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  1. #1

    Default Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Source: Field & Stream - Kirk Deeter

    Lefty Kreh, who may just be the most recognized authority on fly fishing ever, told Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo that, “Tenkara is a fad and it won’t last long." Talk about candor. What's more interesting is that Daniel posted a recap of the conversation on his blog.

    Another twist to all of this is that there have been rumors and rumblings for some time that Temple Fork Outfitters (and Lefty is the leading spokesperson for TFO) has been planning to manufacture and market its own line of tenkara rods in the not too distant future.

    We'll see about that. Granted, Lefty has a perspective on the comings and goings in fly fishing that nobody else does. But I'm not so sure I'd consider tenkara a fad, any more than the regional popularity of switch rods and two-handers is a fad. Truth is, they've all been around for quite some time, have their own deep traditions, and are popular among anglers looking to expand their horizons.

    One other thing about tenkara that I like (and why Lefty and others might think it is a fad) is that it minimizes the relevance of the cast. There's literally a distance limit with a tenkara rod. If you're all about teaching and honing your own distance casting skills (and yes, to be a bona fide fly angler, you must be, at least to a degree) tenkara won't flip your switch. As for stalking fish, making delicate presentations, and so forth, tenkara may be the best teaching tool of all, at least for trout anglers.

    One of the other appeals of tenkara is that it puts some magic in any fish--little bluegills, tiny trout, others. This grayling pictured here was caught on a tenkara rod, and it's the "how" that makes this fish a particularly fond fishing memory. If anything, I think tenkara will grow in popularity as people try to land fish like baby tarpon, northern pike, and other fish.

    Muskies on tenkara? You'll have to ask John Merwin about that

    ---------- Post added at 10:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:46 AM ----------

    I know we have some Tenkara afficionados on the forum so what do you say in reply to Lefty's comments?

    I'd actually quite like to try Tenkara myself sometime. I've seen a documentary that featured it in Japan and it looks great fun. Horses for courses I say!
    Paul Sharman
    Editor-in-Chief
    Fish and Fly Ltd

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Tenkara is very specialized, way more so than two-handed fly casting. Think about the wide array of circumstances and presentations that lend themselves to two-handed rods. From waking dry flies and bombers to huge flies on heavy sink tips.....and if you wanted you could even do that fluttery dry fly wind dance technique, which I can't remember the name of, on a two-handed rod. Can you really do anything with tenkara that you can't do with a 00,0,1,2, or 3wt. fly rod? I'm not saying it's not fun and maybe I would get one if I fished a lot of high mountain streams with little fish that I virtually stood over. I don't know if I agree with Lefty entirely that it's a fad, but I also don't see it growing to the point of fishing for baby tarpon and pike with them,......tarpon and pike like a stripped fly...


    oh yeah..dapping

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    South Eastern Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Is it a fad? I don't think so. It is different and interesting, which means many people will want to give it a try. With time, some will drop it and some will not. It happens with many things. My guess is that the fad will manifest itself with a swelling of interest that will fade with time. Tenkara has been around for a long time really, and it will be around for a lot longer even if the interest in the "fad" drops back to the faithful few for whom is it not a fad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Plains, Mo.
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    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Gentlemen, let me give ya'll my take on this. Lefty is an older feller as myself, well i'm of the older variety myself. Spoke with and shoke Leftys hand this weekend and had some good laughs. Good guy that is always willing to help when he can. He does have an opinion as we all do. That dont make anyone of us the only game in town. My take on the tenkara is just this. Nothing new and for my part is as old as the hills. Maybe not for Mr Tekara that is trying to reintroduce a method of fishing that has been around forever. When i was a kid, long before i started the fly fishing method at 12 yrs of age i used a cane pole. No reel, a big long piece of cane that God manufactured with only a line tied to the end of it. It didn't mater whether you had a worm a fly or a horseshoe on the other end. You were fishing with a pole. So now someone comes along and decides he's came up with a new concept. He must be a young guy is all i can say. A fad? This fad has lasted a long time with just a different name. Hows that guys? Man i love this site.
    Eddy

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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Merrimac, MA
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    4,006

    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Not if you're Japanese.

    I fished Shalom's Forest about 3 years ago with NAFFF member Neversink. We had a great time fishing those gin clear waters Northwest of Nikko for Yamame and Iwana.

    At the base lodge, I saw no fewer than 20-30 tenkara bamboo poles. I asked Neversink (Hideto-san) what they were and he replied that they were what most of the local fishing visitors used when they fished this area.

    So, it depends on where your are.

    I think that the concept of Tenkara as a fad in the US is much more plausible; even though it now shows no real sign of abating.

    We'll just have to let time be the arbitor and, in the overall scheme of having fun fly fishing, does it really matter whether it's a fad or not(?)

    Pocono

  7. #6

    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    I think, if memory serves, it was Lefty's granddad back in '53, said that Rock & Roll is just a fad.

    And Eddy, yer cane pole, string and worm- tain't the same thing.
    Life is not like a bowl of cherries. It's more like a jar of ghost peppers. What you eat today might burn your ass tomorrow...

  8. #7

    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    I think it is from a retail perspective. How many Tenkara rods can you buy?
    Part of the Tenkara sales pitch seems to be the simplicity. It seems to rely on new people constantly being introduced to the sport rather then catering to the people that want to buy new kit every year.
    I always interpreted Lefty's comment on Tenkara not being gear oriented enough to create that repeat business that is so importent when it comes to driving an industry rather then being a slight on Tenkara as a form of fishing.
    -Carl

    Steelheader's Anonymous.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Quote Originally Posted by siskiyoublues View Post
    I think it is from a retail perspective. How many Tenkara rods can you buy?
    Part of the Tenkara sales pitch seems to be the simplicity. It seems to rely on new people constantly being introduced to the sport rather then catering to the people that want to buy new kit every year.
    I always interpreted Lefty's comment on Tenkara not being gear oriented enough to create that repeat business that is so importent when it comes to driving an industry rather then being a slight on Tenkara as a form of fishing.
    You could be right. There is different lengths, so, for the cost of a mid priced rod, decent reel and some good line, you could buy 3 different Tenkara models. But nothing wrong with that. Tenkara is just another branch on the fly fishing tree.
    Life is not like a bowl of cherries. It's more like a jar of ghost peppers. What you eat today might burn your ass tomorrow...

  10. #9
    Join Date
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    Parlin, NJ / Staten Island, NY
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    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    It obviously has a rich tradition in Japan, so it can't even be considered a "fad". Will it take hold in the US? I think we love our reels too much

    I would enjoy it more if it was like this:
    Hardcore Tenkara fishing
    The best way to a fisherman's heart is through his fly.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default Re: Is Tenkara Fly Fishing a Fad?

    Awesome video Swirl. Tenkara has been around forever . Will it replace traditional fly fishing I doubt it. It's old style cane pole fishing. The first pickerel I ever saw caught was by two guys with cane poles . One had pork rind on a hook the other a white bucktail fly . And they were swinging picks out of the pads.
    Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame has had a category for pole line no reel since I can remember. Tenkara?
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
    " It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
    "Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser

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