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An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/22/2014 17:39:00 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/23/2014 11:31:27 MDT Print View

Very good article on Tenkara!
I stopped into my local fly fishing shop here in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday, on the off chance that they might be carrying Tenkara gear. Of course they did not. I asked the owner why they did not stock any supplies for Tenkara and was told that he believes it's just a fad/flash in the pan. When pressed further, the real reason came out...he just cannot understand how one lands a fish with Tenkara. LOL. No reel, no way to land the fish, i guess. He was flabbergasted by the sheer simplicity of it. I tried to explain how simple it was (hand over hand,direct the fish to you, or just back up onto the bank), and he had a deer in the headlights look on his face. He was unwilling to concede that his traditional way of fly fishing was anything but superior to Tenkara. I just could not change his mind. It's the way he learned to fly fish and it is the only way. Period. The look he gave me is the very look I get when talking with clerks at REI about lightweight backpacking gear and techniques. Gear snobs are the same, no matter what the sport.

Edited by bigfoot2 on 04/23/2014 12:11:32 MDT.

Cargill Henderson
(cJNz) - M
Thankyou. on 04/23/2014 17:49:40 MDT Print View

Fantastic article. Just looking at how to get set up to go fishing in some of the NZ backcountry streams and Tenkara is getting a serious look in as a simple way to get started.

So far, my impression so far is less gear, more technique, same number/quality of fish which appeals.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Tenkara, Patagucci style on 04/23/2014 18:27:37 MDT Print View

Fly fishing, with all its "rules" and equipment, had as much appeal to me as golf. That is until I learned about Tenkara through Daniel Galhardo, credited with bringing this variant to North America. It is a liberating style of fishing, suited particularly to catching moderately sized trout from mountain streams, using minimal equipment. That works for me when I'm backpacking.

This "article" is an extract of the introduction from the book that Patagonia published to accompany the launch of their brand of Tenkara rods. Buy one of their sets, and you get the book. As a book introduction, it's OK, but it doesn't add anything to what's already in the public domain on this topic. As a subscriber-only weekly article on BPL, it's on par with the disappointing content we've been subjected to lately. Come on Ryan, it's been too long since we've had anything of substance. Your subscribers deserve better than this puff piece.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Tenkara, Patagucci style on 04/23/2014 18:47:26 MDT Print View

While most of this article is included in the "look inside" preview on Amazon for the book, and this article seems more like a book promo, it is still just a free article and not part of the member-only content, so no foul from me.

I enjoyed reading it, and it even got me out in the yard playing with my $5 Tenkara knockoff toy. The article is catagorized as "trends", but since it's a book preview, more book review would have been more fun to read perhaps.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Tenkara Article on 04/23/2014 18:50:27 MDT Print View

Stuart - hopefully the article will provide some inspiration to others here, even if it can't find value for all. We'll be incorporating a number of book chapters in our upcoming publication schedule, they'll be valuable to some, and perhaps less so to others. I'm going to try to solicit some original content from the book authors as companion introductions targeted specifically to the BPL community. In addition, we hope that providing actual content from a book, rather than a biased review designed to drive affiliate book sales, more accurately promotes the book by offering you a sample of their writing style. In addition, we'll generally make book excerpts public so we can help increase awareness of the author.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Tenkara, Patagucci style on 04/23/2014 18:55:55 MDT Print View

@Glenn - thank you, excellent feedback. We'll try to offer more unique content not available elsewhere as we move forward publishing book excerpts.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/23/2014 20:18:08 MDT Print View

I enjoyed this, both for the content and for seeing an article written by Chouinard here. Will probably buy the book now.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/23/2014 20:23:55 MDT Print View

Neat except with some philosophy to boot. A fly-fishing buddy of mine mentioned cheap gear rom a discount retailer (yeah, that one) is how he started newbies (though he could afford a pretty expensive rig, himself).

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Liked it, and I don't eat fish on 04/23/2014 20:53:14 MDT Print View

I liked this book excerpt, and I don't eat fish. Yvon's a good writer, and his "simplicity" and "less gear, more skill" messages are very much in line with BPL core values.

Maybe if I'd been introduced to tenkara when I was young, instead of struggling with rods and reels and tangles and ... I might have enjoyed fishing.

