For the second article of this series I am going to deal with river tenkara fishing that I divide in two different techniques: upstream and downstream fishing.
On most of the rivers I fish there is a lot of vegetation on the banks but I do not choose my fishing technique only on this factor. Before I start fishing I always take the time to observe the interesting spots, to analyze the current(s) and the visible signs of fish activity if there is any.
Upstream fishing is more productive on most of rivers I fish so I will start with this technique.
I cast fully upstream and try to make my kebari drift in the spots where I think there are trouts. Targeting the swift currents between rocks is often a good idea. I generally wade slowly along the bank not to alert fishes.
When the kebari starts drifting down the stream I slowly lift my rod and cast back when the line is back in front of me. This technique is simple and allows a fast prospection of spots you suspect to shelter trouts. They are opportunistic predators, their choice is probably "eat this bug or it's gonna be eaten by someone else". Do not fear to cast many times on the same spot until a trout moves. Casting upstream allows you to stand out of fishes filed of vision.
I do not use patterns weighted with metal beads or lead wire because I have experienced that heavy kebari do not drift but sink and I have the personal conviction that it makes a radical difference in the eyes of a trout. Since I have stopped fishing with bead headed nymphs I very rarely catch any chub or minnows in trout streams like I did before.
I indifferently cast a 4 meters level line size 3 or a 4.50 meters tapered line even though the tapered line are more visible in low light conditions.
Once again, if you have chosen a low quality rod you will not cast as easy as with a good rod and you will be more limited in your choice of line and line configuration.
With a 6X fluorocarbon tippet that has a length equal to 25% of the line I can pretend to easy and effective dead drifts with my kebari. If you use this configuration of line/tippet ration (75/25) with a well balanced rod and still have difficulties to cast effortless I advise you to switch to a smaller and lighter fly pattern and shorten your tippet a bit.
A good tenkara rod can cast any kind of line but most of cheap rods can only decently cast one kind of line (generally furled) because they are not designed to be versatile. If you purchase your first tenkara rod always try to know what kind of line it was designed for. Do not trust a salesman who explains you that this rod is for fishing on dry flies and the other one is for nymphing.
Real tenkara rods are designed to be used with different kind of lines (furled, level, tapered) and not with specialized fly patterns.
The second technique is cross-stream and downstream fishing. I mainly fish cross-stream because most of the rivers where I fish are winding and generally the straight parts are overfished and overcrowded. I like this technique because it is based on approach and discreet progression along the stream.
My fishing is I think very simple: I only let the tip of my line on the water surface and let the tippet (and kebari) sink. This allows to let the current make your tippet and kebari drift naturally.
If your line sinks it is more difficult to obtain good dead drifts because the current will exert its force on several elements (line, tippet, kebari) with different diameter and density.
Since I have been fishing tenkara I am learning to use the stream current to make my kebari sink and obtain good dead drifts. The effort is really worth.
Downstream fishing is for me a good way to prospect wider spots and it is a good technique to present a kebari to many potential trouts in no time. It is not my favorite technique but it is a good exercice to train casting long light lines.
One of the main difference between upstream and downstream fishing is that in downstream fishing I slowly drop my rod as the line goes downstream. This allows to make the kebari drift longer and get more chances to catch a fish.