If you’ve been following tenkara for any length of time, you’ve probably seen some discussion on line visibility. For traditional, furled tenkara lines, this isn’t really an issue. They’re pretty thick and are often brightly colored so they’re almost as easy to see as western fly lines. But for the thinner, fluorocarbon lines many tenkara anglers prefer, it’s a different story. Not only does their comparatively anorexic diameter aid in on-stream invisibility, their color and transparent nature can make them impossible to track in different lighting situations. While it might not matter much for an angler fishing a dry fly or sight fishing, I argue that line visibility makes a big difference for those fishing wet flies in the more traditional tenkara method.Read More
This contest is now closed. The winner is Terry Farmer.
Congratulations Terry and thanks to everyone who participated!
The second tenkara book in English just came out and here’s your chance to win a free copy. The book is a collaboration of different American tenkara anglers’ perspectives on a variety of topics (including yours truly). As a contributor, I got a few free copies. So, I thought it would be fun to give one away. Here’s how to enter…Read More
Small, meandering meadow streams certainly make idyllic backdrops but they pose several unique challenges for the angler. Typically, these streams are very shallow with slowly moving, crystal clear water meaning the fish can see you coming a mile away and will scatter at the slightest shadow, vibration, splash, or sound. It’s not hard to imagine why. With little refuge, trout in such waters are easy targets for predators so they have to constantly be on their toes (or fins, as it were). Luckily, tenkara is perfectly suited for fishing these types of streams and will give you an advantage over conventional fly tackle. Let’s look at a few of the challenges skinny meadow water with skittish trout presents and how to overcome them.Read More
After reading about Chris Stewart’s blue fly challenge and receiving some of his blue yarn by happenstance, I thought it would be fun to experiment a bit with blue. So, I came up with this pattern. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m sure it will catch fish. And even if it doesn’t, I like it so it’s already caught me. I call it “Smurfette” because of the color scheme.
Hook: Owner Hera Sasuke, Gold #7
Eye: #2 White silk bead cord
Thread: Yellow 6/0
Body: Blue Fly Yarn from Tenkara Bum
Hackle: White Hen Hackle
Right out of the box, I loved my Fishpond San Juan chest pack. I’ve had it for about 2 years now and during that time, I’ve discovered a few tricks that make this great pack even better.Read More
It’s not that I don’t want to. Believe me, I used to work in a fly shop and understand the value of having a place to gather to talk shop, exchange info on conditions and tell some good old fashioned fish stories. And, I do want to support local businesses. But unfortunately, most of the shops in my area carry a mediocre (at best) inventory. They have a very pedestrian selection of fly tying materials and anything beyond that is considered “specialized” and has to be ordered (if they even can). And if they can order it, it usually has to go in with their scheduled orders which can add days to the shipment. A basic inventory might work for a beginner, but once you get a little more advanced, you can almost be guaranteed they won’t have the tools or materials you need and you’re better off going online.Read More
This weekend, I gave a tenkara presentation to a group from the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers organization in Rocky Mountain National Park. I give a fair number of tenkara presentations but this one was particularly fun!Read More
If you’ve fished tenkara for any significant amount of time, at some point, you’ve probably run into a situation where you wished you had a line that was either longer or shorter than the one you had on. But since tenkara is fixed line fishing, you can’t adjust line length as you would with a reel. Luckily, the connection between line and rod in tenkara allows lines to be switched out easily, allowing you to adapt to changing conditions (or, you can simply tie more line on or cut it off). Even the most experienced tenkara anglers in the world such as Masami Sakakibara use different line lengths depending on the water they’re fishing, so I think it’s worth every angler’s time to experiment with different lengths and see how they perform in various situations. I see basically three categories: short lines, rod-length lines, and long lines. Here is a brief summary of what I believe are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each…Read More
I got to give my Oni rod and Tenkara USA Ayu II a workout today on clear creek again. This time, with avid tenkara angler, Phil Echelman. It was a great day with lots of fish caught, and some neat streamside discoveries.Read More
This contest is now closed
Congratulations to winner Chris Free!
What does a blogger do when they don’t have time to post any good content? Run a contest! This time, I’m giving away a brand new 6-compartment fly box filled with 20 awesome sakasa kebari from Tenkara Fly Shop. Here are the rules….Read More
That’s right. Titanium. As in the metal. Believe it or not, some tenkara anglers in Japan use lines made of thin titanium wire instead of fluorocarbon or nylon. This might seem strange, but titanium lines have some interesting properties that give them some distinct advantages. I recently got to try out a titanium line that will soon be offered by Tenkara Times and here are my impressions.Read More
My first post on tenkara memes didn’t quite satiate my sense of the absurd, so I decided to create a few more. Whether they make you roll your eyes or bring a smile to your face, I hope they at least bring some levity to your Monday…
A few posts ago, I wrote about my initial impressions of the Tenkara no Oni rod and this weekend, I finally got a chance to give it a workout on Clear Creek outside of Golden, CO. Not only was the fishing great, but my field test confirmed a lot of what I had expected of the rod.Read More
Of all the tenkara tricks I have up my sleeve, this one is my favorite and the one in which I have the most confidence. As you’ll see in the video, it’s pretty simple, but it works.
