Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review - Tenkara, Radically Simple, Ultralight Fly Fishing

Rating: 3 out of 5 - Average

As the first book written in English about Tenkara, many will consider this a breakthrough and a big win for those involved in the sport. It's exciting to see this ancient Japanese version of fly fishing spreading to the west. With rods weighing less than 3 ounces, and complete fishing kits as light as 6 ounces, Tenkara is a perfect fit for the ultralight backpacker who enjoys a distraction from walking with minimal weight penalty.

The author does a nice job of touching on several different topics on the subject, but he doesn't get too in depth on any one. If you haven't read about Tenkara's history, you might find it interesting that it dates back hundreds of years to commercial anglers fishing small mountain streams in Japan. They used long lightweight bamboo rods to extend their reach, lightweight horsehair lines, and a simple artificial fly as their main source of income and sustenance.

Gear simplicity, rigging, and casting techniques are covered pretty well with good descriptions and illustrations. He even touches on entomology, fly tying, and how to make furled and level lines, which I found interesting but left me wanting more.

Don't let the less than flattering rating stop you from reading this book...if you are new to Tenkara, it has some very good information. There were just no big "ah ha" moments in it for me. Being new to the sport, I am glad I read it, but I guess I expected to get more out of it.