It does look like a cane pole, but it's not. It's much different. Simply put, it's a fly rod without the reel ( and the ability to cast 30 feet.) Trust me when I tell you that I've read many, many people's posts and blogs where they've gone out and bought a "crappie pole" or cane pole and tried it and they've come back with the conclusion that tenkara can't be "like that." ...and that's because it's not.
It's not magic, but it is fun - and yes - kids love it. It's fly fishing without the fuss.
And my favorite smokies tactic - it lets you get a drag free drift in those back-eddies that are on the other side of a raging run. Those browns that sit in the calm, slowly swirling water never see it coming.
One last thing - tenkara fishing is like regular fly fishing, in that you can "get into it" as much or as little as you like. Some folks swear by the Japanese method of fishing only one type of fly ( a sort of reversed soft-hackle) but my favorite fly on it is a #14 Adams dry.
If we make it to troutfest this year, I'll try to bring a couple of tenkara rods for you to try out. Thinking our new fishing news site might make a showing there this time.