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by joe leal
(Novato, Calif.)

This post is in addition to my previous submittal of "Small Stream Tenkara Adventures." (See other post). As I was typing in the story, I could see that I was running out of room, so here goes.

On the last stream I was fishing on that post, the extremely narrow and shallow one, the constant and strong winds presented many problems for me. If I was able to cast, the strong winds usually just lifted the whole line, tippet, and fly right off the water, holding it all there, 3-4 ft off the water's surface. This was not good. I certainly didn't want to let the line length lay on the water to prevent lifting. The small creek denizens would simply refuse anything except the fly-only on the waters surface. I had a real problem here. I already landed / photographed / released what turned out to be my only capture, but I was determined to catch others. Getting the fly to them was a real challenge.

After an hour or two up and down the small creek, I knew I had to think of something better. The occasional fish would come to the fly, but the percentages were not favorable at all. I NEED A VERY SHORT LINE!! I was already using a 9'-6" line, the shortest in my arsenal. Furled or flourocarbon, it didn't matter. Cast/drift up or down, that didn't matter, either. The constant, strong winds were A BIG PROBLEM. So, being a wise Tenkara angler, I sat down, had a smoke, and thought about it. Line length needed to be WAY SHORTER. TIPPET NEEDED TO BE SHORTER TOO. I looked thru my lines and decided that if I cut one of my Flouro lines and added 2' of 5x tippet, that might just do the trick. With much reservation, I took out my 9'-6" #3 flouro line, measured off approx. 3' and cut it with my nippers. Attach to lillian. Tie new figure 8 knot at end of new line. Attach new 2' of 5x tippet. Attach fly. Let's see what happens.

The 12' Iwana rod length was providing the necessary distance laterally from the stream edge to provide cover/stealth, the extremely short line gave me the vertical distance to DAP the fly onto the little runs/pockets. The strong wind still lifted the line some, but not nearly as much as before. THIS JUST MIGHT WORK!!! I found that I could even kinda half-assed cast it. AMAZING! DAPPING WAS THE ORDER OF THE DAY, THOUGH. I would love to say that I knocked them dead, but I'd be lying to you. I did, however, have a good number of strong rises to my fly, impossible a half hour ago. I found the solution. The rest of the afternoon was a pleasure. Unfortunately, none landed, BUT THEY ROSE TO THE FLY! I WON RIGHT THERE!!!

This shortened line and tippet/fly are going to be hanging over my tying desk to remind me. I can always buy new flouro to make a new line. Tenkara has turned out to be a thinking man's game for me. I hope it is for you, too. Pix are included of the infamous "creek." Tight Lines.


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Sep 15, 2011
by: TenkaraBum

Gee, Joe, do you have any idea how many times I've had to tell people tenkara is not dapping? And here you go, dapping!?!

Just pulling your leg a bit. I agree that a resourceful tenkara angler adjusts his line and techniques to fit the situation. They do the same in Japan.

There is a technique, used in very tight canyons where the rock walls prevent a full cast, that is essentially the same as what you were doing. It is called cochin kebari (lantern fly). I suspect it is called that because in ancient times people would carry a lantern tied by a very short line to the end of a long pole. The very short line and long tenkara rod create the same picture, with the fly being the lantern. In the right circumstances it is not only a very effective method - it is the only method that would work.

Thanks for your post.

P.S. I think you win the prize for smallest stream that actually yields a fish.

Sep 16, 2011
If you'll remember
by: j leal

If you'll remember correctly, I said I could half-assed cast it, which I did a number of times. Of course, in all honesty, I was dapping more than 50% of the time after I had shortened my line. Whatever it takes to catch trout, I say, Chris.

Sep 16, 2011
I do remember
by: TenkaraBum

Joe, I would have done the same thing!

I remember reading an account of fishing with a very short line, holding the fly a few inches above the water's surface and moving it around slightly. The goal was to entice a fish to jump all the way out of the water to take the fly. I have seen fish take flies that way, both live and in videos. Even tried it once with no takers.

Dapping is certainly a legitimate technique to use with the long rods (gotta try it with the Ito sometime). Just need to stress though, it's not the only or even the central technique in tenkara.

Sep 20, 2011
Agreed, short line in wind
by: Tim Nitz

Well, I call it lantern fishing, but yes, it's dapping and I'm finding, like you, it's what I have to do in the wind. I'm also finding that the more I use it, the more a longer rod covers small waters very well. With less line and therefore less casting required, I can also hide in the willows along the bank with just my rod sticking out, which I think helps some too.

All that said, the limber of a furled or twisted line does seem to work better for me, I can flick the line a little more and do a kind of roll cast with little rod tip movement. I can't quite do the same with a level line, at least not yet.

Sep 20, 2011
author's rebuttal
by: joe leal

Tim& Chris, I offer no apologies for my on-the-spot line bastardization and technique.I honestly am very proud of myself. I was confronted with a unique situation, never before experienced, and I solved the problem. The casting I could perform was so-so, dapping proved to be the winner. Like you said, Tim, I seriously thought about cutting one of my furled lines and tying a knot in the end of it, providing the suppleness of the furled line, but after some serious thought, I decided to perform the surgery on my Hi-Vis flouro line instead. It proved more than adequate and got the job done for me. Thank you both for your comments. Would I do it again? YES. I am a Tenkara angler, not a purist. Tight Lines, everyone.

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