I finally had a chance to get my new Tenkara rod out today. I was originally going to head up to Manada Creek, but with the impending rain, I decided to stick closer to home and fish the Donegal.
I got to the stream around 9:45, air temp. was in the 50s. I would say the water was in the 50s also. The creek was running high, but fairly clear for the Donegal. When I pulled into the parking area, I saw two other cars, so I decided to walk downstream a ways and fish back to the car.
Being the first time out with the Tenkara, I wasn't sure how long it was going to take to rig up. I glanced at the Tenkara site before heading out, and the information was clear. After I put my waders on, I broke out the rod, and I was ready to fish in five minutes. I should note, that before I left the house, I was going through my mental checklist and had a hard time wrapping my mind around not taking a reel.
I tied on an Enckster, my bead head creation, and walked downstream about five minutes and began to fish. Tenkara's catch phrase is streamlined fly fishing, and I was amazed at the simplicity in Tenkara fishing. At the first hole I fished I got the feel for the rod, and quickly developed the rhythm for casting a Tenkara, which is a bit slower than a traditional rod. I was able to cover the hole well, and got some really nice drifts which were possible with the lighter line and longer rod. The rod, without the reel, is also very sensitive and I could pick up many vibrations.
I didn't catch anything in the first hole, but the second hole I came too I landed a 10" brown trout, and became a "Tenkara angler." I wasn't sure at first how easy it was going to be to land a fish, but it was quite simple. As I continued upstream, I landed 4 more, the largest being a 14" rainbow. I fished about two hours, and wanted to fish longer, but it began to rain, so I called it a day.
A few observations:
1) It is a simple, and enjoyable method of fly fishing. It reminds me of being a kid, when all I used was a stick, a piece of line and hook with bait.
2) Getting started was easy, and the Tenkara site has everything you need to know.
3) Snags must be dealt with a little more gently. I didn't snag as much with the Tenkara rod as I usually do, and most times the snags were easily retrieved. One time, however, I put the fly up high, and was going to pull it free with the rod, but then thought better of it, and pulled using the line. I lost the fly, but spared the rod. After I was finished, I saw the pamphlet included with the line, and realized I did the right thing by not pulling the rod.
4) The Tenkara method is great for nymphing. I'm a fairly good nymph fisherman, and this style has made it easier. I have never, "Czech nymphed," but I could see how Tenkara would be good for employing those techniques.
I'm looking forward to getting out again soon, and hope to do some dry fly Tenkara fishing.
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