16
Sep
10

Tenkara: What Am I Missing?

Dapping the seams? Long rod, like the old cane pole, with the string? High sticking? Connected to the presentation? All seems fine, simplistic and cheaper. Beyond that, what is the fuss about? I am missing it. Almost like the retro zeal of a hipster that rediscovered the cane pole. Sorry, just another means to the same end and not deserving of the fawning. Eek!      Tenkara USA

“…the continued Balkanization, or specialization, or fracturing, or whatever you want to call it, among fly anglers… the various fly-fishing subcultures—tournament bass fishermen, carp anglers, steelheaders, backcountry saltwater fishermen and so on —will continue to define themselves more distinctly and vocally.” – Ted Leeson, Author. He failed to include tenkara anglers in the subcultures, but you are part of a distinct, and shall we say, a very cool group of anglers!

“Trends for trouties: The European proliferation of deadly nymphing techniques will continue to gnaw on Yank rod makers, who after many years of ignoring anything longer than 8 1/2 ft. and 9 ft. rods for regular fishing are going to convince users of the versatility found in longer (9 1/2 on up) equipment.” – Paul Bruun, Columnist and Guide. Huh!

Our prediction is that 2010 will be an awesome year for angling with a rod, line and a fly; when angling will be the simple and relaxing experience we crave, when you don’t need to (though you may still want to) travel far to enjoy pristine waters and wild fish, and perhaps a year of retirement for your underworked reel. This will be a tenkara fly-fishing year for many anglers throughout the world who will enjoy the simplicity and relaxation only tenkara allows.” Tenkara USA

The only thing unique and worth mentioning are the fly patterns that are worth consideration.

An air of superiority seems to exude from the pores. Just what’s needed, another elitist nitch. Just do it and shut up already.

*Ok, Ok….after some behind the scenes arm twisting and a stern re-education program, I will concede the Tenkara approach to presenting the fly has merit and more importantly…who am I to put down a past time that seduces a fish to the fly. To each their own in connecting to nature and the purity of their endeavor. My apologies to the several I offended.  SB 9/28/10



13 Responses to “Tenkara: What Am I Missing?”


  1. 1 Christopher Palmer
    August 10, 2020 at 16:46

    I know it’s been 10 years since your original post, but somehow I find myself here and interested. I just discovered Tenkara a couple weeks ago after not fly fishing for at least 20 years. I don’t know if the Tenkara fervor has died down or not since this post, but I have to say that looking into it has got me excited to get back out on the river and give it a try. We shall see

    Like

  2. 3 craig
    September 18, 2010 at 10:14

    i can never figure if i’m ahead the curve or just cheap.

    i’ve used a walmart collapsible pole as a truck rod for years. i use a stout tapered leader and an assortment of flies for fishing pockets in weed beds. just a warning…large carp will reduce these poles to their constituent elements, unless you thread wrap the joints.

    i have taken trout in pocket water with the setup.

    i have a book of french patterns somewhere, one of the patterns is very similar to the basic tenkara pattern. it works well.

    personally i don’t see what he excitement is all about, but the technique does work and folks want something different. so……

    Like

    • 4 SwittersB
      September 18, 2010 at 10:45

      yes, I agree on the telescoping rods that are cheaper…I imagine the Tenkara rods are of better quality than my old one from Fisherman’s Marine decades ago. It has caught many backpacking trout but I don’t know how it would endure against the carp, as you point out. The inverted or shall i say reversed hackle on some of the Tenkara patterns does have an appeal. Thanks for dropping by Craig….

      Gary

      Like

  3. 5 SwittersB
    September 17, 2010 at 17:31

    I would recommend looking at a couple of the patterns that could be nice to use and added to your hundreds, no thousands of other flies.

    Like

  4. 6 Bill
    September 17, 2010 at 08:34

    Ice fishing dude! The new way…vertical, connected, no electronics, just you and the vertical presentation while fishing blind….how cool is that? International Ice Fly Fishing…just a long leader and one fly. Can you imagine and we can attach some Nordic God juice to it too…..

    Like

  5. 7 Charles Hikaru
    September 17, 2010 at 08:20

    May I wade in here? Oh, do Tenkara fishers wade? They seem to always be perched atop a rock, sans shoes, as if a stork. May I say this, and I do have some personal/cultural cred’s to offer this: A Japanese technique that is adopted by Westerners is often nothing more than their attempt to link to NIbbana…the state, the existence. Much like the 60’s, the arrogance does in deed exude from those that combine a simple,in touch, fishing technique and try to attach values, status, mentality, Eastern karma, if you will, that are probably of no greater value than a person seeking that same connection with a spinning reel, bait casting reel, or that unused fly reel. Tout it from a productive ability to hook fish period. I apologize, but I agree with SwittersB. Please show me another sector of the fly fish community that stands on the perceived side lines and stomps their collective feet. Boo hoo? The missed point here is that no self respecting man from Japan would dare show such petulance, nor should any one from the West. As SwittersB said just do it and be quiet. It will rise to the level of worthiness it deserves by merit not whimpering.

