Pêche Tenkara sur la Nive de Baîgorry


Since September 2010, and previewed in France, try traditional Japanese fly fishing "the Tenkara"

line decor
line decor




The "TENKARA" fly fishing at it’s most most refined.

Différentes  cannes  de Tenkara


My video of catching a nice rainbow of 60 cm using Tenkara.

Below translate from américan website "Tenkara USA" - Copyright © Tenkara USA 2009

What is Tenkara?

The Tenkara is the traditional centuries old Japanese fly fishing method using only a rod and  fly line.
It is a technique of fly fishing particularly well suited for fishing in small rivers and streams for fishing and hiking. This is a very efficient, simple and enjoyable.

The basic concept:
Tenkara is mainly used for fishing in streams, and is very effective for this type of river. Some of the main advantages are simplicity, very delicate presentations with the delicacy and lightness of line, the ability to hold the line above water and keep in place a fly in the various currents.
Only a rod, line and fly are used. line is connected directly to the end of the rod with a tip extending from the cane. The leader is attached to the end of the line Tenkara (the total length of the line will be greater than that of the cane about 30 to 60 cm), as in Western technology, the line propels the fly.

The tracing technique is similar, just a bit slower with the creation of a shorter loop. The mastery of a fish is very intuitive and similar to any type of fishing with a rod: you simply hold the rod high and approach the fish.
Tenkara practice is very easy and accessible to all. However, for those who seek to achieve technical perfection, a life of learning and practice experience are required. Those looking for a fishing experience more personal and highly effective method will find this very amusing.

Tenkara - Get into it! from Tenkara USA on Vimeo.

IOriginally built of bamboo, the Tenkara evolved. The modern Tenkara is known for using sophisticated technology to produce extremely light and sturdy rods. The rods are constructed of carbon fiber of high quality and they are telescopic, making fly rods Tenkara most easily transportable.
Rods with an average length of 12 feet (3.6 meters) are very small when folded (reduced to 51 cm, with all the parts inside the handle) make this type of fly fishing ideal for mountain streams and hiking. Tenkara traditional lines are woven, as in the Western method,and are needed to propel small flies.

The absence of the reel makes fly fishing easier. Each basic element has evolved to its most efficient. The few items between you and the fish, combined with the extreme sensitivity of the rod transmits to your hands the least vibration.
The Tenkara is very well suited for dry fly fishing (the little line in the water makes the dredging near zero), use dapping (fly) of a fly on a flat or a back eddies  with a nymph or embedded in soft hackles or with traditional fly hackles mounted reversed. Fishing methods with low fixed line as Tenkara allow maximum control of the line and fly.
The casting motion requires a slower rolled cast to completely deploy the bottom line. Although simple and easy to perform a varied repertoire of shots can be acquired and useful in different fishing situations.
For example, a casting roll may be useful when one is willing to change the direction of the fly without false casts, while a launch on hand is necessary to pass under the branches of a tree.
The mastery of a fish is similar to any type of fishing, the fisherman raises the rod  to approach the fish.
The struggle against the fish will be a new experience, catching small fish suddenly becomes very pleasant while the fight against a bigger fish will require a new level of competence. With a bigger fish (ie, say about 35 cm) the fisherman must abide the pace dictated by the fish, changes in angles of the rod, with patience and sensitivity.

The fly fishing in Japan seems to have been practiced since the 8 or 9th centuries. The first reference to fly fishing Tenkara appeared in 1878 in a book entitled "Diary of climbing Mount Tateyama.
Tenkara name is written in Japanese:: Description : Tenkara in Japanese  "Te". The most commonly accepted meaning "from heaven" or "from heaven". However, the original meaning and its origins are not entirely known. It is considered that the word comes from how a fly lands gently on the water, and from the perspective of a fish, she slowly descended from the sky.
However, there are other theories for the name of Tenkara. Some say it comes from another method of fishing for Ayu, which has been called "tegara" others who have studied the word say it may even have roots in the Japanese character for "to India ". The Japanese language allows several possible interpretations of the word based on sound Tenkara. However, fly fishing is just Tenkara ... Tenkara.
At different periods of history, Tenkara has evolved in the hands of different groups of fishermen. The activity was Tenkara peasants and innkeepers, used as a means of ensuring a meal of fish in fast streams in the mountains of Japan. It became popular with commercial fishermen in the mountain villages of Japan.
Commercial fishermen have seen the high efficiency of Tenkara to capture the abundant Yamama (Japanese trout) in the mountain streams of the country. Mounting a simple fly takes a few seconds and could catch more fish. Today it is well known in Japan as fishermen Tenkara exceed a ratio of 1 to 5, fishermen using the Western method.
The fly fishing in Japan has not been extensively documented, some believe that the Tenkara was mainly used to ensure food security, it was not considered a sport. However, it is important to note that styles like fly-fishing are still practiced in many parts of the world, such as Northern Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Russia and others. And not too long before the reels are becoming popular, the fly fishing with a low fixed line has been practiced in the United Kingdom and even the United States.

