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myotis
25-04-2011, 12:56 PM
I used to be a keen fly fisherman, but haven't fished for years. However, I have been recently taken with the idea of Tenkara.

For those not familiar with Tenkara, the best starting point is the commercial site http://www.tenkarausa.com/. There are other sites and it has developed some interest among backpackers.

The obvious difference to modern fly fishing is that it doesn't use a reel, but a long telescopic rod, which tapers to a tip almost as thin as the line. Designed for fishing small mountain streams the long rod allows very precise and gentle casting with the ability to lift the line over the top of riffles and runs preventing drag on the line. But people are also using them for salt water fly fishing and for fly fishing bigger rivers.

The principle is one of simplicity so an entire Tenkara outfit, can be a rod (collapsed to 50cm x 25cm and weighing 80gms), 4m of line, a tippet and a couple of dry or wet flies .

Reel apart, the tenkara rods, give a normal fly rod action for casting, and from my mountain stream days, I never caught anything that needed played on the reel anyway,

This seems a great way of carrying a fly fishing kit that weighs next to nothing and takes up almost no space. Certainly a Tenkara rod is in my near future, assuming I can sort out somewhere to fish !!

I did buy a a very thin/lightweight (but cheap, 9.00 from China) "pole" to give it a try, but the action was awful , maybe not unexpectedly. None the less, I "could" fish with it if forced and as a "rod" it makes it legal.

However, I think the whole approach is worth looking at if you are interested in fly fishing and bushcrafting/backpacking.

I know no more about this than I have read, but if anyone wants to follow it up and not wade through the web site link and google, I will have a go at answering any question you might have.

You will gather I am rather taken with the idea :)

Graham

RobbC
25-04-2011, 03:24 PM
Ive never came across this principle before, so far im loving the idea. I mean its less to carry and theres no reel to break. I will be watching this thread with interest. Great find!

Robb

happybonzo
25-04-2011, 04:31 PM
It seems a bit like Pole fishing. Those things telescope and cost a fair bit less eg: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Shakespeare-Take-Apart-Fishing-Pole-Elastic-Fitted-/140478209857?pt=UK_SportingGoods_FishingAcces_RL&hash=item20b5275f41

or you could try one of these Pen thingys Pen Rod on Ebay (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Travel-Pen-Shape-Fishing-Rod-Pole-Golden-Reel-Line-Set-/150595629949?_trksid=p4340.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DDLSL%252BSIC%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUC I%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%252BDDSIC%26otn%3 D8%26pmod%3D400211346206%252B400211346206%26po%3D% 26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8707726900351565549)

myotis
25-04-2011, 04:53 PM
It seems a bit like Pole fishing. Those things telescope and cost a fair bit less eg: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Shakespeare-Take-Apart-Fishing-Pole-Elastic-Fitted-/140478209857?pt=UK_SportingGoods_FishingAcces_RL&hash=item20b5275f41

or you could try one of these Pen thingys Pen Rod on Ebay (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Travel-Pen-Shape-Fishing-Rod-Pole-Golden-Reel-Line-Set-/150595629949?_trksid=p4340.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DDLSL%252BSIC%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUC I%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%252BDDSIC%26otn%3 D8%26pmod%3D400211346206%252B400211346206%26po%3D% 26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8707726900351565549)

I've just watched a video introducing pole fishing and it seems to use bait, weights and doesn't involve any casting, he just sort of threw the line out, and he was sitting down while fishing, so I can't see any similarity to tenkara, other than a telescoping rod. Unless I'm missing something.

But it probably explains why the pole fishing rod that I mentioned in my post to try out as a cheap tenkara rod was so useless at casting.

And the pen rod, would be even worse at casting than the pole fishing rod.

I wonder if we are looking at this from different directions. I'm interested in tenkara as a light weight and simple approach to "fly fishing", rather than a lightweight "survival tool" to catch food.

Graham

happybonzo
25-04-2011, 05:04 PM
OK, I see what you're getting at. try looking for what used to be called a Brook Rod. They are terribly light and can only throw the lightest of lines. I used one and it was not until I was taught how to roll cast properly that I ever managed to catch anything.
I'm not sure if the "action" on any of the telescoping fly rods are any good at all. I suppose that they must be alright otherwise no-one would buy them.
Regarding Pole fishing: I have used one to present mayfly and it was a killer

myotis
25-04-2011, 05:22 PM
OK, I see what you're getting at. try looking for what used to be called a Brook Rod. They are terribly light and can only throw the lightest of lines. I used one and it was not until I was taught how to roll cast properly that I ever managed to catch anything.
I'm not sure if the "action" on any of the telescoping fly rods are any good at all. I suppose that they must be alright otherwise no-one would buy them.
Regarding Pole fishing: I have used one to present mayfly and it was a killer

When you say brook rod are you talking about a fly rod, or some form of pole fishing rod? I've used short (7ft) fly rods with 4wt lines before, but never these ultra short ultra light rods that seem to be around now a days.

