Simon and Sonia’s Tekaras are, predictably, supplied by Tenkara USA. Simon possesses the Iwana type and Sonia the Yamame, both twelve foot versions. We know these are telescopic, however their 8 sections pack into a 20” handle section. Sonia, had hers fastened to the Velcro strap often found above the breast pocket on your fishing vest. Right away I thought how convenient that would be when attempting to get into the parts of the river where high banks and thick balsam hinder ones progress. Both hands would be free.
My first touch was with the Iwana. Simon demonstrated how to assemble the rod, told me its weight (c2.5ozs) and handed it to me. It is super light and super slim although also relatively sloppy. The super fine tip bounces very easily, but did seem to settle pretty quickly; as long as you weren’t shivering as much as I was (discovered the left leg of my waders is seeping). I wafted the Tenkara around one handed, as a kid does when he gets his first toy light sabre, looking along the length. I’ve handled a few long fishing rods and poles in my time, but never something as soft as this. But hey, there must be a reason.
The bits and pieces I had read about Tenkara fishing advocates the use of a furled leader and as mentioned Simon produces his own (www.custom-furles.com, hope you [Simon] can handle the traffic?) He showed me some of his custom leaders, along with the types supplied by Tenkara USA. Tenkara USA’s are typically mono furled and according to Simon work OK, but if your nymphing, almost invisible. Simon’s are made from 6/0 or 8/0 tying thread which makes them stretch free and can easily be produced in any available colour. The thread weight is chosen based on the traditional rod rating the leader is intended for. If I remember correctly all his Tenkara leaders are made with 8/0 thread. A flouro green 10’ leader was fitted to his Tenkara rod. Fitting is very quick and simply done by looping to the thick furled adaptor attached to the tip of the Tenkara rod. Check out the Tenkara USA site for more information on this. This particular leader has the end 20” or so banded with black marker for nymphing. You would do this yourselves.
The preferred grip shpuld be with the index finger ON TOP!
Now casting: With just the furled leader attached, I, unsuccessfully tried a cast. The fact that the rod feels so floppy makes you initially try to cast rather limply. So the result was a feeble pile of leader on the grass. Simon suggested I shouldn’t be afraid, and cast as you would with a normal rod and line. So, OK, lift, stop, forward tap-stop. Furled leader turns over beautifully. Tried it over both shoulders, into the wind, with the wind etc. Felt OK but really needed to get into the River. I then had a look feel and cast with Sonia’s rod the Yamame, loaded with another of Simon’s leaders in bright red and slightly shorter in length. This is stiffer, and more what you would expect I suppose. A quick cast, and because of its extra stiffness it initially felt the easier to work with.
Time to get in the River: