How to Cast with Tenkara

On November 6, 2013 • Comments (12)

This new video will show you the foundations of how to cast with tenkara. This tenkara casting video is long overdue but I hope it will help you as you work on perfecting your tenkara casting.

This is the first of a new series of videos on tenkara techniques I’m currently working on. There have been many suggestions on things folks would like to learn (such as how to fish in tighter streams). We’ll be working on those. If there are things you’d like to learn, please let me know here. – Daniel

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Pulsing Tenkara Flies

On October 31, 2013 • Comments (14)

by John Geer

Pulsing flies has become one of my favorite techniques to use with a tenkara rod, but the idea of imparting motion to flies was very strange to me after having the importance of a dead drift pounded into me for so long. Luckily, I was able to watch Daniel and Dr. Ishigaki catch many fish using this technique and made it a point to add it to my own bag of tricks. Here are some points I’ve learned that I hope will help you:

Distance – This concerns the distance of your hands and rod tip from your body. Try not to over reach or you’ll have no cushion when a fish takes the fly which can cause break offs. This is true anytime you’re fishing tenkara, but becomes more important with the aggressive takes that pulsing sometimes brings on. Don’t work the fly too close to you or you’ll find it hard to set the hook and control the fly. Find the sweet spot for the line and rod you’re fishing.

Rhythm – Trout almost always feed in a rhythm, just watch them rise sometime. Flies pulsed in a rhythmic fashion may not entice more strikes, but will lead to more solid hook ups. Slow usually works best for me, but on any given day the rhythm can change.

Angle – I usually like to cast down and slightly across when I pulse flies. Some very good anglers like to work more downstream. Casting flies upstream and pulsing them back to you can make hook sets difficult. Find your own sweet spot on angle, but remember that sometimes you’ll just have to work with what the situation offers.

Grip – A lot of the time, you’ll want to lay a small amount of your casting line on the water during the rest between pulses. You may not need to do this if you’re fishing a large and/or heavy fly, but it will help you keep from over working the standard size sakasa flies many of us fish. You’ll learn to adjust the grip you use with the rhythm and angle you’re fishing, along with the current speed.

Taking the first letter of all of these spells out DRAG, which helped me remember this while doing the video. I hope it helps you solve some problems on your next fishing trip, and I hope that trip comes soon.

[Daniel’s notes: the concept of pulsing or manipulating tenkara flies is very simple, yet the tips above will help you improve hook-up rates. The main “mistakes” I see when teaching folks how to pulse their tenkara flies are that they just erratically move their tenkara rod with no rhythm, and as a result miss a lot of fish. Also, fishing too close or too far from their bodies, which translates into lack of control. John did a terrific job at summarizing them in the video and points above].

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Tenkara Humor and some very big fish [VIDEO]

On October 28, 2013 • Comments (11)

[UPDATE: The show below will be available online, LIVE, this Saturday at 9am Eastern/7am Western on TUFF TV’s live network feed]

Many years ago I saw a sign on the side of a street that read, “Those who don’t laugh at themselves leave the job to others.”

When I was invited to participate in the TV show “LIP’EM & RIP’EM” a few months ago, the producers suggested doing a funny skit in the beginning of the episodes. The show is known for its good humor, which has attracted a good viewership because of it. When they proposed having one of the show hosts, Scott Thompson, dress as a ninja, I admit I did not want to do it. But, as we discussed the scene and how it was going to play out, it made a lot of sense. I could visualize it and see how it would address some misunderstandings about tenkara but with a sense of levity. After all, “those who don’t laugh at themselves leave the job to others.”

Here is a rough preview of the first episode we shot (sorry, it is not in HD due to the 20 minute length of the episode, which will be aired on TV in the near future). I hope you will enjoy it and take it in the light it was intended. I personally feel it turned out great, especially the fish at 16:15 which may be my best to date.