I can see the pole I've got working extremely well as dapping rod with big mayflies or daddy long legs, but you don't really cast them, you just need to get them into the right place. I'm assuming you didn't roll cast your mayfly :-)

And finally, have you looked at the Tenkara web site ? In terms of accurate and gentle casting these rods come across as the best anyone has ever used, I don't think you can judge them based on the telescopic travel fly rods that are around. One of the reasons Tenkara is so attractive is how good the rod action is.

If you are interested in fly fishing, its worth putting a little time into getting to grips with what Tenkara is all about.

Graham

Martin
25-04-2011, 05:50 PM
I'd just love to have a go at normal fly fishing. It looks like the natural evolution of coarse fishing insomuch as you are constantly re-presenting the bait to the fish.

If you take this further Graham, please post some pictures of your kit and even the fruits of your labour. ;)

Martin

PS, is that a Scots accent I can hear in your posts? :)

myotis
25-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Martin,

As you rightly picked up my Scots accent, it means I was lucky enough to be brought up on fly fishing, and I enjoyed the walking along river banks looking for a fish to try and catch, or tramping into a hill loch, but generally doing a lot of walking and not that much fishing.

However, the part you obviously missed in my original post was that I haven't fished for years, and only raised the tenkara issue here as its something people aren't aware of, but seems to sit so well with both bushcrafting and back packing.

Since coming south (first to Wales and now Somerset) I haven't had very good fishing experiences, in that I have spent money on club memberships (including additional fees towards club legal expenses) and rod licenses without managing to cast a line!! A story too long to tell, at least in here.

But I seem to be on my third wind, and having discovered the SW passport system, I am back thinking about having another attempt to get fishing again. Still trying to work out whether I have the time.

But hopefully one day you may well see the fruits of my labour, or indeed eat it !!

Graham

happybonzo
25-04-2011, 06:48 PM
A Brook Rod was/is the smallest and lightest fly rod made. They are rarely more than 7ft. I have seen 5ft Brook rods made in built cane but they were very tender and required the lightest of touch. I've got the name Shakespeare Oddesey at the back of my mind but I could be wrong

myotis
25-04-2011, 07:14 PM
A Brook Rod was/is the smallest and lightest fly rod made. They are rarely more than 7ft. I have seen 5ft Brook rods made in built cane but they were very tender and required the lightest of touch. I've got the name Shakespeare Oddesey at the back of my mind but I could be wrong

Ah OK, with you now. and you highlight one of the Tenkaa paradoxes, the Tenkara rods present flies much more gently than a brook rod would, but as 12ft plus in length they are a bit tricky on small over grown streams !!

Graham

Edwin
25-04-2011, 09:27 PM
Save on all that licence stuff and do it in the sea http://www.ukswff.co.uk/ apparently sea fly-fishing is perfectly feasible.

myotis
25-04-2011, 09:41 PM
Save on all that licence stuff and do it in the sea http://www.ukswff.co.uk/ apparently sea fly-fishing is perfectly feasible.

It certainly is, but a very different atmosphere and style to river fly fishing, and not so well suited to Tenkara, as it tends to use heavy rods and lines to cope with string currents and winds (and the liklehood of big fish). Having said that several people do sea fish with Tenkara.

Graham

paul standley
26-04-2011, 07:39 AM
Hey - I like the idea of this, never come across it before. I'm a fly fisherman who fishes mostly streams and brooks with light tackle so this would be a natural extension for me, I'll have to check the whole concept out as I often camp near a trout stream but never wanted to take all my gear with me so a small telescopic system with no reel might just do it.

myotis
26-04-2011, 07:50 AM
Hey - I like the idea of this, never come across it before. I'm a fly fisherman who fishes mostly streams and brooks with light tackle so this would be a natural extension for me, I'll have to check the whole concept out as I often camp near a trout stream but never wanted to take all my gear with me so a small telescopic system with no reel might just do it.

I think its perfect for what you describe. Wales seems to be the Tenkara capital in the UK

As a starter http://www.tenkarausa.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=28

I also bought my so far unused Tenkara furled leader from a maker in Wales.

