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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12 Responses to How to Cast with Tenkara

  1. Excellent, excellent video Daniel! These tips are all spot on and will no doubt help new tenkara anglers hone their casting. One thing I’d like to see in future videos is…well…the line. I know you and I prefer level lines but as you know, they’re nearly impossible to see in photos and videos. I think it would be helpful for beginners to not only see the wrist & arm motions, but also how the line is supposed to behave. Maybe you could do some videos with the hi-vis yellow furled lines you offer too so people can see what the turnover should look like. Some people are visual learners and that might resonate more with them than merely the kinesthetic mechanics. Still, this is a really great video that I will share when people ask me about casting.

    • Thanks Jason and Mike.
      I’ll definitely try getting more of the line in the video next time. We got some of it on the over-the-shoulder shots, then when we moved to do the wide shots we had just missed the good lighting, but like 3 minutes!!! argh. I’ll definitely work more on that.

  2. mike says:

    great stuff daniel…and i’ll second jason’s request.

  3. TJ Ferreira says:

    Wonder if your video software has a feature like they use on football or golf that follows the ball when hit or thrown. You can highlight the line. 😎 That would be cool.


  4. David says:

    For at least one year I’ve been wondering how you would teach tenkara fundamentals or Tenkara casting in particular differently from the way you taught it in the videos made 4 years ago.

    And it has been almost exactly Four years. The original “Tenkara casting ” video was posted to YT Nov 4, 2009 and this one Nov 6, 2013.

    Four years of experience must give you new insights into what your subconscious mind has figured out you need to do to get the fly to land where you aim. Insights to how you would explain it differently today than in 2009. Which is not always easy to explain. Knowing how-to is different from having the skill-to.

    Neil Peart has been asked how he plays the drums in ways no others can. He replied he could not explain it and that he refused to think about it to much . Fearing if he tried to analyze it to much he would loose the ability.

    Most days my cast are ok. Then the next day, with same rod and line, not so good. Why not? It’s a mystery not yet solved. I blame my subconscious mind. I find you always need the right rhythm and timing for the rod and line being used. Plus the right balance of power and speed.

    The most difficult skill has been finding the right balance of casting speed and power. Generally if I try to cast faster I end up casting with more power. Seemingly incompatible requirements.

    For me the balance between speed and power is like the mystery in Tai Chi where they say, “Stand like a mountain flow like water.” What? How? I’ve been thinking the fundamental to getting the right balance of power and speed, is what you mention in this video, keep a relaxed arm.

    Maybe my subconscious will figure out what I could never explain. And visualization practice is the path to success.

    Great point that low or short rod tip oscillation is part rod design and part casting technique. It’s always Balance.

    If this video is the first of a series of updates on tenkara rod handling basics I look forward to seeing the rest of them.

    • David, as I have tried teaching tenkara to folks over the years I have been forced to breakdown exactly what is happening. I’m still learning how to teach it, which is a bit ironic but as you point out about Mr. Peart, can be a bit difficult.
      The part that is most difficult to explain is how to apply a lot of speed without power. I have not yet figured out a great way to describe this part aside from holding someone’s hand. The closer I’m getting is to think of acceleration (rather than general speed), we need fast acceleration of the rod, in particular on the back cast. But, indeed a lot of times that will result in people applying a lot of power. Keeping the arm very relaxed helps a lot.
      When I came back from Japan about 3 years ago, where I first spent time fishing with Sakakibara-san, my main focus was to make my casting look as effortless as his. It took me several outings and many, many casts to get it consistently where I wanted with no effort.
      HA! Thanks for pointing out when the first tenkara casting video was done. I had no idea. I absolutely hate that video based on what I have learned over the last several years. It is funny to look back and see how I was “westernizing” tenkara casting due to relatively poor understanding of the method. It is nice to be able to share this now (long overdue!). We will see how I feel in 4 years from now.

  5. David says:

    Ha! I didn’t want to say it. But, yeah, I was wondering if looking back you might be red faced about the first casting video. However, I think most people who started Tenkara 3+ years ago would view their early comments as lacking a deeper understanding.

    Acceleration during the cast is another complex issue. I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand the casting instruction on one of the Japanese Tenkara tutorial websites. ( I think, the site I gave you in WS )

    My understanding is that when reversing the direction of the cast you don’t want hard acceleration at the beginning . You want gradual acceleration at the beginning. Then peak acceleration and line speed in the middle. Then decrease the acceleration toward the end. Then just let the enertia of the line complete the roll out of the line. A lot to get correct in a half second. But the power thing is still interfering.

    And as you mentioned the power for the forward cast really begins in the back cast. Thus, the back cast should have a bit more zip than the forward cast.

    Anyway, my view is you want your mind to understand the basic fundamentals of the mechanics of the cast. After that it is the subconscious that will figure out how to implement the cast efficiently , correctly, and skillfully. The subconscious probably figures it out without you knowing all the basics. But will get there more quickly with good instruction before beginning to learn proper casting skills. This is the value of your videos – most people don’t have the opportunity for you to “hold their hand” guiding them to correct motion.

    It’s like the old advice about how do I to get to Carnegie Hall. Practice , practice, practice. Not forgetting this means proper correct practice. Otherwise you reinforce wrong technique. George Leonard’s book Mastery has interesting advice about learning to love the plateau when developing a skill or deep understanding of any field of knowledge.

  6. martin says:

    Daniel: This is what I need to know. Most of what I get from other Tenkara sites are reviews about rods, lines and flies. I really appreciate that you always have something to say about techniques on how to fish with this modality. Thank you so much for what you’re doing.

  7. mike says:

    daniel – regarding the “power” question: The term i use is “muscling it”.

    one of my greatest challenges in life has been my propensity to try and muscle things into place. whether it be my golf swing or bending something back into place or skiing, i’ve often applied too much force. this fact has often led to things going other than i’d have wanted them to. i’ve therefore had to work at slowing down, relaxing and finding the flow. this has been true of tenkara and fly fishing in general. rather than letting the tool do the work, i try to muscle it. my best casts ofcourse come when i’m either not thinking about it or when i tell myself to relax and let it happen.

  8. […] Galhardo kicks of a new series of instructional videos with a segment on tenkara casting tips and techniques, via Tenkara […]

  9. […] Galhardo kicks of a new series of instructional videos with a segment on tenkara casting tips and techniques, via Tenkara […]

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