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Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 403
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I bought a Fountainhead tenkara rod a little while back thinking that I may be able to find some use for it. I was thinking:

1. My fiance/kid brother could use it because it's simpler to cast than a fly rod, but would still give them the fun of catching a fish on a dry fly.

2. It may be fun to nymph with if I ever really wanted to czech nymph

3. It may be useful for backpacking since it's so lightweight.

Also, judging by all of the videos and promotional material online I thought maybe I'd enjoy just using it as a primary rod.

Well, I've been messing around with it for a while, and I have to say that I'm not thrilled with it. Here's why:

A. It's no fun to cast. All you do is flick the line out in front of you. Casting a fly rod is *way* more fun. I'd even say casting a spinning rod is more fun.

B. It's no fun to land fish. I just pick up the rod, grab the line, and haul them in.

C. It's not useful for most of the streams I fish with. It's long and unwieldly, and most of the trout streams I fish are dense and brushy. The length of the rod really limits what spots I can get to. Plus it's impossible to cast underneath anything since you really have to make an overhand cast to get the fly anywhere.

D. Managing the line is a nightmare. Unlike a fly line, a 15 foot piece of fluorocarbon is *not* easy to untangle. I got some of the line keepers that attach to the rod, and that helped a little, but it's still a pain. I prefer having a reel to keep line on.

I think maybe it will still be fun to have on a backpacking trip. I doubt my kid brother would be able to use it without getting the line hopelessly tangled, and my fiance isn't really interested - she says that traditional fly fishing looks more fun and more versatile.

I haven't tried it for "Czech" nymphing yet. Maybe I will. Though that style of nymphing seems like it may bore me as well since there's no actual casting involved. We'll see.

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:01


Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2012/10/24 19:22
From Landenberg, PA
Posts: 1558
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probably better for big rivers with pocket water...

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:15
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Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
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I appreciate the honest, real world review!

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:32


Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2192
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Dear Jeremy,

A cane pole ain't nuthin' but a cane pole.

I would probably be a heck of a rig for fishing crickets under floats, or minnies on slip bobbers, but as far as fly fishing is concerned it's not fly fishing, it's just an expensive cane pole.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:40
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Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2011/4/10 23:56
From Bucks County
Posts: 64
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Hey Jeremey,
You are correct a long Tenkara rob sucks for small brushy streams. Sounds like you got one of the longer rods form FH. having the right size Floro matched to the rod is key. If its the 7:3 rod size 3.5 or 4 casts better, if it's a 5:5 or 6:4 then a size 3 line is better. You'll know when you have the right line, as it should load the line on the back cast just like a Fly rod. 15' of mono seems a bit long, I have a 13'6" rod with only 12' mono with about 1.5' - 2' of tippet. That amount allows you to keep all of the line out of the water except the last 2' or so, so that you shouldn't have any need to mend the line. And yup as you mentioned a pair of easy keepers will make storing the line much better and mess free.

Give it a shot for Nymphing, that to me is the strong point of a Tenkara Rod. Use it like you would high sticking a Fly rod. Use a high visible mono line, and keeping the line taunt, you really see and feel the subtle strikes. More fun that constantly mending a floating line, and watching a indicator.

Good luck
Mike

Posted on: 2013/5/12 9:14


Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2006/11/20 10:08
Posts: 1209
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I think what Tim says is what I imagine Tenkara to be. I swear that before the end of the season I am going to dig out an old cane pole in my garage, fit it with some leader and a nymph or two, and "tenkara" fish with it, just for the heck of it. It might even be fun.

Posted on: 2013/5/12 9:25


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
Posts: 2223
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With the right length rod, it would probably be a fine small stream brookie rod. But the inability to fight a fish certainly is a drawback. Since a lot of "brookie fishing" is done "dap and hook" style anyway, I have to think that the concept is fine where small fish in tight areas is the norm.

Posted on: 2013/5/12 9:28


Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2006/9/11 11:30
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Tenkara shouldn't be cane pole fishing if done the original way. If you don't think it is fly fishing I doubt you have gotten all you could out of the technique. I'll make the same argument about dapping. Sure it can be dangling a fly straight down from a cane pole, but it can be a lot more too. Our fly fishing ancestors had a lot of tricks up their sleeves even with the simple equipment available - they didn't just hang flies straight down off a long stick. In my reading it seems like "fish heads" of any time and place developed sophisticated techniques and the 5% of fishermen catch 95% of the fish has long, long roots.

However, to be honest even though I mess around with Tenkara and other rod types from 400 years ago and dapping, doing so most often illustrates why the fly reel, modern lines, and modern rods were invented. Fun to fish the way of the earliest fly fishers, and you do pick up some subtleties lost with modern equipment. Something is usually lost when products get improved. But, when all is said and done we aren't going to go backwards. The advantages of heavier tippets and soft fiberglass or cane rods are even being lost except by a few old cranks (yours truly) and some younger crazies. On a windy day on the upper Delaware there is nothing like a fast Sage rod and a modern fly line to reach out to those wary browns. Each tool has it's sweet spot and most ancient techniques just can't handle any wind in your face.

