The foundation of fly fishing, both East and West,was built upon using a fixed length of line. Four hundred years ago, anglers in Japan and Europe where practicing fishing with a fly,tapered line, and a rod sans reel.
Today, Tenkara fly fishing can be viewed as a simplified counterpart to western fly-fishing. The simplified equipment allows the angler to concentrate on the fishing experience , rather than being preoccupied with the technicalities of equipment function and use.
The lure of tenkara fly fishing is its most elementary simplicity. An equivalent to fishing with a willow branch, string and a hook, the way at least a few of us got started fishing. Tenkara rods for the most part tend to be longer in length than their western counterpart, usually ten to thirteen feet long. Modern Tenkara rods are made of carbon fiber and are telescopic, allowing for easy and safe transport. Don't leave home without it.
Although Tenkara is simple from an equipment perspective, it provides both continued interest and challenge. It's truly an activity that one can quickly learn to get started, but allows one to continue to expand and grow with on stream experience.
Long tenkara fly fishing rods can easily cast very light lines, allowing for very delicate and precise presentation. A long rod allows the angler to keep the line aloft, above the surface of the water. This allows the angler to accomplish a drag free drift on the other side of countless conflicting currents. The long rod also allows the angler to accurately and precisely manipulate the fly, being able to impart life to the fly can fool the wisest fish in the pool.
Not only are Tenkara fly fishing rods long, but they are also delicate. This allows the angler to feel the slightest take of the fish. Better feel means more fish hooked, which means more fun.
A long rod provides a distinct advantage once the fish is hooked. Most anglers agree that the long, flexible rod allow fish to be quickly brought to hand. This makes for a clean and safe release for the fish. That's a good thing, since most angler find that their catch rates go up two or three times when using Tenkara techniques.
Many of the most enthusiastic Tenkara fly fishers are folks who have been fly fishing western techniques for multiple decades. They find the concept refreshing, challenging and engaging.
Tenkara fly fishing is ideal if you are a backpacker. A sub-three ounce rod, a weightless line, a few feet of tippet, and a couple of flies is all you need to be ready to enjoy a day astream.
Folks who always wanted to try fly fishing find Tenkara fly fishing is both economical and easy to learn (yet provides ongoing challenge and satisfaction). You don't need to spend a thousand dollars and go to a week long school to get started. Just find some water, and go have fun!
A stick, some string and a fly.