I made it out today to try Tenkara again. Went much better than last time, I actually got to use the rod.
Started at the Spillway and caught a few little guys. It was gusty so I decided to move to EH. Saw (and scared) a bunch of big bows at EH but no hook ups. Turns out they stocked EH this morning and the fish were still recovering from their travels.
After lunch I went back to the spillway and broke my rod while standing in the same spot where I broke it last time. Luckily I brought a spare rod and kept fishing. At EH I had switched from a level line to a furled line. When I went back to the spillway the furled line did a lot better with the breeze.
Here is what I have learned so far: Furled tapered lines cast much better than level lines, especially in the wind with weighted flies. Dead drifting in the fast spillway water was extremely easy with the Tenkara setup. No mends needed, it's easy to keep the line off the water. Fishing in EH was fine, but I did feel like I would have liked a little more reach at times. I'm going to furl up an 18 foot line and see how that goes. I can yard cast 20 feet of level line but in the water it wasn't working for me, probably due to the weighted fly. It takes a couple of fish to figure out how to land the fish without a reel. I kept losing them when they would get about 4 feet away and I was reaching for the line. I finally figured out how to keep steady pressure on the fish with the rod behind me while reaching for the line or the net. Set up and take down is very easy. I ditched the vest and just brought a small fly box, roll of tippet and hemostats. Walking through the woods was very easy with only 2 feet of rod to worry about. I definitely like the simplicity and not having to deal with line wrapping around my legs, but the limit of the line length is an adjustment. However, I think that having a fixed length of line keeps me from casting into places that I shouldn't be casting to. With a regular fly rod I have a tendency to outkick my coverage, casting beyond my ability to control the drift. The shorter line makes me focus on making quality drifts in the area I can reach, then moving to the next area instead of trying to reach the whole river from one spot.
My setup: Tenkara USA Iwana 12' with 13' Tenkara USA Furled leader, 3' 3X fluoro x 3' 5X fluoro leader, Beadhead Killer Bug size 12 Back up rod was a Fountainhead Stonefly 390 13'. The Iwana feels better in the yard but I didn't notice much difference in the water.
The Tenkara USA rod is much nicer, but I think the Fountainhead rod would be fine for someone that wants to get their toes wet.