The fishing gear Tenkara

The technique Tenkara developed and refined over the centuries. Each element of fly fishing Tenkara, is essential and necessary in this fishing practice, they were refined to be the best for their use.
Unlike fly fishing in Western Europe, where the rods were originally developed from wood and therefore too heavy for comfortable use as long rods. Japanese fishermen were using bamboo. This lightweight material allows long rods that have been constantly improved, while in West Fisherman's creative energy was devoted to find ways to reach distances longer and longer with shorter rods the lines, like the western lines, were woven of horsehair, used to propel the fly.

Tenkara au Pays Basque sur la Nive de Baîgorry

Tenkara rods have a fundamental function and most distinctive for this type of fishing. They are long, telescopic and have a very sensitive and gentle action.
 long rods, usually between 11 and 13.6 feet, have a length of about 51 cm when folded, they weigh about 85 grams, making them ultra-portable, ideal for hiking. The great length of the rods makes them suitable for most fishing situations on small to medium streams, where it is rarely necessary to cast very far.
Remember that the fish is not always on the other side of the river! a long rod has the advantage of offering the angler better control of the fly. The interlocking telescopic elements remove the use of collars as with Western rods, which allows a smooth curve and continues throughout the rod.
Configurations ultra-light rods Tenkara weigh about 51 grams, and the lack of reel line and backing, lots of weight is saved.
Tenkara rods are comparable to most ultra-light rods used in the West and are seen as soft or slow. Some rods are stiffer than others, but their length makes them slightly slower than most Western canes. To explain the "flex" or "action" of a rod Tenkara a report index was developed. We call this the "action index Tenkara ©".

The index action Tenkara indicates , "the lower parts are rigid: the higher parts are flexible." Most rods are classified as Tenkara 5: 5 or 6: 4, where a rod of 5: 5 indicates 5 parts are rigid  5 parts more flexible. A rod of 6: 4 indicates that 6 parts are rigid and 4 segments more flexible tip, etc. .. canes 7: 3 and 8: 2 are considered specialized rods for those who prefer fast rods or seek bigger fish and want a rod that will bring the fish more easily to the net.

Les différentes actions des cannes Tenkara

Copyright © Tenkara USA 2009

Length : The length of the rod should primarily be chosen based on the torrents you want to fish. Very crowded on a river, a cane shorter (eg. 11 feet), whereas 13 feet long rod allows you to reach and control the line over a longer distance. A foot is the difference between having your arms along the body or displayed before you. 11-foot pole: IWANA ; rod 12 feet, EBISU, YAMAME ; 13 foot pole: AYU.

Action : The action of the rod is chosen mainly according to the preference of the fisherman, gentle action (5: 5) or slightly more rigid (eg 6: 4 or 7: 3).
You should keep in mind the following:
5: 5 rods more sensitive when casting. To fish with smaller fish more pleasurable sensations, while fighting against a bigger fish will be more difficult because of the additional flexibility of the rod. The bottom line for most (eg, 7 X 8 X) will be more protected because the rod absorbs the shocks better. Rods: AYU, Ebisu.
6: 4 rods usually more accurate when casting. Landing a fish will be slightly more easier, such as casting against a slight wind. The sensitivity is greater when striking. Cannes: Iwana.
7: 3 rods stiffer they will help a fisherman to fight larger fish. Also more accurate and powerful at the start, pole: YAMAME

You should keep in mind the following:
5: 5 rods more sensitive when casting. To fish with smaller fish more pleasurable sensations, while fighting against a bigger fish will be more difficult because of the additional flexibility of the rod. The bottom line for most (eg, 7 X 8 X) will be more protected because the rod absorbs the shocks better. Rods: AYU, EBISU.
6: 4 rods usually more accurate when casting. Landing a fish will be slightly more easier, such as casting against a slight wind. The sensitivity is greater when striking. rod : IWANA.
7: 3 rods stiffer they will help a fisherman to fight larger fish. Also more accurate and powerful at the start, rod : YAMAME.

 3 modèles de cannes Tenkara, 13 - 12 et 11 pieds

As Western technology, the bottom line makes it possible to launch a fly extremely light. The latter has sufficient mass to propel the fly. The bottom line Tenkara are traditionally woven in time, they offer very delicate presentations. Of "level lines" are also used, mainly because they can be cut to length depending on the size of the river and fishing conditions.
The length of the line Tenkara more than the tip is usually about the same as the rod... A line generally longer makes the fight with a fish more delicate. We determined that the line length most suited is 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 meters), this length allows the use of longer leaders, and is suitable for our range of rods.

