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By Magnus Angus

This represents a pair of Hemingway’s outfits, more or less complete with rod, line, flies, net and sling/pack – all the essentials to get started with tenkara fishing. Faced with the pieces I found it very easy to join them into a useable fishing outfit. The rod is telescopic with a knotted nylon cord at the tip. Simply loop the ‘tapered leader’ to the butt of the cord, attach a tippet at the fine end, tie on a fly, and that’s it. Nothing unusual or unconventional, or, indeed, new. If you want to read a little of the history of this type of fly fishing in the UK, in fact in Scotland, I suggest you search the internet for the book, The Angler and the Loop-Rod by David Webster, I believe published in 1885 (Amazon lists an edition published in 2008).

This is a way of fishing which appeals to me. Way back when the fly-fishing bug had yet to bite me, one of the attractions of fly fishing was a sense of elegant, mobile simplicity. The fly fisher, walking and watching, occasionally flicking the water with a fly, while the bait fisher sits and waits and the spin fisher works his lure through the pool again and again. This was back before we had any need for fly reels with a dozen spare spools and tackle bags the size of Cumbria.

The line fitted to the long tenkara rod is not really a ‘tapered leader’. For sure it is tapered but it is much better described as the Casting Line – not a new term, ask Webster. Casting the tenkara outfit I am clearly casting conventionally. The rod loads and unloads against the line (incidentally, we can and do load, i.e. bend, a fly rod against its own inertia). As a compulsive hauler my non-rod hand really wants something to do while my right hand is casting, so this certainly feels different. My casting range is limited to the length of my line and rod - slightly over 7m with this outfit. I can use, actually fish, in quite a lot of river at that range. This rod is 3.3m long and not as soft as I expected, overhead casting is fine, I’d like a slightly longer line if I’m to be roll casting more. As I got used to this outfit, maybe I imagined it, but the simplicity seemed to bring a sense of calm; this gear gets rid of so many choices and variables I guess that is understandable.

The slightly more basic version of this outfit retails for £365 and includes: tenkara rod, Padouk wood landing net and magnetic net release, backpack and small chest pack, rod tube, tapered line, half dozen tenkara flies (“include Sekasa Kebari and variation for Europe rivers”). The net looks nice and the rod seems well made. With a spool of tippet this outfit gives me all I need to begin tenkara fishing. I’d add a spool to store my casting line and a nice swing-lid box – which come in a slightly more expensive outfit.


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