Until I watched this, I thought I’d seen it all

WAIT! I know what you’re thinking… “8 minutes? You must be mad – I don’t have 8 minutes to waste on Youtube!!”

That’s exactly what I thought too, but when I started watching I thought to myself… “hey wait a minute, WHERE’S THE DARN REEL?!”

Tenkara fly fishing

I don’t know about you, but what this man, Yvon Chouinard, calmly calls “Tenkara” is something I’ve never seen before, and I consider myself a pretty keen fly fisher (not to mention the fact that I spend waaay too much time looking at fishing stuff on the Internet).

What I now know is this: Tenkara is a traditional type of fly fishing, which was developed more than 200 years ago by Japanese fishermen in pursuit of the local Yamame, Iwana and Amago. Amazingly, although it’s still very rare outside of Japan (almost unknown before 2009) it’s one of the most popular methods among Japan’s fresh-water anglers, who now use it to catch trout from Japan’s many mountain streams.

Originally fishermen used a simple bamboo rod, which was cut and treated but not split and glued back together, as with western ‘split cane rods’. Bamboo was readily available and light enough to be used at considerable lengths – long enough to reach across rivers with no need for a reel, as used in Europe and North America at the time. See more here.

What I love most about this video is what Yvon says you must do when you hook a big fish that wants to run… simply throw the rod in, light a cigarette and wait for the fish to return to its lie, before wading out to retrieve the rod and resume the fight. Amazing!

In Japanese, Tenkara fly fishing literally means “from heaven” or “from the skies” and I can kind of understand why – it seems like fly fishing at its most pure. I hope you enjoy the vid as much as I did…


James Green About James Green

James Green loves nothing more than casting a fly in pursuit of salmon, seatrout or, when the opportunity arises, a tailing bonefish, tarpon or permit.