ASHLEY: How did you discover tenkara?
KAREL: I am typically not someone clicking on the advertisements on Facebook, somehow I got intrigued to click on the ad for Tenkara USA. I spent an hour or so browsing their site, videos, instructions etc. The simplicity of fishing tenkara appealed a lot to me since I got tired of schlepping 20 lbs of stuff I might or might not need in my fly-fishing vest. I thought “what the heck, let’s try it” and ordered the first-generation Iwana 12-foot along with a furled line. I have been a convert ever since. I only fly-fished once with a regular fly rod since July 2010, it was last year but I was fishing for red fish in North Carolina.
ASHLEY: What do you like about tenkara versus other styles of fishing?
KAREL: I really love the simplicity of it, a rod, a line, a fly. It offers me significant advantages in fly placement and manipulation. I can fish a few feet off the river and still fish pockets of water with no drag. Casting accuracy is another big advantage as well as the lack of line management and hence being able to focus on the fishing part. And I catch a lot more fish! After all, I like to catch fish, too.
ASHLEY: What is your style of tenkara?
KAREL: Oh, that’s a good one. I am not a purist, fishing only traditional kebaris. I actually prefer a CDC & Elk over any other fly when fishing tenkara, sometimes fishing it in tandem with a small RS2. Those are my confidence flies I pull out if I want to catch fish. That being said, I do want to become more skilled in the traditional tenkara techniques and have been lately fishing more with traditional tenkara flies and honing my fly manipulation skills. I guess that makes me a hybrid or more appropriate an adapter.
ASHLEY: What are your favorite rods, flies, or other gear?
KAREL: My favorite rod is the Ito. It is a very smooth rod, casting is easy, balance (in 13’ position) is excellent and I love that you can extend it to gain another crucial foot or so if you can’t get closer to a fish or extend it for extra leverage fighting a fish. Sometime I wish Daniel would develop a “mini-Ito” that extends from 9.5’ to 12′ or so. I also enjoy very much fishing with “non-tenkara” rods such as the Daiwa Soyokaze or tanago rods. They are light and short and fit the bill in a lot of situations I fish. I already mentioned my favorite flies and I now typically cast either a level line or a hand-tied tapered line from TenkaraBum.
ASHLEY: Where do you like to fish?
KAREL: I like to fish pretty much wherever there are fish I can catch! But my favorite places to fish locally are the creeks of Rocky Mountain National Park and then the Austrian Alps where I learned to fly fish in the late ’90s. I hope to return there sometime soon.