Is Tenkara a Fly Fishing?

In recent times, Tenkara has become a highly popular fly fishing method that was developed relatively recently. It is believed to have its roots in Japan dating back to the 1800s, and has experienced a renewed fascination in the western world due to its straightforwardness and efficiency.

Tenkara is a type of fly fishing that does not require the use of a reel; instead, the line is tied directly to the end of the rod. This makes it much easier for those who are just starting out in fly fishing, as it eliminates the need for complex casting techniques and reel management.

The basic tenkara setup consists of just three items: a rod, line, and fly. The rod is typically long and lightweight with a flexible tip for casting delicate presentations.

The line is generally a tapered monofilament or fluorocarbon line which can be attached directly to the rod tip. The flies used in tenkara are more traditional wet flies than those used in western-style fly fishing, and they can range from simple mayfly patterns to more complex streamer patterns.

Tenkara has several advantages compared to traditional western fly fishing techniques. One of these advantages is its simplicity; because there is no reel involved, it eliminates many of the complexities associated with western-style fly fishing such as casting technique, line management and drag control. Additionally, because tenkara requires fewer pieces of equipment (just three items compared to five or more), it can be much less expensive than traditional western-style fly fishing setups.

Another advantage of tenkara over western-style fly fishing is its effectiveness at catching fish; since there is no reel involved, it allows for much more precise presentations with delicate flies that are difficult to make using traditional reels and lines. Additionally, since there are no moving parts on most tenkara rods (the tip section bends but does not rotate like most reels), this helps keep fish from becoming tangled around them during fights which can sometimes happen when using traditional reels and lines.

At first glance it may seem like tenkara isn’t really “fly fishing” at all due to its lack of a reel; however this could not be further from the truth! Tenkara utilizes many elements that are integral to successful fly fishing such as reading water conditions, understanding insect hatches, selecting appropriate flies and making delicate presentations – all without the aid of a reel! So while it may be different from traditional western-style fly fishing techniques – it absolutely qualifies as “fly fishing”!

In conclusion, Tenkara is indeed considered a form of Fly Fishing even though it does not involve using a reel like conventional methods do – due to its simplicity yet effectiveness on catching fish; its utilization of elements integral to successful Fly Fishing such as reading water conditions etc; plus its affordability compared to traditional Fly Fishing setups – Tenkara definitely fits under the umbrella term ‘Fly Fishing’.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins