Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is it fly fishing?

Over the course of the past few weeks, it seems like every fly fishing related forum I regularly visit has had a topic or two started regarding Tenkara. In just about every case, one of the first discussion points raised is – Is it really fly fishing?

Of course, I guess it all comes down to what your definition of fly fishing is. If somewhere in your definition, there is a clause which mentions the use of reels and/or snake guides, then it’s obvious that fixed-length-line systems do not meet your requirements for being a fly fishing method.

One definition of fly fishing I found –

“Fly fishing is an ancient and distinct angling method, developed primarily for trout and now extended to other surface-oriented species such as grayling as well as a wide range of marine species. Artificial flies are constructed — "tied" onto a hook with thread, fur, feathers and other materials — in sizes and colors to match naturally occurring food or simply to excite a fish. Fly rods are relatively light and long while the lines are relatively heavy, providing the casting weight. Lines may be tapered and of differing densities to float or sink and are matched to the rod according to weight. The fly itself weighs very little and is attached to the line by a 2-3 meter leader which may taper to a very fine line at the tip end, also called the tippet.” ( 2010)

Using the quoted definition, I think Tenkara certainly meets all the criteria. It is both ancient and distinct, developed primarily for trout. The rod is both light and long, and the mass of the line is what is used to propel the otherwise weightless fly. BTW, it does use a tippet.

To be honest, I really don’t care how people choose to fish, as long as it’s legal. I also don’t really care what they think about the way I choose to fish (as long as I stay legal). I do find it somewhat amusing to hear from someone who fishes with a strike indicator and a couple of split shot and a San Juan worm say fixed-length-line systems aren’t really fly fishing, it’s just fishing with a cane pole. But of course, to each his/her own.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shortening a Tenkara Rod

Several people have asked me about the possibility of making a shorter model of a Tenkara Rod available. Bad news, at this point, I'm not sure there would be sufficient demand to cover the cost of development and a production run. Good news, it is a simple and straight forward process to make a very fishable shorter rod out of an existing Tenkara rod.

I've been thinking about this for a bit. It would be very easy to modify an existing rod into a shorter version that would fish. Just remove the existing handled section, add a cork handle to the next (or next to next) section up, and you are there. What I've been thinking about, how does one store the rod when not fishing?

The handled section of a tenkara rod is usually a bit longer than the other sections to allow the entire rod to be collapsed into the handle section, with room for retaining cap. So would it be possible to easily extend the newly handled section to allow more space for rod storage? It hit me like a ton of bricks, all that is needed to to cut a length off the top section of the original handle. That would be installed at the butt end of the new handle section, and covered when a the new cork handle was installed.

The only thing that would take a bit of research, finding a plastic cap that would securely fit on the butt end of the cork handle that was added to seal the butt end of the rod. It should be secure, but removable in case the rod needed to be disassembled. The other bit of handy work required would be to make a replacement cap to fit the tip of the new handle section. That's easily done using a piece of foam.

If there is any interest, I may make up a model and take some pictures.