Graham

Aaron Rushton
26-04-2011, 05:21 PM
it sounds like the earliest type of fishing- the type issac walton and his chumcs used to do. with flies or crickets tied to hooks (obviously we now use synthetic flies) and long rods to drop your fly exactly where you want it. it sounds good, but i think it might struggle on some of the larger rivers. just brought back a memopry to me, i have done this in france where it is popular. i was 10 and it was on a small, deep mountain stream my family were camping next to. i had some monofilment and hooks so i spent all morning collecting grasshoppers and crickets with a local boy who couldnt speak a word of english, but we still got along great. my dad cut me and my new friend 8ft hazel saplings. i tied tabout 3ft of mono to the end and then the hook. i lashed a grasshopper onto that with some thread. my friend signalled for me to get down on my belly like him. puzzled, i copied and crawled up to the bank. we looked over the lip into a deep pool. as if on cue, a trout rose from the bottom, invisible until then, and broke the surface. this was really exciting for me and i gingerly pushed my hazel rod over the edge and plopped my grasshopper onto the water. it ran over the spot where the trout had risen and almost instantly it was gulped up. i was so excited i pulled the hook right out of its mouth. as i tied on another grasshopper my french friend put his hook in the water. i hear a few excited shout and looked over to see his line tight and a bend in his rod. he played the trout to the bank and pulled it up. it was only a pound but to us it was a prize catch! we brought i back to my dad, smiling wildly, both trying to hold it at the same time.
ok, nostalgia moment over, i don't think it has much on an ordinary fly rod for versatility.

myotis
26-04-2011, 06:08 PM
Nice memory, and I guess that before the invention of reels all fishing was a bit Tenkara like, there is still a similar style practiced in part of Spain.

In Japan they had the advantage of bamboo and could develop telescoping rod sections, and it has stayed as a traditional approach on mountain streams.

I certainly agree that its not going to be as versatile as rod and reel, but that's part of its attraction and you might be surprised at what people do with a Tenkara approach. Of course just because you can do something doesn't mean its the best way of doing it.

Graham

Aaron Rushton
26-04-2011, 06:42 PM
i've checked out the videos and it actually looks quite cool :)

myotis
26-04-2011, 06:48 PM
i've checked out the videos and it actually looks quite cool :)

I think the coolest thing is that for around 100g you can have a proper flyfishing outfit in your rucksack that takes up virtually no space.

But I also love the simplicity.

Graham

Jack Russell
20-05-2011, 11:11 PM
Hmmmmm I'll be careful here - I fish for seabass in the estuaries and creeks in this here part of paradise using lghtweight spinning rods and carp wagglers with the "local killer baits". My good buddy from the midlands is a bloody good fly fisherman from a float tube on English rezzy waters - he came up to my water last year with a Tenkara setup and outfished me on fast moving outbound spring tides three days out of four. Now, I said I'll be careful because his words were to the effect "you should have a go, it's not true fly casting as I know it, but given a bit of practise and technique I reckon you could take big catches in these conditions". Don't quote me on his precise choice of sentence. Over four days he took 11 very nice bass all over 16" with the top catch (after gutting on the bankside - we don't carry scales just measure for legality of catch) arriving home on the BBQ at a shade under 4lbs. Gotta tell you, as a man who only gets turned on by what he can eat when he catches it - it didn't look like no gimmick to me when in the hands of someone who had some idea of how to make it perform. I'm tempted, I have to say. Hope this helps Jack

Silverback
20-05-2011, 11:34 PM
Didn't Robson Green do something similar in his last series of Extreme Fishing ?

http://www.channel5.com/shows/extreme-fishing-with-robson-green/episodes/episode-8-61

Watch from 15:58

myotis
21-05-2011, 05:34 AM
Jack,

That's really interesting to hear, there are several stories on the Tenkara forums about sea fishing and catching 16" fish on these incredibly fragile looking rods with no reel to play a largish fish so good to hear. It adds support to the reason for my original interest of it allowing you to have a "universal" fly fishing kit that could be carried in a rucksack while adding negligible weight and bulk.

Thanks,

Graham

myotis
21-05-2011, 05:37 AM
Didn't Robson Green do something similar in his last series of Extreme Fishing ?

http://www.channel5.com/shows/extreme-fishing-with-robson-green/episodes/episode-8-61

Watch from 15:58

Depends what you mean by similar. It uses a telescopic rod, but Tenkara is 100% artificial fly and involves a lot of casting and moving around just as British fly fishing does.

Interesting video though :-)

Graham