Tenkara Fishing For Carp

     A few years back I was approached by Badger Tenkara.  They wanted me to test out a new rod they had designed.  Specifically, they wanted me to try and catch larger fish like bass or carp.  You heard that right, tenkara for carp!  For those that don't know about tenkara it's a form of Japanese high mountain stream fishing that uses a fixed length of line and a fly to catch fish.  I'm over simplifying the history a bit, but you can learn more about tenkara here.  What Badger Tenkara was after was proof that you could land larger freshwater species on this flexible, reel less, fly rod.  Now if you've followed this blog for any length of time you know that I've broken a few tenkara rods while attempting this task.  Some were my fault, some were a by-product of trees placed in bad locations by the City of Madison Parks Department.  I've managed to land quite a few fish with my tenkara rod over the years like the bass shown below, but I couldn't seem to bring a carp to hand.
Looks worse than it is the bass was fine.
     You see carp have a tendency to fight, hard.  They'll normally give a few long runs while fighting that can put you into your backing.  This presents some problems when using a tenkara rod.  Although my buddies and myself have tried to catch "tenkara carp" on multiple occasions, those runs just get the better of us.  I needed to find the right conditions if I was gonna get a carp and a tenkara rod in the same picture together.
     I've thought about this on and off all winter.  I realized that what I needed to do was find a spot that had a high carp density.  It also needed to be relatively small so that the carp didn't have a lot of room to run.  Finally, to get my best shot at landing one I needed it to be cold outside.  You see carp are cold blooded so when the water temps are down so is their energy level and metabolism.  This means that they don't have the energy to put up a fight.  For me it means that I would have a good shot of finally landing a carp on a tenkara rod.  While scouting potential waters on Google Earth the other evening and looking at the weather forecast I decided that my best shot would be on a warm afternoon early in the week.
     When the day arrived I headed to the pond as soon as I got off work.  Walking the shoreline I carefully scanned the water looking for a feeding fish.  There was a brutally cold wind blowing across the water.  It made locating fish extremely difficult.  After a few hours I saw the bubble trail.  Crouching down along the vegetation I waited like a lion ready to pounce should my prey decide to wander into casting distance.  It was a slow and deliberate cast.  I knew it had to be just right because I probably wouldn't get a second chance at a feeding fish.  The fly hit the water perfectly and I could just see the tip of the fly as it settled down into the mucky bottom.  The bubbles stopped right over the fly.  I swung my rod to the side just as the carp picked up my offering.  The hook dug into the fishes lip and he suddenly came alive.  He put up the best fight that he could, but I was right about the cold water and without much fuss he was soon in the net.  It was the first carp of the season and I did it on a tenkara rod.  Releasing him back into the pond I noticed another trail of bubbles heading my direction, but I was satisfied.  Pulling a smoke from my pocket I sat down in the damp grass and watched 2-3 carp as they nosed around in the sandy bottom.  It was a good day to be near the water.
Man I love to catch these fish with a fly rod.
     Tight Lines.
     


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