Category Archives: Fishing

Tenkara fishing: only a rod, line, and fly

“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers”, as Herbert Hoover said.

Fishing was a mystery and a passion at the same time when I was a child. Growing up and experiencing the world of fishing from the inside fueled a lot of my interest. There are so many reasons to practice fishing as a sport, but the most important for me is the opportunity to experience some of the world’s most amazing locations available to anglers all over the world! Nature is genuinely extraordinary.

That is why I want to share with you a new fly fishing setup that I use. I don’t use a traditional fly rod, but I use what’s called a tenkara rod. It’s based on a Japanese-style fishing that originated in the narrow mountain streams of that country. It has been practiced for over 200 years now. Originally the rod was simply a bamboo/cane rod, which was cut and treated. Because of its light weight, Japanese anglers could use very long bamboo rods with a fixed-length line to reach as far as they needed.

I’m going to tell you about it as a suggestion for a way to possibly start fishing with a tenkara. It’s so easy, because the entire setup is a rod, a line, and a fly.

Tenkara rod, lines, and flies

Tenkara rod, lines, and flies

The rod weighs just 2.1 ounces, and it is telescopic. It collapses to about 20-inches, but can telescope out to various sizes. A typical rod can be as short as 10 feet 8 inches or as long as 12 feet 9 inches, which is perfect for getting into different sized fishing lakes and ponds. The end is capped until you wish to extend it, Pull the telescope until it’s completely out and then just put a little bit of tension on each section where the telescoping joints meet. You don’t want to pull to hard, because if you do you can damage the joints.

Besides the rod, you have a line that you’re going to be tying right to the tip of the rod. You can use the same length as the rod, but you can use longer lines as well. I use the 13 foot fixed line. At the end of the main line you will attach tippet, which is a very thin fishing line that goes between the main line and the fly. It is just like your standard narrow monofilament that you would tie to the fly. And of course, it’s a way to keep the fish from seeing the bright fly line and it helps deliver the fly a little more accurately.

I carry two different kinds of lines. I carry the normal line that is just round and feel great on calm days, so you can cast real easy. It is for calm conditions. There is no texture to it. And there is also a braided line, the advantage of which is that it’s a little bit heavier and it can cut through the wind.

The last, but not least, I have my fly box. Tenkara flies place less emphasis on imitation and more on the importance of their presentation. They are simpler than traditional flies. They have a reverse tackle which is facing towards the eye of the hook and a really simple design. That is one of the focuses of tenkara: it’s not so much about selecting your fly as it is having a good presentation; you can catch and release as many fish as you like as long as you are perfecting your method.

I really like using the tenkara setup. The equipment and setup is so simple. Instead of focusing on all the different flies and supplies, you focus on technique and simplicity. It is a great set up for backpacking or bicycling, and can easily be with you wherever you find yourself.

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