Before you say it, no; they are not the same thing! There are many subtle differences between Tenkara fishing and Cane Pole fishing and this article is all about dispelling the myth that they are one and the same.

Let’s get started.

The Rod

A Tenkara fishing rod is long, telescopic and has tapers to enable you to cast your light line without the use of a weight. With Cane Pole fishing the rod in long, but can be either jointed or telescopic and is designed to lob weight (or just capable of lobbing if it is an actual cane).

The Line

With the line on a Tenkara fishing rod, you will find that it is made from fluorocarbon, horsehair, level fluorocarbon or tapered nylon. With a Cane Pole rod the line will generally be made from nylon monofilament.

Terminal Tackle

With Tenkara fishing, there is no terminal tackle whereas with Cane pole fishing is a hook, weights, and a bobber.

The Lure

tenkara flies

Tenkara fishing uses an artificial fly as a lure whereas Can Pole fishing uses natural or synthetic bait.


Tenkara casting versus cane pole casting

With Tenkara fishing, the delivery is usually bow and arrow, a roll cast, a steeple cast a side arm roll, or an overhand cast; all of which are traditional fly fishing casts. The delivery with Cane Pole fishing is far more simplistic: just lob or flip the bait into the water and wait for it to sink.


Cane pole fishing vs tenkara fishing presentation

Again, Tenkara draws from fly fishing and favours dead drift, pulsating, pause and drift and wet fly swing. With Cane Pole fishing you let live bait free to swim and if you’re using dead bait you let it sit. You watch the bobber for any signs of a strike and if needed you can adjust the depth of the bait.


Tenkara is all about taking your time to read the water and picking the best strategic position for you to be in. Carefully keep moving and try to locate fish in different lies. With Cane Pole fishing the approach is markedly different; you are typically stationary just waiting for the fish to take the bait.

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