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Tenkara techniques: Part 1 (drag-free drift)

Tenkara techniques: Part 1 (drag-free drift)

A post on tenkara fishing techniques has been long overdue. I have written many times about how relying on technique instead of fly patterns and additional gear is a good way to fish and actually learn how to fish. See "Confidence and Doubt". It's simpler this way, I like it. Relying on technique gives you the freedom to roam without consulting fly guides or concerning yourself with what may be hatching, or with what you should bring on your next outing to that far away place. You can fish with one fly all over the world, in any mountain stream you choose. While I hope to share these techniques in video in the future, I thought you may benefit with illustrations of the most common tenkara techniques in the meantime.

The first illustration is one that will be most familiar to you. It's how most people fly fish already and is effective with tenkara too. One simply identifies where fish may be holding (think about places near enough a current that food is being brought to them, but where the water allows them to stay put without spending a lot of energy: behind and in front of rocks - even if these rocks are hidden under the surface - and on the seams of currents. With this technique one casts upstream from the spot, and lets the fly drift down as he lifts the rod in order to keep the line tight. As with most tenkara techniques you should strive to keep the main line off the water.  Tip: when drifting the fly downstream one should not normally pull it, you must give the fish a chance to see your fly and grab it.

In the upcoming days we'll be sharing the main methods of manipulating a fly with tenkara. While there are several different ways, and variations of the methods we'll cover, the main techniques include :
1) Downstream, drag-free drift (today).
2) Cast, stop the fly, drift it downstream/stop/drift/stop
3) Cast downstream/pull fly/stop/pull/stop
4) Sinking the fly with no weight
5) Retrieving the fly, pulling it back across the stream.
6) Repeatedly casting fly in one place