Wednesday, May 8, 2013
If you follow proper casting mechanics with tenkara, everything else will fall into place. Sounds simple enough and fairly basic right? While half of the people who fish tenkara will have never fly fished before, a fair number will have some to a lot of fly fishing experience. You would think that with this prior knowledge and experience it would translate into a quicker grasp of proper casting motion for tenkara. Unfortunately due to muscle memory those of us with fly fishing experience find ourselves constantly reminding ourselves to concentrate on the technique of casting. Every single time I have caught myself either extending the arm on the cast or overpowering my cast, I've immediately concentrated on keeping the elbow close to my body, relaxing my grip and slowing down my cast, I have found myself very pleased with the results. For a model of great tenkara casting one only has to look at Daniel from Tenkara USA. His perfect form, beginning with stance and ending in the fluid motion of his kebari landing softly on the water is truly a thing of beauty. I would highly recommend every tenkara angler spend a few minutes checking out his videos and really watch how he cast. Another person with great technique is Jason from Tenkara Talk and watching his videos will prove helpful to both the beginner and experienced tenkara angler.
With longer level lines this motion of proper casting technique becomes even more important. When I first started fishing longer lines I thought more power on the down swing would propel my kebari a great distance. Instead this sudden increase in speed would translate into my kebari slapping the water, tangled in my tippet in most cases or worst yet wind knots in my level line or tippet. I would advise to stick with level lines the length of your tenkara rod until you have the proper casting technique down. Everyone wants to be that guy who can cast his kebari the farthest, but distance does not matter if you are a knotted mess. Also longer lines are truly harder to fish in areas with both trees and wind.
Speaking of wind, I find trying to muscle your kebari out into the wind,is usually a guaranteed way to have a miserable time fishing tenkara. One of my favorite aspects of tenkara is you can fish a river from any angle both upstream and downstream and still catch a ton of fish. This information becomes most useful during windier days. Trout are very perceptive fish, so much so that during windy days many fish will stack up along wind swept areas looking for bugs that have been blown into the water. I remember one trip last summer, where I was fishing a stream that had wind pushing up against the current. The wind had enough strength that it created back eddies at the head of many pools. The water on top would swirl in a frothy almost washer machine motion. The brown trout being the clever hunter they are, positioned itself right on the edge of this froth. When a grass hopper or other bug was blown into the water a brown would rocket up, like a great white shark eating a seal and explode on the hopper. The brown would only explode on bugs that got caught up in the clear edge near the froth. Seeing this I knew casting with the wind up stream and targeting the edge of the froth, would likely be my best approach. Sure enough using the wind to my advantage and capitalizing on the situation, I was able to have a great day of tenkara, landing several large aggressive browns.
In the end proper casting technique is very crucial to becoming a more enlightened and successful tenkara angler. If ever there was a aspect of tenkara worth focused attention and practice it would be proper casting. I know since spending my time more worried about proper casting mechanics and not so much the kebari or fly I have chosen, I've become a way better tenkara fisher.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
With time comes growth. This is true, even in something as simple as tenkara. Not so much growth to have more flies or complexity in leader construction but to have and rely on less. Growth in tenkara is knowing that one pattern can catch fish in every situation because you have an array of approaches and techniques you use to impart different actions to your kebari. Growth in tenkara is knowing simplicity usually wins out over flash and complexity. Tenkara is not a style of fishing meant for slick talking show men. Hence why most of this caliber find themselves moving away from tenkara and delving more into targeting carp with leaders that take twenty minutes to set up and flies that way more then your average soda pop. It's exciting and fun and I'm right there watching the videos, enjoying every moment. To me tenkara is about humility and being humble and I find myself reminding myself of this each day. Perhaps growth in tenkara is when you finally stop worrying about the world around you and fish. Maybe that is the secret to true growth in tenkara, or maybe growth is merely left for each of us to figure out on our own. To make this clear I have a set way I fish tenkara and believe tenkara to be, but I am not saying anyone else's way is wrong, just depends on your definition and what you hope to achieve. I hope to one day have grown enough in tenkara that I no longer find myself scoffing or judging what is or is not true tenkara in my head. I'll admit that I am not there completely yet, but I am working hard to have and open mind and heart, to know in the end, we all found tenkara for different reasons and see different paths to take it. Some want to push the envelope, while others want to honor the past, and still there are others who could care less and just want to fish. I hope this is not found offensive to anyone and everyone can appreciate my honest feelings. Good luck in your growth and journey to find your tenkara.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Simply stated; having the confidence to keep tenkara simple is the key to becoming a happier and more productive fisher. This may seem like a overgeneralized statement but, it's the motto of many of the most successful tenkara anglers. Ever watch the masters of Japan fish tenkara. They don't use complex floating lines, or multi fly rigs. Most use a length of level line, light tippet and a specific kebari. While I would never claim to be a master, I do consider myself to be a successful angler and have confidence both my ability and my kebari. This is not to say I don't have times where the fish seem to be unwilling to take my kebari. During these moments I will do one of two things, either keep fishing knowing eventually the fish will decide to eat, or if it is during a hot summer day, I will find a nice shaded spot, eat some lunch and maybe take a little nap, again knowing that eventually the fish will decide to eat my kebari. The point is having confidence in your kebari and your ability to fish it, will not only produce fish but, will also help grow your confidence.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
By my very nature I am very adventurous and open minded when it comes to fishing. It is this sense of adventure that first sparked my interest in tenkara. However in an effort to fish traditional tenkara only, I feel I have lost who I really am. I don't spend hours on the vise tying patterns that may or may not ever see a single cast on the water. In fact ever since I have adopted the single kebari technique I tie about once a month and usually only a handful or two at the most. So what am I to do? Do I stick to the my fly or the highway approach that has been so very effective? Perhaps I tempted my tenkara with trips with the five weight and a big hopper. Should I dare become what I have resisted for so long and fish both western and eastern flies on my tenkara rod? This is a lot for me to take in. The answer it seems is complicated but yet so simple. I will fish my kebari when fishing rivers and switch to more productive patterns when fishing still waters. Also I will indeed spend time on the float tube targeting bucket mouths, white bass, carp and wipers. There may even be a few trips looking for that double digit native on Bear Lake. I think in my haste to keep with the traditions of tenkara, I lost my identity and what has made fishing so enjoyable all my life. With that I will say I still enjoy a day on the water with my single kebari but sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't.
Monday, December 31, 2012
BC from Tenkara Elevated
|Daniel W. Galhardo, Myself and Yohei Ochiai, 12/18/12 Spanish Fork River, Utah|