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Tenkara Transformation

Adapting Tenkara for Smallmouth Bass Text & Photos By Mike Lutes & Matt Sment

By now, the majority of fixed line anglers are familiar with Tenkara’s origin story. It is a well-known fact that it was developed on high gradient drainages to catch cold water species. These conditions translated easily to some areas of the US, but many regions simply don't host mountain streams. Luckily, it turns out that Tenkara is exceptionally well suited for other terrains and species too! In warm water sport fishing, Smallmouth Bass just may be the ultimate match for Tenkara. It's a fish that is native to North America, and while it requires warmer water, it thrives in structure and current conditions similar to those favored by trout.

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It is an opportunistic and aggressive feeder. Smallmouth are known to hunt on the move, but often launch explosive strikes from ambush positions near structure. Once hooked, they are ferocious fighters! Ounce for ounce, there is simply no better fight out there. On a Tenkara rod, every 12 inch fish is a thrill ride, and anything 15 inches and up feels like a clash between titans! We've spent a lot of time fishing for Smallmouth with Tenkara systems over the past few years, both on smaller “trout stream” sized creeks and larger rivers. In this article, we’ll discuss our observations on gear and tactics that are producing results for us on smallmouth creeks here in Wisconsin’s Driftless region. You'll see that

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Tenkara Angler - Winter 2015-16  

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