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Tenkara Fly Fishing

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2007/4/12 8:01
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Anybody try Tenkara Style Flyfishing yet?

It looks pretty cool - you use a telescoping rod (12 feet or so).  The line looks similar to a braided or furled leader (it's 10 feet or so long).  And there's no guides, or reel.  The line is attached at the tip of the rod.

The rod collapses to 20-inches or so.  It looks like it would be pretty fun for picking-pockets on a boulder filled mountain stream. Click the pic to go to the Tenkara USA site.

 

 


Posted on: 2009/5/16 18:14
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Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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I'd fish with one, althoguh 12' is pretty long for the brookie streams I fish.
Sounds like a good czech nymphing setup.

Posted on: 2009/5/16 18:53
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Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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you can telescope to any length?

we use to have to buy our cane poles in set lengths-then they had telescoping ones of other materials-
a rose is a rose-

Posted on: 2009/5/17 10:42
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Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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They don't telescope to any length. Most of the models he has are 12' and one model is 11'.

I hear a lot of guys comparing it to a cane pole, but my cane pole won't cast a size 16 elk hair caddis with a line light enough to keep it all off the water so there's no drag to worry about, and also protect a 6x tippet (and my telescopic fiberglass crappie pole won't either). Just because tenkara doesn't use a reel doesn't mean it's anything like cane pole fishing. It's fly fishing, just with a very long, very light rod and very light line. Well, I think it's fly fishing - the state of Pennsylvania disagrees, though, so you can't use it on "fly fishing only" waters. Their definition of fly fishing requires the use of a fly reel. (Luckily I mostly fish in New York.)

I like it for pocket water and places where there are tricky currents. I think a tenkara rod is good for nymphing, with two limitations: the rods are too light to handle really heavy nymphs, and you may hook fish you can't land. With a modestly weighted nymph, however, the extra length of the rod really helps. What I like most about it is the simplicity. That's not why I got into it. I got into it for how it could present the fly. What I found, though, is that I really like not having all the extra line wrapped around my legs, or stepping on it, or having to worry about getting the fish on the reel. Somehow I just enjoy fishing more with the simpler gear. I also catch more fish than I did before and I really do believe that the improved presentation more than offsets the reduced casting distance.

I got into it more than a year before I'd heard of Tenkara USA, when you couldn't even buy a tenkara rod in the US. I can't tell you how much I wish he'd opened a couple years earlier.

Posted on: 2009/5/17 18:43


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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Quote:

CM_Stewart wrote:
They don't telescope to any length. Most of the models he has are 12' and one model is 11'.


From the Tenkara website... "12 ft long carbon-fiber rods telescope down to 20 inches"


HUH?

Either way it sounds interesting. I lie the rods I have. I have no money to start a whole new hobby.

Posted on: 2009/5/17 19:36


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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CM_Stewart,

I hadn't thought about the fact that it wouldn't be considered fly-fishing in PA - I would never have even thought about checking into that.

So how hard is it to land fish? It seems like it would be a little tricky.

I'm pretty fascinated by the simplicity - and the portability.

I'm heading to Rocky Mountain National Park this summer for a family vacation and a Tenkara set-up seems perfect for the small streams in RMNP.

Do you know how quality of the Tenkara USA rods compare to other Tenkara rods that you are familiar with?

Thanks

Posted on: 2009/5/17 20:58
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Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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How hard it is to land a fish depends on how big the fish is. I fish with a line that is 13' long, including tippet (1' longer than the rod). Any longer than that and you will not be able to net a nice fish, because the rod bends quite a lot. With a fish up to 8 or 9", just raise the rod tip and in he comes. A 12 or 13" fish is going to race around and jump a bit (even the browns, it seems) but they'll succumb pretty easily. A 16 or 17" fish will make you wonder if you'll be able to land it, although unless it's in current you should be able to. Much over that size and my money would be on the fish. My best is 17 1/2". I've hooked two fish I couldn't land, but both were before I could get a real tenkara rod. The first was because my line was too long, I couldn't net it and it broke my tippet when I grabbed the line. That's how I learned to limit line length to rod length plus 1'. The second was once when I was fishing with 4x and a graphite panfish pole that looked just like a tenkara rod but was a lot cheaper. Turns out it was a lot weaker too and it broke when the biggest trout of my life took off and I couldn't stop it. From then on I've only fished with 6x. A tenkara rod will protect a light tippet very well. Conversely, a light tippet will protect a tenkara rod. There is a post on the Tenkara USA forum from a guy who hooked a carp and ended up breaking a 3x 8# test tippet trying to beach the carp with his new Yamame rod. If you try to break 8# test line in a steady pull, that will give you an idea of the strength of the rod. I'm actually a little surprised.

I have two rods from Tenkara USA, a Yamame and an Ebisu, the Ebisu is the 5:5 model, which is a much slower rod than the Yamame. Both of them are much nicer than any of the crappie or panfish rods I used before I could get a tenkara rod. I was given an older tenkara rod a little over a year ago by a Japanese angler. As far as I can tell, the Tenkara USA rods are at least as good (and the cork on the Yamame is considerably better). Keep in mind, though, (A) I've only seen one other tenkara rod, and (B) they're the only game - not only in town but in the whole country. If you want to buy a tenkara rod, you buy theirs or import one yourself from Japan. I'm happy with my Tenkara USA rods, and this whole thing is about simplicity, right?

I haven't fished RMNP for decades, but as I recall the streams are really quite small and either brushy or tree lined. You might be happier with his 11' Iwana (I don't have an Iwana so I can't speak from experience on this one, but it is his "small stream" rod and his descriptions of the rods I do have are right on the money). Also, one of the panfish poles I had (and the one I broke, actually) was 10', and I always thought it was just a little bit short to do what I wanted to do. I think an 11' rod would be a very good compromise - at least it's the one I would want for RMNP, or rather, for my memories of RMNP).

edited to add: I wish you hadn't mentioned RMNP. I'm going out to Colorado this summer to visit my mother, and you've just complicated my trip. I wasn't planning on fishing, but now that you mention it...

Posted on: 2009/5/17 22:13


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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So CM I was hoping you'd clear the telescoping thing up for me. The statements are a little conflicting. Are these rods telescopic or not? I would find that part of the attraction.

Posted on: 2009/5/17 22:55


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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tomgamber,

Sorry, I misunderstood and I guess I wasn't clear in what I wrote. Yes, the rods are telescopic. The two Tenkara USA rods that I have are both 12' when fully extended, and telescope down to about 21 1/2" (including the little plug that keeps it from extending when you don't want it to). The rod case that comes with the rod is 23 1/4" (nice case, too). Of the rods Tenkara USA sells, one model is 11' when fully extended. I don't have that one, but the website says it's 20 1/2" when collapsed, (including the little plug which would make it about 20" without the plug).

When I said they don't telescope to "any" length, I meant variable lengths. Each rod has a specific length and is designed to be fished when fully extended (11' for one model, 12' for the others).

Posted on: 2009/5/18 6:59


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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Quote:

CM_Stewart wrote:
tomgamber,


When I said they don't telescope to "any" length, I meant variable lengths. Each rod has a specific length and is designed to be fished when fully extended (11' for one model, 12' for the others).


Ahhhhhhh..got it...I think it'd be cool to build a hollow hiking staff with one of these hidden in it. I don;t think I'd buy something like this for the outright purpose of fishing this way but I like anything you can pack away and have handy, just in case.

Posted on: 2009/5/18 8:19


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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I just noticed there is a great interview with Daniel Galhardo, the founder of TenkaraUSA in the interview section here. If you're at all interested in tenkara it's worth a look.

Since my last post, I got an 11' Iwana to use on my trip to Colorado, and found it worked quite nicely in RMNP. People generally think you have to use a very short rod on a brushy stream, but I have found that a longer rod works a lot better than you would expect. You do have to be careful with your backcast, but you get used to the length pretty quickly, and for any spot that's a little more open, the longer rod is a big advantage.

Posted on: 2009/7/20 7:31


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing
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CM_Stewart,

What are your thoughts on landing a fish with a tenkara set-up and no reel. I don't normally use a net. Is that something I should reconsider if I were to get a tenkara rod?

Posted on: 2009/7/22 14:43


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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I'm intrigued by this whole concept, and would love to give it a try..

However, I'm questioning the use of the equipment in FFO areas:

According to the 2009 regs:
Quote:

Fishing must be done with tackle limited to fly rods, fly reels and fly line with a maximum of 18 feet in leader material or monofilament lin e attached. Spinning, spincast, and casting rods and reels are prohibited.


My reading is that as long as the rod would considered a fly rod, that the lack of a reel wouldn't be a hindrance. It would be one thing if the rod used a spinning reel or something, but there's none at all.

So, the flies clearly meet proper defination, the only room for quibble is if a tenkara rod is a fly rod, or not. Considering the method of casting and presenting the lure is the same in both traditional and tenkara fly fishing, what would preclude this from FFO regs?

I do wish the equipment was cheaper, though. I don't think its overpriced, but its more than I can drop on a whim.

Posted on: 2009/7/23 14:46
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Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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dkile,

I use a net for fish over about 9" because I find it easier to control them and remove the hook. If you have no trouble landing and unhooking fish with your current rod, I don't see how using a tenkara rod would make it much harder. For small fish, just raise the rod and the fish comes to you. For larger fish, at some point you would have to grab the line, trap it against the rod, and then reach the fish. In an earlier post I said I lost a nice fish because it broke the tippet when I grabbed the line, but I wouldn't have been able to land that fish without a net if I was using a regular fly rod either.

gfen,

I would not want to argue with a warden or a judge that a tenkara rod was a really fly rod, or that fishing without a fly reel or fly line was still legal. I wouldn't push it until a definitive ruling on tenkara is made.

The Connecticut law is almost the same as the Pennsylvania law, requiring a fly rod, fly reel and fly line. A friend of mine contacted the CT authorities, described tenkara gear and fishing, and asked if it would be considered legal in fly fishing only areas. The response was that it met the spirit of the legislation and thus would be considered legal. I suspect someone will have to contact the PA authorities and request that it be allowed.

Posted on: 2009/7/23 22:40


Re: Tenkara Fly Fishing

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Part of what makes it interesting, to me at least, is the limits it sets on you to explore and push.

I've got enough on my plate this year, though, we'll see what next spring holds.

Posted on: 2009/7/24 21:38
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