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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.


Postby Adam Trahan » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:30 pm

I've been at it for a while now, and I can honestly say that tenkara is more about fishing than it is about equipment. Since day one that I've learned about tenkara, I've come full circle back to where I started, the wonderment of fishing minimal gear.

I'm currently in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It may very well be, the trout capitol for the eastern half of the country. Mountain Home has a population of about 21,000 but the draw here is trout fishing. World record size brown trout are here, actually, large trout are here in the tail waters. The second largest brown trout caught in the world is here and it is the third largest trout caught in Arkansas...

Anyway, when I go fishing here, people are wearing thousands of dollars in equipment and I've got very little and I catch just as many if not more than they do. Albeit, I've been fly fishing nearly my entire life, I have experience yet tenkara really turbo charged my fishing.

I've been to Japan and fished many watersheds with all different tenkara anglers there and it's a wonderful experience yet it's just not necessary to do in order to learn tenkara. The kebari and all the things surrounding the Japanese flys are good for tenkara but again, it's just not necessary in order to be successful.

What I've learned from Daniel and Tenkara USA is that tenkara is magical.

Coming to tenkara from a complete education in fly fishing culminating spending many many hours in a shop planing down strips of bamboo to make beautiful bamboo fly rods. Taking the great tapers from makers that knew the properties of bamboo and making those numbers come to life.

I loved that.

I learned so much from Gary Borger and Gary LaFontaine and their education in the life cycles of bugs and how that relates to trout fishing.

I enjoyed learning to match the hatch.

...and I learned on my own that just a few flys and a minimal fly fishing kit enhanced the experience on stream. 20 years ago, Yoshikazu Fujioka-san and I were conversing on the simplicity of how our fly fishing was.

But it took Daniel brining his interpretation of his teachers to America, simplifying even further, fishing.

That's what was the allure back in 2009 and for me, it continues on today.

Sure, I went through the exploration of finding out what was in Japan, the equipment, the people, the culture. Book collecting, sharing my love of tenkara with old tenkara anglers there.

I found out that the West, the United States of America influenced these old Japanese tenkara anglers. It's easy to see when you meet them, their fly fishing vest that they wear. I've heard it say, "doesn't matter what they wear" but I think so. The vest is what works for them and it's from us. In Japan, the Western influence is evident.

Anyway, I'm only saying that tenkara, the "one fly" idea that we have seen from sensei, Amano-san, Sebata-san and Daniel is what is magic. The fact that you can practice minimalistic choices for greater than 90% of your fishing and be highly successful in your fishing is magic. Wet wading using a tenkara rod and "one fly" and you just don't have to have much in comparison to a Western angler and all the accouterments of his sport.

It's magic because it takes $ out of the equation.

No longer is fly fishing an elite sport.

It becomes the sport of anyone who wishes to choose it.

I really like that.

And I used to love expensive reels that were like fine Swiss watches, rods that approached $1,000 and bamboo rods, twice that.

Fishing shouldn't be about $

It's about magic.

The magic in tenkara was taught to me by Daniel and his company, Tenkara USA. It continues to be taught here and I really enjoy being a part of that.

Watch his videos, listen to his podcasts, buy the book and take your Rhodo, Sato, Ito or Amago, I haven't used the Iwana but lots of people learned tenkara with it. Take those rods and learn the magic of tenkara just like the rest of the people that learned tenkara early on.

There is no better method to do it.

It's the way everyone else has.

You should too.
Adam Trahan
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ - USA

Re: tenkara

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:23 pm

Been since the Summit since I fished. Think I will head out tomorrow with 1 rod, 1 line, "one fly" and catch some trout before colder weather hits.

The fishing is simple.... getting the time to fish is sometimes the burden on our hearts.

Tenkara USA, Director of Customer Service

Tenkara Junkie - Tenkarajankī
Now sporting all of the Tenkara USA Rods!
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TJ @ Tenkara USA
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Re: tenkara

Postby FallfishTenkara » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:57 pm

I went through the exploration of finding out what was in Japan, the equipment, the people, the culture. Book collecting, sharing my love of tenkara with old tenkara anglers there.

I too have have explored what Japan has to offer and I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface, even after living here for three + years. Tenkara does seem to have a magic about it - from the people you meet, to the fish you catch, and the places you go because of Tenkara. It truly is "from heaven"

Great post.
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Re: tenkara

Postby Alex Argyros » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:59 am

Beautiful little essay, Adam. I concur.

It's been years since I've fished in Arkansas. So, I was curious about how you approach rivers like the White and Norfolk with a Tenkara rod. Do you tend to concentrate on the shoals? Wade? How do you fish your flies? Etc.
Alex Argyros
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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:41 am

Re: tenkara

Postby Adam Trahan » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:37 pm

Thanks Alex.

I fish tenkara everywhere the same. I wet wade if I have to, I prefer to stay out of the water and I do not like to "clack rocks" together while stalking fish, that is the worst next to keeping my shadow and outline away from the fish.

I use my own version of "one fly" which is a soft hackle sakasa (forward facing hackle) style fly. If I need to sink it, I add in a tungsten bead near the bend.

I fish upstream if I can but I'm not beyond fishing downstream at the end of the day.

If I'm not catching fish, I'll use a dry or a wooly booger and if that doesn't work, I'll use a specialty fly for that area. It's a rarity that my own fly doesn't catch.

I did not fish (myself) this last time in Mountain Home but I've certainly fished tenkara there successfully. Just as I have described above.

I've used the same fly in AZ, CO, NM, several watersheds in Japan and have caught warm water species with it.

The more I fish tenkara, the more I realize, it's less about the gear and more about what you know about fish behavior.

Thanks again and take care.
Adam Trahan
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ - USA

Re: tenkara

Postby Adam Trahan » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:25 pm

...entering the "off season" so to speak which means that I stop driving the two and four hour drives to our alpine zones. Fishing is still available in these areas but it's cold, snow is a distinct possibility and there are opportunities closer to home.

AZG&F stock Phoenix urban ponds and lakes with some pretty nice trout. For so many years as a fly fisherman, I just couldn't bring myself to fish for "rubber trout" because it just wasn't fishing for wild fish. Funny, now I look forward to fishing this time of year close to home. I can fish a lot more and the skills I use in the mountains work for the stocked trout. It's a little difficult to figure out the techniques to catch them but as a fisherman, a tenkara fisherman, it's a good challenge and when you can catch 18" trout and then drive across the street afterward for a beer and a burger? Yes.

And this time of year, fly tying and trip planning.

I'll start working on the logistics for fishing for rainbows in Kauai. This summer, we have a family trip to the West side of the big island of Hawaii, Kona and Waikoloa. I'll meet my family there after I fly to Honolulu, visit friends and then over to Kauai and on to Waimea Canyon to fish for Rainbow trout that was planted there quite some time ago. The area is one of the rainiest places on the planet, hard to get there for a non-local. I lived on O'ahu back in the 80's and understand the Islands but still, I'm a tourist. Shouldn't be too hard to figure it all out.

Will be using my pack raft on the Salt River to get proficient at navigating moving water. The Salt is stocked as well.

Looking forward to winter temps and fishing closer to home.
Adam Trahan
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ - USA

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