Tenkara: A First Taste

Saturday, April 12, 2014 , 14 Comments

I had been debating trying Tenkara for several years now, so I finally took the plunge. Following Michael's advice over at the blog Troutrageous (be sure to check out his blog if you haven't already), I decided on a 12 ft Iwana. 

As with all things new, the first attempt is a mix of frustration, excitement, and an ever present learning curve. All three described yesterday. First impression: the system of knots I found to be innovative, the casting fairly intuitive (had to be careful not to overpower it though), but what struck me as must peculiar and difficult to get use to was the lack of any line near my hand to manipulate the fly with. In moving water I think I would have been more okay with this but fishing for warmwater species it was difficult to manipulate a 12 rod while trying to think what the tiny fly on the other end was doing. On top of this the rod was a tad heavier than expected. 

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself greatly. I see great potential in small streams in rivers while trout fishing, but in a stillwater situation like a lake or pond I just wasn't completely sold on the idea yet. I like to manipulate the fly more and have a more direct connection. That said I am going to give it a couple more shots and hopefully catch some bigger bluegill and some crappie. I only had one willing participant this outing and lets just say he barely put a bend in the rod. I am still excited to try this new style of fishing (new to me) but still unsure what the utility will be for Bluegill and Crappie in ponds, which was my hope. Needless to say, the jury is still out but I will keep you up to date on future outings regarding how my opinion has changed or not. 


Keep it going. Will be honest, I wasn't fond of still/warmwater tenkara when I moved to Florida, but I've grown to love it...especially for sight fishing...if you don't have them, get a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

Not sure what sort of fly you were using, but I've found a weighted fly (you can still use a kebari, just add a bead or some wire) helps get the fly down. Also tying one with light hackle helps visibility.

Cast, pause and let the fly sink, then twitch it back to you. You'll be surprised what will chase it. Little fish will chase it on the twitch. The twitch gets bigger fishes attention...they'll likely hit it on the drop on the next cast!

Mel said...

I have been very slow in learning much about Tenkara. Like you, just don't know how I would best apply it and rather or not, I should even bother. Anyway, look forward to reading more of your initial adventures in Bluegill and Crappie Tenkara. Hopefully, you will do so well I will make myself try Tenkara.

Atlas said...

Michael thanks so much for the input. I initially tried using a kebari but just couldn't get it deep enough so I switched to a copper john. I will have to try a bead head kebari soon.

I will keep at it and hope to sight fish some 'gills. Again thanks for the comment.

Atlas said...

Mel, thanks for the comment. I will definitely keep you up to date on my adventures with a Tenkara rod.

I read that post you are referring to on Troutrageous the other day. It certainly got my attention, but for me the jury is still out. I will need to read more reviews, and like Mel will be looking forward to your review with the bluegill and crappie. Thanks for sharing

Atlas said...

Bill, I will keep you up to date for sure. Once the Crappie fishing starts up a little more here I will be out there for certain.

I'll probably try it at some point myself, but I find the marketing so annoying that I'm overly resistant. :)

Plus I really like reels.

Atlas said...

I am with you, I love a nice reel. Hard to beat the looks and the sound of drag is just sexy! That being said I am trying to stay open to this.

Mark Kautz said...

I'm an Iwana kind of guy too. I like it for small streams as usually use a Sloan's Paralyzer because I can see it. Old geezers can't see as well as we usede to.

Atlas said...

Thanks for the comment Mark, I will have to check that pattern out!

The idea is interesting for sure...after trying one out with a 300 grain sinking line and a 7 inch double deceiver I decided maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea!

Blake said...

as with all things there is usually a learning curve

give it 90 days and im sure your confidence will either be through the roof or you'll know for sure that you never wanna do it again

either way, glad to be along for the ride

Hibernation said...

I tried a friends tenkara rod last friday fishing a small stream. it was interesting... and was fun... he reported his 9 year old loved it and that the simplicity of fishing warm water ponds for sun fish sold his son on fly fishing... That's AWESOME. Instantly I thought of my wife and kids, and that they would love it now (wife) and in a few years (kids).

Like any set up, it had limits... and I definately had issues with the lack of "feeling" line in my "off rod" hand. But... I have to admit... it's a cool discipline, and I do think Ill splurge on a rod at some point over the next year or two.

Atlas said...

Jeff, like you I will always be a big streamer man at heart. But always fun to try something different in the world of fishing.