Skip to main content

Simple Tenkara Fly

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Simple but Effective

This article provides details on tying a Tenkara Fly - a simple but effective pattern that has worked well for panfish as well as trout.

Moreover, it can be used with a tenkara rod or a fly rod. Simplicity being the key, the pattern is tied using three components - a dry fly hook, saddle hackle, and dacron tying thread.

Do give the Tenkara Fly a try!


Reverse Hackle Method

The pattern described in this article uses the reverse hackle method developed by Dr. Ishigaki - a Japanese tenkara fishing expert. This style is also known as Sakasa Kebari; key points of interest of this style are:

  • Intended to be fished with a pulsing action by twitching the line.
  • As the line tightens and loosens, the hackle pulses and the fly appears to be alive.
  • This "live" presentation triggers fish to strike as the sakasa kebari open up along the hook shank.

Let's Make One

To make a simple Tenkara Fly, gather the materials listed below, and then follow the steps detailed in the demo video!

Materials used are:

  • Size 16 Dry Fly Hook
  • White Saddle Hackle
  • Olive #70 Dacron Tying Thread

PS: The size hook can be modified based on the targeted fish with typical sizes ranging between size 12 to size 18.


Materials used are:

  • Size 16 Dry Fly Hook
  • White Saddle Hackle
  • Olive #70 Dacron Tying Thread

Demo Video - Simple Tenkara Fly

Fished a local pond using the orange/white tenkara fly.

Scroll to Continue

White hackle made a difference in keeping sight of the fly and timely hook sets!

Had a great time catching and releasing them!

Working another local pond that has produced Bass, Crappie, and Bluegill.

This round it was Bass and Bluegill; no Bruisers but still lots of fun,

Did notice the fish were nearer the bank then in other outings.

Regardless, the simple tenkara fly did its job!

Orange/white tenkara fly doing a great job on more spawning bluegill.

Also have action video of the foam grasshopper getting bit as well.

Overall, have seen this combination work well this season.

Tenkara Anyone?

Tenkara Anyone?


Marilyn Monroe Tenkara Fly

A reader mentioned the pulsating action of the reverse hackle suggested the billowing dress while Marilyn Monroe stood over a steam grate in New York.

Similar to the dress that many men found attractive, same may hold true with the hackle as it opens and closes on the retrieve!

Inspired by this observation, the Pink/White Tenkara Fly variation was created and named the "Marilyn Monroe"!


hbng84 (author) on June 19, 2016:

Simple but effective pattern that has been a great fly in ponds in our area!

Related Articles