I found myself feeling pretty cocky going into it. (This *might* be a re-occurring theme in my life...) Anyway, I figured that I do fairly well with a traditional fly rod, so how much different (harder) can it be? Fewer moving parts, the simplicity of the fly connecting almost directly to my hand without a reel or line strewn through guides... Clean and simple. Right?
Out of the gate, its harder than I though it would be. A LOT harder. I have had to revisit some of the basic tenants of flyfishing in order make a go of this.
Lets start with the whole idea of a fixed line. On my usual equipment, I can (occasionally) compensate for a lack of stealth by extending my cast. Low clear flows that have been the prevailing conditions this spring have the fish on edge. Add to that my usual lack of delicacy when approaching a stream, and things can be very tough indeed. The inability to stretch the cast out has caused me some serious consternation as the shadows in the water dart away from me at lightening speed.
The wind, and my fear of breaking the rod (again) have conspired to drive me f%!king mad when the inevitable happens and I hang up in the only bush, branch or overhanging weed that keeps an otherwise acceptable cast from giving me a good drift. After a few of these, I've had to exert a lot of extra energy into controlling a natural tendency to have a complete and total temper tantrum.
On those few occasions where I HAVE been able to hook up with a fish, the play of a tenkara rod is nothing short of awesome! As was pointed out to me, even little fish feel like wall-hangers...but get a moderate sized fish on the line and holy crap! (Just don't be like me and forget your net...)
All of that said, what is my "first-in" report on Tenkara? The simple fact that it is challenging me in ways I hadn't considered, has me drawn in like an addict.
I hate it. No, I love it. No, I.....well.....maybe I better spend some more time tenkara fishing to find out exactly how I feel about all of this...
**Note: the fish in the above pictures were caught within 10 minutes of each other and less that 30ft from one another. Amazing how a single stream can produce such variations of the same species, eh?