    Like

    • 8 SwittersB
      September 17, 2010 at 08:53

      Hello Charles….

      I think that you and CW have hit upon the kernel here. My gut level response was a bit harsh, because I reside in an area where “open mindedness” is code for stand aside for every goof ball BS concept (yes, that is freedom of expression) BUT there evolves from this tolerance of everything, this contigent of we are superior, we are more knowing, we are better connected to some value scheme. Is that what Tenkara is doing? Probably not at all. Just my reflexive, suspicious nature. If it is worthy and enjoyable just do it and share (which for the most part is what they only do). I probably offered my .02 with a bit too much zeal. I am always put off by those that refine down to some core and then look back and say to others, all your trappings are unneeded, wasteful, materialistic etc. My bad, I suppose for attaching too much intent to a simple comment by a frustrated promoter of the endeavor; a student of his enjoyable past time. Elitist I am not. On guard, I am.

      Like

  6. September 17, 2010 at 06:37

    I really enjoy my Tenkara fishing, but I’m not throwing away my western-style fly gear yet. I still love my fly rods and reel. There’s nothing like laying out a 60′ cast across the stream, throwing a mend to avoid drag, nabbing that riser on the opposite bank, and listening to the scream of the reel.

    Also, even though, I am a Tenkara user, I agree with you about the nose-in-the-air superiority, that some Tenkara enthusiasts seem to exude. It’s wrong-headed. There is some push by some Tenkara folks to emphasize a one-fly philosophy, where you use only one style of fly, and when it doesn’t work you chalk it up to bad technique, or unwilling fish, or whatever. So far I have a hard time buying into that. I’ve seen fly-changes result in many more hook-ups too many times, to say it is all technique and fly pattern doesn’t matter at all. Maybe, I just love tying flies too much. For me, tying a zillion different flies, is a big part of the fun.

    The one thing that I will add, in defense of Tenkara technique, is that it is not dapping. You can and do cast a Tenkara rod. It is actually difficult to dap with a Tenkara rod. The fly line is usually longer than the rod -so you actually cast it and then use the rod’s length to hold the line completely off of the water. So, depending on the line I use, with my 12′ tenkara rod I can cast 20 feet or more. Because there is no fly-line on the water, you avoid drag from varying currents between you and the fly. It’s a pretty effective method. But better? Let’s just say different for now.

    All that said – I always say different strokes for different folks! It’s always silly to put one technique or style above another. There’s plenty of room for everyone.

    Like

    • 10 SwittersB
      September 17, 2010 at 07:46

      Hi Anthony,

      so the leader system is all that is on the water there by providing a more direct contact with the fish or the sense of the take. Ok that is nice, I suppose. Thank you for the thoughtful response, as always.

      Gary

      Like

  7. 11 Goneflyfishing
    September 16, 2010 at 21:41

    Just from reading your post, I think you “are missing a lot”. Have you tried Tenkara? Or are you one those “elitists” that only fishes dry flies (or nymphs, but oh, not euro style…). Jesus, some folks would be better off to be open minded and do their research before opening their mouth.

    You have one less follower of your blog.

    Limp lines, -K

    Like

    • 12 SwittersB
      September 16, 2010 at 21:56

      Well K, why I asked what am I missing. Studied the site. Have posted positively before. Was visiting again and saw that piece and thought, you know, I don’t get this. Read the concept. No, I have not fished with a telescoping rod like Tenkara. (other than a cheapo Wal-mart one for backpacking). But, anyone that has fished a 2-3 wt. on a small stream chasing trout in pocket water understands the same techniques, even if it is with a reel. Sorry to offend, but I do not see the point. And, there is a air of superiority…just my take.

      I don’t get your comment about elitist and only fishes dries or won’t dredge nymphs??? Lost me there. I fish all ways and never tout one method superior to another….I just enjoy it all…

      Sorry to lose you….

      Gary

      Like

    • 13 Prince of Ties
      September 17, 2010 at 06:49

      Seems to me it is you who fails the open-minded test. It is the right to see it his way and you the reader to agree or not. Kind of childish to take your toys and go home, at least that is my thought. To hell with what the article was about, this is about the right to say what you feel, and have the reader agree, disagree, or be an asshole. Looks like you chose the catagory that suits you!

      Like


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