February 5, 2014

Tenkara January 31,2014 -- Long rod, Short line.

The last day of January and I'm on the water. It's a beautiful time of year. The water flows are good, the fish are surprisingly active and although the cold can get a little uncomfortable I think it's worth it.

The air temp was 27 degrees F and there was little wind down among the trees, even if there was some breeze up and over the tree tops.  The river gauge reported a flow of 50 cfs at noon when I started. I walked upstream to a stretch of the river I've never fished; I'm slowly covering all the water on this stream and this is my last section to fish.

Drift and take.

The reach of water I targeted is not very wide, maybe 20-25 feet at the widest, but usually more like 12-15 feet, bank to bank. I slid down the steep sides and into the water. After looking around a bit I started to rig up. Today I chose a new rod for this water, the Nissin Air Stage Honryu 380. I usually fish this water with a 360 cm rod and a 12 foot line, but today I decided to try what Chris Stewart calls "Long Rod Short Line" fishing. That is, using a line shorter than the rod you are wielding. Since the Honryu is 380 cm (12' 5") I decided to go with a 10 foot #3 level line and 2 feel of 5X tippet. I know, that makes the line just about as long as the rod, but I'm still new to the concept so I didn't want to start too radically. Besides, given I usually fish this stream with a 12' line plus 3 feet of 5X tippet, this line is short for me!

 I started casting and placing the fly into the places where fish should be: pockets, seams, eddies, etc. The rod cast beautifully. I have a full review coming up and I'll describe the rod more then. I started taking fish, but none of them were very large. I think the longest was 12 inches. Most were in the 7-9 inch range. Still, these fish were great fun on this rod

One advantage I can see to a long rod, short line approach is that casting is very precise. Not that longer lines are not precise, they are, but using this approach lets you just flick the fly into position. Also, with this method keeping all the line off the water is cake. Even when you stretch out the cast flatter than you should, you just lift the rod tip a little bit and "boing" the line comes right up. No sag, no lazy floating, just perfect perpendicular penetration of the water column. And finally, because of this line control you are always in touch with the fly. It hesitates and you feel the fish!

Another advantage to the long rod, short line is when you are fighting the fish. Sure, I didn't hook into anything large, but with a shorter line than the rod I could easily control the fish right into my net. Unlike a longer line, I didn't have to hand line the fish in.

Here is a POV video of the day. Again, no large fish, just small browns.

Coming up: I'm giving away a tenkara rod. Watch for the details in the next post!


  1. Pretty and informative, thus stimulating, per your current usual. Thanks.

    So, is long rod short line for you? I theorize a moderate to long line might give some desirable stealth and reach, but I use a short line to cope with the windiness of my area. That's my main reason for using a short line - less wind belly. Are the other charms of short lining seducing you?

    1. I like it and think I'll be using it a lot more. I can see how it would help in windy conditions!

  2. Short line is my all time favorite approach for the very reasons you stated:
    Precision and better line/fish control.
    Also as Jhon L stated, windy conditions also call for it.
    Great post.

  3. Just curious about the net you use in this video! Can you tell me about it?

    1. Hi Alan,

      It is a wooden net from Sam Lacina. Here is a link to the post where I tell about it:



  4. Do you feel there is any correlation between using the lr/sl method to catching smaller fish that day? Are u still using that setup?



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