Problems with Tenkara

Some of you may be familiar with Tenkara, a Japanese fly fishing method developed by professional fishermen for taking trout in high mountain streams.

photo credit Wide Open Spaces

photo credit Wide Open Spaces

However dear reader, hidden beneath all the hype of “simplicity” (because there is no reel, no fly line to mend, etc.), and “the more you know the less you need” lies the dark side of Tenkara.

Yes…a dark side. So insidious I am shocked that Alex Jones has not done an “inside job” expose on this. But for you fortunate few who follow this occasional blog, I will not leave you un-warned.

The issue is what to do with your non casting hand. Yes, I know…shock and awe. With traditional fly fishing, both hands have a role. Both are gainfully employed. But along comes this….this import and now half of our hands are unemployed. Where is the outrage?

Not only are our non casting hands not gainfully employed, they look silly in photos. Where do we put the hand when people take our pictures? With traditional, conservative fly fishing, the non-casting hand has a role in managing all that line. The hand looks graceful while double-hauling or stripping in line. These functions are shockingly  totally eliminated with Tenkara. Now the off-hand awkwardly rests on a hip, or dangles uselessly at one’s side. A complete travesty.

photo credit Rigs Adventure Co.

photo credit Rigs Adventure Co.


Another problem is not being able to out cast your fishing partner. I mean who among us hasn’t been one-upped by our partner who catches more fish than we do, only to even the score by casting 45 feet further than they can? That too has been taken away from us by this invasive technique.

And don’t get me started on gear envy. How in the world can we show our superiority when gearing up when we have no $600 reel to show off?

Then they tell us we only need one fly pattern. So. Much. Sacrilege.

Japan gave us Godzilla, then Sushi, and now Tenkara. One would have thought we would have learned.


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