Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tenkara as a teacher

I firmly believe that most, if not all fly fishers will benefit and become better fishers (western or eastern style) by spending time fishing Tenkara style. I am a relatively experience western style fly fisher, with over 45 years of water having passed under my fishing bridge. Having spent a considerable portion of my time astream fishing Tenkara style for the past year and a half, I have noticeably improved my skills.

I see improvements in several areas -

1) A much better understanding for the exact areas fish hold and prefer. In addition, developing the wading skills to better position myself to deliver my fly to where the fish reside and feed.

2) Playing and landing fish. The skill of actively and aggressively using the rod to play and bring fish to hand. Rather than take a passive role and let the reel do the work, one must actively play the fish if larger specimens are to be brought to hand (and released in prime condition)

3) Perhaps the most notable area is that of precise fly manipulation. Not only is one able to present accurate dead drift offerings, but one can also provide a variety of active presentations. One soon realizes that dead drift is not always the mst optimal way to present one's fly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The long and Short of Tenkara

When I first started fishing Tenkara style, my rod of choice was a 13' rod. Subconsciously, I think my reasoning was if a long Tenkara rod (11' or 12') was good, a longer rod was even better. As I fished/explored more, I soon found myself fishing a 12' and often times an 11' rod.

I personally found the shorter rods more fun to fish, and really didn't sense any disadvantages, at least in the environments I fished.

The shorter (11' / 12') rods were noticeably lighter in hand. Almost to the point of being negligible, sometimes forgetting that I have a rod in hand, rather than feel like casting, it's more like pointing my finger where I want my fly to land.

I originally thought that since I was using a fixed line, a longer rod would provide the ability to cover more water. I personally found that not to be the case. Adding a foot or two or three to my leader and/or tippet provided just as much range as using a longer rod. I also found I had no trouble mending or elevating the line off the water.

The shorter rods seem to be a bit more delicate and responsive when fishing and fighting fish. I'm not sure if that's true or not, maybe it has to do with the feel as a result of a lighter mass and shorter lever.