Douglas C Hall: Tenkara 2013

Tenkara angler Douglas C Hall
2012 was the year I began my discovery of tenkara and looking back it was one of the most enjoyable parts of my fishing year. Spending time on the riverbank acquiring new skills and adapting old ones proved to be very exciting. Over the winter months I’ve had little time to get out fishing, weather, life and festivities have all stood in the way of more pleasurable days on the river with a tenkara rod in hand. Looking forward however to Spring and the start of the new trout season I am full of excitement once again for the season ahead.

Surprisingly when I imagine my season to come more often than not I imagine myself with a tenkara rod. I contemplate casting newly tied sakasa kebari to lively trout on my small local rivers and burns. I really haven’t thought much about upstream nymphing, casting small dries with a #3 weight or stripping lures in high water but when I have thought of these things I’ve thought, how can I achieve this with a tenkara rod.

kebari fly
My first taste of tenkara fishing was around August last year and since then most of my river fishing has been with a tenkara rod. This could be because it’s all new, the process of learning new skills in presentation and handling fish without a reel coupled with my experiments at the tying bench all add to the challenge. That’s it!, it’s a new challenge, I’ve fished the same rivers since I was just a lad and although there have been many new developments in fly fishing since I cast my first olive dry fly tenkara offers a much bigger challenge.

As the tenkara community grows and we experiment with different techniques, flies and equipment we share our findings with others. There continues to be debate in some quarters here in the UK regarding the validity of tenkara as a form of fly fishing and many still view it with suspicion or worse disdain however this may well be due to a lack of understanding and as the community grows and more information becomes available this may change.

I always feel excited about the new season however this season has the added excitement of what more I can learn about tenkara. I’m hoping that when I’m out fishing my club water I can introduce tenkara to other anglers, I already have some interested in the idea. Any club events on the riverbank this year will see me accompanied by my tenkara rod in the hope that I can encourage interest and dispel any negative views that may be held. My club are hoping to host a few days on the riverbank to introduce youngsters to angling in general and fly fishing in general, I’ll be interested to see how they take to tenkara.

tenkara river
There are a number of very small burns I fish throughout the season that are simply too overgrown to fish with even a 12’ tenkara rod so I’ll be experimenting and fishing these with much shorter rods but using tenkara techniques and flies. The trout in these burns are very opportunistic by nature and are always great fun to catch, averaging around 6” they may not be the biggest but they are perfect for a day of learning.

One of the highlights of 2012 for me was winning a Tenkara Times Motive rod for my essay on my discovery of tenkara, although my article was received with mixed feelings it was totally honest and I was very pleased to receive this rod. I only had a short session towards the end of the year to try out the rod but I was very impressed with the features and overall feel of it and I’m really looking forward to fishing with it during 2013.

go to Motive 390 rod issue Y2013 >>