I should mention that part of the inspiration for this skit was Dr. Ishigaki’s business card, who is well-known for his good sense of humor. On the back of his business card it says:

“Tenkara is not tempura, it’s not karaage (fried chicken), it’s the Japanese style of fly-fishing”.

Dr. Ishigaki business card

Dr. Ishigaki’s business card

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Tenkara Italia Valsesiana

On September 18, 2013 • Comments (3)

Tenkara è un semplice metodo giapponese di pesca a mosca che utilizza solo una canna, la linea e la mosca. E ‘simile alla Pesca alla Valsesiana. Tenkara USA è la prima azienda a diffondere tenkara fuori del Giappone e in italia, e ha istituito un centro di distribuzione nel Regno Unito per il trasporto facile per l’Italia senza dogana e trasporto rapido per soli $14 –
Partecipazione speciale di Vito Rubino.

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Tenkara Diaries: Canyoneering, tenkara and onsen

On September 4, 2013 • Comments (10)

I decided to let the images speak for themselves in this video of an epic adventure this week. I think there are few places in the world that you can combine epic “shower climbing” as they call it here (or sawanobori) and fishing. Luckily Japan has an abundance of it. And, even more luckily Japan also has an abundance of onsen, or hot-springs, which can come in very handy when you’ve been swimming in 40 degree water all day.

P.S. I’m contemplating hosting a small group trip to Japan in 2014. This would be an opportunity to learn from some of my teachers as well as do a combo “shower climbing/tenkara” adventure trip. Let me know if that could be of interest. I’m still very much on the fence about doing it, as I’m used to traveling by myself, but this is something I’d love to share with those truly interested.

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Tenkara Diaries, Japan: with Mr. Sebata

On September 1, 2013 • Comments (9)

This is a quick video of my time with Mr. Yuzo Sebata, a well-known tenkara anglers in Japan. I have a lot more footage that I captured in that trip, but figured I should share a quick video with you. More to come soon.
Mr. Sebata showed how he ties tenkara flies, a bit of tenkara casting and much more. Also, happy to report he really liked the Ito rod and asked for one to possibly replace his 20-year old tenkara rod, that was quite cool too.

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30-second tenkara pronunciation guide

On August 23, 2013 • Comments (3)

We are often asked about the correct pronunciation of some tenkara words, so I asked Mr. Yuzo Sebata, Ms. Akiko Takamatsu, Mr. Mano and Mr. Yoshida to share the correct way of saying them. This 30-second guide to pronouncing common words used in tenkara was fun to put together. Learn how to say: tenkara, sakasa, kebari, amago, iwana, yamame and ito.
Tenkara: Japanese method of fly-fishing that uses only a tenkara rod, tenkara line and tenkara flies.
Sakasa: “reverse” and normally used in conjunction with the word kebari, which means artificial fly. Sakasa kebari is the reverse-hackle fly commonly used in tenkara.
Amago, Iwana, Yamame, and Ito are names of Japanese trout and char and also the names of the tenkara rods made by Tenkara USA.

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Tenkara USA on Vine

On June 24, 2013 • Comments (1)

One more social networking blog for you to try, and we’re having a surprising amount of fun with this 6-second video app.
Here are the “Vines” we have created recently:
How to open a tenkara rod – in 6 seconds
How to setup a tenkara rod – in 6 seconds
What a tenkara fly looks like underwater
And, of course, all you need is a tenkara rod, tenkara line and tenkara fly

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The Proverbial Last Cast (with tenkara)

On June 23, 2013 • Comments (5)

Vine video, you may have to click on the sound icon on the top left corner to get sound.
This is my first attempt at using the new social networking app called Vine. Vine has been likened to a video version of Twitter since it has a length constraint: 6 seconds. The first time I hear of Vine, soon after they launched this January, I couldn’t picture ways that a 6-second video could add value to anyone’s life. And maybe it can’t but now I can see the length constraint can be fun to play with. Here is my first attempt, which Margaret filmed as we hit different spots yesterday.

