Monday, June 11, 2012

Care to Tanago? The Devolution of Fishing

Fishermen and women go through stages in their lifetime; an evolution map charting their delving into the sport. Most are very similar.

You work at catching any fish you can. Then you target specific fish. Trout. Bass. Tarpon. Carp. Then the biggest versions of said chosen fish you can get your greedy little hooks into.

Some will then deviate via the gear. Ultralight. Only fiberglass. Only Dry flies. Shall I shudder and say tandem rigs? Like monkeys into man we walk the span that most fly fishers already have and will tomorrow. It's evolution.

But it looks like there's a growing number of anglers that are devolving.

I've heard whispers around the Internet and read forbidden texts about a style of fishing where it's not the biggest and the baddest but the smallest and humblest that are the quarry.


I first heard of it on a blog post talking about a Daiwa rod that, to my naivety, I thought was a new Tenkara rod. In a way I was right. But then again I couldn't have been more wrong.

This post linked to one by Tenkarabum(TB). After reading that one I was both shocked and befuddled. Did someone really land a blacknosed dace?? 

TB referred to them as minnow rods and I think that is a very apt description. Very soft rods to feel the power of very small fish.

I can see the appeal. Sort of.

The appeal is that these rods open up those waters small enough to step over; with an environment that is just barely friendlier to life than the surface of Mars. Or those waters that you know get stocker trout but have been overfished and only the fingerlings are left.

Waters you wouldn't have given the time of day to you could now court, romance, maybe even love.

But I would worry about getting that one fish on that is to powerful for these petite rods. A fish that can't be controlled could easily be played to the point of a fatality. And I feel that would be the irresponsibility of the fisherman.

But on waters you know couldn't support fish over the certified size of a dink: oh, the fun to be had!

I don't know if I personally am read to dive into this subspecies of Tenkara quite yet. And as for the bait casting version of this; all I can ask is what kind of bait do you use to catch slightly bigger bait?

But I do look forward to seeing if this mentality of fishing works its way out of the shadows and more anglers embrace devolving.


  1. I also haven't tried tenkara fishing, seems a little strange to me.. the rods look way to long, there seems to be no skill involved.. I have seen national geographic.shows about monkeys "fish' for ants in gigantic ant hills using 'ultralight' sticks. There seems to be more skill employed by these primates than most tenkara fishing videos. Even the flies look strange. Then there's the stance.. a hand behind your back like a waiter at an uptight restaurant? Silly. I got bet those silly fishermen prefer wine coolers over beer also. Queer. I'd prefer to keep a tight line with my de-modern "traditional" fly rod. If at any time on the creek I have a spare hand, it holds a beer. Keep tenkara fishing overseas

  2. Thanks for the comment, Swamp Yankee. I've been Tenkara-ing for about a year now. I find the casting stroke to be similar, but not exact, to "western" fly fishing. It's a neat way to catch fish, but that's it. It's a tool. Like all tools it's great in some situations, but never in all situations.

    But one thing we can all agree one: beer > wine coolers any day. Make mine a PBR(the kind my grandmother used to drink.)

  3. Anthony, I don't need any more to confuse an already confused mind. Tenkara will be a diversion, something different once in awhile. Mind you, I enjoyed my trial and will probably watch for a rod someone wants to get rid of cheap.

  4. I have a Fountainhead Caddis; a very good rod for about $50. T! did a good review on them a while back and compared them to the TenkaraUSA rods. They make a good, inexpensive way to ease into Tenkara.