TENKARA+ Anything

On August 8, 2013
Comments (11)

It should go without saying that tenkara fishing is one of my great passions in life. It is my main excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the woods, streams and lakes. But, it is not my only excuse.

A couple of weeks ago Margaret and I went mushroom hunting, a new interest for both of us. The intent was not fishing, but since we’d be near water I brought a tenkara rod and my small tenkara kit along. Just in case. After collecting many mushrooms we hiked back and I spotted a great piece of water. With tenkara it is just so easy and quick to setup that there is no reason for not stopping and fishing. In roughly 1 minute I was fishing. I caught three brookies. Mushrooms were our main reason to get out that day, tenkara fishing just happened to fit in perfectly with it. We took a 15 minute break to fish and then resumed our hike out, finding a couple more mushrooms along the way and cooking a great meal at home.

Before I discovered tenkara, I had to carefully choose my activity of choice for the weekend. It was either fishing, OR climbing, OR skiing, OR mountain biking, OR mushroom hunting. It was difficult to combine activities.

Then, last week, with my tenkara rod in hand and one eye on the stream with the other trying to spot mushrooms along the shoreline, I had this nice realization that tenkara goes so well with anything that it no longer has to be a choice between one OR the other. I was now having my cake and eating it too.

There are so many things that can go well with tenkara as I’m discovering. Every experience outside can be enhanced simply by bringing a tenkara rod along.

Bicyle biking and bike riding with tenkaraFor example, I recently biked to a stream nearby. The tenkara rod fit perfectly on my bike frame, I just strapped it there with two pieces of velcro. It took me an hour to get there, and I enjoyed every minute of that bike ride as much as every minute of my fishing that day. Biking and tenkara go together like beer and a campfire!
Walking your dog and going near some water? Bring a tenkara rod along. Sure, if you’re as “lucky” as I am, your dog may be a horrible fishing dog. I don’t really bring my dog along on dedicated fishing trips, but if I’m taking my dog out for some exercise and there happens to be a pond nearby, you bet I’ll bring a rod.
Rock climbing and tenkaraFor a period of time I was forced to choose between two activities I love when I went out on weekends: climbing or fishing? It was a tough choice. Climbing started getting neglected in favor of fishing, but I missed climbing. With tenkara the two activities are not mutually exclusive. Not many things are as fun as a biathlon of scaling local craigs and getting in the water to fish when it gets too hot.
Backpacking and fly-fishing are made for each other, right? So why did I always feel I had to pass good water when backpacking with a rod and reel? Generally because it took too long to setup.Backpacking and tenkara are absolutely made for each other. Not only because the tenkara gear is minimalist and super compact, but also because it is super quick to setup. Any pool along the way can be fished by quickly setting up the tenkara rod without taking a major part of the day to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I still head out with the sole intention of fishing an entire day. One of my favorite things in the world is to find a tumbling stream, start casting into its waters and move from one pocket to another after every few casts, covering a mile of its waters in a day. But when you realize that any activity – whether it be walking your dog, foraging, climbing, biking… – does not have to exclude fishing, and that indeed, fishing can be a great complement to most other activities, you’ll feel less pressure to choose between hobbies because choosing between hobbies is like choosing which kid is your favorite.

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11 Responses to TENKARA+ Anything

  1. Hector says:

    Mi esposa y yo igual que ustedes estamos enamorados de tenkara, lo mejor que nos a pasado.

  2. Michaela says:


    I really enjoyed the post, you have given me the incentive to bike to our nearest lake about 4 miles, I have thought about it many times ,now seeing the picture of a Tenkara rod on a bike I just will have to do it!! thanks for sharing.

  3. Alfredo says:

    This summer my wife and I have been taking the kids up to the mountains to get away from the heat. Here in Utah we’re lucky to be able to drive 15-20 minutes and be in one of our many canyons.

    I’ve been packing my rod with my own little Tenkara kit which usually fits in my pocket. I love being able to hiking with the kids, come to a good spot on a stream and be fishing within minutes. I can fish for 15 minutes while the kids eat a snack and then be ready to continue on our hike when they are done.

  4. Tom Sadler says:

    Outstanding post! I imagine this a lot tenkara “and” posts and comments. In fact it may become an feature in the fish tenkara blog!

  5. David Taylor says:

    Yet another EXCELLENT post! I have 3 fishing spots that are within walking distance from my home and the lack of gear needed to fish Tenkara style makes it easy to walk to these spots & fish.
    Lots of shrooms in the mtns near me so a little shroom hunting & fishing maybe in the near future!!!

    Also, kind of off topic but I hope that with all the flooding in Colorado, that Daniel & family is ok!

  6. Hey Daniel,

    Collecting wild edibles are a fun little hobby that Kayla and I like to do. Although we have collected them before, we have really gotten into collecting mushrooms this year. On a recent trip to the zoo we spent more time looking at mushrooms and wild grapes than the animals.

  7. Great post! I first got into tenkara because it perfectly aligned with my backpacking obsession. But then I found it can stand on its own too. That carried me through the times when I couldn’t go backpacking when my daughter was born but could do abbreviated day trips. Fast forward to today and I’m now discovering that I can weave tenkara into family picnics, bike rides, and many other activities. It’s so portable, there’s really never any reason to not bring a rod and small pack behind for when the opportunity presents itself!

  8. Héctor, a mi esposa también le gusta tenkara
    How Easy is Tenkara?

  9. […] doing outside. You should not have to choose between activities. I wrote about this a while ago here. Read on to see how to win a Tenkara USA shirt and a hat. That’s the beauty of this simple […]

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