Tenkara Techniques – 6 basic techniques for tenkara

On November 21, 2013
Comments (11)

In this video Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, shares six basic presentation techniques for tenkara. These techniques were taught to Daniel directly from the main tenkara anglers in Japan, namely: Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, Sakakibara Masami, Katsutoshi Amano and Yuzo Sebata. After learning and understanding the Japanese tenkara techniques, Daniel has synthesized the knowledge and developed them into a system of tenkara techniques listed below, which he uses when teaching clinics around the world.
1) Dead-drift: allow the fly to naturally drift with the current
2) Pausing: move the rod tip upstream from the fly to pause the fly in place for a couple of seconds in spots where fish are likely to be, such as in front of rocks.
3) Pause-and-Drift: Put the rod tip upstream from the tenkara fly to pause it for a second or two, then let it drift, pause it again, let it drift.
4) Pulsing: with a rhythmic motion move your fly up and down, making the tenkara fly pulse with life. The tenkara fly will open its hackle when you pull it, but close a bit when you relax it.
5) Pulling: this is a bit like using your fly as a streamer, where you will impart a lot of action. Part of the tenkara line must be in the water to serve as an anchor as you pull the tenkara fly across or upstream about 1 1/2ft at a time. It is particularly useful in faster or higher water conditions.
6) Plunging: This is a technique that may be combined with any of the previous 5 techniques and is used to help sink your fly without using any weight, using currents instead. Cast upstream from a place where the water drops, plunges or gets channeled between rock, as the fly hits the part where the water is more turbulent, let some of the line into the turbulence to take it down. If you’re doing it correctly and hitting a good spot, your line will seem to stop for a couple of seconds, then it may move in circles a bit, and then it will move downstream, typically fairly deep. The best way to learn this technique in particular is to go out and try fishing without weight and observe what currents do to your fly.

These techniques are the foundation of tenkara. The best way to learn them and improve on them is to go out and give them a try. There is no right or wrong in terms of how much you should move your fly, how long you should pause the tenkara fly, etc. However, in the video I do share a couple of tips that will prove useful, especially: when pulsing the fly avoid having a lot of erratic movement and focus on an easy rhythm that will allow fish to take the fly. When dead-drifting across or a bit downstream, try starting with your arm close to your body then extend it out and downstream to create a better drift.

Tenkara is simple fly fishing; these techniques for tenkara are most effective used a tenkara rod, but may also be tried with rod and reel. The tenkara techniques above, presented as they are here are a system of techniques copyrighted by Daniel Galhardo and Tenkara USA.

If you missed the first video in the series of tenkara foundations, here is the video on how to cast with tenkara:

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11 Responses to Tenkara Techniques – 6 basic techniques for tenkara

  1. mike says:

    this is stupid amounts of awesome. seriously.

  2. adam says:

    love it! nice videography too!

  3. David says:

    Great video, one of the best verbal explanations I have heard of the different techniques we have already read about or heard explained in a different way. The details visible in HD full screen is one of the best I have seen too. But w.t.hey is up with the bizarre-oh copyright statement in the text? I can’t see how you can copyright saying to someone, the most effective way to dead drift a fly across and down stream is to follow the fly down stream with the rod tip , extending the arm out and down stream to go with the current.

    • David,
      About the copyright: These techniques are a synthesis of what I have learned over the years and have crafted into my way of teaching tenkara techniques. I have spent a lot of money and time seeking to learn tenkara techniques from multiple anglers in Japan and then worked on finding a way to simplify them and explain them in ways that made sense. These techniques were not handed down to me by one person; they are the result of me learning under multiple teachers and then laying them out. They are something I created from observations and study, thus are intellectual property I’d prefer others do not use for commercial gains.

  4. David says:

    And what happened to the Ernie Tertelgte blog post. It was one of the funnest videos I have seen on line. Great fun to see a citizen push back. Was it an intention post that you decided to delete or did someone hack the blog and post it?

  5. David says:

    Daniel, I meant no disrespect by asking the question. You spent your time and money to learn these things and should rightfully profit from your efforts as much as you can or is reasonable.

    I just did not understand the reason for placing the statement in the text because I had read elsewhere that there is no need to stamp on line work as being copyright protected. No need to pay a fee or take other legal action to copyright any online posted work, text, diagrams, pictures, videos, etc., because all work is automatically protected by copyright law. You own what you produced. Forum posters own what they have posted. I assumed everything from the start date of this website already fell under copyright law. Perhaps that was incorrect information.

    Indeed I had this notion of copyright law after reading an online account about someone with a blog site who had complained of his work being plagiarized by another blog site and wondered what he needed to do to copyright his work. The advice given was that his work was automatically protected by copyright law and no action was required of him to take action to protect future or past work. Going after the plagiarizers was a different matter.

    Anyway, When I was younger and studying many complex technical processes, it was said you did not yet understand the fundamental principles of the process until you could explain what was going on in a simple clear short statement. Only then did the instructor believe you understood the core principles of the process.

    Again, you explained each of the six techniques using simple clear short statements and demonstrations, an indication you understand the basic fundamentals principles of your topic.

    The visibility of the line. Always difficult is very good. You must have worked to pick the correct lighting conditions. Great job.

    • David, I thought that was a good question and believe it may be in the mind of some people too. Indeed we do not need the statement, maybe I should just remove it. But, because it is an area that a lot of people may misunderstand (i.e. how can we own the techniques? they may ask), I thought I’d make it clear the method is copyrighted. And, your question also gave me a great chance to clarify that.

  6. Stephen says:

    Daniel…..The techniques that you have synthesized and copy righted are covered in two books, both published decades ago. One is Ray Bergman’s “Trout” and the other is Leonard Wright’s “Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect”. It is mostly there but for the tenkara rod.

  7. mori says:

    Things are indiscriminately copied and distributed on the internet. I think Daniel has a right to protect his work.

    That said.
    I enjoyed the videos. My wife who is an avid tenkara fisherwoman also liked the visuals. You certainly can explain better than me!

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