Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby CreationBear » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:01 pm

I've been intrigued by Tenkara fishing for a few months now, so I've naturally tried to imagine how well this technique would apply to my homewaters in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While no doubt a Tenkara rod would be a great at getting a fly where it needs to be on these small pocketwater flows, I'm a bit worried about what happens after if all goes right: specifically, how do you deal with the (inevitable) streamside vegetation when you set the hook and play the fish?

Or, to put it another way, how far do you have to move the rod tip when setting the hook? I.e., is it a "flick of the wrist" or a more deliberate sweeping motion? By way of comparison, my favorite conventional fly rod is bamboo, Payne 100 clone--it's certainly slow, but it's got enough meat in the tip to give me a quick hook-set so I don't have to have a huge "window" to move the rod through.

Any insights greatly appreciated, especially if you've tried Tenkara fishing down here in the Mountain South.

:)
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby jeffkreager » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:43 pm

Setting the hook with a Tenkara rods is very similar to a conventional fly rod. If you have your leader and tippet laid out straight then the hook set will be much easier. I will say that you need little more than a flip of the wrist to set the hook. You never have much line on the water.

The performance of a Tenkara rod in tight spots is unmatched.

Like any rod if you miss a strike you may end up in the trees but the furled leaders are easy to get out.

I find I miss a lot of strikes with heavily hackled flies. If you look closely at the Tenkara flies they have very little hackle.
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby CreationBear » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:48 pm

Thanks for the reply.... :) Down here, it always seems as if you're fishing in a "box" (tree limbs overhead, rocks in front, etc.) but you can usually find a "slot" to move the rod through if you think about it before hand. (Don't as me how I learned that lesson... :lol: )
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby CM_Stewart » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:04 pm

Where I fish, setting the hook is not the problem, it's playing the fish afterwards. Overhanging branches are a definite consideration and I often have to wade a few steps one way or the other to have enough overhead room to raise the rod enough to bring in a fish. I don't find it to be that much of a problem, and although I probably lose a fish each trip from getting my line or rod tip caught in the branches, I catch enough more than I used to with a shorter fly rod that it hardly matters. If overhead branches are a major concern, the one foot difference between the 11' Iwana and the longer rods means getting caught in the branches a lot less (on the backcast as well). On the other hand, having the longer rod is very nice for casting across current seams, so it really is a trade-off.
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby Jerry in SC » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:02 pm

It definitely requires some concentration to bring a fish to hand. Most streams (rivulets) I fish are choked with rhododendron and resemble tunnels or culverts. Since the fish are very small (sardine sized brookies and rainbows) the 11' Iwana works pretty well. I'm still attempting to resolve the leader/tippet relationship, but underhand and sidearm casts seem to keep the fly out of the tangle.

We Southern Highlanders have some nice water...it just ain't easy to fish.

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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby CreationBear » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:54 pm

Again, thanks for the replies. Jerry, that definitely looks like home (all that's missing is a few bears and rattlesnakes) so I'll definitely look forward to learning how you dial in your 11-footer. :)

On a not-unrelated-topic, though, does anybody know if you can buy the tip section of a TenkaraUSA rod separately? It's possible I might go through a couple before I get the hang of this... :lol:
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby Jerry in SC » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:52 pm

We have a small bear population, nothing like the GSMNP.

I don't think I've ever seen a timber rattler when trout fishing, but we have our fair share of copperheads.

The stream in the photo hasn't been stocked in many years, the little streambred rainbows leap like salmon. I catch a few brookies every year. I see a few grouse and the occasional long tailed weasel. It's a nice outing for a woods loafer.
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby Jerry in SC » Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:17 am

CreationBear wrote:On a not-unrelated-topic, though, does anybody know if you can buy the tip section of a TenkaraUSA rod separately? It's possible I might go through a couple before I get the hang of this... :lol:


I can certainly see where a spare tip would be useful. The tip should be simple to replace. The handle cap is easily removed (threaded) allowing access to the individual sections. The tip is very flexible (think al dente vermicelli) and incredibly thin. The Tenkara method of bringing fish to hand by lining them in is a bit foreign (pun unintended).
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby Tenkara USA » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:29 am

For now we don't offer spare tips. However, the tips are very strong and we don't expect you should go through a couple. Just take some precautions: as you walk with it, keep the pieces inside so you don't hit the tip on a tree/obstacle. Handle it gently when setting up and closing it.

Take a look at:http://www.tenkarausa.com/learn.php

Landing a fish is [almost] no different from western fly-fishing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX3h1uP_G4E

DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME
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Re: Query: Tenkara in the Southern Appalachias?

Postby CreationBear » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:10 pm

Thanks for all the insights, gentlemen...a lot to daydream about, anyways! :)
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