Tenkara makes fly fishing easy.

Simple. Easy. Intuitive. Those aren't words that leap to mind when thinking of fly fishing. They do describe tenkara, though.

Tenkara is simple. You have a rod, a line and a fly. The fly is tied to the line. The line is tied to the rod tip. It doesn't get much simpler

The hardest thing to learn in fly fishing (aside from the Latin names for all those bugs) is line control - while you are casting and also while you are fishing. Pulling down with your line hand while pulling up with your rod hand (hauling) is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. You don't get it right the first time. Double hauling is doubly difficult.

Casting a tenkara rod is easy. Few people ever take lessons. Move the rod quickly and the line follows. Stop the rod abruptly and the line keeps going, turns over and straightens out.

About the only things you have to remember are accelerate smoothly, stop abruptly, pause to let the line straighten out. (That was your back cast.) Accelerate smoothly, stop abruptly, pause. (That was your forward cast.) Just one more thing, after you stop the forward cast, keep the rod tip high. That bears repeating - Keep the rod tip high!

When learning fly fishing, line control after you have made your cast is even more critical, and even more difficult. A floating fly line is on the water's surface, but the surface of a stream doesn't all flow at the same speed. The current where your line lands and current where your fly lands WILL be different. The line will pull your fly. That's called drag and it IS a drag. If your fly drags you don't catch fish.

A trout has a brain the size of a pea but even a pea brain knows that real flies float at the same speed as all the other stuff coming down the stream. If your fly is going to fast or too slow, the trout knows "That bug's bogus!"

Fly fishing instructors teach mending, which is flipping some line upstream (except for sometimes, when you have to flip it downstream) to try to reduce the drag. You don't have to mend what isn't broken, though! Personally, I think it's better to just prevent drag in the first place.

Line control in tenkara is easy. You prevent drag by keeping your rod tip high. Tenkara rods are very long and the line is very light. The long rod and light line allow you to keep the line off the water's surface.  Different currents don't pull your line because it's in the air, not in the water. With tenkara you'll get less drag, and with less drag you'll catch more fish. It really is about that simple.

If you can remember

(1) accelerate, stop, pause, accelerate, stop;

and

(2) keep the rod tip high,

you can catch fish with tenkara.

People were fly fishing for thousands of years before anyone invented the reel or casting instructors. It worked for them and it will work for you.

Tenkara really does make fly fishing easy.

Take a look at the home page to get an overview of tenkara. If you have questions, the answers are as close as the Contact Us page.


TenkaraBum Home > Easy





Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)

Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

Search TenkaraBum.com