My apologies to those of you who view this blog on a regular basis. We lost our internet connection about a week ago and our service provider danced around the problem trying a variety of fixes that didn’t work. Then came the holiday, and they were closed. Finally they came out yesterday and replaced our modem. At last, we’re back up and running. I’ll be able to get items up on the blog with regularity again. Today’s topic is fishing with a cane pole and string, well not really, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that.
Tenkara is the ancient Japanese art of fly fishing with a pole and string. Yes, all fly fishing started that way, and up until the middle of the 1600s, basically stayed that way. The uniqueness of Tenkara is that it was, and still is, highly refined and very delicate. Tenkara anglers did not seek large brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The technique was developed on small, swift waters for cherry trout, the slightly larger Iwana, and other tiny chars that inhabit the mountain streams of Japan.
And while the tackle was greatly refined to reflect the fish for which it was developed, it is the flies that are of particular interest. Unlike their soft-hackle counterparts in the West, Tenkara soft hackle flies are dressed with the cup of the hackle facing forward. As Dr. Kevin C. Kelleher and Misako Ishimura explain in their recent book, Tenkara, “The traditional sakasa kebari or reverse hackle fly, is fished with a pulsing tip motion that flares the hackle tips in a seductive manner. Cast upstream of your target, and give the fly time to sink a bit. Send three or four pulses to the fly while retrieving it in the upper six inches of water.”
Tenkara is finding a small following among anglers, worldwide. It can be done with the classic Tenkara rod and static line, but it can also be done with standard fly fishing gear. See Kelleher and Ishimura’s book for more information on this ancient aspect of our marvelous sport.