Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Fad that's Built to Last...

"Tenkara is a fad, and it won't last long." So says legendary flycaster Lefty Kreh.

From the mouths of ... old dudes.

First, a disclaimer. I love to fish Tenkara. I'm not solely a Tenkara practitioner. It's possible to enjoy the Tenkara craft without resorting to devotion, just as it's possible to have a few beers, without going streaking "through the quad and into the gymnasium."

I find Tenkara to be particularly effective in certain situations, and not so effective in others. I'll keep my Tenkara rods, use them when I believe they'll make my fly fishing more successful or more enjoyable, and I'll cast my conventional fly gear when I think that's the ticket.

But how can you not respect the words of Lefty Kreh? The man's a legend--only a few folks are in his class in the fly fishing world (Joan Wulff, Ed Jaworski, Dave Whitlock ... after that, the list gets pretty short). Oddly enough, though, one of Lefty's more significant employers, Temple Fork Outfitters, is rumored to be dabbling in the Tenkara game (it had to happen--with folks like Craig Matthews, Yvon Chouinnard and many others endorsing Tenkara, it was only a matter of time before a savvy manufacturer took the plunge). Lefty might need to adjust his attitude a bit.

Tenkara shouldn't be frowned upon, but it shouldn't be placed on some pedestal, either. It should be viewed for what it is, a viable fly fishing method for certain situations... an enhancement to a fly fishing world that might have fallen into a bit of malaise ... a rut, if you will.

I don't think it's a fad, but if it is, I'm betting it'll outlive the guy who declared it so. I mean, even bell-bottoms came back into style.


  1. That old Lefty Crayfish may or may not be off his rocker. Fad or not, Tenkara is what happens when I rip the reel off your fly rod.

  2. I practice tenkara about 95% of the time because I really enjoy it. However I do fish other ways too. To each their own as long as they enjoy what they are doing and are doing it in a responsible manner that will not threaten the fish or their habitat (that was mostly aimed at people who use dynamite to fish). I do know that tenkara, to this angler at least, will never be considered a fad.

  3. I should copy and paste the comment I left at Troutrageous. Suffice it to say that I agree with you totally, and my mantra remains "we're all just bothering fish". There is no purity in fishing, only the enjoyment of the natural world.

  4. Agreed... Here's the kicker: I'll use Tenkara for the way I fish more than I'll use my crappy double haul that Lefty built his reputation on ;)

  5. I'm sticking with what I know because it meets my needs and desires. That being said, to each his own. Old dudes are sometimes wise, but even then sometimes get a little brain fart. It just really doesn't matter. I suspect that Lefty will have to eat a little crow some day, but who really cares? I know that probably when I gave it a little thought, what upset me about Tenkara was the holier than thou attitude that was developing around it...simply a market ploy to capture an audience. Again, it just doesn't matter.

  6. Howard... couldn't agree more. I think the difference between you and Lefty is that, for some reason, "to each his own" doesn't apply to Lefty. And no disrespect intended ... us "old dudes" should stick together ;)

  7. I still have to try Tenkara, looks like it would be a ton of fun on some of the small streams up in RMNP. My thought is, if Tenkara or any other method brings you it. It's just fishing...

    now, about a few beers and streaking...