Tenkara, Horses, and Fishin' With Your Daughter

August 11, 2015

I just had one of the BEST days of fly fishing that I've had in a long time.  No offense to all my recent guests haha!  We got up early yesterday morning and a buddy and I took my daughter on a trail ride/fly fishing trip.  She got to ride her horse... we got to do a little fly fishing.  Win win for everyone.

Truth be told here, my daughter doesn't care much for fly fishing.  Weird right? Her dad is a pro guide!  She likes being with me, and likes being in the outdoors, but getting in a drift boat for a 5 hour float sounds like torture to her. I know because we've tried it!  She doesn't care much for the casting, but certainly likes the idea of fishing.  Today's trip was perfect for her.

Our common bond happens to be riding horses, but maybe some of you have a daughter, son, wife, girlfriend, brother, husband :), or whoever!  I'll bet they like hiking, camping, or maybe a random road trip in which creek fishing for a couple hours becomes a possibility.  They might not love fly fishing the way you do, but there are ways to share time together and have a great experience along the way.  Keep it fun, keep it simple, and know when to say when.  Yea, we're talking to you DAD.  Another good tip is let somebody else coach and guide your teenagers if you can.  I cut my buddy Taylor loose helping Faith and she listened to him instead of smarting off to me.  Ever experienced that with your kids?  

I have screwed up plenty of great trips with my family before I understood they simply don't have the same killer instinct about fly fishing that I do. I am kind of a cave man when it comes to catching fish. I like to get 'em.  My daughter on the other hand could care less and it use to drive me freaking crazy.  HOWEVER, I found a niche with her, took my foot off the gas, and now she likes to get out there and hang with dad.

The new routine is to load up the horses, take her to hot chocolate, ride for an hour, fish for a couple hours, ride out, and then go out for frozen yogurt.  What kid... um er... adult wouldn't like that right?  My encouragement here is that you can have this same success with anyone that has an interest in the outdoors but hasn't quite taken to it the way you have.  Go easy and make a plan that guarantees success.  I believe that if you hike or take a road trip and keep the fishing simple, and plan something fun afterwards you'll be able to share some amazing moments together.  

My daughter fished some, she got one fish and was fairly excited about it.  Fairly excited.  Its a start right?!!!  The main thing is that she is already begging to go back.  I think the key here is keeping the gear simple and the angling even more simple.  That is where a complete Tenkara kit comes in!  You didn't think I could write a blog article without an "ask" did you?  My girl need new boots!  :) This is one of the most undersold and underutilized fly fishing tools out there.  Everyone that gets this kit, loves this kit.  You too should have this along any time you head for an area that has small streams.

A couple of key points about Tenkara vs. Conventional Rods

  • No line stripping/reel confusion for beginners
  • Less tangling in the bushes (which is a problem on small streams)
  • Easy to cast at short range (the line is always tight to the tip of the rod)
  • Line control/roll casts are intuitive.  
  • YOU WON'T HAVE TO NAG BEGINNERS OR KIDS.  NAGGING IS EVIL.  Tenkara makes a casual creek fishing trip more fun and lets kids/beginners gain independence much faster.  

Tenkara Made Simple

We sell a complete kit that is all a hiker, backpacker, tourist, mountain biker, trail rider, or neophyte angler would ever need.  It has it all! 

This Complete Package Includes:

  • TFO Tenkara Cuthroat Rod - 8'6" Rod - PERFECT FOR SMALL STREAMS
  • Includes a Spare Tip and Second Section - How cool is that?!!!!
  • Protective Sock - This has a small 'backbone' in it. It gives the protection of a tube but lightweight for backpackers.  The extra tip sections are neatly stowed and protected in this.  Meaning you won't get 5 miles in and be left helpless because of a broken tip.
  • 20' of fly line with a mono loop tied to each end ( you can cut this to your desired lengths. We like 6' of line for small streams, connected to a 7.5' leader.  
  • 3 Pack - RIO Tapered 7.5' 4X Leaders
  • 6 Assorted Flies!!!! (may vary with availability but it will be 6 quality flies for small stream fishing)

Fast. Light. Simple. EFFICIENT - BEST Creek Rod for Mountain Streams

When hiking from hole to hole you can telescope the rod down, wrap the line up, hook your fly, and put it away in about 20 seconds.  Same thing to set back up. This makes hiking from spot to spot SO EASY. Less mess, tangles, and frustration of trying to walk through the brush with your conventional fly rod.




  1. Joe, Nice article. My daughter is 8 and she has two tenkara outfits. The one you mention and a 10.5ft one. We use the longer rod like a small two handed soft hackle/wet fly rod and she does a couple of modified casts and quarters doewstream. She will set up in the small trout like they are 36? B runs sometimes. ? The important thing is that the set-up is simple, she can use two hands so she doesn?t get tired and she has fun because she is out with dad. We only go when she wants to. We through rocks when she wants too, we collect what ever is there to be collected. Since we live in TX, trout are encountered on vacations. Most vacations are hiking oriented, but she does like the pink spots on brook trout and cutts. I find the tenkaa rods fun myself, no complications, unless they fish are rising 50 ft away? You can also use a tenkara on a pond with pink lightning bugs, an indicator and powerbait crappie bits and watch them catch 30 bluegills in an hour.
  2. Thanks Robert, I like the idea of catching Panfish on these rods and I also love Tenkara fishing on small water. Its FAST and efficient for moving the fly around the creek and quickly "checking" spot after spot after spot.