Tenkara rod
Editors Note: Tenkara is the perfect companion on any backpacking trip. The rod and equipment is ultralight. The setup is quick enough that you can get your line wet even on high mileage days. It is beautifully simple, in fact the most difficult part is the cast. However, as you can see from this article it isn’t that hard. Follow the step by step instruction from Matt Sment at Badger Tenkara and you’ll be well on your way to catching an awesome fish! 

The basic Tenkara cast is a simple “overhand, back to 12 o’clock and then forward” motion that is very easy to learn. Lets break it down step by step so that you can become an expert at basic Tenkara casting:
1. As shown below, grip the rod with your index finger extended (or whichever way feels comfortable to you). Hold the rod in a relaxed manner that still allows for positive control of the rod.
Basic Tenkara Casting


2. Start with rod and line held in front of you at a 45 degree angle with the line hanging free
Basic Tenkara Casting


3. Begin the cast by drawing the tip up and backwards by flexing your forearm and wrist. Keep your elbow in place, held comfortably near your torso.
Basic Tenkara Casting


4. Stop abruptly when the rod tip reaches a 12 o’clock position.


5. Pause briefly to allow the rod to load the line’s weight. Depending on the rod and line, you may feel the weight shift as the rod loads.
Basic Tenkara Casting


6. Drop the rod tip forward in a smooth and consistent motion. Keep that elbow in place!
Basic Tenkara Casting


7. Check the cast abruptly at a 45 degree angle. Do not drop the rod tip as you would with a conventional fly rod.
Basic Tenkara Casting


8. Watch the line shoot forward and deliver a precise and delicate cast, then catch an awesome fish!
Additional tips:
Stay relaxed, and keep your motions smooth and consistent.
Don’t try to overpower the cast. Practice until you find the minimum amount of energy you need to throw the line and present the fly. Typically, putting too much force into a cast will spoil it!
For increased control of the cast, move your grip position to the top of the cork.
Basic Tenkara Casting


For increased sensitivity when fishing sub-surface, grip the rod from the very bottom
Basic Tenkara Casting
In our experience, the biggest problem that anglers who have spent time fishing with a conventional fly rod and reel have with learning the Tenkara cast is training themselves to NOT drop the rod tip. Remember, check the cast at a 45 degree angle! This allows you to maximize the rod’s ability to keep your line off the water.
Once you become comfortable with the basic mechanics of the cast, it’s easy to begin to apply it to less common casting angles. Be patient, spend time practicing and you’ll be throwing  great casts in no time!

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