The picture you see here is my buddy Oliver White sticking a baby tarpon on a Tenkara rod in the jungles of Guyana. Ok, so their version of winter isn’t exactly the same as ours. Actually, it’s about as far from it as you can get, but looking at the image the other day got me thinking about all the different ways people are using Tenkara rods these days. In case you’ve been living under rock and have no clue what I’m talking about – Tenkara is a method of fishing that requires just a rod, line and a fly. Tenkara USA, the company who most recently introduced it to the United States, explains it like this: “Tenkara is the ideal setup for anyone looking for an intuitive and fun way to fly-fish, something to take along on a backpacking fishing trip or teaching kids the art of fly-fishing, without the complexities.”
Back to the winter part of this story… While recently chatting about the method with my friend and upper Colorado river guide Jack Bombardier he mentioned how a Tenkara set up saved his bacon one day last winter. He had broken the tip off his only conventional fly rod and all he had in his truck was his Tenkara set up, so he brought it out. What he didn’t realize until then was that by not having any guides or having to strip line constantly to fish, he was saving his hands the abuse that we all know can happen during the winter months. Not only can you keep your hands much warmer, but you aren’t constantly de-icing your guides and fiddling with the reel that always seems to get frozen too. Now granted this isn’t for every situation, but hearing this I now want to give it a whirl this winter.Typically when it’s cold enough to ice up guides is when I hang up the rods and pull out the shotgun for the year. But, now I’m going to have to rethink that. Anyone else come to this conclusion in the last few years?