Terrestrials and tenkara — any experience / tips?

I saw that @Chris_Lynch picked up an awesome redeye bass on a terrestrial, but I haven’t heard much about using them with tenkara. It looks fun.

Any tips on where and how to fish terrestrials with tenkara?

The pattern i was throwing is small, it’s a #12, a small bug that a friend of mine ties.
I have, however, thrown hoppers and chernobyl ants with tenkara. I have done this with all sorts of rods- from a stiff little Kiyose 24SF to my current weapon of choice, the Seiryu-X 45. Most rods will throw a big bug just fine, you just need to match the line and your casting stroke to it. It can be a little akward, but if it’s what works to go after the fish you’re trying to catch, why not give it a try?

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I fish hoppers, crickets and damsel flies with my tenkara rods. And I Agree they are very “line dependant”.

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As soon as the water warms up I use terrestrials and dry flies for Sunfish and Largemouth Bass.
I have a blast with them. I usually use sizes #10 - -#14 and Dry flies (like the Royal Wuff) I use size #10 - #12. I hope this helps. You can catch just about any fish.

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of course Pennsylvania is the heartland of fly fishing with terrestrials (Ed Shenk, Vince Marinaro)

So terrestrials hold a special place in my heart - two of my favorite are the LeTort Hopper and LeTort Cricket. Very simple ties

Here’s a few of my LeTort crickets - here’s a link to the recipe. http://mvff.tripod.com/Fly_tying/Flies/SHENKS_LETORT_CRICKET.pdf

The LeTort hopper is very similar but instead of black you use hopper colors - here’s a link to a LeTort hopper recipe http://www.charliesflyboxinc.com/flybox/print.cfm?parentID=176

I love to use hoppers for panfish and smallmouth bass in addition to trout

here’s a foam mini hopper that I tie

and a fish that fell for it :slight_smile:

here’s the foam mini hopper recipe that i use Mini-Hopper Tutorial - Arizona WanderingsArizona Wanderings

but perhaps my favorite terrestrial for trout is a wet ant (fished subsurface not as a dry fly) - trout love the ants

My dad came up with a pattern we call the crystal ant - it’s just black fur body with black crystal flash legs - it has caught many many trout for us


Oh man, this is awesome — thanks for the responses.

Part of what I love about tenkara is having something to share with my kids, who both love making kebari and other “crazy flies.” They are going to dig tying their own crystal ants, @A_Naples! Can’t wait to get started.

Unfortunately, the water’s still pretty cold here, but hopefully it’ll warm up a bit soon.

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good luck with the ants if you give them a try

May I suggest a very useful pattern from the UK. It is mean’t to imitate a beetle, it goes back many years and can be fished wet or dry. It is a Welsh pattern called the ‘Coch-y-Bonddu’.

There are various tyings but the standard, according to ‘A Dictionary of Trout Flies and of Flies for sea-trout & grayling’ by A. Courtney Williams is:-

Body: 2 or 3 strands of copper-coloured peacock herl twisted together, tipped with flat gold
Hackle: Coch-y-Bonddu (almost like a Furnace cape)
Hook: #14 to #12

Personally I always fish it wet and substitute an orange silk or wool tag for the gold. Although it was originally tied to be fished in late May & June when the Garden Chafer or June bug (Phyllopertha horticola) is present. It can be fished any time whether on stream/river/lake. I have always fished it in small sizes down #18 but over in the USA you may have to go bigger. It is one of my ‘go to’ flies.
You may have difficulty in locating a Coch-y-Bonddu or Furnace cape. (Red/black) many use a few turns of black Ostritch herl or wool, overmounting it with a ginger cape, cock or hen,fairly long in the fibre. I don’t usually bother using any budget hen cape with the nearest colouring.

See attached photo , apologies for the poor tying but will give you an idea. One last tip if I want to fish ‘dry’ I will put a touch of grease on the fly and fish it ‘damp’ in the surface film - lethal!


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The kids might also enjoy making coffee bean beetles - it can be a blast .

There are different ways to make them but basically take a coffee bean wash it to remove oils - let dry

Wrap hook with a base of thread (I like to add some crystal flash legs too)

Then glue the bean to the hook - zap-a-gap super glue can be okay but epoxy can be better

The fun part is then decorating the beetles - the dark bean can be tough to see so I like to use fluorescent fabric paint to add some polka dots or stripes - it can be fun for kids to get whimsical with the paint

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The kids and I just picked up black fur and black crystal flash for our crystal ants. Now I get to tell them about coffee-bean beetles, which they’re going to love. So many cool ideas!

David, thanks! Wonderful suggestions. I live in central Europe, so good grayling patterns are much appreciated. (I’m going to have to google how to pronounce it, or ask some Welsh friends for help.)

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Both Vince/ Shenk/ Koch/ Harvey/Humphrey/Lively and others gave us an encyclopedia of hard earned knowledge about trout and fish in general. My hat is off for these great people that were so generous with their knowledge. Thanks for the reminder Anthony. I also have a book written about Vince’s bamboo rod making and designs.

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Elk Hair Cadiz is a useful pattern also for terrestrials.
Using fly patterns less and catching fishes more, that is a thought of tenkara I guess.

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Simple and easy is the way to go. I couldn’t have said it better myself, friend.
You are a wise man Kohei. .

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AZWandering Mini-hopper in Size 12 or 14. Works great on Tenkara rods, small enough for 6" trout and substantial enough to pull the bigger ones out of their hiding spots and smash the surface. It will float all day long.

Bass, bluegill, perch will go nuts for it as well.

I use these whenever the fish are active whether on a tumbling mountain stream in pocket water or on a stream meandering through an alpine meadow.

Try soft presentations or make them crash on the surface with force, both ways work.

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