I had been reading the stuff on this for several months and I decided that I wanted to try it. I picked up one of Tenkara Bum's starter rods at Sow Bug. I played with it a little on one day, but I knew I need to let the water warm up some. This was the day. It was 70+ degrees out. There was a slight breeze so I grabbed the Tenkara rod, the fish basket, and some flies. I did not take any other rod since I was going to learn to use this rod.
I headed out to a pond that is easy to get to. I chose this pond because there is a lot of shallow water with a break line about 12 feet off shore that drops down about four feet. It seemed that this would be a good place to try.
It had rained, a lot, so I started with a subsurface pattern. I knew that it was not a true Tenkara type-fly, but that was the way it was being done this day. At Sow Bug I attended the seminar put on by the Wilson's on their new book about Crappie. One statement that they made was that gold shows up better than silver in muddy water. This was a good day to test this. I tied on a gold Goldie Jr and cast it out. Now I will tell you that the first cast was not pretty, but the fly was in the water and it was time to retrieve it. It had moved about two feet, just under the surface of the water, and a gill inhaled it. Landing this fish on the Tenkara rod was a hoot.
At this pointy a mistake became obvious. I forgot to bring the net so when the fish got close to the shore I grabbed the line and lifted the fish in. I did not try to lift the fish with the rod. I've lost a few fish doing this, but did not break the rod.
I cast the fly again, doing a little better job this time. The fly had just hit the water when a fish swirled on it. It looked like a crappie and it was. I was having great fun with this rod.
I made another cast and let the fly drop a little way. I had the fly almost into the shore and started to raise the fly out of the water to cast again and a gill smashed it. I landed this fish and then I paused for a few seconds to think about what was happening. I wondered if the fish wanted the fly very high up in the water column? There was a way to find out. I made another cast, and started to bring the fly in. I tried to keep the fly just a few inches under the surface. I had not moved the fly far when there was another swirl on it. I had another nice gill on the line. This fish went all over and made the rod tip dance a lot.
I kept doing this and the fish continued taking the fly. It was great fun to have them hit the fly while it is just a few inches under the surface. I got to see every strike.
I slowly moved down the shore line, getting fish the whole way along. I got to one place and picked up five crappie in five casts. As the last fish was coming into my hand, it splashed some water on my arm and it reminded me that I forgot to put sunscreen on. Time to head home, and remember the sunscreen next time.
I had a nice mess of fish for 1.5 hours of fishing.
Hope you can get out on the water.