Today I sold and gave away my last pieces of western fly gear (an old click and pall reel and a fiberglass rod). The last couple of months I’ve taken both my western gear and tenkara gear to the river, spending the first couple of hours with western gear, then switching to tenkara. Every time I confirmed what I already knew: my western gear just felt clunky and was far less effective on my favorite streams. I’ll miss some of the aesthetics and feel of my western gear, there’s no doubt about that (it would be hard not to, considering this is the gear I learned to love fishing on). But tenkara has opened up such a new world of fishing to me and I feel I have so much more to explore with it; today just felt like the natural thing to do with the path I’m on.
That’s a test I have not performed however I frequently fish streams with a friend using western fly rod & reel. What I observe is the inevitable slack in his line causes him to miss many more strikes than I do. He primarily fishes dries but when fishing nymphs the slack also must also miss subtle takes and missed strikes. He is a very good caster and his western gear has a reach advantage for both getting underneath low hanging branches - brush and in high water. But I find I can often fish water behind him and hook land fish using a wet fly that didn’t come up for his dries.
Life is changing for me and I see a general downsizing in my future. Western rods and reels will be getting a hard look. However I don’t envision selling my saltwater beach kit.
There’s satisfaction in casting. From the reliable pop of a spin reel, to the synchronous tug of a fly cast, it feels good. And while I enjoy exploring the motions of each technique, I still catch the most fish on Tenkara.
Sometimes I catch more than fish. While stepping though a cast on grandpa’s fly rod, I catch glimpses of the past. I spool in memories from my childhood casting spinning gear. Things that would otherwise be forgotten.
I think I’m too ADD to go all in on only Tenkara. I enjoy fishing Tenkara in a lot of situations, but sometimes really enjoy casting a fly line. I also enjoy a spin rod from time to time. I’ve been trying out more stillwater and picked up a rod more appropriate for stillwater fishing along with some fly lines to go with it. That’s what’s great about fishing I suppose, is everyone has different styles they like to use. I think exploring new and different styles is part of the fun, there definitely isn’t any one right way of going about it.