Good Tenkara approach for windy day IF fish are active – Paul of DiscoverTenkara, September, 2017

Sideways Tenkara Moves (dropping that rod tip for “yoko-biki”)

I’ve lost count of the times this tactic has turned a dead piece of river into multiple quick fish captures…but first a U-turn!

High Rod is Best?
Most of the time a high rod tip is best. But you’ll find other options can be useful for manipulated presentations. This lesson is about one of those options.
Now some Japanese – don’t worry, just two words! When you find out that “yoko” means side and “hiki” (or “biki” when it comes after another word), then “sideways pull” or “yoko-biki” gives a very strong clue to where this lesson is going.
You might be wondering how it is so easy to brush aside all the various advantages that are covered in so many of the previous lessons… Probably the simplest examples to explain are those where you actually need to anchor the casting line on the water.
But why would you want to do that?
Motion Problems
Well, when you carry out manipulations that go against or across the current it gets too easy to yank the fly right out of the water when you are holding all the casting line off the surface. That isn’t such a great way to catch fish.
So when fish are not responding to the technique we covered in the last lesson (upstream sasoi) – and dead drift is either not working or not possible (a strong wind that blows in the same direction as the current for instance); this can be a good option. Of course, the fish need to be active and willing to chase a moving fly (so “high-season” again – just like last lesson).
The other big thing I want you to remember from the last lesson is the importance of the small amount of slack that you feed down the line between each pulse. Just be aware that the current will pull much more of that slack out of the system when you have line laying on the water. Nevertheless, it is important both for the enticing action and also giving a boost to your hook-up rate.
I’ll give some more details about hook up rates when using presentations that involve laying line on the water in the next lesson – I want to keep this one really focused.
Regularity Please
Oh yeah, before I forget – KEEP THE PULSES REGULAR AND PREDICTABLE. Don’t go straight to an erratic “jangling” action. You might get fish to chase or attack the fly, but your hook-up rate will be low.
Well, this is probably enough text description for now. Let’s go to a diagram to give a feel for what “yoko-biki” presentations look like before describing the simple steps you’ll need to carry out…


  • Cast across the stream (more or less level with your position) and hold most of the casting line off the water.
  • Track the line downstream a little way below you at the pace of the natural drift (to let the fly sink a little).
  • Then lower the rod tip to lay most of the line onto the water surface. It is a good idea to use a longer tippet that you would normally select for “high rod tip” presentations. This separates the disturbance from the line from the fly.
  • Pulse the rod tip sideways as the line continues to drift downstream.
  • LOOK CAREFULLY at the numbered sequence in the diagram above. See how moving the rod from position 1 to position 2 pulls the line and fly sideways. Then see how returning the rod part of the way back towards its starting point (but stopping it at position 3) feeds that important slack into the system between “pulses”.
OK – that is it for now. I am going to go into more detail as to why and how this presentation can be useful in the next lesson. For now, it is best for you to get used to developing and practicing a good, regular pulsed presentation. The tricky thing is getting the balance between being too gentle and too harsh…
Good luck!

DNR ‘Fisheries Specialist’ Nick Peterson answers north shore ‘Coasters’ questions, September, 2017

When you have a moment, could you let me know the status of the coaster population and/or point me to somewhere on the web that provides that sort of information?

The average size of our coaster brook trout in North Shore populations has increased slightly over the last decade, with more larger fish being caught by anglers and in our surveys in more recent years.  I typically receive one or two pictures from anglers each season who caught Brook Trout over 20 inches.  The 20 inch minimum harvest regulation that was implemented in 1997 seems to be working.  The most recent coaster brook trout report can be found here: . Lake Superior Area crew reevaluate coaster brook trout populations every 5 years.  We are scheduled to sample again in 2018 and a new report should be available in spring 2019.  Feel free to call or email if you have any other questions.

When and where are good times and spots to fish for the coaster brookies? Mouth to first barrier in October and November?

You got it!  Fish anywhere below barriers, key on deeper pools, later in the year is probably best. We typically catch them up until the ice forces us to quit sampling. Keep in mind that the Brook Trout season closes on September 15th (or something like that), but as long as you are fishing for ‘salmon’ you are ok to fish below barriers.  As you know, Brook trout are caught on the same types of bait/flies as salmon.  No species delineation for coaster brook trout.  Genetically, they are the same fish as what you will catch upstream (we proved this with genetics research). They are just a brook trout with a different life history….similar to a resident stream rainbow trout vs. a migratory steelhead…same fish species, but different.

Good luck! Please let me know how you do! -Nick

Fly fishing guides

Livin the dream guide service – Luke Swanson, Smallies, Muskies

  • Home water – Mississippi River near Monticello
  • Knows the Kinni, talked about mousing for Browns at night
  • Guided for Grantsburg, summer of 2017

Gray Goat (Andy) – Driftless region

Matt Sment, Badger Tenkara – Driftless region, WI

Mahigan Outdoors – Very affordable day trips to Vermillion River near Farmington, MN

Black Canyon Anglers  East of Delta, CO

Fishing – Questions (and answers) for Erik of Tenkara Guides

  • Tenkara Bum notes recommends a level line a bit shorter than rod with 3′ of tippet. Get Erik’s thoughts. Erik likes line length of rod or 1.5 x length or rod with a 1 meter tippet. Note: If I pinch line with left fingers and arm stretched out to side, one meter is almost to my right armpit – within an inch or two.
  • Fluorocarbon line better? All level lines are flouro.
  • When to use 2.5, 3.5, or 4.5 level line? 4.5 is easier to cast, but heaviness interferes with drift. He suggested 3.5
  • Regarding rods, what are 7:3 and 6:4 references referring to? I forgot to ask, but here’s a link: Tenkara rod action
  • Doe Erik ever use Japanese wet flies and techniques? Yes.

Tenkara casting advice from Tenkara Guides’Erik Ostrander

Tenkara casting avice from Erik Ostrander of Tenkara Guides

A) Watch videos of ‘Masami Sakakibara, aka Tenkara no-Oni‘. He has very good technique.

B) “Align your bones” from thumb through shoulder – think of a straight line from wrist to shoulder. Doing so will require less wrist-flicking to cast well. Thumb will almost point at your body.

C) Tenkara casting practice instructions from Erik:

1) Add the following to rod:
– Level line that is length of rod, 3′ of tippet, and a fly
2) Cast repeatedly until you can consistantly have fly hit the ground/water first
3) Repeat with level line 150% the length of the rod
4) Repeat with level line 200% the length of the rod
5) Aim at a plate, aim at the underside of your car.