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.