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.


  1. Thinking about getting my first rod I find my thoughts are like yours were, make it a 13 footer. Interesting that you say with a longer line and tippet you can fish the same water as a 13' with a shorter rod. Is that to say the 13' also equipped with a longer line/tippet can be matched by a shorter rod? I have read on other sites that the line and tippet should reach the bottom of the rod you are fishing or with maybe upwards of 3' tippet below the rod.. So which is it or both? I have not been saltwater fly fishing in close to 10 yrs., but as I recall I had little trouble picking up darn near 20' of weight forward 9 line with at least 6' feet of tippet from the somewhat elevated casting deck of a flats boat. I have never cast a synthetic horse hair weight forward line or a 14-18 pound level line in mono or fluorocarbon. Is there a ratio of line/tippet to rod length in tenkara rods? Up to what length of line/tippet have you cast accurately and on what length rod?

  2. I find fixed-length-line rods tend to be pretty versatile cast a fairly wide range of line sizes and lengths. It's most convenient to fish a line close to the length of the rod in terms of actually landing the fish. Longer lines require a bit of hand over hand lining to bring the fish to hand.

    I regularly fish a 25-30' line/leader/tippet length when fishing still waters. I usually fish a more traditional length when fishing moving water.

  3. Hi, Tenkara Fly Fish! I was wondering, of what lenghts is your 25-30' line/leader/tippet combination comprised of? For instance, how long is your line? What type of line is it? How long is your tippet? I suppose that the length of your rod/arm is included in that range? I mean, maybe a 12' line, a few inches for the leader, and then 3' or so for the tippet is not even coming close to 25'. Very curious! Cheers!

  4. Ok, I think I just found your post on your setup. Will look into it for my still water fishing.