American society is highly Polarized Politically, and this polarization seems to carry over into Tenkara fly fishing as disagreements over what is True Tenkara and what’s Not Authentic Tenkara. But, as the following article will clearly show, the Tenkara Cultural Wars are an American Construct and not typical of the Tenkara Maasters themselves:
It never ceases to amaze me that people actually argue about this…makes me glad I’m not on Facebook/instagram/twitter/whatever. Do people argue about it in real life too or just online?
Old news. I haven’t read any disagreements in a long time. I think that pretty much everyone has come to the conclusion that you tenkara how you like.
In general, I agree but also find value in learning from those anglers who have been fishing tenkara for decades.
There is just so much more to learn from folk who have matured with a technique. This is not only for the discipline of tenkara, but also in my surfcasting. Once you have broken the initial introduction phase which can take about 5 years, I find that guys who have three or more decades of experience tend to provide more help in my development.
Tenkara here in the west is not developed enough and the anglers do not have enough experience to provide the same insights or maturity in skill.
No matter the discipline or forum, i see it time and time again. Personalities with only a few years experience creating online personalities projecting their expert status on a topic. Often it is academic material or very superficial material reprocessed or represented.
Most truely seasoned anglers that I know in surfcasting are both mavericks and extremely effective. They have honed their technique to the point that they could be considered artists. Just like artists each one has a slightly different approach and presentation preference.
We will get there, but frankly I feel there is still more to learn from japanese tenkara anglers than there is from western anglers.
The Japanese seem to take a methodical approach to many things they do; to where they become an artform, that I greatly admire.
The stream trout fishing fishing season was closed when I purchased my first rod in November 2017 so for 8 months I tried to learn all I could about the nuances of traditional Tenkara before I ever wet a (level) line. On my first outing with a Tenkara rod to a small river I had fly fished for almost 25 years, I landed the biggest trout I had ever caught from that stream. Soon afterwards I duplicated that result on another small creek I had fished for several years. As a result I was solidly hooked. I became thoroughly captivated by both Tenkara’s effectiveness, and from peace and relaxation through its rather deceptive simplicity. By that I mean the emphasis of using essential skills; i.e. reading water, stealth, presentation, fighting – landing fish rather than (often unconscionably) expensive fly fishing rods, reels, lines… I have continued to learn all I can through 10CT and other resources available to me online.
I will say that in both western fly fishing and Tenkara, fishing with a couple of friends; one that has been fly fishing since he was a kid, and another who has been a Tenkara angler for several years has made me a better angler. Without having a true traditional Tenkara mentor - sensei I’ve figured out things on my own that I haven’t found anywhere else to solve problems I encounter on the water to enhance my Tenkara effectiveness and thus “enjoyment”. A key takeaway for the author of " Footsteps of the Japanese Tenkara Masters" from these Master anglers he has met on his trips to Japan is “Explore, Innovate, Share, and Repeat”. This forum has been a great community for me to “Explore” and occasionally “Share” Tenkara concepts and technique.
As I read the article I began to ponder, has a good base (? at least in my mind, yes) of traditional Tenkara techniques I’ve been able to find followed by concepts and ideas I’ve received here and from local Tenkara buddies, along with my own “discoveries” to solve frequent “problems” I encounter on the water and provided more fishing opportunities, enhanced my “Tenkara experience”? I believe they have.