Written by: Jim Mitchell, Montana Hunting & Fishing Adventures
My story is not uncommon: My wife, Bonnie, didn’t like to fly fish. Every time we would go out and I would try to teach her, in her eyes I was being a jerk, telling her how it must be done. This was frustrating because, as an outfitter, I have taught hundreds of people to fly fish.
Them, one of my guests started bringing a Tenkara rod with him on float trips. I had had some experience with this style of fishing, since the fly shop I work with became a Tenkara USA dealer. At the time, my wife was working in the shop, and the simplicity of Tenkara sparked her interest. I started practicing Tenkara techniques so we could offer this type of trip, and she had to try it.
With Tenkara, all I had to do was show her how to set the rod up, make a couple example casts, and let her go. She was able to put a fly on the water without worrying about mending and line management. In no time, she was catching fish, feeling confident, and having fun. As the summer wore on, she wanted to go fishing any time she could. She became very skilled with the Tenkara Rod and started to use a standard fly rod, as well. Now she is hooked on fly fishing, both Tenkara and Western-style. When you can catch fish without all the worries, you want to learn more to catch more. Tenkara helped me help her.
Thanks to OGR14, I recently had the privilege to fish with the founder of Tenkara USA, Daniel Galhardo, to become certified as a Tenkara Guide by the man who introduced Tenkara to U.S. anglers. I made a new friend and learned a lot more about keeping it simple; but that’s another story.
Jim Mitchell is an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing guide who operates Montana Hunting & Fishing Adventures, in Hamilton, Montana.