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Trouts Does Tenkara

July 3, 2014
Author: Will Rice

At Trouts Fly Fishing we are always ready to try new things and to introduce our customers to innovative fishing techniques and equipment.  For some time now, Tenkara fishing has been a captivating style of fly fishing.  There is no doubt that the simplicity of Tenkara has a place here in Western fisheries.

In effort to explore this style of fishing and introduce our clients, Trouts is pleased to announce that we are now a Tenkara USA dealer.  We now have a wide variety of rods and fly lines here in the shop and available at our online store.

It is estimated that the Tenkara is a style of fishing that originated in Japan almost 200 years ago.  Rods were typically made from bamboo which was both very accessible and also light.  The rods were also extremely long which gave ancient anglers an great deal of reach when they pursued fish in different portions of their high mountain rivers and streams.  Today, from an equipment perspective, there is no doubt that the simplistic approach of Tenkara has appeal.  Here’s what you need to get started:

  •  A Tenkara Rod – these typically range in length from 12 to 14 feet in length.  These rods are telescoping and when they are fully collapsed they can be as short as 12” in length.  Tenkara rods have a progressive taper, most are extremely lightweight and they also have very sensitive tip actions for delicate fly presentations and epic battles.  One fly fishing application that came to mind right away was how convenient it would be to take a Tenkara rod on a backpacking trip to a high alpine lake.
  •  A fly line – a Tenkara line is quite a bit different from a traditional fly fishing line.  They come in spools of 65 feet and you can cut your own lines depending on the type of river our stream you are fishing.  In general, the smaller the line number you go with the lighter the lighter the line is.  For an example, the 2.5 level line is lighter than the 4.5 level line.  The 2.5 would be better suited for smaller rivers and more delicate presentations.  Our advice: keep it simple.  Go with the 3.5 in orange.  From a fishing perspective, the lighter the line the easier it is to keep off the water, but the more challenging it is to cast. The heavier lines will be easier to cast. Additionally, the heavier lines will pair better with the stiffer or faster rods.
  • Tippet – the use of tippet in Tenkara fishing is very similar to traditional fly fishing.  Tippet is used to connect your fly line to the fly and is used because of its stealth ability to present a fly to a fish.  Typically, you will want to use between 12”-18” of tippet depending on the fishing situation.
  • Flies – matching the hatch is going to be your best and most productive approach to catching fish in Western Rivers – regardless of the equipment you are using.  Be observant when you are on the water.  You can use your Tenkara rod for fishing different areas of the water columns so both wet flies and dry flies can be effective.

We’re excited to get out and experiment with our new Tenkara equipment.  Stay tuned for a few gear reports and well as fishing reports.  If you have any tips for Tenkara fishing that you would like to share with the Trouts contingent, please leave your comments here and we’re happy to get the conversation going.  If you would like to cast a Tenkara rod, stop into the shop and always feel free to call us with questions – 303.733.1434.

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