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Fridays on the Fly: Less Is More When Fishing Tenkara

Here we are back in the thick of the fantastic Spring weather we all enjoy so much.  We are eager to get out in these Appalachian hills on early afternoons and make a break for the trail head at dawn come Saturday morning.  What kind of adventure are you up for and what should you carry in that day pack?  If I am heading up a blue line for some wild trout we can come to a decision quickly. How about a couple of Boone Barrs to snack on, plenty of water and my tenkara kit.  That is all there is to it.Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.33.31 AMLiving near Grandfather Mountain outside of Boone, NC, I find myself out on the trail sniffing for wild trout often.  It doesn’t take much to find an access point and slip down into the shin deep waters that are flowing off of the tallest peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Some of the cascades and short falls create the perfect pools to angle for the rainbows, browns and brookies that hang tight to the side of these mountains.  All I need to spend an afternoon with them is my tenkara rod, a line and a few flies.  This setup is ultra-lightweight and packs down to nothing.  This carbon fiber telescopic rods collapses down to twenty one inches and weighs a mere two and a half ounces.  A small tin of flies and some 5X tippet counts up another ounce.  A second spool of longer line and hemostats round this up to about five or six ounces. Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.33.49 AMYou can’t do much better for an afternoon of fishing in such a small package.  The light pack weight and small size make it easy to manage on the trail.  The long rod and equal length line offers a casting range up to twenty two feet or so.  That is plenty of distance to make the precision casts needed to drop your fly of a fishes nose.  The long reach rod lets you keep your distance so as to not spook the fish, which is always a plus when chasing high country wild ones.  That extra length also is a key part of the tenkara style, which keeps line off the water.  This eliminates water disturbance and prevents mending issues.  Remember also, there is little need to carry a heavy fly box with four hundred choices in it.  Grab a small tin and put one dozen standards in it and another dozen non-descript buggy flies.  You’ll find that these fish eat them all just the same. 

Here is another thing to think about, two of these tenkara fly fishing kits weight less than a twelve ounce bottle of water.  So you can carry two rods, two lines and share a tins of flies with a friend with no impact what-so-ever to your afternoon pack weight.   What a great way to spread your day on the trail with the people you enjoy.  Remember, it is impossible to catch and fish and not smile.  So share a smile with someone this weekend.

— By Jason Sparks of Appalachian Tenkara Anglers

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