Hundreds Of Dollars For A Cane Pole?

For better or worse, I write a lot about tenkara here.  With over 170 posts, this may be one of the handful of blogs (tenkara-specific or not) that has written that much about the subject to date.  So as a follower of this blog, you likely know what tenkara is by now.  Actually, thanks to a lot of grassroots marketing and growing industry acceptance, the larger angling community is learning what tenkara is as well...although whether or not they approve of it is an entirely different issue.

Well, where I live in Florida, tenkara isn't really that well known.  Heck, there's not really even a strong fly fishing culture.  A few people chase redfish on the fly, but largely if you're not offshore in a boat, you're probably fishing bait off of a bridge...which is perfectly fine.  I'm no fly fishing snob.

So imagine my surprise when in this month's issue of a popular print fishing magazine tenkara was actually mentioned.  Unfortunately, it was dumbed down to readers as "cane pole" fishing...(which I'll admit there are some similarities)...without really touting any of the positives or differences, and making it sound like a waste of an angler's money...those silly fly fishermen.  Well...let's just say tenkara's got an uphill climb in the Sunshine State. 


Yesterday, I was lucky enough to have some spare time on my hands.  It was the "buffer day" of my little mini-vacation, the day between when you travel home and go back to work.  I thought I'd take the rods out and try to catch something.

The other week I had some pretty good luck fishing black woolly buggers...but it just wasn't happening.  I really wasn't even getting any visible follows.  I was noticing some fish rising, so I switched from the fly rod to the tenkara rod and thought I'd try to "match the hatch," at least by size.

That turned out to be the the typical smallish pond-dwellers eagerly inhaled the offerings...

Then I saw the shadow.

A couple casts, a few twitches, and handful of pauses got this bass to take my size 12 kebari.

At 19 inches long (approximately 4 pounds, although it's a little skinny), I believe this is my largest catch on tenkara tackle to date.  I'm fairly certain I've hooked into fish this size before, but they've either broken my tippet on the run, or popped off the fly with a couple head shakes.  The Tenkara USA Sato, combined with 3.5 level line and 5x tippet handled this job well.

Here's a quick video of some of the fight I slapped together with rudimentary video skills...the highlight being looking at the rod bend during the first 10 seconds.  It doesn't show actually landing the fish because I had to put the camera down to two handed guide the fish out of some crap in the water weeds.  It's amazing what a great job tenkara rods do protecting light tippet considering there is no reel to let out additional line.

I caught a few more after that, but nothing of size.
It made for a fun day with the "cane pole" (if you must)...just don't say I was dapping.


  1. Dapping! You don't catch a bass like that dapping! Silly " popular print fishing magazine"!

  2. Here's the hard, cold truth about tenkara fishing: Anyone who thinks it's a cane pole hasn't fished a tenkara rod. Period. Either that, or they have and they're just an idiot. End of story. Most sane people in the world of fly fishing have already beaten that horse until it's not even recognizable as a horse anymore and just about all of us sane folks have come to the conclusion that there are enough differences in casting, weight of the rods, design and application to justify tenkara being it's own thing. Maybe it's time for a tenaka vs. cane pole challenge. Using a traditional cane pole and cane pole line. That would settle any further debate among people with even the smallest amount of common sense, IMHO. Everyone knows tenkara is not cane pole fishing. It's a cult. But it's not a cane pole. :)

    1. Thank you. Now can I interest you in a glass of kool-aid?

  3. Replies
    1. You're 1000% right. Ever since I've been doing the kayak thing, I've being thinking about it. Now I've got another reason to justify the expense.

    2. GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition. The WiFi Remote is a well as the GoPro App!

  4. Big fish. Tenkara. Hooyah...............

  5. I still can't get myself to jump on the Tenkara bandwagon. I still don't get it. It seems like wanting to fly fish without a reel. That's about it. Fly fishing is difficult enough without taking away the reel or the option of more flies. Maybe simplicity isn't for me. I might always be a kitchen sink kind of guy.

    1. I can't fault you. Honestly, if I hadn't already tried it on trout streams, I'd have never brought it over to warmwater. Forget the simplicity, the best selling point is line control, both casting and manipulating the fly. Just about the only thing you can't fish is heavy streamers...but some even still do that. Is it for everyone or every situation? Nope. That's why I still have a collection of 3 and 4 weights.

  6. Very cool! I have landed a few in that range before with my Yamame and it gets the heart pounding. BTW...cane poles can't do that.

    1. A definite rush...especially the way tenkara rods bend on a "big" fish.


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