Tenkara Fly Fishing

A stick, some string and a fly

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is Tenkara for everyone?

I think it is safe to say fishing a fixed-length line (tenkara) is NOT for everybody. So what folks tend to enjoy fishing with a fixed-length line system?

If I use the basic progression of goals that many fisher folks go thru -

I want to catch my first fish - Tenkara is for you    

I want to catch alot of fish -   Tenkara is for you

I want to catch the biggest fish - Tenkara may not be the best fit

I want to catch difficult fish - Tenkara is a great tool for you

 

Is it hard to learn Tenkara fly fishing techniques?

You will find that the basic techniques of  Tenkara Fly fishing to be very  intuitive and quickly learned.  Most folks find that after 10 - 15 minutes of practice, they will be able to effectively start fishing.  One of the major benefits of Tenkara Fly Fishing is it's simplicity and ease of use.  Through the course of fishing, you will find that you learn and develop additional techniques that make for fishing experience more effect in a wide variety of different environment and conditions.

 What equipment do I need to fly fish with Tenkara techniques?

When thinking Tenkara Fly Fishing, think simplicity.  Only the most basic equipment is used.  A rod, a Tenkara Fly line, a spool of tippet material, and a small handful of flies.  When practicing Tenkara fly fishing, you do not need a multi pocketed vest.  You can carry everything you need to fish in one hand and a shirt pocket.

 Some folks find one of the basic attractions of fishing a fixed-length line system is that it provides the opportunity to fish gizmo free.  I'd suggest you at least give it a try that way and see what you think.  If it doesn't appeal to you, you can always add gizmos as you go along.  I will say it does seem that fly fishers tend to be attracted to complexity like a moth to a flame.  There is certainly nothing wrong with that.  The important thing is to fish the way you enjoy and have fun.

 Is it really fly fishing?

YES!  Fixed-length-line systems provide the same challenges and pleasure found in fishing a reeled fly rod, maybe more.  Casting is accomplished by using the weight/mass of your line to carry along a weightless fly.  The main diference you will immediately notice is the level of control you will have once your fly touches down on the water.  You will be able to accurately present your fly, whether you want to actively manipulate your fly, or use a true dead drift.  Once a fish hits, hang on!  The long light rod allows you to experience every tug and turn your finned opponent cares to throw at you.  As one angler put it - The scream of the reel is replaced by the pounding of your heart. 

Is Tenkara only for small stream fishing?

Tenkara does excel when fishing small streams.  However in some respects, Tenkara is even more effective on large rivers.  A large river can be view as a series of small streams running in parallel.  When fishing a large river, a angler can typically have better luck when approaching a fish.  The ambient noise and commotion of large volumes of water help to camouflage the approach of a stealthy angler.

Is Tenkara only for small fish?

Tenkara equipment is very comfortable in handling the size of fish many of of fish for and catch.  Nice sized fish (16' trout, 18" bass, any panfish that swims) are regularly landed.  Larger fish can also be landed, but in point of fact, the odds tend to swing in the fish's favor as their size increases.  Most Tenkara anglers feel this only adds to the challenge.

Are Tenkara rods fragile?

Fish don't break Tenkara Rods, Fisher folk may break Tenkara Rods.

Tenkara rods are surprisingly resilient when it comes to catching and landing fish.  It is important that since there is a fixed length of line being used, that the weakest link in the system is the tippet.  For that reason, tippets of 4 lb test or less should be used.

The angler must use care in the use of a Tenkara Rod.  If you happen to become snagged, DO NOT use the extended rod to try to pull your fly out of the snag.  It only takes a few seconds to collapse your rod.  Once the rod is collapsed, grab your Tenkara line and apply appropriate force to dislodge your fly, or break your tippet.  Care should also be taken when extending and collapsing your rod.  Only a slight force is required to extended the rod.  Stop when you feel initial resistance, this will allow the rod to be collapsed easily and smoothly.  You should also use some sort of rubberized gripping device when trying to collapse rod section which have become stuck.  Apply pressure only in a straight line along the axis of the rod segments.  

 

 

 A stick, some string and a fly