NOTE: Some folks erroneously believe that Tenkara gear is no different than the cane poles they've used or other stick and string rigs they've fished with. Before proceeding on this thread, they should take a look at post #178 below titled "For those who fished cane poles".
This thread is not about a product - it is about fly angling. Part of my experience the past few days has involved Tenkara fly rods. First, a Yamame 12' fast action ( 7:3 in TenkaraUSA's system of classifying their rods ) and next an Ayu 13' slow action ( 5:5 in TenkaraUSA's parlance ).
Before going further, I want to thank Dan at the Grizzly Hackle in Missoula for permitting me to demo these rods and providing the lines necessary to do so. For the Yamame I used a 13' or thereabouts level line with 4X tippet and for the Ayu I used a Tenkara Furled Line which is about 10' long tipped with 5X.
Honestly, I didn't care for the Yamame with the level line. But when Dan insisted that I try the Ayu with the furled line, I decided to give it another shot. Thanks, Dan.
The Yamame is Tenkara's heavy duty rod - the one you would use for larger fish. The Ayu is one they would recommend for smaller fish on smaller water. That's what I had in mind for these rods, and the Ayu turned out to be a stellar performer, with a rod action that is outstanding once you get a feel for it, and a furled line / tippet setup that cast a size 10 FEB Hopper beautifully. It also cast a size 16 caddis emerger pattern, a size 14 Harrop's Henry's Fork Caddis, and a size 16 parachute CDL PMD effortlessly. But the water I was on is great hopper / golden stone water and I knew the FEB Hopper and an LF Golden Stone would be the workhorses today.
The first three places I fished today are ones that I have fished previously so I knew what to expect.
Pocket water where you have to cast far enough that you can't keep the line off the faster water and get a very short dead drift at best. With the longer rod and the very light line, a much longer drift was possible.
This little guy was first up on the caddis pattern provided a while back by BB member ScottP.
Then water far enough away that the 13' rod made it more of a reach than a cast, and with a high tip, it was simple to keep the fly in a dead drift.
Only caught two or three trouts in that little hole, but saw something like 10-12 around the fly in the short time I fished there.
On downstream a way, there is a pocket of soft water on the far bank that is more than a reach. It takes a cast and an immediate mend, and then some concentration to keep the line off the hard water and get a good drift.
This is the third time I have caught this cutthroat right at the lower end of the soft water pocket.
After catching the fish above, I moved off to another creek. The first stretch I fished, I had fished before. Full of smaller trouts, up to 8-9". Can't tell you how many hit the fly or ate it. The fly being an FEB Hopper. This little guy ate the fly after I cast it left handed.
Next I moved up to some water that has been calling to me everytime I drive through this area, but that I had never stopped to fish before. It is big enough to challenge the 13' Ayu, which has a total reach of maybe 25'. What's that old saying about fishing bigger water like it is 30' wide ?? Wade out a bit and you've got it covered.
Started a bit slow on this run. But when I started hitting the seam between the fast water and the soft water on the far side, I started picking up cutts. Three or four right on the seam. All about 12-13". Beautiful fish.
Then I decided to bring the fly right down the middle of the run - something like 7-8' deep, best I could tell. First up.
Last up and last fish of the day. 14" plus of wild, native West Slope Cutthroat not at all in love with the LF Golden Stone that he ate. What a sight to see this fish come up from the bottom and absolutely smash the golden stone !! And with only about 14' of line in addition to the length of the rod, he was a handful. Put a real bend in the Ayu before I could work him into the soft water just below my position.
Tenkara is going to be a continuing part of my fly angling experience. The Ayu will be mine by this time tomorrow. If this report whets your appetite, just google Tenkara and you can find out more about their product line.
For those who have questions about my experience, fire away !!