Simple or Complex?
|If you had to chose one fly for the rest of your life....|
My father in law is the guy who is responsible for putting a fly rod in my hands, and he tells some great stories about how he and his brothers would take a snelled Royal Coachman down to the "crik" and cut a willow to fish it with. No rod needed, and they learned how to stalk and catch fish. They did it because they didn't know any different, and to them it was fishing! They eventually switched to fly rods and reels because it opened up a whole new set of doors for them. When I told him about the Tenkara movement (I'll explain why I call it that), he just kind of had a puzzled look on his face.
I will fully admit that I have never cast a Tenkara rod, tied a Tenkara fly, or had the though on the river that "man... I sure wish I had a Tenkara rod for this application..." and here's why. Similar to when my wife came up to me last night and
The flies. So they are basically just soft hackle patterns with the hackle tied in facing forward. Sure, I could tie that in a billion different varieties that would catch fish, but this alone would severely limit my desire to tie flies at all, and what if the gran pappy under the bank just wants some real live meat in his face?. I know. You don't have to throw those flies exclusively, but are you really taking advantage of the pure simplicity of Tenkara if you aren't fishing with them? ;) ;)
Simple is good. Tirelessly preaching about something that is supposed to be simple to the point that it gets complex is just that - complex. Also, ditching the reel and focusing on one style of fly might not actually make your life all that simple anyway. Picture this scenario (It happened to me). You are walking from a higher vantage point along a small stream that has notoriously spooky fish, and they are particularly skittish and spook each time your sasquatch size 14 wading boot hits the soft dirt. They are readily feeding on top, but not if you spook the hell out of them first. Through fancy research you calculate that you can get about 60 to 70 feet away before they go berserk. You have two options: A) Put on a ghillie suit and get on your belly and inch toward the fish using Navy Seal sniper techniques so you can make a short cast at them and hope they eat your soft hackle, or B) comfortably stand behind the pool and use your casting ability to lay down a cast at distance using a fly that precisely matches the hatch. Option B seems a little less complex doesn't it?
I don't really want to assign a standard prototype to "Tenkara Guy," because there are a lot of them out there who understand that it's an application that might not cover all the bases. I mostly shut down when guys build up tenkara by putting down all other types of "fly" fishing. I have heard that there is even turmoil within the tenkara ranks about what "real" tenkara is. Rules suck, and it seems like tenkara has too many of them. I'm also not saying that I'll never try it... now hand me a tenkara rod and some mittens so I can go out caroling with my wife.