Whenever I see a new “introductory” tenkara video come out, I usually end up doing a lot of fast forwarding or make it about halfway through before calling it quits. Having fished tenkara for 5 years now, anything geared towards a beginner is usually focused on things I already know, so I get bored pretty quickly. But even though this DVD’s tagline is “An Introduction to Tenkara: Basics & Fundamentals”, I actually watched it all the way through.
While the it does contain a lot of useful information for the beginner, it wasn’t that info that compelled me. For one thing, the the tone and copy of the narration and the subtle cadence of the cinematography was humble, encouraging, and unpretentious–breath of fresh air from many videos I’ve seen that blast heavy metal music in the background and do fisheye closeup shots of trophy trout in an apparent effort to make fly fishing look like an extreme sport. This is exactly how beginners need to be introduced to the sport–not made to feel inadequate because they’re not catching 25″ fish worthy of a magazine cover.
Another reason I found myself actually making it all the way to the end was the overall production value. The footage and transitions are just enjoyable to watch. If you can’t go fishing, watching this DVD is probably the next best thing. It would be a nice cure for cabin fever in the off season or when the streams are blown out or seized up in ice. If you’re a seasoned tenkara angler, you may not “learn” a lot from this video. But I bet you’ll still enjoy watching it.
If you’re a beginner, this is probably the best introduction you could get. You could spend hours scouring the internet for fragmented information to try and put together a cohesive picture of what tenkara is. Or, you could sit back and relax for 40 minutes and watch this video. I think the latter would not only be much more efficient, but also much more entertaining and inspiring.
The video is presented by the UK’s first tenkara guides, John Pearson and Dr. Paul Gaskell from Discover Tenkara and they do an exceptional job of explaining and demonstrating key tenkara concepts without going into technical minutia that might scare off the uninitiated. There’s also a fair amount of footage from the venerable Japanese tenkara expert Dr. Hisao Ishigaki. Altogether, they present a great overview on the history and techniques of tenkara in laymen’s terms that will serve as the perfect starting point for the novice. And, there are plenty of practical tips and takeaways that probably wouldn’t occur to the beginner, but will certainly prevent a lot of headaches and frustration.
On the case, this video is labelled “Vol. 1” so I hope that means they’re planning on producing more. It would be great to see them use a similar format to tackle more specific or more advanced topics in a series that would cater to not just beginners, but also to intermediate and advanced anglers.