What Is Tenkara Fly Fishing? Tenkara is a Japanese type of fly fishing that became known outside of Japan around the year 2009. A man named Daniel Galhardo popularized Tenkara fly fishing with the founding of his company Tenkara USA.
テンカラ is Japanese for Tenkara which means “from heaven,” or “from the skies” according to Wikipedia.
Tenkara is the technique used in fishing for trout in the mountain streams of Japan. This technique is a lot like the fly fishing us westerners know, but the term Tenkara is strictly the Japanese style of fly fishing.
This Japenese style of fly fishing has been around for about 200 years and was introduced to the western countries around 2009. So it is a very new style of fly fishing comparatively. Tenkara is very popular in Japan, and we are just starting to find out the benefits of this type of fly fishing here in the West.
Tenkara was used initially in the mountain streams by professional anglers in Japan. This technique made it easy to catch the traditional fish found in Japan like the Amago, Iwana, and Yamama. Initially, they used long poles made out of bamboo which is abundant in Japan. They also didn’t need the use of reels as we use in the west because of the length of the poles.
Tenkara is an easy and effective way to fly fish. The equipment need for this style of fly fishing is minimal compared to the way we fly fish in America. You don’t even need a reel when you are fly fishing Tenkara style! The following is what you are going to need to get started in Tenkara fly fishing.
You will need a long rod so a telescoping rod will work best unless you can get a traditional bamboo rod, but this would be difficult to transport. Especially if you are fishing in wooded areas where the streams would be. Tenkara rods are available that are specifically designed for Tenkara fly fishing. These rods are on average about 12 feet long. Prices vary depending on size and brand.
Next, you will need a Tenkara line. This line comes in two different kinds. There are Tenkara level lines and Tenkara tapered lines. These lines can be used by themselves or with a 4-foot tippet at the end of the line which you tie your fly to.
According to Tenkara USA, tapered lines are the easiest to set up and cast with, and they come in a fixed length. The level lines come in a spool with about 65 feet of line and can be cut to length. Try both and whatever one works best for you, go with that one. A 5X tippet is recommended if you are going to use tippets.
Of course, you will need to use a fly when Tenkara fishing. Any type of fly will work with this type of fly fishing. Tenkara USA recommends using sakasa style fly because they work well in most conditions that you will find when you are out fly-fishing. Sakasa kebari flies are a reverse hackle wet-fly.
The hackle refers to the hair or fur that is tied to the fly. The hackle is tied facing forward unlike traditional western flies where the hackle is facing the other way on the fly.
Along with the Tenkara rod, line, tippet and fly you will want to have a needle nose pliers to get the hook out of the fish. Some sort of cutters to cut your line and a holder for your Tenkara line. All of this can be bought in kits that are sold online.
Setting up a Tenkara rod is simple and straight forward. The rod comes with a plug on the end of it. First, remove the plug. Then you want to pull out the braided tip or Lillian as it is called. Make sure to leave the hard tip that the Lillian is attached to in the rod. Next, you want to tie your line to the Lillian. When you have the line tied on you will hold the rod with one hand and slowly slide out the segments of the rod one by one until they are all extended.
Now that you know how to set up a Tenkara rod properly you will want to learn how to close it. When collapsing the Tenkara rod you want to start at the base pulling the first segment of the rod in and pull each of the segments in until you have the last one in. You can leave your line tied to the rod and when the entire rod is collapsed you wrap the line around the line holder. If you are done for the day pull the tag from the end of the line and put the rod away.
Now that you have the answer to the question What is Tenkara fly fishing? You will be able to go out and try this simple and effective form of Japanese fly fishing. There are only a few things you need to remember to in order to Tenkara fly fish. You need
That’s about it. A lot fewer things to remember then your traditional western form of fly fishing. The best part of Tenkara fly fishing is that it is the easiest ways to fly fish and a very effective way to fly fish for trout, bluegills or whatever stream fish you may want to fish for. So the next time you go fly fishing give Tenkara a try. You might never go back to the old way of fly fishing again!
I hope you enjoyed this article and got some useful information from it. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below. And as always Happy Fishing!