Sunday, November 10, 2013
Will True Tenkara Please Stand Up
Tenkara fishing in the west has been hybridized to fit non traditional tenkara waters and species of fish. For a long time I would get upset and feel offended that westerners would take something as beautiful as true tenkara and chuck a hopper or bass bug with it. I have since softened on my views and realize that not everyone has access to the perfect tenkara waters of the western mountains. Here in Utah there are literally hundreds of streams, rivers and creeks that would be considered perfect tenkara waters. I've even been successful fishing traditional tenkara techniques on the many high alpine lakes and ponds that dot the mountains of Utah. So for me fishing tenkara in a more traditional manner has been easier to accomplish.
I realize that a vast majority of tenkara anglers in the states live in areas more suited for bass, crappie and bluegill, then high mountain trout streams. Some have even ventured to the coast targeting different inshore species. My point is that I now realize that tenkara fished how ever and where ever will always have it's roots in Japan. It is not for me to say that because someone catches bluegill or bass, that there tenkara experience is any less then mine. On the contrary it is for me to be more open minded with the fact that there are many more species of fish that I can and should spend time catching with my tenkara rod.
With this knowledge in hand I have begun experimenting with more traditional western still water patterns. What I have found is that the tenkara rod lends itself to fish flies such as leeches, chironomids and weenies very well. I have kept the size of the flies rather small using between a 12 for the weenies and leeches and a 16 for the chironomids. The fishing has been very well and I am excited to try other patterns. I can't see myself tossing anything too large but will still experiment with small squirrel zonkers and micro deceivers next spring.
So does this mean I will abandon a more traditional method of tenkara for a more western approach? No, not completely, in fact I believe that a traditional method of tenkara is still the best approach when fishing moving water. That said, however I will continue to be open to other flies and methods of tenkara when fishing lakes and ponds for whatever species is available. Although I will be honest even when I use to western fly fish, I never carried a huge box full of flies. I could always make do with a box of three or four patterns. In the end how you choose to fish tenkara is truly up to you, I just ask that if you have a chance to fish ideal tenkara waters you will open your mind to traditional tenkara once in a while. I wish you good health and great tenkara. Mahalo for taking the time to visit my page.