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Thoughts on Tenkara Simplicity Revisited

Thoughts on Tenkara Simplicity Revisited

by January 25, 2012 3 comments

Recently I posted a few thoughts on Tenkara simplicity and I wanted to thank everyone for reading the blog. I also wanted to tell you that I was very pleased with the comments I received from you, my readers. After having read them and then scanning the other Tenkara blogs I get the feeling I started a bit of a firestorm about this topic.

I received one comment in particular that I thought was very succinct and well written and reflected my thoughts exactly yet maybe even a little bit more poetically. What follows is the complete comment that I received from Daniel Galhardo.

Ed Engle and I have been spending quite a bit of time discussing the philosophy of simple. To him it seems that for anyone to get to a place of simplicity they must embark on a journey of making things complex first. I think it can be simple from the beginning if someone tells you it is possible and how one can simplify things.

Also, one thing that I liked he mentioned: “the easiest way to simplify fishing is to become a purist, a specialist – the person who considers himself a purist can leave everything else at home and concentrate on honing his skills with the items at hand.” I thought that was very accurate and probably a big part of the reason I constantly advocate for embracing the whole method of tenkara for those interested in really simplifying things.

I do agree with both Daniel and Mr. Engle on both of their views on simplicity. So I guess I should tell you why I feel this way and go into a little more detail with each one.

I feel that Mr. Engle’s belief that for someone to get to a place of simplicity they must travel that road of making things horrendously complex first. New Tenkara anglers are the prime example of this in many ways.

Most of the current Tenkara anglers were western style fly fishers long before Tenkara came to the US.

  1. Some of us started out as bait slingers before we got to fly fishing.
  2. Most Tenkara anglers have run around with heavy vests and finally got to that stage of cleaning out a vest and realizing that much of the stuff in their vest never gets used.
  3. After having the epiphany of 2 above they then clean their vests out and purge it of items they find they have not used. Now for some their vest has gone from 30 lbs of stuff to 5 or less pounds.
  4. Once they go fishing for a day with a lighter vest, they come to the realization at the end of the day that they are not nearly as tired as usual.
  5. The light goes on, and suddenly simplicity has set in.

Now, you may ask why I say this. Personal experience my friends, personal experience.

I also agree with Daniel and Ed when Ed said “the easiest way to simplify fishing is to become a purist, a specialist – the person who considers himself a purist can leave everything else at home and concentrate on honing his skills with the items at hand.”

Some of you might find this annoying and simplicity purists banging their drums to loudly. But just hear me out here. Let me start with a question.

How many of you reading this today think that catching a fish with only a dry fly is the only true style of fly fishing? You can raise your hands, no one can see you. Or you can keep them down. (Needed a little humor to lighten the mood.)

There a purists on all branches of fishing whether it be bait slingin’, bass fishing, Musky fishing, heck even Crappie fishing, and fly fishing has plenty of its own purist paths for those who want to follow them. Just a short list but definitely not the definitive list: Tenkara, Czech nymphing, dry fly, midge, bonefish/tarpon/permit, Rooster fish.

Daniel stated his attitude about his reason for advocating Tenkara and I agree with him as well. I have done my days on the water with the most basic of supplies and equipment and I have still caught fish and have not felt that I was missing anything that I wished I had had.

Having said all of this I want you to know that I do own a bait slingin’ tackle box with more lures in it than I know what to do with to be honest. I also have at least 10 to 15 fly boxes loaded with flies of all kinds and plenty more to come, I have multiple rods and reels for bait slingin’, Tenkara, and western fly fishing. I have a supply of fly tying materials that never seems to end.

Am I the epitome of simplicity? Hell no!!

But when I do go out fishing, whatever style that might be, I try to go as light and fast as I can with the least amount of gear necessary.

Thanks for taking the time to read what I have written here and I wait with anticipation for my phone to play Duelin’ Banjos notifying me that I have received comments to my posts.

Sittin’ in my rockin’ chair, phone in hand, with a big, goofy smile on ma face!

Photo credit: thetrekplanner via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Graham Moran
    #1 Graham Moran 31 January, 2012, 17:25

    Thanks for all the comments on this guys. I love to hear what everyone takes from my writings. I am glad I have been able to help out in some way. I am totally game for trying Tenkara on different waters around our beautiful country we live in.

    Reply this comment
  2. Big C
    #2 Big C 27 January, 2012, 02:46

    Graham, with all the recent controversy/comments I went through my sling pack and pared down more. Laid everything out on my desk and just "simplified". I am sure that I will still carry way more than the average Tenkara Angler, but to date that is my "style". There are only 2 Tenkara Anglers here in Texas that I know of. I read all the controversy/comments on the current subject, but in the waters we are able to fish south of New Mexico and Colorado, etc… but am perplexed. In Texas and Oklahoma the water(s) are different. There are only 2 natural trout waters here. I have to carry more gear, there is "simply" no way around it.There are areas where an Iwana is great, then walk a quarter mile then an Amago/Ito is better I would like to invite any one to fish our waters here. Then comment on "simplicty" of Tenkara fishing in Texas and Oklahoma. Would love to hear the comments!

    Reply this comment
  3. Larry (pieguy)
    #3 Larry (pieguy) 25 January, 2012, 19:29

    Great post!
    I am a new Tenkara fisher (person) starting October 2011.

    I have never Western fly fished so I don’t have some of the “baggage” that others have to deal with.

    After I purchased my rod, line and tipped I asked what else I would need. The people at Rigs Fly Shop in Ridgway CO were very helpful. They steered me away from many of the traditional items that one might think that they need. However since I am like most I think that I need to have a lot of optional gadgets that would help me catch more fish. I will be placing some of them on ebay very soon.

    I’m not sure if it is a “guy thing” or something that is drilled into us via TV or the internet, but I thought that I needed more that I actually did.

    When I first picked up a ITO and watched all the youtube videos and the Tenkara DVD I noticed that few had vests, big packs full of “things”, large nets or fancy cloths with name brands all over them.

    I like the simplicity of Tenkara because I can pack light and spend more time fishing and enjoying the experience of being outdoors and possibly catching some fish. Not spend money on items that really won’t help me catch more fish.

    I hope I can keep my mind on the experience, instead of going back to thinking that I need more stuff in order to catch more fish.

    Am I a purist yet? Probably not, but working on it. Before I bought a vice I purchased some flies that were recommended to me. Now that I am tying my own reverse hackle Tenkara style flies I will work on sticking with them until I can get my technique honed.

    Every time I come back from an outing, I will look at what I took that I didn’t need and leave that at home the next time.

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