So we didn’t write about this yet… mostly because the weekend it published, I was away from home fishing. Let’s make up for lost time, shall we?
Our friend Satsuki Tanaka (of the Tenkara from Japan series) dropped a video a few weeks ago describing the “kikiawase” tenkara technique where he fishes with significant weight on the end of his tenkara line. In this case, not only a beadhead kebari, but split shot as well. You can see both fairly clearly in the still from the embedded video below.
Now I’m not here to debate whether or not this “kikiawase” technique can be considered “tenkara”. Heck, some folks might not even consider this “fly fishing,” but it sure does look effective. The cast isn’t pretty, but he appears to be vacuuming up fish. Tanaka-san is using this technique to get the fly down quickly in the water column to target inactive trout holding deep, particularly in colder temperatures of early Spring.
What might be the most interesting part of this technique is not actually the weighted tackle. (Chris Stewart mentions similar, but different split shot tactics here.) It is that since the line is weighted, visual strike detection may be difficult. He recommends setting the hook when the fly travels through a section of the water where the fish is most likely to be. (Watch from 3:49 on). You’re essentially predicting a hookup and actioning accordingly. 🤔
For those that really want to go down this rabbit hole, you can read a little more about it in the 10 Colors Tenkara Forum. David Walker (R.I.P.) went on such a journey back in 2018 trying to learn about the “Awase Tenkara Fishing Method” and much, much more. I can’t help but notice that the Japanese author David references happens to use a kebari that looks a heck of a lot like the Road Kone I fish often… sans peacock herl.
So what say you? Have you ever considered crimping a split-shot to your tippet? What do you think of this predictive strike detection technique? Perhaps you’ve done both without even knowing what it’s called. Certainly a lot to absorb here, if you choose to.
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