Here's a little write up I did for our local fishing paper.
Are we haveing fun yet, or what?
What is Tenkara, and what does it have to do with fishing in Hawaii?
"Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing
where only a rod, line and fly are used. It originated and
was perfected over centuries in the mountain streams of
Japan and is the ideal method of fly-fishing mountain streams.
Tenkara is about fly-fishing simplicity. It eliminates
unnecessary complexities to let you enjoy the fly-fishing
experience. Instead of gear, you're free to focus on
your casting and fishing techniques. The ultra-light and
portable gear is great for backpacking, 11-13 foot rods
collapse down to 20 inches and the long rods allow you
to effectively fish challenging waters." http://www.TenkaraUSA.com
It is fun! The first time I hooked into a red devil,
the 13' 6" rod bent almost double. The line was
stretched tight as a fiddle string and sang in the
trade wind. My rod weighs only 3 1/2 ounces.
It's recommended you not use a leader stronger
than 5# test or you might break the rod.
Challenging, exciting.... it is just plain fun.
It's designed for small fish... say, trout under 15 inches.
Which makes it perfect for the bluegill, red devils,
cichlids, and the under 1 pound largemouth and
With the trout, the fly just floats along in the current
of the stream and the trout grabs it.
In still water like the lake, you have to jiggle the rod
to make your fly more life like. It only took a tiny
wiggle of the rod to make my little gold Crazy Charlie
move like a Tahitian dancer at a Waikiki Luau. The fish loved it.
Kaneohe's version of a Japanese mountain trout
stream is Kamooalii. That's the little stream that drains
the lake at Hoomalahia Park.
(Lake Hoomalahia is only open to fishing on Saturday
and Sunday from 10 AM to 2 PM)
The stream is available all the time. If you can't make
it to the Windward side, no problem, so many unwanted
aquariums have been dumped into just about every stream
on Oahu that they probably hold more tropical fish
than most Pet Stores. Just check the stream near where you live.
My targeted fish was the Five Bar General. That's what
all the kids call it. It's a very aggressive little guy and fun
to catch. I'm still experimenting with what fly to use.
The floating foam grasshopper I had was attacked on
every drift as it floated along in the riffles... but it was
just too big. Perhaps a smaller fly? The little weighted
nymphs were mostly ignored. And I couldn't see them.
Besides, a surface strike is much more exciting.
One of the kids (they were using bread and catching
assorted colorful fish) suggested I try "that gold thing
with the orange body"... My little gold Crazy Charlie.
Listen to the kids... it's their back yard and they know
how to catch fish. Within the next 15 minutes I hooked
a "5-bar" on almost every cast. I let the two boys,
6th graders, try the Tenkara rod. They not only caught
more, but larger fish than me.
Time to start tying new flys... Something light enough
to float. Small enough the fish can eat it, yet bright
and flashy enough for me to easily see it on the water.
This is going to be so much fun.