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Tenkara Experience with Bluegill

A place to discuss techniques and rigging options for use in "non-mountain stream" areas such as lakes and warm-water areas, as well as non-traditional tenkara techniques such as nymphing.

Tenkara Experience with Bluegill

Postby Vince_villavivencio » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:15 pm

I've been using a Tenkara Rod to catch Bluegill this past year, and have had great success. The average length of the Bluegill in a local pond are about 6-7 inches (10 inch Bluegill are not uncommon). Here is what I've used:

Tenkara Rods
1. Tenkara USA Iwana Rod 12 ft.
2. $10 Tenkara Rod 9 ½ ft.

Level Line
1. 12 ft. Cobra Flat Monofilament (20 lbs. / Red)
2. 7 ft. Cobra Flat Monofilament (20 lbs. / Red)

Set Up (see picture below)
a. Attached a Braided Loop for easier attachment of level line to the Lillian.
- Take 7 inch piece of 30 lbs. Dacron Backing and tie a double Surgeon’s Loop Knot – This makes a ~3 in. loop.
- Tie another single Surgeons loop on the opposite end of the knot – makes smaller loop.
- Clinch Knot (3 turn Clinch Knot) the Flat Mono to the smaller loop.
- Attach the Braided loop onto the Lillian like a Braided Leader.
b. Placed tippet ring on the end of the level line.
c. Attach 2-3 ft of 5X tippet off the tippet ring.
d. Tie the fly onto the 5X tippet. I used an #16 Itsabug
( ... %20Bug.pdf).
Yes, my Itsabug is a lot smaller than what the instructions show. However, I’ve found that
pressured big Bluegill are not as afraid to hit a smaller fly (same as trout).

Lessons Learned

1. Using the Flat Mono level line worked a little better in lakes and ponds. The Mono floated longer allowing the Bluegill time to inspect the fly. The fluorocarbon line would sink and get caught in the vegetation (i.e. Lilly Pads).

2. The Tenkara rod allowed me to reach over Lilly Pads and other obstructions.

3. Tenkara spooked fewer Bluegill, especially if I used a Bow-And-Arrow cast due to trees and bushes. The shorter Tenkara rod worked better for fighting fish when overhead tree clearance was tight. A few times, the longer Tenkara Rod would get tangled in the trees when fighting a fish.

4. The Bow-And-Arrow cast created just the right PLOP on the water with the fly.

5. A few times the hook set was not fully seated and the fly would pop out of the fish’s mouth. I found out that striking sideways prevented me from tangling my fly in the trees above. I would still get tangled in something, but I was a least able to reach it. When I would strike straight up and get tangled in the trees, I would have to get my 6 foot 3 inch son help me, since I couldn’t even reach the Lillian.

Overall, I really like using a Tenkara Rod to catch Bluegill. Bass are a blast also.


Bigger Bluegill
Smaller Bluegill
Tenkara Warm Water Rig
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: Tenkara Experience with Bluegill

Postby Clwpaddler » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:14 am

What is Flat Mono?
I fish well but the catching needs work!
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:16 pm
Location: Tampa Bay area Florida

Re: Tenkara Experience with Bluegill

Postby Vince_villavivencio » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:54 am

Clwpaddler ,

Flat Mono was popular for the running line on shooting head fly lines. Flat mono was also made popular by Doug Swisher for his Flat Butt leaders which improved leader turn-over. So, I thought this would aid in turn-over for Tenkara. However, that was not the important feature of the level line. I was after floatability of the level line which monofilament could provide on Stillwater.

I had some lying around and used what I had. I did a Google Search and it seems that the Cortland Cobra Flat Mono is not made anymore. It looks like there might be some available at Anglers Fantasy

I would substitute the Flat Mono with 15 lbs. or 20 lbs. Amnesia. I'll have to go give that a try.


Posts: 21
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 3:01 pm

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