Honryu Tenkara

This will be the next swell, the waves of interest are looking good.

I’m having fun fishing a big rod, long line for nice river rainbows. I am camping and using a packraft to get back.

It is invigorating my interest in tenkara and removing the term, “fixed line” from the conversation.

Main flow tenkara or tenkara in cold water rivers for trout is a blast!


I hope the interest in Honryu Tenkara continues to gain momentum. It seems the US market has been interested in pushing the “traditional” boundaries from the start. I love using Tenkara techniques no matter where I am fishing. I am thankful there are increasing market options allowing me to target mainstream or larger water options. Let’s keep this thread alive! Thank you for your Honryu contributions @Adam_Trahan.


Sounds like tons of fun. Do you fish from your pack raft or mainly use the raft to get to places? What rod(s) are you using currently?


I am backhauled up canyon/river, camp, fish, use packraft to paddle back to car 9-14 miles.

Expected catch is up to 20”+ and last trip fish count was about 6 fish per hour.


I have tremendous help from the Japanese, I’m pushed along with the enthusiasm from the community, the commercial aspect is cooperating and well, this is not me.

I’m recognizing a wave of interest while participating in it myself.

It’s a blast using the upscaled equipment.

I feel like we are doing it right this time. Much more Japanese participation, multiple rod companies, we are staying focused and true to the definition, it’s going well.

Not one mention of “fixed line” and heavy Japanese support and participation.

We are all learning this together.

Pretty cool, like 2009 over again but better.

We have Chris Stewart supporting us, we have the best equipment now, nothing holding us back.

We have choices and no problems.


Great pictures. I finally broke down and bought a fishing kayak this year. Purchased a Feel Free Lure 11.5 fishing Kayak. I love it. Planning to use it more next year in conjunction with my Tenkara gear.


I may just have to make a trip down your way, when Covid permits, to learn in person.

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I’ve had good success with a GM53 reaching almost 30’+ across wide runs to eddies I couldn’t wade close enough to with a shorter rod in a medium sized river for the bigger trout that have staked out those lies.

I’m still working on saltwater sound beaches with the GM53 for nearshore Sea Run Cutthroat (SRC) where hookups seem to occur most often 35’ to 50’ out in tidal current with a 6 weight (fast) intermediate integrated shooting head line swinging weighted baitfish, or unweighted arthropod and cephalopod imitations. There’s a good volume of info available on locations to find SRC, and what western rigs, lines, and flies work, but locating these fish on any given day that may move a few miles between estuaries in search of prey is not easy. I kept detailed logs of my trips and now catch a fish or two on almost every outing so I use my western beach rig as a search tool.

A 10M Fujino soft tapered line didn’t cast well for me but Chris Stewart graciously provided a fluorocarbon tapered line formula that I can cast weighted flies pretty well out to about 35’ with an average 5 mph tailwind and slightly higher gusts. I haven’t tried a PVC floating line yet and want to know if/how that line would work with a GM53.

When I get a hookup with the western rig I switch to the GM53. When the fly was unweighted I’ve used a weighted variation of the same fly with the GM53 but no hookups yet.

I haven’t found any info yet or figured out how to manage line up to twice the rod length when preparing to recast (can I spey cast?) and when changing locations, or the best way to fish with it using a long Tenkara-Keiryu rod in slow current-still water. So far it’s all definitely easier with a rod & reel.

I also need to figure out for a long Tenkara-Keiryu rod how tides at specific beaches affect casting room to carry 30 ft of line in the air, what tidal flows - current speeds will swing the flies, and how much if any weight to add to the flies, (6x) tippet, or line to get them to where the fish are feeding on the prey I’m trying to imitate. I suspect it will take a lot of trial and error, but at least it can be fun and productive using the A (western) / B (tenkara) approach.


The usual response is “epic.”

This is a planning thing, it is a five hour drive from my house, a bit of a logistical challenge but I’ve got it figured out. Packrafting demands an eye on the weather for the escape paddle downstream. At a minimum it’s 9 miles, if the wind gods hate you, then the god of time does too. There is no alternative back downstream, cliffs, no hiking, no escape other than a rescue.

All that, I just watch the weather and haven’t had a problem in 30 years of fishing there.

You don’t need me to do it, I will help you with the recipe although I wouldn’t mind meeting you and doing some fishing.

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Brian_Miller said, “I suspect it will take a lot of trial and error, but at least it can be fun and productive using the A (western) / B (tenkara) approach.”

Although there are a lot of Japanese that also don’t know what honryu tenkara is, I have seen some “tenkara in the sea” videos from the Japanese.

Teaching yourself is paramount to success. I understood your descriptions and if you can communicate that way then certainly you will figure it out. I got tired of trying other people’s solutions and figured it out on my own. Making my own lines and taking a methodical approach towards it was key to my success.

You will figure it out.


I have been told by a very prominent person, integral to the interest of tenkara, that my passion and sharing of Honryu is the motivating force behind Honryu here in America.

That’s how I get paid for doing this.

Thank you from my peers and this thank you maxed out my bank account for helping get things along.

I did this with tenkara as well but that time has come and gone. I continue but the tenkara community is very different today than when it started.

This time, we have a lot of Japanese influence, quite a larger pool of information, easier to approach the widely varied techniques.

The tenkara police are gone, replaced by Japanese enthusiasts to keep it real.

Really no different than the first wave of tenkara, just no arguing.

We just cracked 200 and many people big in fly fishing as well as Japanese keiryu and honryu.

It’s growing steadily.



This next season, go to the Colorado River below the Glen Canyon dam.

Multiple backhaul services will take you upriver. You can fish the same places I do.

Same thing.

I will help or join you.

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While I have caught Pacific Sole and big Staghorn Sculpin with a western rod & reel in the hydraulic chaos near seawalls and jetties that are popular with saltwater Tenkara anglers (I enjoy Fisherman’s Spoon’s freshwater videos) it hasn’t been productive Cutty water.

The only thing I’ve found on this fishery using a Tenkara rod is Rory Glennie’s article in the Fall 2019 Tenkara Angler article; pgs 54-57.

I emailed him and to ask about lines. He said he uses a furled line with a 6’ 4lb tippet so he’s found water where the fish come in very close and he’s able to get within 25’ without spooking them.

I find SRC most often around here feeding in moving tidal flows nearshore in less than 10’ of water off natural beaches with baseball to softball sized cobble that are fished like big rivers with streamers and nymphs. Weedbeds, submerged rocks, and bottom depressions where their prey seek cover, and the mouths of streams where/when salmon smolts emerge are also good places to look. SRC can also be found near oyster and clam beds where Sandlance emerge from the mud. It’s a northern version of tropical flats fishing but instead of trying to spot fish, I’m looking for surface disturbances, diving birds, and seals hunting further offshore that may indicate prey is present nearshore, and sometimes at my feet. Learning how to fish a very long line as though I was fishing a very wide river with a moderate current would seem to be the best approach.

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May have to take you up on that. The area looks amazing!

Can you access any of that water by driving close to it and hiking in or is it pretty much only accessible by boat? It sounds like a lot of fun, is there a primary time of the year it’s best?

Boat only, one area where you can down climb but the drop off and pick up drive logistics are pretty tough.

Not well. My attempts with a DIY .020" PVC at line storage-management and rigging were failures. Thinking more & more why push the boundary that far out of the design philosophy when a rod & reel works so well.