Tenkara is fly fishing in it's most purest form. You don't have all the distraction of reels, extra line, fly patterns so you can focus on presentation. Why? The belief with this style of fishing is that you only need one fly pattern. Ready to give it a try? Here is the gear you need to start.
The rod is traditionally between 10 - 14 foot long and telescopes out from the handle. On the tip of the rod is the "Lilian" where the line attaches directly to the rod. The traditional tenkara rod is 12 foot long and the recommended line is 11' 6". Most of your fish are caught with 30 feet so this is an ideal length for fishing.
The line you use can be made out of several different materials. The most common is a furled line between 10' and 18'. You can also use a level line which is similar to monofilament which allows you to cut the line to the specific length you want. A good rule is to have the line and tippet equal to the length of the rod allowing to pull the fish close enough to net.
The traditional fly for this kind of fishing is called a Ishigaki Kebari, which is just hackle and thread. The hackle is tied facing the hook eye and it is finished at the hook bend instead of the eye. In Japan anglers have unique patterns and the tradition is to exchange them kind of like a business card. I also use small dry flies when fishing small streams when the trout are rising but not many flies are needed for your box. You are better to have several different sizes of the same fly rather then a lot of patterns. If you spend less time changing flies, you will spend more time with you line in the water, and catch more fish.
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