I’d love to get some advice on tenkara!

z-2braids

New Member
Hey all, I've really been enjoying this forum and happy to be posting my first thread:)

My partner and I have been interested in getting into fishing for a while and this winter we finally decided to take the plunge and we bought a Sato from TenkaraUSA. It’s been super fun and we're starting to get better at casting but we’re really running into a lot of challenges: thick cover everywhere, wind blowing the line back at us when casting upstream, line not long enough to get to where we want but not really wanting to go longer on the line considering all the surrounding vegetation.

So I have a few questions:

-Do you think that tenkara is better suited for different waters than the small creeks we have in Western Washington?

-If you are fishing tenkara in small creeks, what size rod/line type+length setup do you usually use? (We may have gotten the wrong rod size for our local waters but we can’t justify getting another rod just yet!!)

-Are you in waders or on shore etc?

-How much time are you exploring up or down stream vs going to specific spots that you know are good?

Also, we would be interested in a tenkara guide if anyone knows of one in WW to get out there and fish with someone who knows what they’re doing and maybe even actually catch some fish!!

Thanks so much for your help!

Z
 

Jesseg122

Active Member
Have you checked out YouTube channels like tenkara USA or tenkara addict? They usually have alot of tips, tricks and to show how well tenkara can be. I also saw a video too that showed some guys catching big salmon on tenkara in alaska
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
It’s gonna be most fun on small creeks and rivers, but if you’re sneaky you might be able to work some magic on medium sized streams for sea-run cutts. The key in Western Washington is going to be locating relatively clear-running streams that hold fish that are also at wadeable flows and open to fishing. No tips other than: burn gas and beat feet, it’s a ton of fun. Creek fish will let you know right away if they’re around. Cover tons of water until you find great fishing, and then keep that ish on the down-low for the rest of your life.

I typically don’t bother with these creeks for maybe another month, with August often being the sweet spot for wet wading temps and reasonable flows, but you might find some creeks running at fishable/wadeable flows before then.

I highly recommend wading (especially with tenkara gear). You can expect the wading to be quite a workout at times, what with all the clambering around the boulders and brush. Learn to wade quietly as you approach likely water, or you’ll probably never experience the rare big’uns that sometimes lurk in small streams at certain times of the year. For early season or long crossings, I recommend waders. For hike-in/prime season/tiny water I prefer wet wading.
 

flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Premium
I fish my Tenkara USA Iwana on the same water I would fish my 6' 2wt. Stuff like the forks of the Snoqualmie, upper feeders into the Sky and any small water. Might head up to the South Fork and see what I can bring up this week sometime.

There are traditional tenkara flies, but any small nymph (unweighted for me) or dry is a good option for flies. Keep it simple, searching patterns or match the hatch if there is one.

Lots of great info out there on the web, Youtube, tenkara sites, but it's just a different way to fish, although not too different from fly fishing. Getting the line figured out and learning line management, especially when you're going from spot to spot is fun!

Good luck!
 

z-2braids

New Member
Hi all, thanks for the responses.

We've been watchin lots of vids and such but when the rubber hits the road sometimes we wonder if we're doin it right...!

Hoping things come together nicely once the water is a little lower. We were wet wading today but slow going with the water so strong in spots! Going to take @CreekScrambler advice and keep covering tons of water:)

Also, to be honest, ! haven't found a lotta videos of people fishing with the tight cover you find in the creeks here. Nothing like for example, where I was today on canyon creek. And yea, we're completely new to fishing so there's a lot of learning happening at once... But having fun for sure.

I would still love to hear what other folks are using for tenkara set ups in terms of what types of waters you like to fish and what rod/line length you usually work with.

Thx,
Z
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Premium
Welcome @z-2braids ! @Brian Miller knows a lot about tenkara fishing.
Hello @z-2braids, and welcome to the forum!
I'm in my 4th year of using modern Tenkara rods with level lines and traditional techniques almost exclusively on very small to mid-size, and even larger streams. Since beginning my Tenkara journey my western 3 - 5 weight graphite and bamboo rods haven't seen much use.

