The False Casting Fallacy
Mar08

The False Casting Fallacy

Whether out of habit carried over from a fly fishing background, or from some ill-gotten advice, I tend to see a lot more false casting being used by tenkara anglers than I would expect. False casting is necessary in conventional fly fishing because you need to shoot line. So, you use false casts to build momentum and launch out lengths of line until you have the distance you need, then drop the line on the water. But since tenkara is...

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Otter Butter Line Dressing
Feb17

Otter Butter Line Dressing

  While there are a few companies out there that offer floating tenkara lines such as RIGS Adventure Company and Zen Outfitters,  sometimes, you just have your favorite line that you wish would float. The Eclectic Angler (the same company that brought us 3D-printed line spools) recently released a product called Otter Butter, that can easily be applied to any furled tenkara line to make it a floating line. The paste comes in a...

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Don’t Toss your Tenkara Rod!
Jan15

Don’t Toss your Tenkara Rod!

So, I just came across a Facebook post talking about how to land a big fish by throwing your tenkara rod in the water. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this “technique” advocated. It seems to appear on the internet every once in a while. And every time it does, I have to roll my eyes. The basic concept is that if you throw your rod in the water, the fish will stop feeling the pull of the line and will relax....

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Tenkara Rod Grip & Sensitivity
Nov13

Tenkara Rod Grip & Sensitivity

There’s a healthy online debate on fixed-line rods that have a cork grip vs. no grip (essentially, a flared extension of the blank).  I prefer cork grips because they’re just more comfortable to me. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with weight for me. Rods without grips are just too thin and my hand seems to cramp up after a while (probably a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome more than anything else). Yet many...

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Is your Rod Giving you Away?
Jun17

Is your Rod Giving you Away?

Years ago, a friend of mine who had returned from a fishing trip in Tasmania told me about an unusual practice that the local anglers did there. He told me that they sanded down the blanks of their fly rods with sandpaper. My first thought was, “why on earth would anyone take sandpaper to a $500 fly rod?” He went on to explain that the lakes in Tasmania are full of large brown trout that are extremely skittish because of...

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How to Fish Small Meadow Streams
May11

How to Fish Small Meadow Streams

Small, meandering meadow streams certainly make idyllic backdrops but they pose several unique challenges for the angler. Typically, these streams are very shallow with slowly moving, crystal clear water meaning the fish can see you coming a mile away and will scatter at the slightest shadow, vibration, splash, or sound. It’s not hard to imagine why. With little refuge, trout in such waters are easy targets for predators so they have...

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Tenkara Techniques: The Downstream Twitch

Of all the tenkara tricks I have up my sleeve, this one is my favorite and the one in which I have the most confidence.  As you’ll see in the video, it’s pretty simple, but it works.  

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How to Reduce Arm Fatigue When Casting

I see a lot of photos on the internet of people casting tenkara with their arm fully extended.  While it might seem like a good idea at the time to gain a little extra reach, it can actually be detrimental to your presentation, and on stream stamina.  The better alternative is simple:  take a few steps closer to the...

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To Knot or not to Knot?
Jan10

To Knot or not to Knot?

A reader recently asked me about the stopper knots on the ends of lilians (those red cords at the end of a tenkara rod where you attach the line). He said that some of the rods he purchased came with a knot and some didn’t. The question was if a knot is really necessary. Since I think other people might have this question, I thought it was worthy of a post. First, let’s clarify one thing. Whether a rod you bought came with a knot (1.)...

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The Myth of The Bottom Dredger
Jan03

The Myth of The Bottom Dredger

In my recent post about a new tenkara nymph line, someone asked if I used weight to get my flies to sink.  I replied that I do use copper wire in some of my flies which helps them sink a little better but first and foremost, it’s ribbing to created a segmented look.  I’d hardly call a fly with 5 turns of copper wire “weighted”.  If I really wanted to make Titanic flies, I’d use a lead wire underbody or a...

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Tips for not Spooking Fish
Nov16

Tips for not Spooking Fish

It happens to even the most experienced angler.  You come across a magazine-perfect pod of trout in crystal clear water.  Your eyes become laser focused on them. Anticipation builds. Your adrenaline kicks in.  You plot the first and and can almost feel the trout in your hand already. But then, they scatter as if someone threw a bowling ball into the water. What happened? While trout have fairly poor vision, they are very tuned into...

