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Old 03-26-18, 06:37 PM   #95
jfgros01's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 142
Default Tenkara....seriously?!

Originally Posted by splatek16 View Post
So as much as I've been B***hing at anyone that mentions tenkara and calling it a cane pole and going on and on about how there's no way you could ever fish one of these "sticks" on a true No GA small stream... I decided to test my hypothesis that I had been advocating for all this time. Turns out like any good scientific hypothesis, this one was false.

Great write up splatek. Empirical research at its finest.

Iíve been holding off on giving my 2 cents on tenkara(blanket term) but here it goes: I exclusively fish tenkara. I began my fly fishing adventures 2 years ago using a tenkara rod. I wanted to teach myself to fish for relatively cheap, and tenkara seemed like a straightforward way into the world of fly fishing. I will eventually teach myself how to fish with a standard western rig, but for now I am quite content with how I fish. Therefore, I have a one sided view on the matter(the other end of the spectrum of some of the fly fishing purists that have voiced their opinion in this thread.) It does take a certain amount of skill and finesse to fish tenkara. It took me a while to learn to properly cast, how to fish nymphs, and I'm currently learning how to effectively fish streamers. Its simplicity is mostly in its ability to pack down to a small size, and its ease of setup and ability to get on the water. Sure, some people extend this idea of simplicity to the "one fly" concept, but that is impractical in my mind, especially on the hooch.
To address the OPís main question- itís superior to a cane pole because itís lighter, collapsible, can protect light tippet, and based on its design be far more sensitive, making a small fish feel like a monster.

I fish a variety of waters, ranging from the hooch, to local ponds, to mountain streams that you can step over. I have two rods, one longer(13') for fishing the hooch and open streams, and another for tight mountain streams(9'). I have learned to effectively fish these waters with the tools I have chosen. On the hooch, I can get perfect drifts while fishing across/over wide currents with little to no line on the water. I don't doubt that using a western rig would be adventurous in a couple of situations, but I can still have a blast catching fish on the hooch with tenkara. In the mountains, I can quickly spool up my line, collapse my rod, and climb through brush. As splatek mentioned earlier, being mindful of your surroundings will help you be aware of how to cast, set a hook and land fish on smaller streams. But honestly, isn't that what fishing bluelines is all about... Being aware of yourself and your surroundings in order to sneak up on some spooky wild trout?

With tenkara, you generally want the longest rod possible for the task at hand. And you can get good at fishing a long rod on tighter streams. Itís no rhodo choked mountain stream, but I have learned to fish my 13í at dukes creek with relative ease. My first few times there I couldnít stay out of the brush. In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage of fishing tenkara is finding yourself on a section of water with too small of a rod. Youíll find yourself infinitely frustrated when your rod is too short for the job at hand. You can always fish a longer line to make up the distance, but once you get past a certain ratio of rod size to line length, it becomes very difficult to cast and land fish. For example, I can fish a line around 1.5-x as long as my rod. Any longer and the timing of the cast becomes real difficult, and you you have to hand line in the fish, typically resulting in more lost fish. My solution is to bring both my rods on small stream adventures. I have a variety of fixed length furled lines and adjustable length level lines so I always have the right setup for the fish/water at hand.

At the end of the day, different strokes for different folks. Don't want to fish tenkara? Fine. Just don't bash it because you feel superior that you can mend a line. That badge of honor, club mentality is a huge turn off to people wanting to learn to fly fish. When I just started out, I went to a GA fly fishing shop to ask for advice on flys and local fishing spots. I was told that I cant fish tenkara on GA waters and I should "just buy a 5 weight". I'm glad I didn't listen to him or people like Dylar that make fly fishing seem inaccessible to people wanting to learn. With that being said, I'm thankful for all the people on this forum/on the water who have helped me learn and navigate the world of fly fishing.

Last edited by jfgros01; 03-26-18 at 11:44 PM.
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