Tenkara Fishing: Why Japanese Fly Fishing Is a Favorite

How to Tenkara Fish with No Experience

Tenkara fishing, otherwise known as Japanese fly fishing, is a simplified method of fishing 
labeled by Forbes as “fly fishing for minimalists”. It is a popular option due to its versatility and 
affordability, allowing people of all skill levels to feel aligned with Japanese culture and 

Connecting with nature on an outdoor tenkara fishing adventure appeals to people world wide, 
and using a tenkara rod means your fly line is in the water for longer. As casting is more 
consistently precise, this style of fishing has become a favorite pastime in recent years.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of tenkara fishing and how to tackle it as a 

What is Tenkara Fishing?

Originating in the mountainous communities in the Tohoku region of Japan, tenkara fishing is a 
traditional method that dates back hundreds of years: connecting long rods to fixed lengths of 
casting line attached to the rod tip and a tenkara fly pattern. Originally developed to catch fish 
in free-flowing rivers, this method relies on skill and technique to make a catch.

History of Tenkara Fishing

Japanese fly fishing is thought to date back at least 400 years, but specific facts and figures are 
hard to decipher due to the lack of written records from this period. What we do know is that it 
was popularized in the United States when Tenkara USA was founded in 2009 by Daniel 

Tenkara vs Traditional Fly Fishing

The complete term for this type of fishing is tenkara-tsui, which literally translates to “fly
fishing”; Tenkara is a style of fly fishing using Japanese tenkara rods with no reel, but the art is 
more than just casting a line into a favorite spot. To be successful, you need to learn the correct 
methods of tenkara casting, which is almost like the stick fishing games played in childhood, by 
attaching a line to a long stick and searching the water for a catch.

Tenkara Casting Techniques

Created as an intuitive method, casting a line with a tenkara rod is incredibly simple. Timing is 
less important when fishing with a tenkara rod than with a weighted rod, as the angler’s 
physical energy loads the rod. tenkara fishing is unique, as choosing which fly you will use is 
less important than the casting technique.

Step-by-step tenkara casting:

Start by holding the rod tip in front of you with roughly 1 – 1 ½ rod’s length of line hanging from it.

Throw the tenkara fishing rod backward to a sudden stop shortly before or as it reaches 
a vertical position.

Behind you, let the line stretch straight out.

With the rod tip at about head level, accelerate the rod forward to a sudden stop.

If you are fishing a dry fly or dry dropper, do not follow the line all the way to the 

Only the actual filament line (otherwise known as the tippet) should be in the water.

Note: It is important to practice your casting technique before you go fishing to ensure you can 
accurately and efficiently place your fly where you want it.

A child stands beside a river, tenkara fishing with a scenic, natural background.

Why is Fishing Tenkara So Popular?

Tenkara fishing has gained popularity for several reasons:

1. Simplicity: tenkara fishing is a very simple form of fly fishing that requires no reel, 
making it a great option for beginners or those who prefer a minimalist approach.

2. Portability: tenkara rods are lightweight and collapsible, making them easy to 
transport and a popular option for backcountry or wilderness fishing.

3. Versatility: tenkara rods can be used for a variety of fishing situations, from small 
streams to large rivers, to catch a range of fish species.

4. Accuracy: The long, flexible nature of tenkara rods allows for precise casting and 
placement of the fly, which is particularly useful for targeting specific spots in a stream 
or river.

5. Affordability: tenkara gear is often more affordable than traditional fly fishing gear ,
making it a more accessible option for many anglers.

6. Enjoyment: tenkara fishing is often described as a more meditative and relaxing 
experience, allowing anglers to immerse themselves in their surroundings and connect 
with nature fully.

Tenkara Fishing for Beginners

As tenkara fly fishing prioritizes the art of catching fish rather than a preoccupation with 
equipment, it is a popular choice for beginners and fishing lovers alike. Its appeal lies in its 
elegance and simplicity as a sport that takes you into the heart of nature as few others do. 
Curious to try your hand at tenkara fishing? An all-inclusive tour will take you there.

Wade Trips for Tenkara Fishing

Give tenkara fishing a go, whether alone or with your friends, on a guided tour for anglers in 
some of the most famous rivers in Pennsylvania for fishing. With Adventure Explorations, you 
could visit Letort, the Susquehanna, or the famous Yellow Breeches depending on weather, 
time of year, skill, and interest level

Each tenkara fishing expedition includes everything you need to get started right away. All 
gear, waders, rods, poles, lures, flies, bait, snacks, and an expert guide are included—all you 
need to bring is yourself and a love for nature. We are passionate about protecting the 
environment and believe the benefits of spending time in nature are unmatched.

Stalk some of the most beautiful fish in this country and catch them using this ancient
Japanese method, whether you are a novice or expert. Anyone can experience the joys of this 
experience, making it a unique and exciting choice for a family get-together, bachelor party, or 
birthday celebration.

What Are You Waiting For?

Take the first step in re-discovering nature — explore your local area and try guided fly fishing