by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)
Rivers . . .
I mentioned in a previous blog post about one great advantage in tenkara: you can often fish waters that others find difficult. I’d like to use the above photos to explore that topic in more detail.
Nowadays, it’s harder to find unspoiled spots to fish. In my neck of the woods (South Central Texas), the population is increasing, and the number of anglers is growing. If you’re strictly a bank fisherman, with traditional spinning or baitcasting gear, there are limited spots that work for you. You know those areas I’m talking about . . . that worn patch on the shore that everyone can reach and anyone can use. You can see the empty worm cartons and candy wrappers a quarter mile away.
If someone else is already parked in that spot, you’re out of luck
Tenkara or keiryu fishing, with various lengths of rods and different casting techniques, opens up a whole new world. You can fish that tight brushy creek with a slingshot cast or that wide, slow-moving river, with its abrupt rapids, eddies, and channels. You can work areas that others can’t. You don’t have to cast in a crowd.
It’s a freeing experience. It’s likely that both the number of fish you catch and your enjoyment per outing will increase. A beginner might imagine that the relatively short line of tenkara severely limits where one can fish. I find that the opposite is true. In fact, some of the best opportunities may be right in front of you — that little stretch of water other anglers ignore.
To give you one example, I love to fish Guadalupe River State Park, just north of San Antonio. Hey, I can be there in less than an hour from my house. But, it’s still a state park near a big city.
There are certain sites that everyone fishes, and — though I’m a friendly guy — I don’t enjoy bumping elbows with other anglers. You fish over there, and I’ll stay over here.
Well, tenkara allows me to do that. I slip on my waders and boots, step into the water, and follow the channels and rocky shoals where I want to go. Even on the busiest days, I can reach plenty of “unbusy” areas. I can wade to the other side of the river and fish under that overhanging tree that almost no one else can reach. I can angle up that tight, brushy creek to the side. I can even stand in the middle of a “rock garden” and work that frothy channel. I find fish in “little spots” that traditional anglers don’t think about.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not to try tenkara, consider your fishing circumstances. Do you want to try waters that others overlook or can’t easily reach? Would you like to go where others aren’t? The right tenkara rod and gear will get you there.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma