Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tenkara...test #1

Well, the Tenkara rod arrived over the weekend and I had a few minutes Sunday evening to try it out on the neighborhood pond. I like it...I think. Obviously, it was not intended for pond fishing, but this short and easy outing was a good introduction to the tenkara system.

Pros: If one had never experienced fly-fishing one would be hooked on Tenkara. Casting it is easy, and as advertised, it is delicate and deadly accurate. I caught numerous bluegills, from 3 inches up to 8, and it was a blast playing them with that long (12 foot), wispy rod. The rod length allowed me to reach over the cattails along the bank and it was very advantageous in reaching around some overhanging limbs, allowing me to get the fly to some spots I wouldn’t have been able to reach with my standard gear. When the rod is collapsed it’s only 23 inches long, so portability and ease of set up is a definite plus. The rod is of very high quality and is well put together. While I can’t imagine chunking my other gear in favor of the tenkara, I can definitely see its potential in certain circumstances. Its “fun value” is way up there.

Cons: With no reel...it is “top heavy.” Don’t get me wrong, the rod is light, but without anything to counterbalance the length, it could get tiring to cast. The length also comes into play when bringing the fish to hand. The only way to bring the fish in is to lift the rod, and if there are limbs around or behind you, that can be a problem. We aren’t used to dealing with that 12 feet of rod length, and with the 12 foot furled monofilament leader they supply and an additional tippet of two feet, problems with surrounding foliage can occur. I can’t imagine fishing one of our heavily canopied streams and having to deal with that length, but I’ll be giving it a go this coming weekend. Since I could only cast a little over 26 feet, I wasn’t able to get the fly in front of a bass that was lurking just out of range. Of course, if I were wading or in a float-tube that wouldn’t have been a problem.
And last but not least...what am I supposed to do with my left hand???

So the verdict is still out. Even with it’s limitations it was a lot of fun to fish with. The real test will come this weekend when we host a few wounded warriors on one of our mountain cricks. Fortunately (or unfortunately, for our testing purposes) our guests are not amputees, but I’m still looking forward to getting their impressions of the system.

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