I like learning about new fishing tackle and methods. That said, I have not found much on Tenkara that has not been written by someone who stands to profit if this method catches on, or if it dies on the vine. Two schools of thought, two opposing views. I'm not much into the politics of this, just fishing.
As boys in Florida over 50 years ago, we fished with a tapered bamboo pole about 13 to 15 feet long. It had a string on it that was about twice as long as the pole. It had a hook or a fly on the end of the line. That was about it. We caught fish in lakes and small streams by dappeling the surface or casting to rising fish. Is this pretty much what Tenkara is all about ? How about some info on techniques and practices...... could get a bigger following if more regular anglers wrote about how they fish Tenkara.
Thanks for the reply, Larry. That is actually where I posted. Looks like it's a lightly used forum. I'm still reading on line. There was an interesting interview with Lefty Kreh. He may be the wrong guy to ask !
It is pretty new on the forum and not much activity, though there are some of us on here who have a rod or two. I haven't had it out in a bit so haven't posted.
If the (non-split) cane poles you are talking about are the ones I used on ponds outside Chicago, they have a shared history with contemporary tenkara rods, but they aren't the same thing. I'd 'cast' those but the split shot did the work. I find I can cast my tenkara rod and get a very nice presentation. Tenkara rods can fight and land some serious fish too and it is generally on 5x tippet. I only have one rod so can't speak to different brands or models of rods.
Thanks, William. You are exactly right on the poles. They were a single piece of bamboo. There was one guide on the tip, and to "reel", you wound the line in a spiral around the pole. The more expensive ones had a coat of dark varnish.
Casting was indeed throwing the weight. My guess then, would be that a Tenkara rod would load up and cast a fixed length line more like a fly rod. Or reach out and dap or skip a fly over a likely looking spot.
I have both a furled leader and long sections of fluorocarbon lines with 5x or 6x tippet attached. I have cast weighted nymphs but it puts unweighted flies out nicely. You can dap with it (do it with my regular fly rod sometimes too) and the wind can take that light line and fly out nicely, but you can also cast it. There are some folks on the forum with more experience than I have, perhaps they'll weigh in.
Personally I really like it when hiking with the family. Carrying lots of stuff for them and have my daughter in the backpack. The rod, line spool, tippet spool, small fly box, and lanyard take up very little room and it is great to not have to string up guides with a 2 year old on my back. She loves fishing with dad but doesn't love setting up. I've enjoyed it and am glad I got the Tenkara.
My tenkara rods are a far cry from the old cane pole, even the bamboo rod my Dad gave me. Even the modern flyrods of today. It's nothing like a Crappy Rod... I like it because it's light and compact.... casts fly nicely in small streams, big trout rivers, ponds, lakes, even the saltwater.
For instance, while floating the Madison or Yellowstone rivers for 5 days your arms get very tired from mending the line with a 5WT rod. With a tenkara rod, I can keep only the little grasshopper and a foot or so of leader in the water and also cast with either hand.
In the lake we work the shoreline casting from the boat toward the grass and brush. The light tenkara rods give you a great fight when you hook into a small bass or bluegill... and a real challenge when you hook a 2 pound peacock bass.
On those ankle deep Alaska streams loaded with spawning salmon... The tenkara is so much fun catching those under a pound rainbows, dollies, cutthroat, and grayling... Pure Fun.
My 9 year old grand daughter was casting like a champ after 10 minutes of instruction... it's easy to use these rods.
I'm off to the Scout Jamboree in West Virginia... I can stick 2 tenkara rods in my carry on bag along with a zip-loc sandwitch bag of all tackle I'll need for 2 weeks.
Tenkara is just plain fun, I highly recommend it to anyone.
Great info Stan, thanks. Enjoy the Jambo. Please report on the new venue. The old Ft A P Hill site was a blast, and I understand the new locale has a lot more to offer. Are you a patch trader ? Wood Badge, Cedar Badge, Council strips, OA, Silver Beaver lodge, etc ?
Best of luck with the Tenkara rods. I hope you can teach some West Virginia fish a lesson in Japanese style fishing !