-- Rex

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Tenkara Article on 04/23/2014 23:27:29 MDT Print View


This is great news. Looking forward to more like this. I was pleasantly surprised to see the book excerpted here.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
No love for the reel. on 04/23/2014 23:34:57 MDT Print View

Now I can appreciate all the tenkara stuff but a light weight fly rod and reel is also really fun. It's not this hugely complicated thing and I would argue that you can cast farther in lakes though I don't really know much about tenkara. A light weight reel with line is like 3 or 4 ozs only. Perhaps a reel also makes it easier to bring in fish in a stream too because you don't have back pedal or anything like that. I hope y'all have fun with your sticks and string. Just messing. Good night.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: No love for the reel. on 04/24/2014 19:02:10 MDT Print View

Interesting excerpt, though I would have preferred more than this snippet here. I too look forward to more from Yvon's book, so here's hoping that Ryan can make that happen.

Though, I have to take issue with Ryan's initial comparison: "Tenkara fly fishing is to fly fishing as ultralight backpacking is to backpacking."

That, in my limited opinion, is an overstatement. I don't disagree fully, but I think the comparison is more apt between tenkara and SUL backpacking. You can catch fish--and often lots of them--with tenkara, but the conditions in which that's possible are more limited. The comparison between UL backpacking to fly fishing would be with a minimalist set-up limited to 12-16 oz. of gear--minimalist but without a significant loss of function in a wider variety of conditions.

I've spent a lot of time fishing tenkara over the last year, many of them the very same Montana waters that Ryan touts its use for. I really enjoyed it too. But I'm not giving up my classic Western style of fishing. I found tenkara too limiting on open Western rivers. There were a lot of fish I didn't catch because the simplicity was too limiting in those circumstances.

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/24/2014 22:09:48 MDT Print View

Clayton and Joshua have good points. I love having a reel, casting, stripping etc.. lots of fun.

Yvon is right in that you're more likely to love fishing if you actually catch something, especially in the beginning. So do whatever it takes to get you on the water.

For me that means versatility and I personally prefer a western set-up.

I understand about the intimidating thing with lines etc, but it really isn't that bad. And fisherpeople love to talk about fishing so just ask.

I mainly float/gear fish for steelhead and salmon. I also mainly use jigs I tie, and like tieing your own flies (except way easier), is highly satisfying....but I can also cast across the river, use blades under a float... and yes..gasp..even cured roe to catch fish with my gear setup.

One day I may be such a top rod that using anything but "flies" is just too darn easy, but that won't be anytime soon.

Fishing simply can be achieved no matter what style you utilize. UL spin set-up and a bubble float likely also works really really well.

Whatever it takes to get tight lines.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: RE: An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/25/2014 03:39:51 MDT Print View

I'm totally new to Tenkara, but even when I'd bring my collapsible spinning setup, I didn't really view it as hard core fishing gear. I guess if I had to cross-categorize it, I'd relate it to something along the lines of a point and shoot camera. I might get a good picture opportunity, I might not, but I want it along with for when those chances might arise. It's not like I'm a pro photographer, where I'd want some real gear.

I guess I view this Tenkara thing the same way. Sure, some people get into it pretty heavy, as an art unto itself, but for me, it's just a couple ounces of take along fun that I'd love to have if the opportunity seems right. So something so light and simplistic really fits the bill.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/25/2014 05:46:23 MDT Print View

A good piece! Yeah tenkara style fishing is not rocket science. Nor does it work well as lake fishing gear, It doesn't work well on tidal flats. Nor does it work well on larger rivers and in larger pools where casting distance means a lot. In small creeks it works as well as any. In pocket water, it works as well as any. It is a style and a technique to fly fishing that is different enough to simply give it it's own name.

Like nymph fishing with sink tip lines and shorter leaders, it works well. It is not the delicate presentation of a 2wt fly line with a size 16 dry, though. Nor is it a fast moving streamer through a stream with a 9wt rod. There are times that lifting a huge steelhead on a size 10 wet can be as much challenge as nailing a 14" brown on a size 22 midge.

They are all different styles, with tenkara being especially well suited to backpacking: simplicity, weight, and choice of flies.

I have broken a reel while out, cut 10 yard of line off and tied it to the but of the rod. This is akin to tenkara fishing. A good half my fish are nailed within 15-30 feet of where I choose my stance. Again, this is kin to tenkara fishing. Confusing the issue of tenkara fishing with "western" style or fishing the Beaverkill is nonsensical.

I try to fish the conditions of the water, not let the fishing dictate the water I can fish. The tenkara rigs have limitatons in the size of fish, the distance they cast, the odd twist of the leader/line, and the choice of fly you fish with. They are second to none on a small rocky stream, though.

Thanks for a good article! I will be looking for the book...

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Fly Fishing on 04/25/2014 14:21:56 MDT Print View

Just another perspective...

I came to fly fishing by a different route than most. I bought a tenkara setup and used that a bit near home. It was fun and I caught fish. I took it along when I was going to hike the JMT. It seemed like a slam dunk. Then on the drive out west from the east coast, on an impulse, I bought a 4 wt fly outfit from Cabelas. It was an inexpensive setup and half price to boot.

On the way there I stopped and fished with it a bit. I caught some trout and was hooked. The tenkara stayed in the car and the fly rod and reel went on the trip. For me it was just more fun. I caught lots of fish and had a lot of fun.

It was heavier, but not all that much. I still had a lighter load than any of the backpackers that I met with the only exception being a couple runners and speed hikers looking to break a record or training to do that.

As far as having something to take along "just in case", I wouldn't bother if that were the case. If I didn't plan to definitely fish I would take neither tenkara nor a western setup. Besides my trips are mostly out of state and the license is usually expensive enough that it would be crazy to buy just in case.

I may not have all of the right technique, but I picked it up right away and was catching fish as soon as I managed a couple decent casts. That took maybe 10 minutes.

I am not knocking tenkara, but I found that even though I came to fly fishing via tenkara, I prefer a western setup.

Edited by staehpj1 on 04/25/2014 14:23:48 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
TenkaraUSA Guide Service on Patagonia Tenkara on 04/25/2014 17:14:05 MDT Print View

Here's an intriguing post by a Colorado fly shop on the new book and Patagonia tenkara line. Interestingly, the guide shop not only carries tenkara gear, but they are also certified by TenkaraUSA.

Thus, the excerpt:

Upon further review of Patagonia’s approach to tenkara, even more statements make us wonder what is Patagonia really saying. With descriptions like “This book reveals that the best way to catch trout is simply, with a rod and a fly and not much else”, is Chouinard saying that you also do not need his $600 waders? or his $450 SST Jacket? Should we all skip high end fly fishing gear in its entirety and just go to Walmart to get set up with simple gear and advice on regional conditions? You would spend a lot less money, pick out your own gear without the hindrance of any advise and have a more simple experience – right?

It only gets more interesting from there.

EDIT: Got the link right that time.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 04/25/2014 17:16:11 MDT.

Mark Krotine
(mkrotine) - M
An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing on 04/25/2014 17:30:00 MDT Print View

When I got into ultralight backpacking, I happened to discover tenkara rods while searching for a light-weight tube to protect my 1-weight western fly rod from breakage. After I purchased a tenkara rod, I was able to reduce my total packed fishing gear weight from about 28 ounces to just under 4 ounces (including my fishing license!) and I found tenkara fishing simple, refreshing, and liberating. I almost always now carry a tenkara rod on my ultralight backpacking trips and enjoy fishing during my hike or after I've setup camp each evening.

I especially like the following quote from this article ...a sporting endeavor is finalized and mastered “not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away,”. This is the essence of ultralight backpacking.

There are certainly situations where spinning and western fly rods excel over a tenkara rod - for example, spinning and western fly rods allow the user to cast further out and enable one to fish large, deep high-country lakes. However, the tenkara rod is a great tradeoff for the ultralight backpacker and I plan to carry a tenkara rod on future backpacking trips. After all, the common goal is to go light on our journeys.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Tenkara Limits on 04/26/2014 13:12:46 MDT Print View

" I found tenkara too limiting on open Western rivers. There were a lot of fish I didn't catch because the simplicity was too limiting in those circumstances."

I haven't fished Montana, yet.

But in 3 hours at the Lee's Ferry "Boulder Field" on the Colorado River, running about 8,000 cfs, I caught and released 50 fish. (About 10 of those were LDR's.) Most were around 12", but there were a number of 14+'s and a fat 17".

Big fish in fast water Are a challenge with tenkara, but not impossible. My home waters are steep and fast, and the average fish is 14". Last year I had a string of 13 days with over 20 fish, and 5 of those days went over 30.

Not bragging here, just saying that the "limits" of tenkara might be less than you would imagine.

Edited by greg23 on 04/26/2014 14:46:27 MDT.