No Lines Attached – Become The Kebari – Tenkara Fly Fishing

On March 12, 2021
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TJ's fooled trout

TJ’s fooled trout

Essay by: TJ Ferreira
Sitting at a nice warm spot in the sun, taking a breather next to a very small creek many moons ago, I was watching some flies and bugs. You see, this was one of my solo tenkara trips I often like to take in the warmer times of summer, where I can take all the worries of the world, brush them aside even if for just a couple hours, to play tenkara.
As I sat and watched the flies fly around, I started to think to myself, do these bugs have lines connected to them? Do these flies have some weighted line tied directly to their behinds controlling their every natural or unnatural movement?
Well we know that is not the case, but today I am fly fishing, tenkara fly fishing to be exact. My mind then wandered as I continued daydreaming about this whole line connected to a real fly, and then started to think how my journey of exploring tenkara has shown me what I feel a more natural way to become that fly, for just a few minutes here and there, to trick that trout to take and gobble me up!
Little do the trout know I am using a tenkara rod, my favorite rod the Tenkara USA Sato, casting an artificial fly. “But where is the line”, he says to himself? Well, it is there… but guess what, it is being held off the water so it is much less visible nor does it drag on that fly to make it seem unnatural.
TJ's “Salt and Pepper” Sakasa Kebari

TJ’s “Salt and Pepper” Sakasa Kebari

Tenkara is such a unique, simple, and fun way to fish, and I find it feels more natural than any other method I’ve tried. Probably one of the reasons I was attracted to it back in 2009 when I started my journey of exploring this Japanese form of fly fishing, and making it my own. My own little world for when I need some time away from all the chaos, I can slip away, in peaceful serenity, to become a kebari for a little while.
By fishing a more traditional tenkara method of fly fishing, I was taught to keep the line off the water. Now, I do realize some kind of line connected to the fly will be on the water, and that is where the thinnest of lines come into play, the tippet… a spider web strand of clear line that if presented well, will do little to disturb that attentive trout to think anything unnatural is at play.
There is also a main line above that… quite bright for us humans to see, but the wonderful thing is that this line is held off the water, and can also be used as a built-in indicator. No need for any more thing-a-ma-bobbers or weights, just a simple line. Allow just the fly to land first, and some tippet can follow if needed when submerging the fly to do its own dance under water, but the larger line is kept out of view and out of trout splash range.
On days you’re lucky to witness a wonderful hatch and trout start to rise, you can actually go no line… well no line on the water that is, even no tippet. Holding the line and tippet fully off the water is a breeze with a long tenkara rod, and all that the trout will see is a juicy morsel for dinner!
Become the fly is what I learned this fine day in the Sierra Mountains of Northern California, and you too can create a similar journey, if you want that is. Who does not want a couple hours away, in your own little world, where you can become a kebari for the day? This is the most natural way of fly fishing I know, and I LOVE IT!
Thank you for spending a few minutes of your time today reading about this small little tenkara journey of mine. I hope you enjoy your tenkara too, no strings (or lines) attached.

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One Response to No Lines Attached – Become The Kebari – Tenkara Fly Fishing

  1. William says:

    Great read Tj. Thanks to Daniel and the crew TUSA tenkara has given me an awesome and rewa method of fixed line fly fishing and changed my lifestyle.

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