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...