Tenkara is derived from the Japanese symbols for “from heaven” or “from the skies.” It has a deep history as a traditional form of fishing that has been practiced in Japan for more than 200 years, mostly for mountain stream trout fishing. While this form of fishing was not widely known until Tenkara, USA, an equipment company based in Boulder, Colorado, was formed in the United States in 2009, since then, this simplistic and serene angling trend has swept the enthusiastic fishing community.
Tenkara is fishing at its most simple—all you need is a rod, a line and a fly.
Great for beginnings, this is an easy way to learn the basics of angling while effectively and consistently making catches. Also, because so little equipment is needed, Tenkara is a great pastime for hiking, camping and backpacking.
The original Tenkara rod was made from bamboo or cane that was cut and treated. Because of the lightness of the materials, Tenkara rods allowed fishers to reach great distances without a reel. A traditional Tenkara line is a tempered furled line, while the fly would be made from thread, feathers and occasionally fur. The philosophy behind this type of fishing is to focus more on the fish than the equipment. You can adjust the length of the rod to where the fish are focused and manipulate the fly to best suit your needs.
Today, anglers can buy a variety of Tenkara products, including adjustable rods with spools of tapered lines and Tenkara flies. However, the most important thing to remember if you’re going to try this type of fishing is to truly enjoy the serenity and simplicity of being out on the water.