Saturday, May 8, 2010

Landing large fish on Tenkara...HOW???

I'm at a loss on this one.  I know it can be done but I am having a hard time doing it.  Yesterday's fishing was stellar,  lots of fish, lots of BIG fish.  The problem was I could not hold the larger fish with the Tenkara rod. I was told that I should not fish with a tippet heavier than 5x with the Yamame rod.  With 5x tippet it has been impossible for me to land fish over 18"

Today I hooked more fish over twenty inches than I have in a long time.  I could not land a single one.  I came close twice but in the end the fish won.  The rest of the fish either broke me off on the their first run or took off for parts unknown at some stage of the fight.  This style of fishing really puts you on even terms with the fish.  Average stream trout 10-14" are more fun then they should be on this type of rod.  You feel every head shake and throb.  Getting them to hand is enough of a challenge to keep it interesting.
Even smaller specimens will put a good bend in this rod.  Fish seem more acrobatic as well, maybe it has something to do with the angle of the line and the pressure that is exerted on them but they seem to spend a lot of time in the air.
I did manage to land a few good fish in the 18" range.  The last fish of the day was a nice brown.  This guy was one of the larger fish I was actually able to bring to hand. 
 I hooked some real bruisers yesterday but simply could not control them!  As the day wore on I started picking up on mistakes I made that caused me to lose larger fish.  One big one seems to be lowering the rod tip on strong runs.  By lowering the rod tip you lose some of that spring effect and it often results in a broken tippet.  Keeping the rod tip high allows the flex of the rod to offer some protection against the line parting but a 20+" fish just puts too much pressure on the system and lines break or hooks pull free.

I have a request.  I know a lot of people are interested in Tenkara by the traffic these posts are generating.  Does anyone have suggestions for fighting large fish on Tenkara rods?  I would love to hear from you.  Post a comment or email me at 


  1. The're a thread on this very topic over at the TenkaraUSA forum. Not sure if you're one of the folks who started it (under a different name), but might be worth reading.

    That said, you may just be pushing the limits of your setup. My personal opinion is that the sweetspot for tenkara tackle is 8-14". Anything larger, and you're either running the list of breaking your line (or rod tip!) You might be able to finesse a few larger to hand, but on the whole it may just be a losing proposition.

  2. Try running. The fish runs, you run.

  3. There is a video I watched where a guy is fishing with a tenkara rod and landing steelhead. Now his rod was longer then 14 feet but he did it!