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The Alkara methodology  for Tenkara fishing
(aka Shankara or Mikera but not Aukara)

The untested Alkara fishing methodology: (03/14/2015)

Tenkara is the ancient method of fishing using a long pole with a line attached to the end of the pole. No reel is used. The methodology centered around using what was available and usually consisted of a bamboo pole with a line of equal length to the pole.

Tenkara USA is an entrepreneurs venture into turning the art of the Tenkara fishing methodology into a money making scheme.

Alkara is a methodology of using what you have available to fish in the Tenkara fashion without all the expense associated with the Tenkara USA hype. Looking around my house I had no 12 to 14 foot bamboo rods and they aren't growing anywhere close so... What did I have? My current fly rod and some old line.

Alkara is a line setup which you bring to the stream with your normal fly fishing equipment. The question when you arrive is should I mount my reel and line setup or my Alkara setup. The location and condition of the spot will determine this.

If you think you need to cast beyond 25' , from where you stand, then you need your normal fly fishing setup. If on the other hand you are fishing a location like the stream below Olympic Dam or any other narrow river then the Alkara setup greatly simplifies the process.

Unlike Tenkara USA where you purchase a special telescoping rod and special line, the Alkara methodology simply requires that you cut off a piece of old fly line (about 16'), tie a couple of perfection loops in it, add about 4' of tippet to the end and go fish.

Since the line is always the same length, the timing never changes and once you get the rhythm going it repeats every time.

Unlike with the normal setup where you use your wrist elbow and shoulder in casting, only the elbow and wrist is used in Tenkara. (For me with my shoulder giving out, this may be the saving of my retirement from fly fishing).

Unlike with the normal fly line, the rod is only brought back to 12:00, and the fly is aimed at the spot you want to hit, not above it and let is fall to the spot. Since there is no additional line to shoot out, if the normal fly cast technique is used then the line will snap back as it reaches the end of its throw.

Now the benefit of the Alkara methodology over the Tenkara USA setup.

With the Tenkara USA setup the line is about a foot shorter than the rod and 3 to 4 feet of tippet is attached. With this length the fish can be brought into the netting position with the rod held up at its maximum height.

With the Alkara methodology the line is fed down the rod through the guides and the larger perfection loop is then feed over the but end of the rod where it will then move foreword to the first guide. This captures the line behind the first guide and places the force of the fish on the rod not the guide. (versus attaching to the guide itself). The amount of line extending beyond the end of the rod should be about 2 ft longer than the rod (versus Tenkara USA 1 foot shorter than the rod). What we now have is that a 9 foot Alkara setup is similar in length to a 11 foot Tenkara USA setup.

Now the beauty is when we catch the fish. Just like before we grab the line above the guide and use the line and pole to play the fish in. Once in, the line which we were holding in our left hand playing the fish is now brought down and looped over one of your grip hand fingers. This shortens the line twice the distance from your grip hand to the first guide and places the fish in the proper position for netting.

Depending on the rod used, the line should always be brought down to a guide on the butt section of the rod. If attached above the butt section you stand the chance of the rod section separating and there goes your fish, line and rod pieces. On a two piece rod, this may provide you with an additional guide on the butt section which allows you to extend your line about 18 inches by not going through the last butt guide before looping over the butt. This extra line length is not a problem as when you play the fish in and loop the line over a finger of your grip hand you also shorten the line more as it is now shortened twice the length from your grip hand to the second guide.

On my Redington 4 piece, there is no guide on the butt section. There is a hook holder, and the line can be brought down through the hook holder and then looped over the butt of the rod.

Just as with Tenkara USA, you need something to keep the line on when you are not using it. Look around, most fly fishermen also have purchased some standard fishing line. This usually comes on a spool which has a large center diameter and should work great for storing your Alkara line between trips. The large center diameter of the spool will also reduce the set you get on the small diameter fly reel spool.

For the response from the group to my idea see the next page.

Continued on next page 

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