Many Smoky Mountain anglers historically fished with fixed lengths of line attached to long pieces of river cane to reach over currents and achieve far better drifts with their fly imitations. Tenkara is an extremely simplistic Japanese method of fly fishing that achieves the same thing, but with rods that are far more practical (and fun).
Modern tenkara rods are very lightweight and telescopic, breaking down to around 21” and extending out to 15’ in some cases. There is no reel and just a fixed length of line and leader that attaches to the tip of the rod. The method used to fish with these rods lends itself perfectly to most water found in the Smokies.
Over the last couple of years, I have made an effort to blend the rod and the method of tenkara with some of the time-tested tactics, techniques, and fly patterns that we use in the Smokies. The results have been highly successful and I’d love to share them with you!
If you have a tenkara rod, bring it along. I can show you a number of rigging methods and tactics for using it in the Smokies. Or if you just want to give it a try, use my rod. We can dedicate the day to it, or use it intermittently with conventional tackle.
Many who have tried it find it more intuitive and easier to learn than conventional fly casting. And I have found that techniques learned through tenkara transfer well to conventional fly fishing and will improve most Smoky Mountain anglers’ overall ability to successfully fish these waters.