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Tenkara Diaries: Trout, Carp, Bluegills and Bass

On June 2, 2013 • Comments (1)

Tenkara Diaries, May 30th and June 1st 2013
length: 2:57
Music by Takenobu

Tenkara was a gift from heaven, it perfectly matched the type of water I love most: mountain streams. But, there is plenty of good waters very close to home that are not mountain streams, ponds full of bass and bluegill and slow moving water full of carp. So, I decided to indulge and fish several types of water this week, all with tenkara of course!

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Tenkara [Carp] Diaries, May 28th

On May 28, 2013 • Comments (11)

Carp fishing with tenkara. It has been done before but I figured it was the time I went out and personally tested our rods with them. Yesterday I spotted a good number of carp right in town. I decided to take the tenkara rod with me today and test it out with those big fish. Fun, and much more manageable with tenkara than I had imagined. I used the Amago tenkara rod, about 15ft of tenkara level line and 4x tippet, plus a wooly bugger as well as a tenkara fly.

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Fly angler describes his first experience with tenkara

On May 28, 2013 • Comments (2)

A few weeks ago I arrived back home from a fishing trip. I got home at night time. As I removed stuff from the back of the car I noticed someone crossing the street in my direction. It was dark and hard to see, but I noticed he was carrying a long item in his hand. It would either be a baseball bat and he was coming to beat me up, or it was a fishing rod case. Luckily when he got near enough for my heart to race I noticed it was a fishing rod case. And, not only that I could see it was a tenkara rod case. Cool.
This was my neighbor, Allen, who a couple of weeks prior had bought a tenkara rod. He then noticed my car with the TENKARA license plates and figured I probably liked tenkara too.
A couple of weeks went by and I finally was able to join him for some tenkara fishing. He drove to the spot before I did and gave tenkara a try on his own for a couple of hours. When I arrived I asked him how he’d done. He didn’t sound too happy about it and said he beginning to wish he’d brought his western setup. I figured I would just have to show him a couple of things and he’d be good. And, indeed that’s what happened.

To avoid any frustration I highly recommend watching these videos:
How to tie tenkara knots
How to cast with a tenkara rod

Another couple of tips:
– Stop the rod tip high to fish with most of the line off the water as you get started, as opposed to laying the line on the water and mend. Or maybe put about 10 inches of the main line in the water to serve as an anchor.
– Make sure your line is tight, if it starts getting too slack or close to you, recast. It is very common for people to want to get the longest drift they can, but if the current is not pulling your line to keep it tight, it will be slack and difficult to cast or set the hook. Work with shorter drifts on more likely spots
– Don’t be afraid to cast. Many people coming from a western fly-fishing background are afraid to backcast and want to do a roll-cast or some type of flick. CAST! Just make sure to stop the backcast at 12 o’clock and don’t wait very long to do the forward cast, the casting stroke is quick and short to avoid getting caught up in trees.

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Tenkara Diaries, May 23rd 2013

On May 24, 2013 • Comments (1)

A quick, 1 minute video of today’s outing with my wife and our dog.
Watch in HD, click the gear icon and select 1080!

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Tenkara Diaries, May 13 Tactics to catch a lot of fish in the Virginia Mountains

On May 14, 2013 • Comments (9)

John, TJ and I went tenkara fly-fishing in the Virginia mountains yesterday. We were looking for the beautiful brook trout found in those parts and certainly found some. Pretty fish. Watch for some special tactics on catching a lot of fish.
Music by Shenandoah Alley

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Fish Sign Language – How trout communicate

On April 30, 2013 • Comments (1)

It has just been discovered that some fish use a kind of sign language to help others hunt. So, I decided to investigate the footage I have been capturing over the last couple of weeks for the Tenkara videos to see if trout displayed any tendencies to use sign language – after all, one of the fish they discovered uses sign language is the coral trout. I’ll keep my eyes open in the future to see how they tell each other, “Hey, look at that tenkara fly; it looks yummy!”

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