Tenkara fishing is a Japanese style of fishing which uses a rod, a line, and a fly. It uses no reel, no eyelets on the rod, and the rod is telescoping. I first tried tenkara fishing when I was a child in Kansas, but we called it fishing for catfish with a cane pole on Grampa's farm pond. The pole had a string tied to the tip, and we attached a big hook with a piece of liver on it. With that, we tossed it out into my Grampa's pond with a cork bobber, and we tried to catch a few catfish. The best part was riding the hay wagon behind the tractor back to the house.
Tenkara fishing is a much refined version of cane pole fishing. The tenkara rod telescopes down to the size of a drumstick, and it has a little woven tip at the end to which the line is attached by a loop. It weighs 3.7 oz, plus the weight of the line and a few flies. Below, Kevin using his tenkara outfit on a small stream in the Uintas.
Shown below is the rod all compressed for travel, and below that photo is one of the tip of the rod, where a fly line attaches by a simple loop. The only knot that you have to tie is the one holding the fly to the tip of the fly line.
In Kevin's tenkara setup the line is removed from the rod when not in use, but in other tenkara rods the line can be left on the rod when it is retracted. Care must be taken to pull each section out one at a time, and also when the sections are pushed back together. The rod is very thin at the tip, and its possible to break it if you are not careful. The fish is landed by the fisherman grabbing the line and pulling the fish in by hand. We caught as many fish using tenkara as we did using fly fishing gear, or spin casting gear. Below, Jim cooking some of the trout we caught in the Uinta Range of Utah, July 2013.