An Introduction to Tenkara Part 1

Welcome to the first part of the Introduction to Tenkara here at This part is directed at anyone who is just coming to Tenkara as a total neophyte. At the same time I hope that even those who are experiencing Tenkara currently as a viable form of fishing will find something of use here as well.

In the course of my short time as a Tenkara fisherman I have met many people either on the river or while I have been gearing up next to my car who have asked me what Tenkara is and after having expounded on what it is I then always get the question. "So if I want to start Tenkara fishing what would I need?" I have to admit that when I get this question I get very excited because when I tell the individual the simplicity of what they need to get going I see a light go on in their heads.

So what do I tell them they need you ask? Well, hold on to your seat my friends.

"The basics of Tenkara are a rod, a fixed line, a tippet, and a fly. These are the most basic of supplies to start catching fish with a Tenkara rod!"

The people I tell this to always look at me with a bit of a shocked look and with a healthy dose of skeptisim in their eyes. I know that look because I felt the same way when I first heard about Tenkara. I mean seriously, how can anyone catch a fish with a rod that looks to be only two feet long, a fixed line, a tippet and a fly?

At this point I demonstrate the items that I am carrying and how to set the complete system up in a matter of a few short minutes. With this demonstration I truly peak their interest and they get more excited with each passing moment.

To give you an idea of what I carry on any given day on the river here is my complete gear list.
1 13' Tenkara USA Ito

1 Tenkara USA Furled Line
1 TenkaraUSA High Visibility 3.5 Line

1 TenkaraUSA High Visibility 4.0 Line

1 5X Tippet Spool

1 6X Tippet Spool

6-12 Ishigaki Kebari
6-12 Killer Bugs
6-12 Killer Kebari
1 TenkaraUSA Tamo

1 Mountain Ridge Gear Fishing Buddy Chest Pack

Now I know that the list above looks quite long but the reality is that everything except the Tamo fits into the Mountain Ridge Gear Fishing Buddy. This list may look complicated but in reality it is truly simplicity in fly fishing.

To start I demonstrate the line that I am using that day. I describe whether it is a furled line or a hi visibility line. After describing the line I then show the individual how I attach the line of choice to the lilian  at the top of the Tenkara rod using a simple girth hitch. Once I have attached the line of use to the rod I then demonstrate the attaching of the tippet to the line. I personally use tippet rings but you can use any standard knot used to attach the tippet to the line.  Once I have attached the tippet and line I then tie on a fly that seems appropriate for the day (at least for a starter fly) so I am able to get into the water as quickly as possible.

When I am done setting up I am on my way to the river for a day of fishing. It is amazing how many people now want to follow me to the river to watch me start to fish or even want to try the Tenkara rod.

I hope that the above basic equipment list is helpful. Since this is just the beginning of the the series please follow along to become an accomplished Tenkara angler.

As a side note, most of the pictures above have a link included that will take you to the individual sites where the products may be ordered.

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