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My Singing Tenkara

by Rory E. Glennie
(Vancouver Island B.C. Canada)

Typical Rainbow Trout for Vancouver Island mountain streams.

Typical Rainbow Trout for Vancouver Island mountain streams.

My first tenkara rod was a 13’6” Amago model. I have now become a convert. Until that time I had always fished a favourite mountain stream with my faithful 10’ 4wt. and thought it was just about perfect for the task. Over many years I knew the venue well and had learned stealth in approaching the fish. Most casts were short and precise and the trout usually rose willingly... so, I asked myself, why not tenkara?

On the first outing I got the surprise of my fishing life. The approach, cast and drift of the fly was the same as it had always been. The hook up was fluid and the hold secure. It was when the trout shot off downstream that the surprise came. Under the pressure from a taught line the rod, or perhaps it was the line, began to sing. I had never heard a fly line do that before. There was a clearly audible, sustained, high pitched twing-ing sound; it was much like the noise you hear when a high-tension electrical transmission wire is pegged with a rock. At first it was altogether pleasant and disconcerting at the same time. I did not know if it was a bad sign that the rod was on the verge of impending doom or what. After about the third fish caught I realized that there was no immediate danger of rod failure and began to expect and enjoy the musical serenade.

I now have a 14’7” Ito model to try out. I wonder if that rod will sing and whether it will be in a different pitch than the shorter Amago?

Comments for My Singing Tenkara

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May 01, 2012
It is a surprise the first time you hear it!
by: TenkaraBum

I've heard that myself, though not with every fish. I suspect a longer line would have a slightly lower pitch.

You'll just have to try the Ito to find out.

May 01, 2012
I'm Sold ... I think I'll purchase the Amago
by: NYC Fisherman

Excellent article. What a teaser for a fisherman. I think I'll get me one of those Amagos.

May 01, 2012
Sing out loud
by: Stephen

It's nice when a tenkara rod comes from the lines vibration passing to the hollow rod which acts as an amplifier, much like the guitar body functions.The "set"rod is up near your ear so its easy to hear.
I also enjoy when you set-up on a nice fishand he runs making your leader leave a rooster-tail.
I have a tenkara rod that has a glue void beneath the cork grip and it tells me when I set-up on a nice clicks. Only does it when the fish bends the rod right down to the grip.
Fly fishing was once called the "quiet sport".

May 01, 2012
From the Heavens/sky
by: Delane

Adding sound to the meaning of Tenkara. How cool is that.

May 01, 2012
Song of Ebisu
by: Anonymous

Rory, I've experienced the same thing, most recently in late March. I hooked a good-sized trout and my Ebisu and its line were under great tension (probably about as much as they could take without the tippet snapping.) The rod was next to my ear, and I could hear it clear as day -- it sounded like a warbling tuning fork. Fortunately, nothing broke and I did net the fish. Interesting phenomenon!

May 02, 2012
"Bink ...... boink ...... plink"!
by: CB

+1 for "Its a surprise the first time..."

Had this same experience on Sunday as well as on my first time fishing Tenkara ...... the week before! Both times was when landing larger fish on 12' Iwana, heard "twing-ing" sound as described. Like the sound that ice on a pond makes when cracking. On smaller fish line remained silent.

In any event, first time was certainly a surprise, and had me thinking "uh oh, line is about to go". Second time was a positive; had me thinking "oh, bigger fish"!

I wonder if everyone that experienced this was using fluorocarbon level lines?

For some reason I have completely lost my fear of popping light tippets. Perhaps 'knowing' there is no alternative (like reel drag) to default to, I've ceased wondering if I'm applying too much pressure on the fish and just get-to-it instead. Certainly I'm generating far greater tension on 6x than I previously would have dared, and the rod action keeps that tension much more consistent, but I'm not worried about 'loosing the fish' through error ..... if he pops off, its not my 'fault'!

Thinking maybe that increased/more consistent tension is causing the harmonic in the tensioned fluoro "string"? Either way its a win/win. The fish gets a shorter fight and we get musical accompaniment!

May 10, 2012
Hearing Aids
by: Paul Arnold

Oh,my. Now I need to reconsider the wisdom of the default location of my hearing aids (in their container) when I'm fishing. I'd love to hear the tenkara sonata (or is it an aria) but will need to be very careful not to float my hat and wreck my aids.

May 14, 2012
Micros can do it too!
by: Arlan Ten Kley

I have a 6'6" Soyokaze Tanago rod which I use for micro-fishing. I experienced the same singing sensation while using 7x tippet material as line and a 6" Hornyhead Chub races for cover! All the thoughts and emotions already described raced through my being...

Jun 11, 2012
by: Anonymous

I just got back from my first outing with a 13'6" Amago and I heard the same thing!! It was such a cool moment...distracting from the task at hand...but so cool! I was fishing in very windy conditions, so I wondered if the wind in combination of the taught line caused it? I'm going to post pics and story about the experience later this week. Tight lines and no reel!

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"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

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