Ask Gearograpker: Tenkara Fishing Rods

Dear Gearographer,

I have recently been hearing about Tenkara fishing. Does this really make fly-fishing easier or is it just a fad?

Your friend,
Fish head from Arkansas

Dear Fish head,

Tenkara is an ancient Japanese method of fishing using only a long thin rod, with a short span of line and no reel. When we were kids we used this method and thought it was because we were poor. Apparently, there’s an art to it.

Today’s Tenkara rods can adjust from 10′ to 14′ long, allowing you to cast at a decent length or shorten back down if you need to fish a tight stream. Because of the lack of reel, people say they’re more in tune to what the fly is doing. Perhaps the best part is you don’t have to fiddle with all the drama that comes with a reel – which can be very annoying after you’ve had a few.

I don’t know if you can call something that is ancient a “fad” but now that companies like Tenkara USA out of Boulder, Colorado and bigger brands like Patagonia are selling the rods, it just may catch on (pun intended).


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