I think tenkara has hit it's peak

Pretty much that is it.

I think it has hit it’s peak.

I think we may continue to grow, slowly… but the explosive growth is over, the curve is flattening and now we are at a place that there are far more new people than there are people that have been at it for a long time.

The people out there practicing tenkara and getting good at fishing have very little “experience” in their fishing, they are good because tenkara makes it easy.

I think there are some negatives to this.

I’ve quit nearly all social media forums, the experience there is not what I enjoy. Way too much non-tenkara talk, too much bending, WAY TOO MUCH MARKETING of the wrong stuff.

It’s just silly.

But that’s just what it is, I think we have seen the peak in that steep curve…

I personally like this place to come and blab with a few people that are knowledgeable. I continue to learn here and often I try to contribute.

What do you guys think?

Think the same?



Care to contribute?

It matters not to me, if tenkara continues to grow or not. It has zero bearing on why I do it or if I will continue.

It is a method that I enjoy.

For a while now.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing the same thing in ten years.

For me, it is amazing that all the “hardcore” tenkara anglers have picked up spinning rods and have gone to town with that. I have NOTHING against spin fishing, it just isn’t a better way to fish, it is a distraction to what I enjoy.

I see a LOT of rods for sale, used premium rods, used expensive rods.

I do like one aspect of the “now” in that all theses expensive cheap non-Japanese rod companies have competition. You have choices now! I like that.

The Japanese still rule tenkara, all non-Japanese rod companies struggle to match the quality and longevity that Japan and given to us. When I started learning about tenkara, that’s why I looked backward to the history in Japan, so that I could know where they were going in the future.

No surprise there.

Exactly as I thought.

I enjoy tenkara now just as much, if not more than I did on day one.

So much more to learn.


The hardest part about tenkara is learning to cast and after about a half million tries I kinda have that part figured out. Have used nothing but kebari the past 3 seasons it feels like the right way to fish for trout on a mountain stream to me, won’t use anything else. Have no desire to go after steelhead, salmon, warm or salt water fish with a fixed line method (that some try to pass off as tenkara) there are better tools for the job as far as I’m concerned.

I haven’t even been fishing this year, being caregiver to an ailing parent was much more important this summer. Labor Day is here, and after Her service and burial is taken care of next week I’m gonna head to the mountains for awhile. My Mom will be in my thoughts always, I just hope to find some closure and put the pieces back together. September is my birthday month and is my favorite time of year to be in the mountains hiking a stream with tenkara rod in hand, I might just stay out until October, my wife will understand.


I agree with you @Adam_Trahan … but I guess unless there were some participation statistics, it would be tough to definitely say. Certainly feels as such.

I was never one that thought it would keep growing and growing forever, being one of the more eccentric way to fish to a Western angler. Heck, I’m surprised it got to where it is today… even if “tenkara” has (for better or worse) been intermingled with things that are not.

It’s hard to miss the movement of some of the folks that have been around the tenkara scene for a while toward other techniques of fishing. While JDM spinning, BFS, etc… are not my cup of tea, they’re definitely cool… and maintain that Japanese vibe (if that’s important to an angler’s equation). I’m sure some of that can be attributed to the novelty of learning a whole new skill-set, or getting your hands on some uniquely different gear, much like the original allure of tenkara once held. Or maybe it’s just a “screw what mass-marketed tenkara has become in the U.S - all panfish and bass” backlash.

I still dig tenkara for coldwater, mountains, and trout. Have for 10 years and can’t see that changing anytime soon. If tenkara has hit its peak, so be it. There’s enough of us enthusiasts still around to make sure it doesn’t fade out of sight.


I’m sorry, my condolences to you and your family.

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Me too.

I often compare tenkara to ultra light fly fishing.

Fishing a 0-weight is a niche within a sub genre. It is what it is, a specialty.

I already said that I have no prejudice with spin fishing or even fixed line fishing. But mixing that in with tenkara?

What about mixing tenkara in with fly fishing?


It’s hard to tell yet tenkara largely grew from the Internet. I think you can use the same to see that the luster has faded, it had some elements of being a fad and well, the scores of people that just used it for their fishing pole. Nothing wrong with that either except the story doesn’t get told.

I think the story is important.

But even the story is confusing, depends on who is telling it.

Anyway, I don’t move forward by looking in the rear view mirror.

Time for new adventures.


Sounds like you will be getting some well-deserved mountain therapy.
The hills are certainly kind to those that want to be alone with their thoughts, or conversely, escape them.
Wish you well on your outing, so sorry for your loss Paul.

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My gut says you are right.

Many of my mentors, on social media anyhow, have moved to the JDM scene and it is for sure backlash against the (intentional quote marks) “online tenkara community” and what it has become…another rod to fish with.

I am personally ok with it not being popular or fast growing not because I want to exclude people or be elitist but because real growth with people who engage in truly learning about will be slow.


According to Google Trends, there never was a “steep curve.” It appears that interest has indeed peaked, but it was not recently. It was in April 2014. Growth appears to have stabilized, more or less.

Adam said:

The people out there practicing tenkara and getting good at fishing have very little “experience” in their fishing, they are good because tenkara makes it easy.

I don’t see how this is a problem. It sounds like you’re saying you wish there were a higher barrier to entry or steeper learning curve, which seems silly to me.

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Beats me Adam. I’m not much of a philosophizer.

I like tenkara. I like my 3 weight click & pawl fly rod. I used to be infatuated with an UL Plfueger spin reel and tossing Panther Martins. They all live in the mountains, they’re different in origin, but all part of the same story. Shade. Cold water. Mountain trout.

