How to Choose your Fly
The tenkara approach to fly-fishing is unique, in that the angler places more emphasis on technique and less on the fly choice.
I typically start fishing with whatever fly I already have tied to the end of my line, given that my tippet is ok upon checking it. If no fly has been tied on here are some rules of thumb that can help:
- Size 12 flies are a good starting point, not too big, not too small. The Amano and Ishigaki our easy go-to flies.
- Larger flies will be more easily seen by fish, so they may be good for faster running water. The Oki is a great fly choice when the water is running a bit fast, or perhaps if it is a bit murky.
- Size 16 flies, the smallest we carry, like the Takayama, tend to be good when nothing else seems to have worked. Or, if you notice fish might be rising very subtly and perhaps even coming for your large flies but not taking them.
We only carry, and highly recommend using only barbless hooks. The tenkara rods are very good at keeping tension on the line and keeping the flies hooked. Barbless hooks are much easier to remove from fish, but also from thumbs, eyes and clothing.
If in doubt, just tie whatever fly comes to your fingers and start casting. As Dr. Ishigaki will tell us, "any fly ok".