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Where is the passion?

Tenkara is a great type of fishing for backpacking and securing a meal when out in the woods. This forum discusses backpacking in general and how it relates ot tenkara: fish recipes, favorite spots, ultra-light backpacking

Where is the passion?

Postby ricktreks » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:12 am

Hello folks,

I'm new in this forum, so just want to say hello to all members. I have a question, and I apologize if you've had to answer this question a million times before. I'm writing because I am sort of undecided about getting my first Tenkara rod and kit, and start playing. My girlfriend said she'll get it for my birthday if I really want it, so money doesn't play a role in the decision.

I've never done any kind of fishing in my life. In fact, watching people standing there at the edge of a lake with a rod waiting for something to happen gets me yawning real fast.

But I do love a freshly caught fish, especially at camp. So I started looking into Tenkara under the impression that there wasn't much of a learning curve. Any novice could start catching fish on his/her first attempt. Plus, the rod is collapsible so it can easily be carried inside a backpack. I thought, "voilà, that's it. I now have something to do at camp instead of just listening to my iPod."

However, the more I read about Tenkara, the more complicated it sounds. All of a sudden, it's not as straight-forward as I first thought it would be.

You see, I'm looking for immediate gratification here. I know that if I go out and catch a fish or two for dinner on my first try, I'll be hooked. It will be easy to develop a passion for the sport, and like other hobbies, I'll probably want to become more and more specialized with time. But if I don't catch anything, chances are I won't have the patience to go over things like technique, gear, site selection and all the other specifics you dive into when you really have a passion for what you do.

So, after that long way around, my question is: Do you really think it's all as easy as it is advertised?

All the advise I'm going to get is from you. I don't have fishing friends. I live in Panama, so no one here has ever heard of Tenkara, and of course the tropical streams and rivers have no trouts but other species and families of fish.

Thus, any help will be inmensely appreciated.

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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby doliver » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:17 am

Okay, I will alienate everyone else on the site. If you have no fishing experience and no one to fish with, but want to catch fish (mainly to eat) then I suggest a light weight spin casting outfit, a couple of small spinners, and some live bait. Fly fishing - including Tenkara - is an enjoyable, addictive, passion. But it does have a learning curve; there is seldom instant gradification. Fishing bait or even spinners is USUALLY more productive particularly in larger rivers or in still water. If you decide that you love fishing and want to become more fully immersed, then pick up a Tenkara rod or a western fly rod. But I will warn you, you can be carried away by the passion and are likely to stop killing the fish you catch.
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby chorpie » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:44 am

You know i'm the counter-point to David's post... I hadn't ever done any fly fishing, and not really any serious fishing ever... After reading up on info on this forum as well as on the Tenkarabum site, I gave it a go with an Amago. My friends and I went up to the Shaver lake area... I had my tenkara rod, one friend had a spinning setup, and another friend had a 5wt. fly rod and reel.

I was the only person to catch fish that weekend, all on Killer Bugs from TenkaraBum, or Sakasa Kebari that I ordered from T-USA with my rod. I was hooked (pun intended) after that!

Just the fight alone, from even a 6" trout or a palm-sized bluegill will have you smiling when you let that fish go.
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby rsetina » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:21 pm

Watch the videos here on TUSA and go out to the park without a fly on the end of the line and cast for a while and you'll see it's not as hard as you might think. It much easier than a western fly rod, so if you don't have any experience with fly fishing, a tenkara rod is the way to go. Plus you wont over spend. Take the leap. You'll be glad you did.

My Tenkara Rods:
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: Where is the passion?

Postby OutdoorsBen » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:59 pm

What part of the country are you in? Do you mainly have rivers or ponds/lakes around you?
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby statikpunk » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:01 pm

if your fishing fast moving mountain streams and alpine ponds, then it is literally as easy as buying the starter package and teaching yourself to cast while out on the water. without any instruction, I would think any competant person could be making decent casts with a tenkara rod in as little as 10 minutes, less if you study Daniel's videos (of course it felt like a couple of seasons before my casting was as prescision as I wanted it to be) but even a poorly executed flub cast will often catch fish.

now if your going to be fishing large lakes and other things that Tenkara was not intended for, then some more knowledge of fly fishing will help you to overcome the obstacles that tenkara presents in non-ideal environements.

my local high mountain streams often produce 50 fish days, I would think even an untrained complete novice to fly fishing would be able to make it a 20 fish day, were as with western gear you might spend all day untying knots

IMAG0295 by statikpunk, on Flickr

this is my girlfriends first fly caught fish ever!, I made two casts with her holding her hand, and she caught this fish on the very next one all by herself. her cast were not pretty but they caught plenty of fish :) you would be hard pressed to go fishing and catch anything after two instruction casts with a western rod thats for sure.

as for tenkara being complicated, its not complicated like chess is not complicated. their is certain moves that you can learn to make in a short amount of time, but mastering it could take a lifetime, if its even attainable. all the confusing talk comes from those of us who have learned the techniques and are now taking our game to the next level. much like, if you were having a chess conversation with bobby fischer:)
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby tsegelke » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:40 pm

I disagree with the chances of success for Bait or Spinning rigs. The result of using them is that you need to be willing to wait for a unwary fish to come along. Especially if you are going backpacking, and/or fishing fish that were not planted.

Casting can be learned much quicker with Tenkara, and even able to be self taught.

For me, the biggest factor to catching fish is to get the fly to drift as naturally as possible. Fish don't eat things that obviously don't belong there.

12' Iwana is my opinion to be most versatile, and light enough to not add a lot of weight to your backpack.

Ultimately (my belief) those of us are addicted to Tenkara, try to break down anything we can think of to improve our skills and enjoyment. I just hope we don't over complicate things so that we forget to enjoy where we are, are take time to appreciate nature and the fish we catch. When relaxed and enjoying fishig, Tenkara is truly as easy as it looks.
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby doliver » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:23 pm

I don't know gang. A guy wants to step up to an unidentified body of water - it maybe be a small mountain stream but it could just as well be a large slow moving tropical river or lake (it is in Panama). He wants to catch something to eat and implies that if he does not have immediate success he will bag it. He is a complete newbie and has not one to fish with. Is a Tenkara rod the tool you would hand him to fish for all kinds of fish in all conditions in all bodies of water? I am not sure. I would still be tempted to hand him a spincast rod and a couple of Mepps spinners - but then I have been wrong before.

I did get my first Tenkara carp out of still water this week. Now that was a (dumb?) challenge. I can add a 12" carp to an 18" catfish for my Tankara oddity collection.

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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby chorpie » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:40 pm

If you put it like that, "all kinds of conditions in all kinds of water", then you're probably right suggesting a spinning rig. The problem that I see is that there is so much more complexity with a spinning rig, in terms of tackle.

I've also caught way more fish with my Tenkara setups than I have with my spinning setups although that is more attributed to poor fishing technique than anything else :)
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Re: Where is the passion?

Postby adventureR » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:54 am

ricktreks give Tenkara a try if you don't like it you can send it back. I have fished all over types of water and many different methods of fishing. Tenkara is a very good match for camping, and intuitive when it comes to learning.
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