This is something I think about all the time, with different hobbies. Photography is a great example. You get to the point where the return on dollars spent is very low, compared to if you just practiced and got your technique better.
That being said, I think it’s kinda a shortcut to effectiveness if you can find gear that matches your style, and do it earlier on in your pursuit- vs trying and trying with something that just isn’t right for you, and trying to change your style.
I have found great utility in my purchases, and all have been guided by Tom and Chris.
Regarding fishing equipment, I mostly live by a love the one you are with …philosophy.
With only three seasons under my belt, I feel I need to mature as a tenkara angler before I become critical about my equipment. I am a slow processor and I have not settled into a specific style or preference. There is some benefit in this as I will take time to get to know my equipment. What it is good for and what it is not. It also saves my wallet from jumping around alot. One of my rods I was temped to sell within the first year, but recently began to understand its value. I think equipment needs to age with an angler for its worth to be understood. If you follow the advise of Tom and Chris I feel like they really recommend great rods.
Some of my surfcasting peers, buy the latest and greatest surfcasting rods, say they love them and are the best purchases they ever made. Then within a year I noticed they are selling them…probably out to buy the new thing.
Nothing wrong with exploring equipment. I like it too, and admit that I am eyeing one particular rod that may be a redundancy in my lineup. I am just wise enough to know that it won’t make me a better angler…but it will be a new toy for me to goof around with.
Rods are like brothers. There are things you love about them and also hate about them. I feel a link between my fishing experiences and the rods I have. I would find it hard to part with them or replace them.
I know what you mean. My wife and I used to make pinhole cameras for fun. (We both like photography, and we both enjoy regular cameras, both film & digital, medium-format, etc.)
I would never say that pinhole cameras are always The Best Choice. But some of the pics I’ve taken with “cameras” that I cobbled together out of cardboard boxes and electrical tape are incredibly beautiful, far prettier than many shots I’ve taken with much better technology.
I’m not really worried about having the best kebari, the best line or the best rod. I’m interested in becoming a better fisherman.
I do agree, and yes my example is probably too far a contrast. I was just trying to make a point. It just seems as of late there has been heavy emphasis on technology. Whats trending…or whatever the buzz is. This thread is just a reality check…noting that a lot of it might be as you put it Point of diminishing returns
solid articles about technique…I know I benefit more from this stuff. Concise and dense with info.
The old tenkara line and Leader · Tippet. was very fat and weak
The old tenkara could not put that line on the water surface
Now the line is thin and strong so I can put it on the water surface
That is the biggest difference between the past and now
I am curious about the X on the first illustration on the left.
Does X mean wrong/incorrect?
If so, I have a lot of success with slack and/or lost and found contact in my presentations.
I use tension when I manipulate flies, and use slack when I want a more natural drift. If I had to put numbers on it I would say 60-70% of my fish taken are on a loosely connected natural drift. I have been trying to work on my manipulation chops to improve my catch rates, but still find drift the most effective.
That’s interesting for me to think about. I feel like I lose more fish with slack line than with tension on my line. It’s something for me to think about and experiment with during my last few weeks of the season this year.
Yet another reminder of how much I have to learn in this journey. It never gets boring.
Now that I have rods that I really like and feel match my fishing style and locations, my focus is primarily on improving my skill and learning more. I am playing around with different lines right now, but that’s not my main focus. It’s more of an experiment than anything.
Yes, I know I do too, but in order for the water to deliver the fly, I find slack is important. Its my favorite way to catch them, completely blind, but let the water suck the fly into its lie. I know there are probably 10 trout that spit the fly without me knowing it, for every one I engage. But also feel and have witnessed the same can happen with a tight line. Sometimes trout are in a sampling mood, but not an eating when it comes to flies. I will do occasional pulse when you feel that the fly is in the right spot. Also, Like they say…most of the time, you will see the flash, or see the line cut cross current and you know you are on.
I am a very sloppy angler. I have to work on my tight line presentations. Listening to your experience with the nylon has me thinking I should refine my casting and do some practicing.
