Its cold outside. As a result I’m daydreaming of summer and fishing. This isn’t tenkara, but its some of the most fun I ever had fishing with a tenkara rod. It was a warm July evening in southwest Wisconsin. Accordingly, the local smallmouth were aggressively on the feed, chasing baitfish and hitting many of my casts with explosive takes within seconds of seeing the fly. These feisty bass fight as hard as trout twice their size!
Since they are savage fighters, Its tempting to up-gun to a “big fish” rod for smallmouth bass. On most water I don’t. A typical, 12 foot 6:4 action makes an exceptional smallmouth rod outside of strong current. I use the Tenkara Adventure Outfitters Classic rod being fished here to catch smallmouth up to 20 inches in slow/moderate currents. Consequently, it makes any size fish from medium on up feel like a knock-down, bare knuckle brawl! Rigging for fishing like this is simple. One rod length of floating line and 6-8 feet of 6-lb test mono. On this day, I was throwing size #6 Pass Lake streamers. I’ve found that similar sized foam hoppers and mini-poppers work great too.
I will always enjoy traditionally defined tenkara, but there is too much fun in using tenkara rods for other types of angling for me to ignore. Fixed line rods and smallmouth bass are a natural match. Until it warms up again, I’ll be daydreaming of hard fighting smallmouth!
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