Eh, let everybody find their own way.
People come and people go.
Our way is tenkara.
Even if “we” have reached our critical mass.

I’m just thankful there are Western resources such as this forum, Tenkara-Fisher, Discover Tenkara, (and sometimes) Tenkara Angler that are still trying to tell the story of tenkara.

As you closed your first entry “so much more to learn”.
Looking forward to learning together.


I would like to see tenkara grow.

I have zero problems with the guy using his tenkara to catch bass. No problems.

I believe the guy who thinks his version of tenkara is the ONLY way IS THE PROBLEM.

There are more than one of this type of fisherman out there with plenty of followers.

It’s a problem but it isn’t a tenkara problem, it’s a human problem. It’s a very real problem in today’s society and the Internet amplifies it.

It is sad.

But it is not my problem.

I believe that the solution is respect. Respect for yourself and for others.

I am grateful for my Japanese friends that help me along the way. They have already been through this in their own way.

Adam, I hope you are well and getting in some good fishing.


April 2014 is when Patagonia jumped into tenkara with the “Simple Fly Fishing” book & TFO rods… and all the media that came along with it.

Looks like the graph shows exactly the point being made. Tenkara has leveled off. The peaks from 2015 on certainly indicate as such.

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I can only speak for myself, but one of the reasons I do a lot of spin/BFS fishing is because I got tired of the American “tenkara” community. I still fish tenkara but I only talk to about 5 people about it. I quietly follow some Japanese Instagram and YouTube pages, a couple poorly Google translated blogs, and Discover Tenkara content.

Honing a new skill is part of the reason I am fishing with a BFS setup. It also let’s me fish places where a tenkara rod is not practical. Mostly, I just like mountain stream fishing, regardless of the method. I’m not a Japanophile but they certainly know to how fish mountain streams in a way that I just don’t see in the US. It seems much more refined, at least outside of a fly rod and reel.

I don’t see myself putting a tenkara rod down for good, but I’ve certainly picked up some other types a little more often.

There is a lot of people that learn fishing with tenkara. They go to a place and fish with fly Anglers that have been fishing their whole life and catch as much if not more…

What comes next is the problem, not the fishing problem or even the tenkara problem, the human problem.

They open their mouth, they attack with the keyboard. Like snipers, they kill the opportunity to grow it with the human problem.

It’s a big problem.

It’s an addiction of sorts.

Thanks Michael and Adam, spending time alone in the mountains was always therapeutic, but it was tenkara that gave me a reason to go more and stay longer. More of a fisherman than a hiker I can still find a lonely stretch of mountain stream and a quiet campsite, sitting around the campfire (when allowed) at night completes the perfect day.


Thanks for chiming in.

I go fishing to escape.

I bring that back online, the escape.

I do not take those people with me on stream, I escape from them there.

But really, I go fishing to be peaceful and a kid again in the forest.

My comment on spin fishing is made because many people who wrote so much about Japanese tenkara now have picked up a spinning rod.

Where did that come from?

What happened to figuring it out with a tenkara rod?

My point has nothing to do with spin fishing or even Japan or tenkara.

It has everything to do with people and the way they interact with each other.

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I can see myself becoming more of a hiker with a effective little tenkara rod in my backpack. Not hassling all the fish, killing a couple to eat.

I’m not there yet but I see myself going in that direction.

Hiker or fisher, we sort of do both on the stream.

I’m grateful too.

There are more, a lot more than this and I know you know this, I’m saying it for you.

I like the sites that are about community. You nailed the big three.

There is a place in Glen Canyon that I frequent, I’m usually alone but a thousand feet away there are hundreds of people looking at me, backing up to the cliff trying to get a selfie.

It’s so strange, I don’t know why but when ever I think of the Internet and making TF, I think of that.


Sorry Adam, should have worded that more of a fisherman than a backpacker, thought about walking or biking into an area I previously could drive into and fish but the USFS fixed the road finally. It seems here in the Washington Cascade’s most of the best fishing is not at the higher elevations anyway, the small tribs are high gradient streams some have fish but many don’t. The tribs I do fish on the west side are close enough to roads but get overlooked by most, they have few access points usually in a deep heavily wooded canyon and do require some hiking, I’m often boulder hopping or climbing over or under fallen timber trying to find my way around a log jam, usually alone, at my age and fitness level it is adventurous enough.

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You take care of yourself. No harm in using a hiking staff or poles. Hope you get some good fishing in.

Paul Nielsen P_Neilsen, I hope you get that therapy you need. I hope that you are able to grieve happily, if that makes sense. I hope that as the water bubbles over the rocks, as you lookout over the land and the rivers and creeks, those memories are there and your mom is locked in your heart forever, in the ways that you need most. I don’t know about finding peace with her passing so soon, but maybe I hope you find acceptance with it sooner than some do.

Adam Trahan Adam_Trahan, I think to some degree things will come and go…but they can come back again. I think some people love being very vocal and passionate about things.
I took up tenkara becuase I didn’t have the money for western fly fishing. Am I good at tenkara? Probably ok at fixed line fly fishing for trout, but that’s it. Too scared to fish kebari. Too many other things to stop me learning more about pure tenkara, going to Japan, learning more Japanese, etc.

I’m happy to contribute to Mike Agneta’s tenkara magazine, as a sort of Australian voice…but i’m not an authority. Just someone who is happy to get people over here meeting and chatting.