Tenkara Tip #7 Rigging Techniques and Tricks

Tenkara USA Sato Rod Set Up and Ready To Go
Photo Courtesy of TenkaraGrasshopper Media Services, Inc.
Fly fishing guides the world over are constantly experimenting with new rigging techniques to maximize their client's time on the water. As a tenkara guide, my goal with each and every client is to keep their fly in the water as much as possible, which dramatically increases their potential catch rate they can enjoy. Typically, the more complicated the rigging the longer it takes any angler to wet a fly.

By sharing a few of the traditional rigging techniques as well as a selection of my most productive techniques that I have learned while on the water with my clients, I hope that you will find a technique that will maximize your fishing time. Some of the techniques that I will show you may be stepping away from the historical practices of tenkara and are not meant to supersede tradition but augment tradition.

For those who are new to tenkara, we will start out by covering traditional rigging methods before moving onto my guide tested rigging methods.  It is my intention that by the end of this post you will have a number of methods to pick from that you can permanently add to your quiver. Try each technique if you wish and decide what you find to be the most useful for you. And above all remember that practice makes perfect!

Within tenkara, there are two primary line choices to be made, furled line or level line. Each line has it's benefits and drawbacks which we will cover in a separate post. There are variations to proper line rigging with each line that are rather distinct. Furled lines, composed of braided material and tapered from a thicker profile near the top of the rod to a thinner taper at the fly end of the line are one of the primary choices of many beginning tenkara anglers and even some more experienced tenkara anglers. The feature commonly built into a furled line is a loop at the top made from a cotton material such as fly line backing or even in some cases simple cotton string attached to the thickest end of the string. This loop allows the angler to use a knot known as the girth hitch, which by the way, is one of the simplest attachment methods to learn and use.

The steps for using the girth hitch are truly quite simple and requiring some practice without being intimidating in the least. The initial step in the girth hitch is to fold the loop down so that it is resting against the furled line. Gently grasp the furled line and pull it thru the loop thereby creating a reverse capital D. With this reverse capital D created, feed the lillian through the opening and gently pull down on the furled line, creating two small loops that will wrap themselves onto the lillian. With this simple knot your furled line is now attached to you tenkara rod bringing you one step closer to wetting your line. Practice this attachment method three to five times and you are good to go.

Tenkara Girth Hitch
Image Courtesy of Tenkara USA
When a tenkara angler makes the decision to make the transition from a furled line to a level line, the knot of choice becomes what is known as the double-loop slip knot or the tenkara "One Knot". The "One Knot is used for all level line connections and just like with the girth hitch, a little practice goes a long way.

The process for tying the "One Knot" follows a total of three uncomplicated steps. Start out by forming a loop with the tag end of the line to the right. With your loop now created make two wraps surrounding both lines and feed the tag end back through the loops running the tag end parallel to the main line. Finally, pull the tag end tight forcing the knot to close on whatever attachment point you are connecting to, i.e. level line to lillian, level line to tippet, or even tippet to fly.

Tenkara One Knot
Image Courtesy of Angling Knots and Andy Steer
I am also including a number of short videos provided by Andy Steer of Angling Knots for some of the tenkara "One Knot" connections so that you can see the knot being utilized in the tenkara system. And if you want to learn about many other angling specific knots you can also go to the Angling Knots Facebook page to find even more cool knots. Review these links and follow along and before you know it you will be cruising right along with a wet, tight tenkara line and hopefully a nice large fish in tow.

Tenkara One Knot Videos
Level Line to Rod Tip/Lillian
Tippet to Level Line
Tippet to Furled Line
Fly to Tippet

With these knots the tenkara angler will be on the water in no time at all and catching fish. Practice these two knots and I know you will be successful and will loose fewer fish due to poorly tied knots. In part two of the this Tenkara Tip we will cover the tricks that I have used every day on the water with my clients when it comes to knots.

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