Simplicity of Tenkara

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

Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby Mark W » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:13 pm

Greetings.

I recently received my Tenkara rod, line and flies and will be trying out the set-up this weekend. I fished fairly often when I was younger (mostly with either a cane pole or fly-rod, and primarily on small lakes or wide rivers), but I haven't been fishing in over two years. I do a fair amount of backpacking here in Kentucky and upon noticing that many of my favorite trails cross creeks that are stocked with rainbow or brown trout, I decided I'd look into getting a lightweight fishing set-up to take with me on my backpacking trips. I stumbled upon this website and it seemed like I'd found something that far exceeded any expectations I had for fishing gear to use while backpacking.

Initially I was struck by the incredibly lightweight and portable system of Tenkara fishing, but the simplicity of it was what really caught my attention. I found the underlying principle of simplicity to be very similar to that behind the appeal of the fixed-gear bicycle I own. Only the core equipment for fly fishing is needed in Tenkara, and with fixed-gear bicycles only the most simple components are used. When riding a fixed-gear bicycle there are no thoughts about whether or not it is time to shift gears or cooast (as a fixed-gear bicycle only has one cog on the wheel connected to the drivetrain and does not allow the rider to coast), just like how in Tenkara there is no thought given to paying out more line from the reel or constantly switching flies. Fewer parts mean fewer problems and an intensified focus on the activity instead of on the equipment. Just an observation I thought I'd share.

Any tips or suggestions before I head out to fish this weekend?

I'll be using to 11 ft. Iwana rod, traditional tenkara line, 5x tippet and a mix of several flies and perhaps popping bugs. The streams and river I'll be fishing have plenty of bluegill and smallmouth bass, which is what I'll be trying to catch. The other streams I'm planning on visiting to fish aren't stocked with trout until October so I'll probably wait until then to make the special trip.

I look forward to learning from your experiences and discussing the finer points of this style of fishing in the future.
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby goneflyfishing » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:38 pm

Welcome to the Tenkara, from reading your post I am sure you'll be enjoying it. My recommendation would be not to overthink it, keep it simple, play around and find out what's working and what's not. Be mindful of any trees, bushes and other fly catching obstacles.

Other than that, have fun!

Tight lines, -K
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby wrknapp » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:00 pm

I fish streams with bluegill and bass frequently and always use one of my tenkara rods including my own 11' Iwana. I have found an across stream or downstream cast most effective. I generally use a size 8 Gurgle Pop as seen here:

http://www.fishingwithflies.com/Pete'sG ... opper.html

although I mostly use my modified version which can be seen here:

http://www.fishingwithfliesblog.com/

I also use a rust colored marabou jig or woolly bugger in a size 10 or 8. I also generally don't follow the tippet rules and use either 6lb 2x Maxima or 8lb 0x Maxima. Chameleon is my favorite fro its abrasion resistance. I use the rod tip to twitch the popper toward me pausing irradically for several seconds. I also use the rod tip to give the jig or woolly bugger a porpoising motiom not unlike a crawdad hop. Some times I tie a few short pieces of rubber leg material on top or underneath the little jig.

Most of the nicer fish will be in slow, deeper pools especially near rocks or brush or roots.

You will have a blast.

Randy

I have used tenkara style flies the same way with somewhat less success.
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby gregtung » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:30 am

I have found tenkara to be great for panfish and smallmouth bass in rivers. I went this past Friday on the Patapsco in MD and caught so many fish I lost count. This is a fairly wide river for the region and I was fishing with an amago. I haven't found a reason to move beyond wooly buggers. I typically only change flies after one is so beat up from catching fish that it is just shreds (doesn't seem to bother the fish though). In addition to the across and downstream casts that randy suggested I frequently cast up and across, allow the line to flow downstream of the fly somewhat, and then work the fly downstream until it is straight across 10 to 15 feet away. I read someplace that when baitfish and crayfish flee they tend to go downstream to take advantage of the current. I don't know if that is true but this technique works well for me.

Have fun,

Greg
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby Mark W » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:14 pm

wrknapp wrote:I fish streams with bluegill and bass frequently and always use one of my tenkara rods including my own 11' Iwana. I have found an across stream or downstream cast most effective. I generally use a size 8 Gurgle Pop as seen here:

http://www.fishingwithflies.com/Pete'sG ... opper.html

although I mostly use my modified version which can be seen here:

http://www.fishingwithfliesblog.com/

I also use a rust colored marabou jig or woolly bugger in a size 10 or 8. I also generally don't follow the tippet rules and use either 6lb 2x Maxima or 8lb 0x Maxima. Chameleon is my favorite fro its abrasion resistance. I use the rod tip to twitch the popper toward me pausing irradically for several seconds. I also use the rod tip to give the jig or woolly bugger a porpoising motiom not unlike a crawdad hop. Some times I tie a few short pieces of rubber leg material on top or underneath the little jig.

Most of the nicer fish will be in slow, deeper pools especially near rocks or brush or roots.

You will have a blast.

Randy

I have used tenkara style flies the same way with somewhat less success.


Thanks for the info.

When fishing with a popping bug is there anything I need to do different in terms of line set-up, or do I just tie the bug on the same way I would if I was using a fly (i.e. hook to tippet, tippet to line, line to rod)? Sorry for such a basic question, I'd just rather ask now than after making mistakes while out fishing.
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby wrknapp » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:21 pm

The only thing different is that the fly is bulkier and thus more wind resistant and heavier. This means that if you don't use a heavier tippet then you need to use a shorter tippet or the fly will not turn over. I do both but I am experienced and have a good feel for the rod's limits and thus am unlikely to break the rod.

Randy
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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Re: Simplicity of Tenkara

Postby Mark W » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:29 pm

I got a chance to use my Tenkara set-up this past weekend. I fished from about 6-7:30 p.m. on Saturday night and from about 7:15-8:30 a.m. this morning. I ended up setting my tent up in the dark last night -- I was having such a great time I didn't want to stop until I had to.

I ended up getting three fish on the line, but only landed the smallest one. I attached a picture of that fish; you can see the spot I was fishing in the background. I got a smallmouth bass on the line that was about 8-10 inches, but it shook the hook out right around my feet when I was landing it. That fish certainly gave me a good test drive of the rod. Probably had about 15-20 total strikes, so I definitely stayed entertained. I used two different Tenkara flies I purchased a yellow popping bug. All the three fish I hooked were on the popping bug, I had several strikes on one of the flies. I was fishing in relatively small holes on a small river about 50 feet wide.

I was very impressed with the Tenkara style of fishing and can't wait to get back and do some more. Next time I'll be able to get out will be in about two weeks. I'll have at least a whole day to fish then instead of the few hours I had this time.

Thanks again for the info, many of your suggestions were helpful, particularly the advice on using a shorter tippet with the popping bug.
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