So true, so true. This happened to me two days ago after work. Again and again I’d see the flash of a take and by the time I tried to set the hook, the trout was gone; always half a second too late.
I have to say that using the nylon line has been really eye opening; at least for me. It’s really shown me a number of places where I need to improve my casting skill. Combining this with things I’ve been reading by @Paul_Gaskell on the Discover Tenkara blog and @CM_Stewart’s recent blog post from his trip to the Oni school (amongst others) has really been helping my casting skill. Not to mention, showing me how elementary my skills are (not that I had any presumptions they were otherwise).
Nylon isn’t certainly something that I will use all of the time, but it has been a great learning tool.
Thanks Adam, but trust me I am not just being modest or humble, it is a fact.
There are many areas of my ignorance. Even when it comes to trout fishing, things that I am sure that all of you take for granted. Consider that I have not targeted trout much in my life, prior to about 3 years ago when I picked up a tenkara rod. The lions share before that was when I was sixteen…drifting nightcrawlers. In my adult life I would target trout occasionally, probably once or twice a year. Consider, I had not flyfished prior to my tenkara experience, except once a buddy took me fishing with a traditional fly rod in the mid 1990s.
I am a realist with my skill level and understanding. Even with surfcasting, a dicipline that I have been practicing for almost two decades, I would classify myself as intermediate at best. Its not to say I do not have more surfcasting skill than other surfcasters who consider themselves expert…its just that I am not victim of (as Anthony Naples notes) the Dunning Kruger effect. It helps to meet anglers whose skill level and knowledge base far exceeds my own. That is the most grounding factor.
Time on the water is not everything, but with only 3 years I am only scratching the surface…thus the infant comparison. Even my 3 years experience is misleading. I mostly fish winter, and if I had to put a number on it I probably only clock 20 outings in a year. Some guys may do that in a month.
I’ve had several big and humbling life experiences that have cut my ego down to size and (hopefully) have few machinations as to who I am. As @A_Naples mentioned, I too often have reminders of those lessons that keep me in check.
Tenkara is no different for me. Do I catch fish? Yes, indeed. Do I get skunked? Certainly. Do I know what specific techniques enable me to be successful? No, far from it. That’s where I feel I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. I do not know what is hidden. I agree with the other thread, I’m certainly in the Dunning Kruger club. Well, so I’ve been told.
I fished with a buddy of mine this weekend. We split up some of the outing and fished the same water a little bit.
We fished nearly the same equipment. Granted, he had the upperhand as he scouted and fished the river the day before, but he landed 6 to my 1. Our last outing together also had a similar result. He is just a better angler than I .
This is where technique triumphs over technology.
We fish the same equipment and fly on this particular outing. He had been doing well so he gave me first stab at a section of water. I immediately saw a fish dart and drifted through it a few times…using my tricks…and after ten minutes I goose egged. For all purposes, I disrupted that pool. He let the pool rest for about 5 minutes and fished it…pulled two fish out of the same water.
We all get so hung up on technology. The forums and boards and companies. Most of it will not improve our fishing but rather spend time and effort on the wild goose chase.
Get out there fishing…and find someone to fish with who is better than you…or has a different approach. You will benefit from those outings more than any upgrade you can imagine.
While it is true that a very skilled angler can catch fish with just about any rod, and the world’s best rod will not make a beginner into an expert, better equipment will definitely allow you to be a better fisherman if you have the skills to take advantage of the technological advancements. Better gear will also allow you to develop those skills more easily.
I am currently on my way home from a show, in which one gentleman said he was having a problem casting with his current gear. It turns out he had a very cheap, very stiff rod he bought from eBay, with a line that was way too light to load it. It was no wonder he had problems. Tenkara no Oni would have had problems with that combo.
We showed him a better rod with an appropriate line and he was casting well enough to catch fish in a couple minutes.
Had he believed the “better gear will not make you a better angler” mantra, he would have soon just quit in disgust.
Better gear will not hold you back. Bad gear will.