this was of some help. I certainly have no first hand experience with any traditional tenkara tackle.

D[/quote

These clips were very enjoyable to watch. Thank you for sharing them. I liked the music too. The way the sections were drawn out of their bigger brother sections, I wonder how they did it, considering the nodules along the way. This is the way I'd like to try tenkara, with (at least some) authentic materials.

I just bought the Iwana outfit and am excited about tenkara; but to be frank, I know deep down the actual materials for rod and line are pretty much the same as with my other fly rods and their leaders and tippets. Modern graphite, and polymer this and that. With this in mind, it really isn't that much more authentic than the fly rods I've collected along the way.

I guess the concept I want to discover is fixed-line fishing. Many of the historic roots of our own Western fly fishing were developed before we had reels. Before I heard of tenkara, I knew European anglers used POLE fishing with extreme skill - not only with fly fishing but also to catch fish as large as carp or pike in modern times.

One of my fondest memories, from 20 years ago, was leaving my gear in the dorm closet, cutting green branches, tying 4lb mono onto them with micro jigs, giving them to a few college friends I recently met, and us all dipping into the Kenweenaw portage in the UP of Michigan, up in Houghton. A few panfish. One caught a small walleye. And I hooked a maybe 3 pound smallmouth bass; as soon as I saw it I knew I would not land it; yet for a few moments, I had Obama HOPE. I don't even remember the names of the guys I fished with now, but we all had so much fun. These guys were more rural than I was and also knew how to fish with modern tacker - but the campus tree branches brought a lot of fun. Maybe there is tenkara in us all, before we can conceptualize what it really is.
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby dwalker » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:02 pm

Leadwing Coachman wrote:These clips were very enjoyable to watch. Thank you for sharing them. I liked the music too. The way the sections were drawn out of their bigger brother sections, I wonder how they did it, considering the nodules along the way. This is the way I'd like to try tenkara, with (at least some) authentic materials.
......


LC, you might also enjoy these 3 videos. They were posted on this forum a couple of years ago in the Misc Tenkara Stuff section. The videos are all narrated in Japanese. The videos show a modern craftsmen in Tokyo building a bamboo rod. The conclusion was that it is probably not a tenkara rod yet it is very similar.

The rod he is making has no reel or line guides, so probably another type of fixed length line rod. It does have a tenkara like lillian on the rod tip. If it is a nesting type rod that is not shown. The first part is mostly some historical material of bamboo rods in general including examples of rods with and without line guides. The introduction does not switch to scenes in the rod shop until toward the end, about 2/3 way through the first video. Parts two and 3 are all filmed in the rod shop.

Title 下町に息づく伝統の技 江戸和竿
( something like - Traditional Techniques Alive in Downtown Tokyo Pole)

Part 1/3 - 7:19
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKH8lP97Yxg&list=UUY2G_g93ex2gLDWaPDQnN5Q&index=162&feature=plcp

Part 2/3 - 9:12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SGV8E969NI&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Part 3/3 - 8:40
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqXvPIomGGs&feature=related

Maybe you will find this page a little interesting too. The title is Tenkara Rod Fabrication or Making a Tenkara Rod, or something similar. Software translation into English won't tell you a whole lot. It seems he had a bamboo rod for 40 years, then lost it. He seems to not like carbon rods and decided to make 2 bamboo tenkara rods. One 3 section and one 4 sections. One rod is 2.67m long, 70cm collapsed. The other one 2.41 m long, 84 cm collapsed. Rather short from our experience. At 8'10" and 7'11".

It was not a quick process taking him about 3 years with harvesting and seasoning the bamboo. Then actually making the rods. They are not nesting rods, the sections fit into a rod bag. He also seems to make new horse hair line.

Anyway, if you click on the images, then click again, the pictures will double zoom in size.

http://kazika-koubou.at.webry.info/201106/article_5.html

OTOH - I don't think you'll ever find a bamboo tenkara rod as light as tenkara rod made from modern materials.

D
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby ElizabethSamantha » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:39 am

As horse hair is use for making nets..Most of the fisherman use them for making it..I just wanna know more about the use of horse hair lines.. :)

equestrian horseback riding
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Re: Bamboo Tenkara

Postby GregM » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:10 am

ElizabethSamantha wrote:..I just wanna know more about the use of horse hair lines.. :)


And the resource is....
http://www.tenkarabum.com/horsehair-lines.html

...plus a Search from the Login/Logout bar will yield a weeks worth of additional reading.
(Don't use the Search in the Sign Up line.)
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