Tenkara Takes Off in UK

by Dave Southall
(Yorkshire UK)

Tenkara is really taking off here in the UK. I gave a talk on my experience of Tenkara at our recent British Fly Fair International where great interest was shown. There were even two UK distributors of Tenkara gear present.

I talked to several professional guides who have taken to Tenkara in a big way.

Last week I met up with Stuart Wardle, another guide, who has fished for the England Team. I introduced him to Tenkara on the pocket water of the upper R. Tees. He was very impressed with the presentation which was possible, and in his blog comments on a catch rate of 2 to 1 compared with conventional gear.

A lot of controversy has been stirred up however, mainly from ill informed anglers who've never tried or seen Tenkara in action and a couple of clubs have already banned it. On the other side of the coin, there are moves afoot to form a 'Tenkara Only' syndicate to fish a stream amd 2 small reservoirs in the Peak District of Derbyshire.

It will be interesting to see how Tenkara progresses:

Is Tenkara here to stay? YES

Is it really fly fishing? Undoubtedly

Is it the best method of fly fishing? In some situations, YES.

Will the present explosion of interest continue? Certainly it will for the immediate future.

Comments for Tenkara Takes Off in UK

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Aug 01, 2012
by: Paul

leave it to the Brits...

"a couple of clubs have already banned it"

Seriously though, glad to hear it's catching on in the UK.

Aug 01, 2012
Not just in Britian
by: TenkaraBum

Initially (when no one knew what it was), tenkara was considered legal in Pennsylvania's "fly fishing only" waters. The latest indication is that it is not. Perhaps the stodgy "it isn't really fly fishing" folks got to some of the Commissioners.

The only other state where tenkara is not considered fly fishing is New Hampshire. It will be interesting to see if that changes now that Orvis (headquartered in Manchester, NH) is selling tenkara rods.

Aug 01, 2012
Pa regs
by: Mike S

Chris, when did that change in PA? I've run into a couple of DCNR rangers in my local FFO areas early this year, and none said they had any issue with me using my Tenkara gear.


Aug 02, 2012
by: Craig

It is also not a legal method in Washington State where a "conventional fly line" is required to fish in waters designated as Fly Fishing Only. Fortunately there are very, very few areas designated as Fly Fishing Only in Washington.

Aug 02, 2012
PA regs
by: TenkaraBum


I don't know when it changed or even if it is "official" policy. I believe Anthony Naples asked fairly recently and was told it was not legal. I do remember that the first time someone asked, probably 2009, someone at the Commission said tenkara was fine in FFO waters.

It could just be that two different people had two different interpretations of the regs. I think we'll need a definitive ruling by the Commission to be sure.

Aug 02, 2012
Pa regs
by: Derek

Mike and Chris,

I was fishing in a Fly fishing only area today on Big Spring Creek here in Pennsylvania and several officers pass me without saying a word. I have the same experience in another fly fishing only area. I would also be interested to hear the official ruling on this.

Aug 14, 2012
by: Daniel Hall

It was a pleasure to chat with you at the BFFI and I enjoyed your presentation. The interest since the event has been amazing. The UK is definitely getting behind the technique. With new rods coming very soon the choice in the UK will be even greater. Hopefully I'll get to fish with a few folks next season.

Cheers, Daniel (Esoteric Tackle)

Aug 15, 2012
Stirring Things Up
by: Dave Southalls

Well I certainly seem to have stirred things up.

In the letters pages of Fly Fishing & Fly tying magazine there are still folks slagging off Tenkara & showing their ignorance of the techniques involved by their ill informed comments. However just about everyone I've introduced to tenkara has become an instant convert.

Daniel, I'm pleased to hear that you've been getting a lot of interest at Esoteric Tackle & also that you enjoyed my talk at the BFFI. I'm off to Austria with my mate Steve Donohue next month & we're being joined by Stu Crofts & Don Stazicker who produces top class videos (hopefully we'll get some good action sequences shot).

I'm also fishing the upper Tees with Stu & Don next week & hope to try out the Esoteric 12' rod that I gather Stu has. I'll let you know what I think of it.

Aug 15, 2012
Stirring things up
by: TenkaraBum

Dave, always good to stir things up from time to time. Lets in light and air. At the very least it promotes discussion and makes people realize there really is more than one way to flay a feline.

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