Can Applying Newton’s 3rd Law Help Tenkara Anglers To Catch More Fish?

I am sure that we have all had the experience of getting strikes to our flies and missing fish that we believe we should have caught, which is highly frustrating to say the least. But what does a physicist’s theory have to do with fly fishing and our ability to catch fish?
Actually, quite a lot.

Newton’s 3rd Law says that: For Every Action There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction. When the action is coming from the rod hand of a T-angler raising a T-rod to hook a fish that has taken his fly, which direction does the rod tip move first? Down, not up in the beginning, throwing slack line to the fish before the rod movement up can take up all the slack the rod movement creates. This is a simple enough thing you can easily observe and prove for yourself.

Since we T-anglers hold our lines off the water to get drag free drifts and manipulate our fly’s hackles, we should strike Down and To The Side in flowing waters in the direction the water is flowing. In Stillwaters and running waters as well, the strike should also be made in the opposite direction that the fish is swimming, so the hook is pulled into the fish’s mouth instead of away from the fish before it can close its jaws on our fly. Directing the strike Down and to The Side Orients the Hook so it is much more likely to catch and hold throughout the fight, which should also be directed in the opposite direction to current flows so the fish has to fight the current as well as the angler’s pressure on the fish. The use of this side pressure can be used to Steer the fish away from obstacles and snags with a 180 Degree ROD Position Change to the opposite direction. A simple downward thrust of the wrist before the rod movement is all that’s needed to accomplish this but, it will take time and effort to Unlearn the muscle memory we have developed over the years of doing things in other ways…Karl.


After my first or second missed fish; especially with crosstream and downstream presentations, I start reciting that to myself after every cast until I start doing it automatically. And I do it with a western rod & reel too.