Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tenkara - What Is It?

In the past few entries you’ve probably seen me mention Tenkara. Some of you might not know what it is and some might. I’m going to give you a quick “What Is Tenkara” to help you better understand it.

Tenkara is a form of fishing that was originated in Japan a few hundred years ago and is primarily used for mountain streams and/or small water streams. Tenkara is the epitomy of minimalist fishing. In Tenkara there is just a rod, line, and fly. No reel.

Rod - The Tenkara rod is very different from any other fishing rod. It’s a telescoping rod that extends out to varying lengths (average is 12’). There are no guides and there is a small string on the top, called a lilian. The lilian is what you attach the fly line to.

Line - There are two types of lines. The first is a level line, which is a fluorocarbon line that is the same diameter from start to finish. The second is a furled or “traditional” line, which is a strands woven together. Each line has it’s pro’s and con’s, which we will go into more indepth on a future post. Attached to either of these line’s is a tippet, similar to western fly fishing. General tenkara tippet used is 5x, which has a breaking strength of slightly less than 5lbs.

Fly - The Tenkara fly is like nothing fished in the western world. It is a fly with a reverse hackle, meaning that the hackle goes toward the eye of the hook instead of the hook end. In Japan Tenkara fisherman use only 1 fly and rely on presentation and movement to entice a fish. That’s not to say you HAVE to fish that way here.

The reason you don’t need a reel is because you use a fixed line length. When you hook a fish you extend the rod behind you and net the fish with the free hand. Of course if you use a longer line you hand reel the fish in, similar to ice fishing.


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