Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tenkara & Smallmouth

This Sunday a friend and I headed out to a local smallmouth bass hot-spot, and this being the first time I've fished for smallies in years (and the first time ever with flies), I just had to give tenkara a shot with them. We arrived at the river around 8am to find it running low, and relatively cool:

Little bit different scenery than what I've gotten used to on the small streams...

Lot's of stoneflies had recently hatched

After going fishless in the first riffle I spotted a big boulder with a deep pool behind it. In the tail of the pool I landed probably the largest, hardest fighting fallfish I've yet to encounter. Then, on maybe my third cast to the right of the boulder something hit the fly hard, and immediately lept clear of the water. A few more leaps later and I landed my first tenkara smallmouth (incidentally the first on a fly as well). I'd forgotten how much fun these guys are!

The fishing slowed down over the rest of the morning. I did manage one more smallmouth, and maybe 5-6 more little fallfish, but unfortunately my freind was skunked.

Overall I have to say tenkara seemed to work great for the smallmouth - I'll be giving it another go. These hard fighting river-bred smallies are really a blast to catch with tenkara tackle and technique. Next time I may try a larger more colorful fly, and see if my catch rate improves, although the one I fished did seem to work ok:

The fly for the day - a sakasa kebari
Hook: Mustad C67S, size 12
Hackle: dyed black male pheasant
Body & collar: black 6/0 uni thread & peacock herl


  1. Very Nice....Smallies are addicting.....My obsession

  2. I wish I had a good smallie stream nearby. Man does not live by trout alone.

  3. So sweet. I haven't taken my tenkara rod out for smallies yet (need to invest in a bit beefier model than my 11' Iwana first), but looks like an absolute blast. Honestly surprised they were taking the size 12s, but must be all in the action of the mystical sakasa kebari.

  4. I was just thinking about fishing smallies today with a Tenkara rod. What rod were you using and do you think a sakasa kebari bigger than a 12 might be more in order?

  5. Nice Report, and your photos very well done.

    I don't target smallmoyths but have taken many on the fly, and they are a strong, and acrobatic fighter.


  6. Thanks guys!

    I used my new TenkaraUSA Ebisu rod, which handled them just fine (and it sure is a a sweet rod by the way!). I didn't catch any monsters though, and stuck to 6x tippet for caution's sake. A larger more colorful fly might work better, I have some neon-yellow floss I'll try for the body on a size 8 sakasa kebari, with dyed-green pheasant hackle.

    Smallies sure are a lot of fun, and if the trout aren't biting in the summer heat I think they're a great alternative for tenkara fishing.

  7. Troutrageous1 - I have a hunch they may have been going for the black size 12 sakasa kebari because of all the stoneflies that had been hatching. The rocks were just covered in those empty stonefly nymph exo-skeletons, where where coincidentally about a size 12...

  8. Wow, very nice catch. I'm still a little bit of a rookie to this...

  9. Thanks Ben! Don't sweat it, it's really not all that complicated once you figure it all out.