Very Short Line Tenkara

A few days ago the guys at Discover Tenkara uploaded a video, Long Line Tenkara Tactics. In contrast to long lines tactics some people prefer or conditions require the use of extremely short lines. Maybe only 1.5 ~ 2m in length. I haven’t tried it yet. But some days I think a long rod with a very short line might be a better strategy that switching to a < 3m rod to fish brushy streams.

Yesterday I discovered a 32 minute video, 2017テンカラ釣り , posted May 8th, on the Abe Masa YTC. Many people who have been involved with Tenkara for a few years are probably familiar with the Abe Masa You Tube Channel. And probably also have heard of the method of fishing frequently called Lantern Fishing, aka Chō-chin-dzuri [ちょうちん釣り ]. I believe the name was adapted from the way lanterns were carried long ago suspended from a short line on the end of a long pole.

Abe Masa didn’t use the name Chō-chin [ちょうちん] in the video nor in the description of the video. He only wrote that he was challenged to fish a small stream with a lot of trees with a short rig, and thought the it would be the best way to enjoy kebari fishing. However one comment to the video asked if it was Lantern Fishing. No reply thus far. I also believe it is.

The g3kebari blog, aka 釣り好き老人の日々, that is also the name of his YTC. I’m not sure of the correct English translation of the name. Has made at least two recent blog post about Lantern Fishing:
July 20th: ちょうちんテンカラ用毛バリを試作 , Prototype Kebari for Lantern Tenkara
Aug 5th: 時速0.05キロの釣り, Fishing at 0.05 kph. (~2.73ft./min)
[At first I thought this title was a reference to Eddie Yamakawa’s advice to move no faster than 4inches/sec rule, so the fish won’t notice you. But 0.05 kph is much slower than that. I think the pace is related to carrying a camera in his left hand and a rod in his right hand + the terrain.]

Anyway, the second of those two blog post includes this short 2 minute video, ちょうちん釣り:
(sorry, I don’t know why this video didn’t embed into this post, it would have been cooler)

He writes that he used :
Ayu fishing metal thread No. 0.1 to underwater thread 1.5 m,
tippet attached to a number 0.5 nylon thread and added 4 B’s weights to it,

Do an internet search for アユ釣りの金属糸0.1号 to see examples of metal Ayu line.

Links to his two blog post:

Prototype Kebari for Lantern Tenkara

Fishing at 0.05kph

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I have used level line in a 10 foot length with a 4 meter rod when fishing a smallish creek. Worked well. I could have probably used a shorter rod length as well but I managed.

I too often use a line much shorter than the length of the rod, but I find that there comes a point of diminishing returns. If the line is too short then I have experienced fish getting off at a higher frequency. Therefore, I will often times use a line shorter than the rod to increase line control, but I have to make sure it is not too short.

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I like short line but as Tom notes there is always that threshold…

Most of my rods zoom so what is short line for the longest length can be suitable for fighting fish at the shorter. Just adjust post hookset. I like that feature.

I recently had an experience where I was reflecting on line length. Longer sometimes helps with certain river structure and reach, but for quickly fighting fish, shorter is much better. With a longer line sometimes is can be less fluid to bring a fish to net even on smaller models.

Yeah, hook sets may be a problem. I’m not sure what kind of rod people use. Often they are 6m keiryu rods, but sometimes I see shorter rods. Mostly they are not casting at all, just dapping the kebari, maybe pulsing the fly, Most often they seem to use lines that are about 1/3 rod length. Such as shown in the sketch on this web page:

btw, if you’re not familiar with the Trout in Shallows website, it’s kind of fun to poke around in.

While I have known about Lantern Kebari Fishing [提灯毛鉤釣り] for a long time. I’ve not tried it yet. Partly because, well, I enjoy casting. And there’s not casting with lantern fishing. And partly because of the place I’m thinking about giving it a try. A small stream only a few miles from the family vacation house. Called, Leather Back Creek. I think. It’s a quite narrow mountain valley, low water, bushy, and there is no wind to blow the mosquitoes away. They eat the hide off ya. And hang around in front of my eyes. Fanning them away spooks the fish to their hiding spot after I waited many minutes for them to come back out.

But there are local native brookies in it. In the summer, a lot of it is only ankle deep, the fish gather in small bath tub size pools, which more often than not, have low tree limbs over them. Most to low to even sneak a rod tip with a short line under.

But a few where maybe I can. I haven’t yet explored a lot of it’s length. Maybe some more promising pools can be found. The only place I’ve been able to catch them a couple of times is under the road way bridge. But it’s difficult to get to. And once I do, I’m mostly visible, they’re wild trout, and a lot more patient than I am. They are willing to stay hidden for at least 30 minutes. Which is the longest I waited for them to came back out. The only time I’ve had success it fishing from a high position where they always wiggle off hook before I can reach them. Pretty fish though. The ones in pools with a tree limb a foot above the water seem to come back out after about 12 minutes. Maybe they’re more confident I can’t get to them anyway, and after initially being spooked are willing to come back out a little sooner.

Maybe next try I will skip short rod, with short line, and try longer rod with shorter line.

I’ve been home almost two weeks. Ready to go back for two or 3. But I’m waiting to see my son who is supposed to come home from Ohio next weekend. He finished his last class last week. I was ready for him to move back home, if he could find a job here. But the usual has happened. A girl friend in Ohio, who has a year as an intern to complete. Well, the best I can make of it is at least it’s not a boy friend.

提灯釣り important point

When you capture fish, you get closer while shortening the zoom rod

Raise it to the shore without putting a burden on the rod

Yes. I have seen video before of the rod sections being shortened after the fish was hooked.
Before seeing the video. I had read about lantern fishing but was not sure how it was actually done.

The first video where I saw lantern fishing being used was a wonderful video I found on YouTube just after Keiichi-san posted a story on Tenkara-Fisher forum and introduced the term, Fish Stop, 魚止. Meaning some stream structure that prevented or stopped, the fish from going farther up stream. Such as a large water fall or a dam.

Anyway, it was an old video showing a group of men in Japan, fish conservationists, who would catch fish either using nets, fish traps or by lantern fishing. The fish were placed in small water tanks with battery powered air pumps that were fitted into backpacks. After filling the water tanks they would hike into the headwaters areas up stream of the fish stop. And there release the fish. Apparently this was something that had been done since old days past where there were remote mountain villages. Often they released the fish in places where there was barely enough water for the fish to swim. Small streams maybe only .5 wide or less. If I could remember the title of the video I would re-post it, but I have forgotten the title and can no longer find it.

Later I purchased a keiryū fishing mook, [渓流釣りムック], that included a DVD, with several stories of a group camping and fishing in headwaters areas during a week long trip and sometimes they used the lantern fishing method [提灯釣り方法].

Here is a lantern fishing page from the Honda website. It shows a rig for bait fishing. But it is also done with kebari using a similar setup of rod and line.