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New to Tenkara, help please!

New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby keleche » Sat May 21, 2016 5:51 pm

Hello everyone,

I am not much of a fisherman but the simplicity and ultra light nature of Tenkara has me giving it a shot. I am using a Tenkara USA Sato rod with 3.5 level line, #5 tippet, and the Ishigaki Kebari fly. I started with about 12' of level line, and 3-4 feet of tippet. I have gotten some super small 2" fish but nothing else thus far.

I have tried 2 different rivers and a lake. Here are some of my gripes/questions:

1) I'm trying my best to have the dry fly land softly on the water but about 95% of the time it lands rather firm and immediately begins sinking underwater. I do a firm side to side action to dry the fly in between casts and that helps but it isn't enough usually. Any tips here? I've read the fly should always land first and I generally make that happen.

2) I can't seem to get much distance. When doing an overhead cast, I go back to the 12 o'clock position then firmly stop with a pause, then do the cast ending in a 2-3 o'clock position. The line doesn't completely straighten behind me and doesn't really propel forward with much force leaving the level line kind of in an S shape. I added on an extra 10' feet of level line and was getting pretty much the same distance. What is going on here? Do I not have enough weight on the line?

3) As recommended by Tenkara USA, I have been doing the Tenkara One knot for the Lillian to line, line to tippet, and tippet to fly. I haven't lost anything but I have found the half inch of tag line doesn't seem to work to remove the knot. I don't leave any tag by the fly, but I leave a bit elsewhere. Is this knot and other knots supposed to be easy to remove? The Lillian to line knot I have been able to remove but it certainly doesn't come off as easy as it seems in the videos online.

That's it for now! Any input would be great. I want to enjoy this but after a few days without much improvement it's beginning to get frustrating.
keleche
 
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Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby Rob Ruff » Sun May 22, 2016 6:57 am

I'll try to help you out. I've been fishing Tenkara since March 2015 but I have fished a great deal of water in that time. I fish all level line but every now and then I'll switch back to a furled line.

First, what length do you generally keep your Sato at? I would think you're probably in the middle which is 3.6 meters. Make another section of level line 11' long or shorten the one your using by one foot. This will help with the casting while your form improves. I generally fish lines 4 meters or less. When casting, remember that Tenkara casts are more like a 45 degree angle vs western style where the line is horizontal on the backcast. Don't be so strict with that because it can vary depending on wind, trees, your mood, etc. Here's a trick to get the fly to land more softly: when you make the abrupt stop at the 10 o'clock (2 o'clock if you prefer), immediately after the stop, slowly follow the line with the rod to the 9 o'clock. This will allow the fly to land a little more softly on the water's surface. I wouldn't start experimenting with longer lines just yet because your technique needs to improve. Casting long lines accurately is a challenge and can quickly frustrate you. If not done correctly, they will just end up in a pile. Funny thing about Tenkara is being fooled into thinking that the longer lines will yield more fish. I've moved into parts of a stream I have just fished without catching anything. Then suddenly, I'll catch a fish nearly just feet from where I'm standing.

Tenkara rods tend to become over powered when someone tries to muscle the line into moving. Sometimes all that is needed is to actually slow down the casting stroke. In your backyard, try experimenting with different tempos and you will soon see the tempo the Sato will cast the line the easiest. I don't have a Sato but I have several different rods and all behave differently. I usually carry two rods with me and if I switch to the other rod, I have to adjust my casting tempo to get the line to cast correctly (a few casts is all it takes).

I use the one knot also for tippet to line and fly to tippet. But, for the lilian connection, I'll use a slip knot. Instead of just an overhand knot, I'll use the surgeon's knot for the slip part. I find it works better that way.

Back in March I fished a creek in Missouri that has wild trout. The stream was extremely clear and the fish were exceptionally spooky. After about an hour of not catching fish, I found I had to change to a bow and arrow presentation because the movement of the rod was alerting the fish. I started catching fish once I figured that out.
Rob Ruff
 
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Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Sun May 22, 2016 8:20 am

It's always hard to diagnose cast problems with out actually seeing the person cast, but I would guess your backcast isn't quick enough and your forward cast may be overpowered. I work with a lot of new tenkara casters and even when they think they're not, they're usually using too much force on the forward cast. Can't be sure without actually seeing you cast, though.

