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A Reintroduction to Tenkara

This is what the East Coast genryu looks like.

MIchael Agneta - North Georgia Tenkara - plunge and run

We may not have the large mountains of the Western United States, but we do have elevation, cold, high gradient headwaters, and different flavors of wild (and sometimes native) trout and char.

MIchael Agneta - North Georgia Tenkara - wild rainbow trout

Mix in a soft, yet crisp full flex rod, a length of level line, an assortment of futsu, jun, and sakasa kebari, (not to mention a streamside lunch), and you’ve got all of the ingredients that go into a damn fine tenkara experience.

MIchael Agneta - North Georgia Tenkara - Nissin Royal Stage Creekside Kebari

An experience as nice as any you could find in Japan. Eh… well… maybe…

As a bit of an admitted traditional tenkara “snob”, this is the experience I live for.

See, this year has been difficult on the fishing front. The pairing of coronavirus-induced social distancing/travel restrictions and a few unexpected health issues had all but sidelined my tenkara fishing. Sure, I’d occasionally sneak out to the neighborhood pond and wet a line for bass or bluegill, but that’s not tenkara.

Sorry, no intended offense to warm water fixed line enthusiasts, but it just doesn’t scratch my itch. It’s traditional tenkara that feeds my addiction. It had simply been too long, and with my identity as an angler somewhat lost, I just needed a taste of a mountain stream.

With my wife’s encouragement, we decided to spend a long weekend in North Georgia. It was amazing to escape the sweltering Florida heat if only for a few days, leaving all of the year’s inconveniences behind with it. Fifty degrees at sunrise; incomprehensible for summer in the South.

While my wife and daughter enjoyed some of the amenities at our Airbnb rental, I ran straight to the hills early each morning. To paraphrase John Muir, those “mountains were calling”… for me to come bushwhack my way through thickets of rhododendron in search of some sweet blue lines.

Fishing one old standby, and a few smaller, “new-to-me” waters, I couldn’t have asked for much more. Yes, the flows were fast and high, (courtesy of quite a bit of recent rain). The fish were smaller and more stubborn than I remembered… However, stepping into those streams, being cradled by the shade of the canopy and feeling the clean, cold water rush against my legs, I was once again baptized a tenkara angler.

What was lost for almost nine months was now found. My long overdue reintroduction to tenkara was complete.

MIchael Agneta - North Georgia Tenkara - Sun peeking through trees

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  1. Nice article, It reminds me how spoiled I am to be living in WNC and within 15 minutes of wild trout streams.

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