For the uninitiated, tenkara is a traditional form of fly fishing that originated in Japan. It's found a new home here in the United States thanks in large part to Tenkara USA, a startup founded in 2009 in California that brought global awareness to the relatively ancient practice.
I've been super excited and have posted on various forums about my success with tenkara. As a result, I've received quite a few emails and helped a number of friends get their own tenkara kits and I've given roughly the same advice. I realized it's time to create a resource for others to start tenkara, because more people should try it out.
My choices for the beginner tenkara fly fisherman are budget, practicality, and simplicity oriented. It should be cheap and work well.
The Gear List
- Fountainhead Stonefly 12'
- 10.5' TenkaraUSA traditional tenkara line
- 4lb Maxima tippet
- Ebira Rod Quiver
- Fuji EZ Keepers
- A small fly box. Mine is an Altoids tin that I hotglued some thin foam on the inside surfaces.
- A stringer (if you plan to eat some of what you catch)
Fly choice will depend greatly on your region and fishing style, but here in the PNW I tie and carry two currently. I fish predominately in wild areas where fishing pressure is minimal and the fish are starving. The need to "match the hatch" may be greater in your area.
Both flies are very productive, easy to fish, and simple to tie. There's nothing quite as satisfying as catching fish with a fly you made with your own hands. These are simple patterns that match the simplicity of tenkara fishing.