Xavier’s found the perfect way to throw in a line while hiking, without the hassle. It’s called Tenkara fishing, a minimalist form of fly fishing that’s basically a line on a stick. Here’s how you can give it a crack.


Fishing is extremely popular in Australia. Over 5 million Australians go fishing every year. However, on a hike, fishing rods are often left behind. They don’t pack well, add extra weight and take ages to set up.

What if there was a way to combine the two? Tenkara is where hiking and fishing come together. Let the backcountry be your pantry with a Tenkara rod; escape the never-ending cycle of dehydrated meals and 2-minute noodles with freshly caught fish, straight from the river.  

What Is Tenkara Fishing?

Tenkara is a traditional Japanese method of fly fishing that’s been around for thousands of years. Literally translated, it means ‘from the skies’. It’s a form of fly fishing, but it doesn’t require a reel, only a rod, line and fly.

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It has seen a rise in popularity since the founding of ‘Tenkara USA’ in 2009. It can now be seen tucked into the backpacks of many trail-goers around the US. So, what makes Tenkara so great?

Why Fish In The Tenkara Style?

Tenkara rods are perfect for beginner and experienced anglers alike. They are super lightweight and compact, taking up no space in a hiking pack. They are the minimalist’s answer to fly fishing, they are simple to set up and require very little extra gear.

Nothing beats fresh fish to bolster your meals after you’ve foolishly eaten all your jerky and cheese on the first day of your hike. Even if you don’t eat fish, catch-and-release fishing is a great way to spend your downtime on a hike.Fly Fishing For Hikers // An Intro To Tenkara, xavier anderson, how to, mountain, lake, fishing

How Do I Fly Fish?

Tenkara rods are incredibly easy to use. Casting is very intuitive, and it won’t take long before you’re casting with the best of them. To get started, you only need a line, tippet, flies and nippers (or your teeth if you’re hardcore). The set-up is a breeze and after you learn basic knots it’s much faster than traditional fly fishing

Where Can I Go Tenkara Fishing in Australia and New Zealand?

Tenkara fishing is best suited to freshwater, mountain streams and alpine lakes. It’s most effective for trout fishing and smaller fish species. In Australia, the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania offer the best Tenkara locations. Further afield, New Zealand is also a superb place to fly fish.

It just happens that these destinations are also amazing places to hike. So next time you head out, take a Tenkara rod as well. Trust me; you’ll be everyone’s friend come dinnertime.

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