"Tenkara fishing is simple - it's fly fishing the way it used to be. Before things got complicated. Before you needed a truck to haul your gear and a second mortgage to pay for it. It's fishing with just a rod, a line and a fly. You don't use a reel, but then again, you don't need a reel when fishing small streams. And it is the ideal technique for fly fishing small streams."
-Chris Stewart, Tenkarabum.com

I've begun this blog as a place to write about, and share, my experiences with tenkara fly fishing. I got started fishing tenkara during the summer of 2009 when I became interested in small stream fishing. This was shortly after Daniel Galhardo launched TenkaraUSA, the first American tackle company dedicated to tenkara. Somewhere along the line I came across a reference to tenkara; I was intrigued, and soon I'd read everything I could find on the subjecct. Since August '09, when I received my first tenkara rod as a gift, I've hardly touched my fly rods - but that doesn't mean I've given them up! I love tenkara because it is a simple, fun, and exciting way to fish small mountain streams, using only a rod, line, and fly. While the tackle may seem limiting, it is liberating in many other ways, providing more than enough utility in fishing the kinds of streams on which it was born.

Tenkara originated hundreds of years ago in the mountains of Japan as a means of catching trout for food. As such it bears resemblance to European fly-fishing methods practiced before the advent of running line and the reel (one of these methods, pesca a la Valsesiana, is still practiced in Italy). It seems that form follows function when it comes to catching trout in mountain streams; a long rod, with fixed line and simple wet flies will do the trick.

In this day and age the appeal of tenkara lies in it's simplicity, portability, and advantages in fishing small mountain streams. It's entirely possible to put together a complete fishing kit with tenkara that weights less than 5 ounces, making it appealing to lightweight backpackers, or anyone who wants a compact tackle set-up to stow in the trunk for those impromptu visits to the stream. Many see the simplicity of tenkara tackle as a relief from all the gear, gadgets, consumerism, and sensational marketing that characterize the industry of fly-fishing. In this sense tenkara imposes a focus on the simple act of fly fishing and it's basic elements; strategy, approach, and presentation.

When it comes to fishing, it is presentation where tenkara's small-stream advantages lie. The light line and supple rod allow for delicate and accurate casting, while greatly facilitating subtle, life-like manipulations of wet flies and nymphs. The ability to hold most of the line off the water with the long rod makes for great drag-free drifts with dry flies in pocket water. These characteristics of tenkara encourage a presentationist approach to fly fishing, where technique supersedes imitationism and fly selection.