Well, now that Daniel has let the cat out of the bag that tenkara was a hoax all along, I have no choice to but to come clean and admit my role in the scandal. You see, I’ve been on the Tenkara USA payroll for years as part of a sophisticated network charged with spreading the lies. I’ve never actually fished with a tenkara rod. Truth be told, I’ve never even cast one. You might ask where all of the tenkara photos I post come from then. Well, it’s simple, really…Read More
Japanese Rating Metric Diameter English Diameter
#2 0.235 mm 0.009"
#2.5 0.260 mm 0.010"
#3 0.310 mm 0.012"
# 3.5 0.3175 mm 0.0125"
#4 0.330 mm 0.013"
#4.5 0.3556 mm 0.014"
# 5 0.370 mm 0.015"
Math is definitely not my strong point but I did a little to try to answer some questions I’ve been getting about the Japanese line rating system for fluorocarbon level lines and what it translates to in diameter. Please note: lb. test is irrelevant. Diameter matters more for turnover than test. And, test per diameter varies from company to company so I narrowed it down to the most relevant and popular diameters for tenkara. Also keep in mind that these are approximations that seem to have consensus. But some companies’ ratings might slightly vary outside these diameters. Anything outside this range is specialty and I don’t think applies to most of us so I didn’t include it. I hope this helps.
Some tenkara rods come with a rod tube, and some don’t. Some anglers are hardcore tubers, some throw caution to the wind, and some are in between (like me). An included rod tube is a nice touch, but whenever someone laments the fact that a particular rod model doesn’t come with a tube, my response is that when collapsed, tenkara rods essentially become their own protective cases, so tubes aren’t really necessary. I almost never use mine, but there are a few situations where it’s probably a good idea to use a tube.Read More
After several months of patiently waiting, my Oni tenkara rod has finally arrived! For those of you who don’t know what an “Oni” rod is, it’s the rod designed and used by Masami Sakakibara (a.k.a. “Tenkara no Oni”), who is widely considered to be the best tenkara caster in the world. He is notorious for being able to cast a very light level line (eg. a #1.5 or #2) in extremely long lengths with total accuracy and delicacy. While this is of course due to his great skill, it doen’t hurt if you use a rod with an action that facilitates this type of casting. And that’s exactly what he designed it to do.Read More
While I certainly appreciate the advances in technology that have allowed us to have high-performance fishing gear, I have always also had a fondess for rustic, traditional gear. There’s something special about traditional, handmade gear that I just can’t resist. It could be nostalgia, but I think for me, it’s more about aesthetics.Read More
“It doesn’t imitate anything”. That’s the response the 15-year old me got from a fly shop guy when I asked what a Royal Wulff was supposed to imitate. As a young fly angler, I was slowly learning entomology and trying to match up the different insect species with their feathered doppelgangers. Some patterns (like the Royal Wulff) just didn’t add up. They didn’t look like anything in nature. So what were they supposed to be? It was then explained to me that some flies aren’t meant to be imitations, rather, they’re “attractors”. On some level, it made sense. But I was left with the burning question of, “if they don’t imitate anything, why would fish take them?”Read More
I just got a package in the mail from Tenkara Fly Shop and am so excited that I couldn’t wait to share it with you! If you want to see some of the coolest, most minimalistic, gorgeous fly boxes, read on…Read More
I’m sure we all could use some levity lately so…take a shot every time…Read More
Lots of people have asked me if they can buy my fly patterns. But with a full time job, a wife with a full time job (who also goes to school full time), and a 9-month old baby, I simply don’t have the time. I always felt bad saying no to people, but have found a solution. I found a company that would tie them for me and created a simple e-commerce system on my site. So, if you’re one of the people I turned down to buy my flies in the past, now you can get them here. Even though I didn’t tie them myself, these are the same patterns I fish every time I go out and I stand behind them 100%.Read More
Many of the streams tenkara anglers fish in Japan are fast flowing mountain streams. In those streams, fish have very little time to “inspect” food. If they hesitate, it’s gone–lost to the swift current or a competitor. A good fly for these conditions is a larger, easy-to-spot fly like the Oki Sakasa Kebari.Read More
I just got my new T-shirt from Adam Trahan over at Tenkara Fisher. It’s beautiful and will make a great addition to my growing tenkara T-shirt collection along with my four Tenkara USA shirts and Tenkara Talk shirt.Read More
“Traditional Japanese Fly Fishing”. That’s the tag line of this site. But lately, I’ve been wondering how accurate that line really is.
In terms of the tackle we use, there seems to be nothing that is really “traditional” about it. Early tenkara anglers fished with bamboo rods, lines, and hooks fashioned from needles. Today, we fish with high tech carbon rods, fluorocarbon lines, and chemically sharpened hooks.Read More
Silk bead cord–it’s not just for eyeless flies anymore! Silk bead cord is a popular material to form the loops on eyeless tenkara flies. But did you know it can also be used as a body material?Read More
As I sit here looking at the aftermath of the recent snowstorm through my office window, I’m reminded of the cruel joke nature sometimes plays on anglers: the thwarting of fishing plans. You know, those days where you could go fishing, but the rivers are frozen over, or blown out. It’s a bitter irony and can be really depressing. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your sanity on those days when Mother Nature has conveniently decided to make your local waters unfishable.Read More
I recently posted pictures of some tenkara hooks I got from a friend in Japan. I finally had a chance to tie with one, the Owner Hera Sasuke and just wanted to briefly share my thoughts on it.Read More
I see a lot of photos on the internet of people casting tenkara with their arm fully extended. While it might seem like a good idea at the time to gain a little extra reach, it can actually be detrimental to your presentation, and on stream stamina. The better alternative is simple: take a few steps closer to the fish!Read More