Fixed-Line Fly Fishing Techniques Warmwater

Pond “Tenkara”

Article by Richard Mozer

In Florida we don’t have trout filled mountain streams, we don’t even have trout or streams or mountains. We have retention ponds with bluegill, bream, and bass. In these ponds you don’t get to stalk from crystal clear pool to pool. However, there is a way to approach and fish these large puddles with tenkara rods.

Pond Tenkara - Tenkara Angler - Richard Mozer - Neighborhood Pond

When I first come to a pond, I try to figure out why it is there. Is its purpose to capture rain from a certain area, parking lot, neighborhood, loading docks, etc.? That water must flow into the pond, so I find where that is, usually a culvert but not always that obvious. It could also be a dug-out ditch or just a sloped embankment. 

Once figuring out where the water flow is I will walk around the edge of the pond toward that area casting my rod just in front of me at an angle of about 45 degrees and letting the fly sink until it is at a depth that it is not visible. I do this walking at a steady pace and not stopping while I cast, covering lots of water this way. I am looking for structure along the edges, fallen bushes, points, hidden or smaller culverts. If I see one of these things or get a take I will stop and cast the area.

Pond Tenkara - Tenkara Angler - Richard Mozer - Inflow

For ponds I use two rods, a Tenkara USA Rhodo extended to 10’6” with a weighted fly, a pheasant hair nymph, and a Nissin Royal Stage 400 7:3 with thirteen feet of level line and four feet of tippet with a kebari. The Rhodo is the prospecting rod, and once I find a promising area, I switch to the longer Royal Stage to thoroughly fish both near and far.

I will not immediately walk up to the bank while fishing. Even when I have picked out desirable area, I will stand back from the bank and cast from a distance thoroughly before I get close to it. There are videos of bank fishers (spinning and tenkara) where they walk straight up to the spot they are going to cast and immediately spook the fish by the bank. If they had stalked up to that same spot, they may have caught that spooked fish.

I get many takes standing back off the edge, about ten to fifteen feet and presenting my fly right in the shallows. Then I work my way up to the bank covering more and more water with each cast.

Pond Tenkara - Tenkara Angler - Richard Mozer - Largemouth Bass

While ponds do not have the water flow of a river or stream, there are plenty of fish to be had in them. They do present the opportunity to find, stalk and glean a pattern for the fish. They can be a fun time if approached correctly.  

Gear Notes:

“I use the Tenkara USA Rhodo and the Nissin Royal Stage 400 7:3. I always use level line 3.5, I switch rods to play against the wind instead of switching line.”

Rick Mozer has fished in all types of water around Florida and Brazil. Using every possible method, he feels tenkara as the perfect balance between fisherman and nature. Instagram: @321tenkara

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021-22 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

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