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Strike Detection Tips for Tenkara
Aug28

Strike Detection Tips for Tenkara

Today, I got an email asking a question I get so often, that I thought it was worthy of a blog post:  “I’m using sakasa kebari and having a hard time telling when a fish takes my fly. How can I tell?”  The question came from an experienced western fly angler that knows how to read water and has no problem seeing the take with western style dry flies, but wants to use more traditional sakasa kebari and is struggling a...

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Increasing Hookup Ratios with Tenkara
Jun13

Increasing Hookup Ratios with Tenkara

  It’s pretty simple math:  a heavy wire hook + a soft-tipped rod =  a lower hookup ratio.  Physics is physics after all.  Yet, for the longest time, this obvious formula eluded me (or, rather, deceived me).  When I first started fishing the tenkara method (the “real” tenkara method), I was getting plenty of strikes, but only positively hooking and landing about 50% of my fish.  In western fly fishing, we would...

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Amnesia Strike Indicator for Tenkara
May02

Amnesia Strike Indicator for Tenkara

  Anyone who has ever dead drifted a fly with a tenkara rod has undoubtedly discovered two things:  1. Sometimes it’s hard to detect a strike on a level line.  2. Strike indicators don’t cast well with a tenkara rod.  Luckily, for anyone who finds it difficult to see their line, there’s a simple way to more easily detect strikes without slinging an awkward, cast spoiling strike indicator. Even the brightest...

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How to Retrieve Snagged Flies without Spooking Fish
Apr30

How to Retrieve Snagged Flies without Spooking Fish

  You’ve just found the perfect pool. It’s full of fish that are actively feeding and you’ve got it all to yourself. You know you’ll be able to pull at least a few nice ones out if you just fish it long enough.  It’s one of those rare moments that you need to take full advantage of when it comes along.  You take your first cast and catch the eye of a nice rainbow.  It comes to your fly but you just...

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3 Tips for Getting from the Car to the Water Faster
Mar20

3 Tips for Getting from the Car to the Water Faster

I’ll admit it.  One of my pet peeves is standing in the parking lot ready to go while a fishing partner takes forever to get set up.  It’s wasted time that I could be fishing.  I don’t get to fish as much as I’d like so I like to maximize my time on the water as much as possible.  Tenkara rods are intrinsically faster to set up than Western rods but there are a few things you can to reduce your setup time even...

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Western vs. Tenkara Casting:  The Grip
Mar19

Western vs. Tenkara Casting: The Grip

  In a recent post, I wrote about how the path of the rod tip in tenkara differs from western casting.  In order to achieve the right angle, it’s important to use the right grip.  Western anglers coming to tenkara might be tempted to use the same grip they alway have with their thumb on top of the rod; however, this will make it difficult to cast a tenkara rod well.  Let’s look at the differences between the typical...

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Western vs. Tenkara Casting:  Different Strokes
Mar17

Western vs. Tenkara Casting: Different Strokes

  A lot of people that come to tenkara are already western fly anglers familiar with the 10 O’clock/2 O’clock casting stroke.  While this may be a comfortable casting style, it doesn’t really translate well to tenkara and some wonder why they can’t cast a tenkara rod well with their normal casting style.  There are some fundamental differences between western and tenkara casting that one should be aware of...

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Tenkara Casting Techniques

Remember my post about tenkara’s diversity in simplicity?  This video is a perfect example of that.  In it, you will see a range of different tenkara casting techniques including the standard 10 o’clock / 12 o’clock overhand cast, the backhand (cross-chest) cast, sidearm cast, and the bow-and-arrow cast–but not just any bow-and-arrow cast.  This is a very unique one for long lines and involves coiling the line...

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How to Land a Fish with Tenkara

I got a lot of footage of the Tenkara USA demo at this year’s fly fishing show and thought I would break it up into shorter, more digestible videos on specific topics rather than post it in its entirety.   In this video, Daniel shows us how to land a fish with tenkara–with a special focus on using long tenkara lines.  Pay particular attention at 01:02 when Daniel points out the poor form of landing techniques we’re...

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