One Year Ago Today!
by Les Albjerg
First Fixed Line Fish
It was one year ago today that I fished Tenkara for the first time. I hadn't heard of TenkraBum yet, but had read about Tenkara in "Fly Fishing Idaho's Secret Water." I did a little research on the internet (not enough), and bought a Tenkara kit from another vendor. I was waiting for my elk hunting partners to show up, and went down to Stanley Creek for my first attempt. It was as simple as advertised! On my fourth cast, I was into a nice 9 inch cutthroat trout! I was hooked! I never felt so connected to a fish that was so small. After fishing for about 40 minutes, I decided that there was something wrong. I became painfully aware that all the action of this rod was in the upper third of the rod. I had been spoiled by high quality fly rods and spinning gear.
I realized quickly that there had to be something better out there. I was sad to realize that this was a cheap rod. That said, it did get me into the sport!
When I got home, I hit the internet to learn more about this fascinating way of fishing. I discovered that most vendors had a fairly limited selection of rods, and they wanted to tell you what to buy. I stumbled upon Tom Davis' Blog, and began devouring his videos. I went out and tried with my rig, but it didn't work. I began checking out the rods Tom fished with, and discovered TenkaraBum. To be honest, at first I was prejudiced about a dealer in New York! I literally spent hours on the TenkaraBum website. I decided I would send this guy Chris an email and describe the waters I usually fish, the size of the fish I am after, and a bit about my fly fishing experience. I was surprised when he came back with the recommendation that I buy a Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63. His reasoning for buying this rod made sense, so I bought it!
I was amazed at how light and flexible this rod is! The day that it arrived, I had to go and fish with it. My first fish was a nice largemouth bass, and the fight was amazing! In the next 3 weeks, I caught nice smallmouth bass out of the Snake, several nice rainbows out of the Boise River, and sunfish out of several ponds. This rod was as versatile as Chris told me it would be. I was a very satisfied customer!
My next rod was in the opposite direction, a Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24. There are brook trout in the little creek near where I bear hunt. This is an amazing rod for those blue lines on the map! Throughout the year, I have filled in the space between with many other rods.
Ironically, it is the Daiwa Kiyose SF 30 that has produced the most fish for me! I bought this rod on sale at Christmas thinking I would give it to my son, but he didn't seem interested. It became my winter rod for Wilson Springs and Wilson Creek. Because of its short collapsed length, it is the rod I took to Texas. I would like to thank John Evans for encouraging me to fish some of his State Parks when I was there.
I have hooked everything from Steelhead (haven't landed one yet) to micro fish and everything in between! What I am most grateful for is that TenkaraBum has brought fun back into my fishing again. I have caught more fish in the past year than in the previous 7 years. This is the most enjoyable way to fish that I have discovered.
My thanks go out to the following folks: Daniel Galhardo for his great videos for a beginning fisherman. Tom Davis for teaching me how to fish the small streams, and that a limited fishing session of 45 minutes to 90 minutes can be very rewarding. Paul and John at "Discover Tenkara" for all of their great instructional materials. Most of all, I would like to give Chris Stewart my biggest thanks. You carry a rod that will meet every need! Your customer service is beyond excellent. Your willingness to share your experience and give informed advice is priceless. Thank you for the website that has a blog! I have learned a lot from my fellow fisherman on this site as well.
I will end with a quote from Chris Stewart that he sent me when we were discussing Tenkara, "Whoever said Tenkara fishing is simple lied." I love this nuanced type of fishing.
“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
"There is a time to go long. There is a time to go short. And there is a time to go fishing." - Jesse Livermore
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma