Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tenkara, Fly Fishing's Latest Rage...

...photo courtesy Daiwa

I’m not much on fads but must admit the recent surge in popularity of the age old Japanese art we call Tenkara has at least piqued my curiosity.  Apparently conceived to impart a simple, minimalistic approach to catching small fish (Tenkara) found in Japan’s small mountain streams. Taking minimalism to new heights Tenkara rods sport no reels, no line guides, even the flies are the essence of simplicity.

In the US and outfit calls itself Tenkara U.S.A. got the ball rolling. Offering a variety of telescoping rods, 11-15 feet in length extended (about 2 feet telescoped in),  tip the scales at around 4 ounces with thin responsive tips.  Lines come in two types: tapered (furled) in fixed lengths of 8-30 feet; and level lines which are sold in spools, three different weights to suit different rod actions. Lines are attached to the rod tip via a Tenkara knot (?) and depending on conditions affixed to that is a tippet of varying size and length.

Billed as a small stream rod, most of the videos I’ve seen show Tenkara anglers plying somewhat larger waters. Craig Matthews and cronies regularly produce action packed videos using Tenkara gear to fool Madison River trout—given the unwieldy rod lengths my first thoughts were “now that is more like it.”

While some outfits will set you back a pretty penny, others are modestly priced, like less than $200 for rod, line and several flies. Whether or not Tenkara Flies catch more fish than say your basic Adams or Hare’s Ear is more than I know. But I suppose if you are gonna jump in you might as well jump in whole hog…right!
As with most fads, once they cross our borders you can bet the farm some of us are bound to take Tenkara to whole new levels—check out Chris Hunt’s Eat More Brook Trout Blog and you will see what I mean. Like c’mon Chris, walleye? Pike? And no doubt by now many more species have bit the dust.

To get the whole skinny contact www.tenkarausa.com

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