Also, if you're fishing a 12' line on the Sato, (which is a fine place to start) you probably don't need much pause on the backcast, although I doubt that's what causing some of your issues.

If you haven't already watched it, please take a look at this video Daniel did on casting. Besides all the excellent points he gives, please look at how very little physical effort he's putting int the cast, how short his casting stroke is, and how the line turns over straight to the target, not parallel to the waters surface (another big flaw I see in beginning tenkara casters).

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

If you'd like, post a link to a video of yourself casting and we might be able to better diagnose your casting problems. Best of luck.
John Geer at Tenkara USA
John @ Tenkara USA
 
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Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby keleche » Mon May 30, 2016 11:00 pm

Rob Ruff wrote:I'll try to help you out. I've been fishing Tenkara since March 2015 but I have fished a great deal of water in that time. I fish all level line but every now and then I'll switch back to a furled line.

First, what length do you generally keep your Sato at? I would think you're probably in the middle which is 3.6 meters. Make another section of level line 11' long or shorten the one your using by one foot. This will help with the casting while your form improves. I generally fish lines 4 meters or less. When casting, remember that Tenkara casts are more like a 45 degree angle vs western style where the line is horizontal on the backcast. Don't be so strict with that because it can vary depending on wind, trees, your mood, etc. Here's a trick to get the fly to land more softly: when you make the abrupt stop at the 10 o'clock (2 o'clock if you prefer), immediately after the stop, slowly follow the line with the rod to the 9 o'clock. This will allow the fly to land a little more softly on the water's surface. I wouldn't start experimenting with longer lines just yet because your technique needs to improve. Casting long lines accurately is a challenge and can quickly frustrate you. If not done correctly, they will just end up in a pile. Funny thing about Tenkara is being fooled into thinking that the longer lines will yield more fish. I've moved into parts of a stream I have just fished without catching anything. Then suddenly, I'll catch a fish nearly just feet from where I'm standing.

Tenkara rods tend to become over powered when someone tries to muscle the line into moving. Sometimes all that is needed is to actually slow down the casting stroke. In your backyard, try experimenting with different tempos and you will soon see the tempo the Sato will cast the line the easiest. I don't have a Sato but I have several different rods and all behave differently. I usually carry two rods with me and if I switch to the other rod, I have to adjust my casting tempo to get the line to cast correctly (a few casts is all it takes).

I use the one knot also for tippet to line and fly to tippet. But, for the lilian connection, I'll use a slip knot. Instead of just an overhand knot, I'll use the surgeon's knot for the slip part. I find it works better that way.

Back in March I fished a creek in Missouri that has wild trout. The stream was extremely clear and the fish were exceptionally spooky. After about an hour of not catching fish, I found I had to change to a bow and arrow presentation because the movement of the rod was alerting the fish. I started catching fish once I figured that out.


Hey sorry for the late reply but I just wanted to thank you for your very helpful reply. I went up backpacking with the Sato and caught my first 4 fish with it! I caught 3 within 30-45 minutes near an inlet to an alpine lake. Then the next morning I spotted a fish near the shore and got it to take the fly after 5-6 casts in front of it. So awesome. I am hooked!

I had previously thought the "one knot" was really the only knot but it's just a knot that's used for two key places. The line to lillian connection doesn't use that knot as you indicated.

Cheers!
keleche
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 2:41 pm

Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby keleche » Mon May 30, 2016 11:02 pm

John @ Tenkara USA wrote:It's always hard to diagnose cast problems with out actually seeing the person cast, but I would guess your backcast isn't quick enough and your forward cast may be overpowered. I work with a lot of new tenkara casters and even when they think they're not, they're usually using too much force on the forward cast. Can't be sure without actually seeing you cast, though.

Also, if you're fishing a 12' line on the Sato, (which is a fine place to start) you probably don't need much pause on the backcast, although I doubt that's what causing some of your issues.

