Thoughts on Tenkara Simplicity Revisited

Recently I posted a few thoughts on Tenkara simplicity and I wanted to thank everyone for reading the blog. I also wanted to tell you that I was very pleased with the comments I received from you, my readers. After having read them and then scanning the other Tenkara blogs I get the feeling I started a bit of a firestorm about this topic.

I received one comment in particular that I thought was very succinct and well written and reflected my thoughts exactly yet maybe even a little bit more poetically. What follows is the complete comment that I received from Daniel Galhardo.

Ed Engle and I have been spending quite a bit of time discussing the philosophy of simple. To him it seems that for anyone to get to a place of simplicity they must embark on a journey of making things complex first. I think it can be simple from the beginning if someone tells you it is possible and how one can simplify things. 
Also, one thing that I liked he mentioned: "the easiest way to simplify fishing is to become a purist, a specialist - the person who considers himself a purist can leave everything else at home and concentrate on honing his skills with the items at hand." I thought that was very accurate and probably a big part of the reason I constantly advocate for embracing the whole method of tenkara for those interested in really simplifying things.

I do agree with both Daniel and Mr. Engle on both of their views on simplicity. So I guess I should tell you why I feel this way and go into a little more detail with each one.

I feel that Mr. Engle's belief that for someone to get to a place of simplicity they must travel that road of making things horrendously complex first. New Tenkara anglers are the prime example of this in many ways.

  1. Most of the current Tenkara anglers were western style fly fishers long before Tenkara came to the US.
  2. Some of us were even started as bait slingers before we got to fly fishing.
  3. Most Tenkara anglers have run around with heavy vests and finally got to that stage of cleaning out a vest and realizing that much of the stuff in their vest never gets used.
  4. After having the epiphany of 3 above they then clean their vests out and purge it of items they find they have not used. Now for some their vest has gone from 30 lbs of stuff to 5 or less pounds.
  5. Once they go fishing for a day with a lighter vest, they come to the realization at the end of the day that they are not nearly as tired as usual. 
  6. The light goes on, and suddenly simplicity has set in.
Now, you may ask why I say this. Personal experience my friends, personal experience.

I also agree with Daniel and Ed when Ed said "the easiest way to simplify fishing is to become a purist, a specialist - the person who considers himself a purist can leave everything else at home and concentrate on honing his skills with the items at hand."

Some of you might find this annoying and simplicity purists banging their drums to loudly. But just hear me out here. Let me start with a question.

How many of you reading this today think that catching a fish with only a dry fly is the only true style of fly fishing? You can raise your hands, no one can see you. Or you can keep them down. (Needed a little humor to lighten the mood.)

There a purists on all branches of fishing whether it be bait slingin', bass fishing, Musky fishing, heck even Crappie fishing, and fly fishing has plenty of its own purist paths for those who want to follow them. Just a short list but definitely not the definitive list: Tenkara, Czech nymphing, dry fly, midge, bonefish/tarpon/permit, Rooster fish.

Daniel stated his attitude about his reason for advocating Tenkara and I agree with him as well. I have done my days on the water with the most basic of supplies and equipment and I have still caught fish and have not felt that I was missing anything that I wished I had had.

Having said all of this I want you to know that I do own a bait slingin' tackle box with more lures in it than I know what to do with to be honest. I also have at least 10 to 15 fly boxes loaded with flies of all kinds and plenty more to come, I have multiple rods and reels for bait slingin', Tenkara, and western fly fishing. I have a supply of fly tying materials that never seems to end. 

Am I the epitome of simplicity? Hell no!!

But when I do go out fishing, whatever style that might be, I try to go as light and fast as I can with the least amount of gear necessary.

Thanks for taking the time to read what I have written here and I wait with anticipation for my phone to play Duelin' Banjos notifying me that I have received comments to my posts. 

Sittin' in my rockin' chair, phone in hand, with a big, goofy smile on ma face!

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