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Fridays on the Fly: Tenkara Fishing with Jason Sparks

I have a tenkara conversation every single day. On most days, I manage to get it in several conversations. I can stand and talk about it just about anywhere with just about anyone. I seek out people to share the concepts with. I craft the words of the message to best fit the conversation, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Here are some of my general talking points: 

“Tenkara is a centuries old style of fixed line fly fishing that sprung from necessity with commercial fishermen in the high mountains of Japan”

“I fish all the little creeks around here chasing wild trout with a unique telescopic fly rod that is typically nine to twelve feet long”

“Fish up to and beyond twenty two inches”

“That’s right, there is no reel”

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 1.26.53 PMI rarely come across a non-angler that has ever heard of it. I rarely come across an angler that has heard of it. It is always the same “101” conversation, and I love that. Starting off with the absolute basics of “rod, line, fly” to make clear explanations for tenkara and expanding the talk into the local waters I fish and tactics I use for success.

A Wealth of Information

Ten years ago your favorite search engine would not have returned any websites in English on the subject of tenkara. Five years ago the reference site would have pulled together a short list of sites and blogs that held related content. Today, when you type “tenkara” in the search window and click that search button you will have pages and pages returned for your access.

My sample search this week brought in 495,000 references that cover articles, blogs, and retail selections. A more detailed search for tenkara specific writings that contained content (blogs/articles) was more than 190,000 “hits”. My point is that tenkara is now at your finger tips. It should not take long for you to tap into a wealth of informed content for tenkara fly fishing.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 1.27.04 PMGo take a look for yourself. You’ll find a long list of usual suspects with a deep collective of smart content covering tenkara and fly fishing tactics. This is a short list that will help you jump right in with several respected independent sources:

Jason Klass @ Tenkara Talk

Adam Trahan @ Tenkara Fisher

Michael Agneta @ Troutrageous

Tom Davis @ Teton Tenkara

The theme you will see repeated around the online tenkara communities is that tenkara rods are a tool, a style, a passion, and combinations beyond that. Tenkara has proven to be the perfect fishing rod to introduce individuals to angling for the first time.

Within minutes the concepts of tenkara can be shared and the mechanics of casting and landing fish are intuitive. Tenkara rods have been adopted by fishers with physically limiting conditions of all sorts. The three ounce weight of these rods make them ideal for anyone to wield. Tenkara rods are telescopic down to nearly twenty inches, so they can be stowed in backpacks, strapped to a bike rail and tucked behind the seat of your car. Tenkara rods catch fish big and small, long and short. The list of tenkara catches collected thus far in one group of tenkara anglers is more than seventy different species. It won’t take long to see that some lifelong fly fishers are opening up and accepting tenkara as another way to angle for fish.

I truly appreciate everyone taking the time to read these tenkara related posts for “Friday on the Fly” here at Blue Ridge Outdoors. I appreciate the opportunity to share my keen interest in tenkara.  I will begin to get into the individual aspects as we get a little deeper into the blog series. In the future I will address capabilities and specifics of rods types, pro and cons of different line options, tactical presentation of the fly and how to read and approach water to capitalize on the benefits that tenkara methods offer.

In the meantime, this is an invitation to take a few minutes and dig a little bit deeper.  Click on those source links above.  Read over the last few years of excellent content that the tenkara community is publishing weekly.   Find us on Facebook here.

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