If you haven't already watched it, please take a look at this video Daniel did on casting. Besides all the excellent points he gives, please look at how very little physical effort he's putting int the cast, how short his casting stroke is, and how the line turns over straight to the target, not parallel to the waters surface (another big flaw I see in beginning tenkara casters).

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

If you'd like, post a link to a video of yourself casting and we might be able to better diagnose your casting problems. Best of luck.


Thank you for the help! I think I may have finally figured it out. Now my cast is super low force and very smooth and methodical. I just focus where and how I want the fly to go and most of the time it gets there! So awesome.
keleche
 
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 2:41 pm

Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby Karl Klavon » Sat May 05, 2018 10:02 am

No one addressed your sinking dry fly problem, which is understandable enough because Tenkara fishing is usually considered to be an unweighted wet fly fishing technique. But you have mentioned the fishing of Alpine Lakes, and that is where fishing floating foam terrestrial fly patterns can really boost your productivity, and they will also work equally as well on streams.

Terrestrial insects would include bugs like ants, beetles and hoppers, but also include spiders (which are not insects), bees and wasps. At this point you are probably not tying your own flies, but commercial foam terrestrial fly patterns are readily available, with sizes #12, 14 and 16 flies probably being the most useful most of the time. Terrestrial bugs do not necessarily land gently on the water but with resounding splat, which often attracts the trout's interest and attention if it does not happen too close to them. The prime terrestrial times are generally when it is warmer in the afternoons, as the thermal winds come up depositing bugs into streams and lakes, so this makes the daily breezes that pop up in the mountains a fishing friend rather than a casting enemy. In Alpine Lakes, most of these fisheries could not exist if it were not for the daily up-slope deposition of wind delivered land based insects. And on small streams, with the many overhanging the water trees and bushes that grow along them, terrestrial bugs make up the lion's share of what the trout have to eat through the summer and fall months, all of which makes terrestrial fly patterns highly effective fishing flies to use for Tenkara.

Some terrestrial patterns are tied with closed cell foam, meaning that the foam is waterproof, floats well and feels life-like to the fish. However, the use of some type of floatant will enhance and extend the fly's floating abilities, so you may wish to use a paste floatant on the foam parts of your Terrestral-flies. If there is any drawback to using T-patterns, it is that they are low-floating and rather hard to see on the water. So (if you have to buy your flies) choose patterns with some kind of HI-VIS aspect built in to their tying design for visibility. Since I tie my own flies, I use Two-Tone Foam that I make myself by gluing light tan and black foam sheets together, with 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive (available from home supply and hardware stores), which makes fly patterns that are light on the top for you to be see against the generally darker water, and dark under neath for the fish to see against the generally light sky.

Fishing floating terrestrial fly patterns is not thought of as being a Tenkara tactic, but doing so will be highly effective on both lakes and streams. And for the lakes in particular, you want to cast into the wind, close and parallel to the shoreline to get drag free drifts, which will be most efficient when done with a Floating Tenkara Fly Line rather than a Fluorocarbon or furled line, with a conventional tapered leader about half the length of your floating fly line, and a 2 - 3 foot long or so tippet. Trying these new techniques and tackle elements may not be traditional Tenkara, but it will greatly expand your Tenkara fishing horizons and increase your fishing successes as well....Karl.
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Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby Rob Ruff » Fri May 11, 2018 3:12 am

Glad you finally caught some fish! I don't worry too much about the fly sinking because 95% percent of the time I'm fishing the fly "wet" which means it's going to sink some.
Rob Ruff
 
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Re: New to Tenkara, help please!

Postby Adam Trahan » Thu May 17, 2018 11:51 pm

Stoked you caught fish!

Great answers here.

Most of the time, when I read about people having difficulty casting, it's because they are trying too hard.

Watch Daniel's videos, try to emulate the clock stops and be gentle, it really doesn't take much to cast the rods.

More importantly, just keep catching fish like you have, many people teach themselves to cast, catch and everything else.

So happy you are figuring it out, stoked for you.
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