Cold and Lucky: My First Tenkara Outing

Even in the last two days since the first tenkara outing, I’ve learned so many things about what I could have done to catch more fish. I limited myself to the soft hackle fly thinking I should try what I thought was “traditional,” but I  now I think I was wrong to place a limitation on the rod. I could have easily dropped a scud with a red midge pupae using an indicator and split shot to get down to those hunkered down, January trout (Remember, David, just because your fly is by the fish doesn’t mean you’ll catch the fish). Instead, I stayed true to one tactic. Luckily, the sun came out on my second day and brought with it a few midges to the surface of the water. The fish were soon to follow.

I also realized watching tenkara casting on film is about the most boring thing in fly fishing video. This is simply because the action of casting is much more subtle, not because the fishing is any worse. There are just less moving parts to watch. Therefore, I tried to limit those shots in the video. I hope you get a sense of the fun trip I had out to western Virginia. It was wonderful to get a taste of the fresh water again after focussing so much on the salty fish.

Oh, and so far, I can already tell you my favorite thing about a tenkara rod. You really feel the fight of the fish.  The running fish doesn’t pull your drag, it pulls you. Pretty cool.


When you head out by yourself to fish new waters, there is no telling what can happen. I locked my keys in my car (while it was running), dropped my phone in the water, and still managed to catch a couple nice fish using my new tenkara rod. Looking back, I’d do it all again.

It may have been cold, but I got lucky.

Music by Max Tennone: Jaydiohead: “Change Order”

If you are interested in any of the waters I fished, check out Mossy Creek Fly Fishing’s site. The guys at the fly shop run a great operation with great reports and instructions on some of the Virginia trout, bass, and muskie waters.


Author: D Nash

Family. Fly fishing. Music.

14 thoughts on “Cold and Lucky: My First Tenkara Outing”

  1. Nash
    Solitude and peaceful come to mind here—the Tenkara is the perfect rod to do high sticking. What length were you using and the fly pattern? You played those bows to perfection. How do you think a little CCR or 3-Dog Night would have played out here with the muic–I want blame you if you don't know who these bands are–way back in the 70's—-enjoyed the post!!!


  2. Bill – I have an Iwana 11ft from tenk usa. I tied up some size 12 and 14 soft hackles using partridge feather (more white than black) and I mixed grey and orange dubbing for the body. Those two bands are great. I think I know most of their popular stuff and haven't immersed myself deep within their records, but I bet they would back some fun videos. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Thanks Jay. I put a shot of an (my guess) Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). I was at this little mountain lake and they were all over in the submerged grass/weeds. Very cool. Because I thought they might be more fragile in winter, I didn't attempt to pick one up and get a closer look with my eye or camera so it could have been something else, but using the book you gave me, this is my best guess 🙂

    As far as tenkara goes, so far it is just another way to fly fish. I love casting a “western” rod too much to give that up, but it is great for backpacking etc because it reguires very little equipment and the telescope down. If we ever are on the same water, I'll let you try it 🙂


  4. Ha, no. no for real. They are the ones you get after going to the eye doctor. My wife had them in the car and I like to wear them from time to time. I feel like Marty Mcfly from Back to the Future. Thanks for the compliments, Yuke.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s