Discover Tenkara is a great site with a ton of info.
Have you seen the "Discover Tenkara" series videos?
Start with episode 1 and watch through episode 8.
Then watch "Tenkara in Focus - Season 2"

To address your specific question regarding fishing under tight cover, you may need to shorten the rod to the middle or shortest zoom position, and change the line to match the shorter rod length. I carry level lines pre-rigged with flies on separate spools for each rod zoom length, and in #3, #3.5, and sometimes #4 for the longest rod length, using the stiffer - heavier lines (#3.5 & #4) for better turnover in windy conditions and with weighted flies. I've also begun experimenting tying up tapered lines using different weight level lines to see if I can combine better turnover with less "otsuri" ( line "drape", sag - curvature with the high rod tip for a more direct connection to the fly) than single-weight level lines.

In tight cover I use a side arm cast and sweep the rod up at the end of the cast to make the high rod tip "Tenkara Triangle", as described in this video. The technique is demonstrated at 7:00.

In tighter cover I use the slingshot- bow and arrow cast.
I don't care for the soundtrack.

I'm happy to answer any questions. Good luck on your journey!
 
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Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Premium
I'm on a Father's Day-Mrs Brian's birthday (fishing-quilting) get-away and had just skimmed over your post. I'm done fixing breakfast for Mrs Brian, got the dishes done, and re-looked at your questions.

So I have a few questions:

-Do you think that tenkara is better suited for different waters than the small creeks we have in Western Washington?
Tenkara equipment and techniques were documented over 400 years ago being used by remote mountain villagers living near high gradient streams for subsistence; using long bamboo rods with braided horsehair lines and hand tied (actual, no tying vise) artificial flies to catch native landlocked salmon and char to feed their families and to sell in their village markets. It only evolved into a sport in the mid-1950s.
This YT channel is superb for showing the modern sport and techniques of "genryu" (headwaters) fishing the waters where Tenkara was was born.
Most of their videos are not translated into English. I can watch them in Chrome, enable "Transcript view", and Translate to Englsh to catch dialog but Japanese to English can be rather funny... ex. kebari (fly, flies) translates in English to "fluff".

IMHO Tenkara is ideal for small creeks in Western Washington and elsewhere.

-If you are fishing tenkara in small creeks, what size rod/line type+length setup do you usually use? (We may have gotten the wrong rod size for our local waters but we can’t justify getting another rod just yet!!)
Your Sato is a double zoom rod to fish at 10'8", 11'10", 12'9". I started out with a 12', 13.5' single zoom rod. I found the rod's length was excessive for small Western Washington creeks mainly because the length made for too much leverage and I was launching small fish into streamside brush too often when setting the hook. In my first year I purchased the first of two 8' to 10' rods that are more appropriate for my casting - fishing style and fish found in Western Washington creeks.


-Are you in waders or on shore etc?
Most of the streams I fish are in narrow ravines with impenetrable brush right up to the waterline, often with only one access location where any type of fishing from shore is virtually impossible. I use waders in late Spring and Summer and wet wade when it warms up.

-How much time are you exploring up or down stream vs going to specific spots that you know are good?
There are a couple of streams I fish that don't change a lot from year to year where I know some good spots and will (foolishly?) skip over-quickly wade through water I haven't had hook-ups before. But most of the streams I fish can change dramatically from year to year so I do a lot of exploring. I also carefully document each stream each I fish including GPS coordinates and photos of particular spots I want to recall for future visits, and gain knowledge to recognize similar habitat on other streams.


Also, we would be interested in a tenkara guide if anyone knows of one in WW to get out there and fish with someone who knows what they’re doing and maybe even actually catch some fish!!
I live in Central Pierce County and spend most of my time fishing South Pierce, Lewis, and Skamania counties. If you know you'll be down this way PM me a week or two in advance. I'm retired, fish often, and can probably ghillie for you.
 
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kmudgn

Active Member
This:

1624570427655.png

Ever been fishin’? I’m talking about Huckleberry Finn, barefoot, cane pole, dig your own bait, fresh water fishin’. Well, I have, and to say the least, it’s loads of fun. Find a shady place, plop down on your butt, bait your hook, set your float at the right depth, swing everything over the water and let it fall. When your sinker hits the river bottom, dig in and wait for the fight of your life.

 

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