Posted on: 2013/5/12 9:51


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2192
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Dear Board,

If the goal is to return to your roots why not build a weir and have local tribesmen trample the fish into it, like they did in the old days?

Four hundred years ago people fished because they were hungry.

Maybe I'm just a contrary old fart but it never ceases to amuse me when I see people proclaiming that there is a greater connection to an activity when it is done the old way?

You either have the connection or you don't. It cannot be manufactured or sold, no matter what the ads and videos may tell you.

Regards,

Tim Murphy


Posted on: 2013/5/12 10:14
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Re: Tenkara conclusions

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2009/9/14 12:48
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Tenkara is a lot of fun for tight line nymphing on a stream like spring creek. Basically all of the trout are smaller than 18" and there are a lot of them. Spring creek is also big enough that the length is an advantage but small enough that the fish can't really take off downstream on you.

I also realize that I'm in a minority of people who think nymphing spring creek with a regular fly rod is kind of boring. It's too easy and there aren't enough big fish to make the trouble worthwhile. Tenkara is sort of a novelty to me and makes the experience more interesting.

I'd never use a tenkara rod on a big river or on a brookie stream. You won't land a really big fish on a tenkara rod. Really small streams would be irritating to fish. Regular fly rods are far more versatile.

I never had any problem with line tangles. Also, if you're having trouble casting underneath things, you just need to water-haul.

Tenkara rods are the greatest winter fishing rods ever made. No guides to freeze, no line to handle, it's great. It's worth buying one for that reason alone.


Posted on: 2013/5/12 11:11


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10290
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Quote:

midnightangler wrote:

I also realize that I'm in a minority of people who think nymphing spring creek with a regular fly rod is kind of boring. It's too easy and there aren't enough big fish to make the trouble worthwhile.



I would think it would be easier (thus more boring) with Tendkada rod, as frankly I think Tendkada would be more effective. It's also simpler which I would think would lead to boredom as well. Making something simpler and easier when then chief complaint is that it is already too easy seems contrary.

Note: This is just an opinion and based upon experience of others. YMMV.

Posted on: 2013/5/12 11:44


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
Posts: 2223
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Streamer fishing spring creeks is the way to go IMO... Nothing like an "ambush attack" from the vegetation!

Posted on: 2013/5/12 12:06


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2011/4/10 23:56
From Bucks County
Posts: 64
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Quote:

midnightangler wrote:
Tenkara is a lot of fun for tight line nymphing on a stream like spring creek. Basically all of the trout are smaller than 18" and there are a lot of them. Spring creek is also big enough that the length is an advantage but small enough that the fish can't really take off downstream on you.

I also realize that I'm in a minority of people who think nymphing spring creek with a regular fly rod is kind of boring. It's too easy and there aren't enough big fish to make the trouble worthwhile. Tenkara is sort of a novelty to me and makes the experience more interesting.



+ 1.

Don't let anyone sell the idea that you have to have more crap (reel, floating line, indicator, etc... ) when it come to making Nymphing ' fun ' In all my 20+ years with a fly rod, it just got old with the robotic cast, mend and then wait for a little bright colored ball/indicator to twitch. With tight line, you see and 'feel' even the subtle strikes..

I'd say if you're doing it right, tight line Nymphing with a Tenkara rod is almost as ingauging as fishing with dry's. But don't take my word for it, or anyone that's never even held a Tenkara rod. Try it..


Posted on: 2013/5/12 13:22


Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5573
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A B.M.F.S. tenkara cane rod
Works good on pine and kettle.

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Posted on: 2013/5/12 14:53
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Re: Tenkara conclusions

Joined:
2009/9/14 12:48
Posts: 871
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Quote:
I would think it would be easier (thus more boring) with Tendkada rod, as frankly I think Tendkada would be more effective. It's also simpler which I would think would lead to boredom as well. Making something simpler and easier when then chief complaint is that it is already too easy seems contrary.


I don't think it's any easier than fly-fishing. Then again, I already knew how to fly-fish when I got it, so I don't regard fly-fishing as being difficult. Certainly it's more challenging to land a 16+" fish with a tenkara rod. Having a reel greatly simplifies the task of playing larger trout.

To me it's definitely less boring to catch 10-14" trout on tenkara rod. A lot of people are already excited to catch those fish on a regular fly rod, and for those people I wouldn't bother getting a tenkara rod.

I totally agree about streamer fishing being the way to fish spring creeks (when conditions are right). You can't do that properly with a tenkara rod for sure (or fish dries, for that matter). Basically I use my tenkara rod when I'm going to tight line nymph a medium sized stream. A lot of times I bring the tenkara rod along as a second rod for tight line nymphing and rig a regular fly rod for dries or streamers. They are telescoping, which makes them an extremely convenient second rod.


Posted on: 2013/5/12 19:23



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