Tenkara USA traditional line is manufactured to provide perfect balance with rods Tenkara - combining the power and precision to cast. Tenkara traditional line used is very flexible to minimize dredging and memory for smooth casting. They also stretched by about 10% to protect your rod and leader when you hook a fish of a size slightly larger. They do not absorb water and land in the water like a feather and prevent water spray on the river, and thus avoid frightening the fish. Tenkara traditional lines have significant advantages over the "level lines", no memory, facilitating casting and delicate presentations.

The tip line or leader :
The tip is essential for fly fishing. This is the thin line between the bottom line and the fly Tenkara. It allows the angler to connect the fly line, and prevents the fish from seeing the bottom line on the water.
The points used in fisheries Tenkara should be fine. They are normally considered # X, the highest number indicating a finer diameter. We recommend using only spikes up to 5 kg breaking strength or less (usually 5 or more thin X - X 5, 6, 7 or 8) to protect the cane. Excellent flexible rods to protect the points and the thin diameter also reduce the visibility of the tip and minimize dredging.

The long history of Tenkara suggests that thousands of fly patterns were used. Refreshing, simple fishing Tenkara is also present in flies used. Different regions of Japan have developed their own traditional patterns, and of course, several models exist and have their ideal application.
The fly fishing Tenkara often focuses on different ways of presenting a fly rather than the appearance of a particular model. The idea of giving life to a fly by the movement makes the flies Tenkara very versatile and very effective. For example, one of the most recognizable Tenkara maggot flies hackles are reversed (eg. Kebari Reverse traditionnel), these flies can be used as emerging enabling them to remain on the film of water where they could (because they are most often) be used as soft-hackle wet flies, which in reverse mount makes these flies very attractive and effective.
The movement of the fly is an important fishery Tenkara and is made possible by the fixed line used ultra light, the long rod allows the angler to precisely control the movement of flies..

Dr. Ishigaki in the Catskills - Preview and Fly-Tying from Tenkara USA on Vimeo.

The technique Tenkara

The Tenkara removes the most intimidating aspect of western fly fishing (eg. casts over long distances and control of the line) and can easily be considered the art of fly fishing at it’s  easiest.
For those looking for something different, perhaps a meditative experience and a real challenge with something apparently simple, Tenkara may also be an art that requires great skill and practice to reach the control. Like meditation or martial arts, and to really maximize a regular practice can help to acquire the skill and technical mastery.


The Tenkara such as fly fishing in the west has some basic casting techniques for reaching a target. The Tenkara cast  is illustrated in the diagram below, instead of the usual 10 am -2 hours used in the western way, the Tenkara tends to require a beat shorter (e.g., 10h-12h) and a little more wrist may be used.
A big advantage of fishing Tenkara is that even the casting may be easier; Tenkara has probably a large repertoire of techniques of casts that can be useful for fishing in different situations.
In addition, the length of the rods and the line being attached directly to the end of the tip, it has greater control of the line, which allows for very precise shots.
Experiment with different pitches, changing positions of hand (even the two hands can be used), movements of wrist and sharp angles to place your fly in very difficult places and so make the most of your rod Tenkara.

La technique de lancer du Tenkara

Copyright © Tenkara USA 2009

The Tenkara cast requires a loop shorter than the Western method, and it is a bit slower. Throwing back stops at the 12 o'clock position (B), but it can be stopped earlier (A) to climb above the line behind you (for example, where there are a lot of bushes or trees behind you). On the run before the line can be stopped a little higher (1) or lower (2), and that depending on where you want to put your fly (closer or farther), or according to the presentation you want.
Also, make sure you have a well-defined stop to position B and 1 to transfer the energy of the rod in line for an effective cast. And on the pitch before, when you come to the off position, try to slow the tip of the rod for a delicate presentation.

Landing the fish..
Now, the most pleasant, how to land a fish?
Many people have asked us "How to land a fish if there is no reel?" Well, think about how you land  a fish with a fly rod, even with a reel, you do not bring the fish completely up to you, you raise the rod until the fish comes closer with the line, and fish (directly or rising fish). Remember, the line is normally the same length as the rod, or maybe just a little longer (Hint: the more the line is longer,  the fish will be more difficult to catch).

You will find more details in English at this link: About Tenkara

Translate from american web site"Tenkara USA" - Copyright © Tenkara USA 2009


If you wish to discover this ancestral technique, I propose you an initiation with the loan of various model of rods, lines and flies.

Then, we shall go to put into practice your new knowledge on the most adapted basque rivers.


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Pêche au Tenkara sur la Nive de Baïgorry