OttLite for Fly Tying
Jan21

OttLite for Fly Tying

A harsh truth all of us who tie flies have to inevitably face is that our eyes aren’t getting any younger. I remember as a teenager tying size 28 midges in my parents’ basement simply by the ambient overhanging fluorescent lighting without any problem. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself needing supplemental lighting. My eyes are OK (according to the optometrist) but they’re clearly not what they...

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International Sportsmen’s Expo 2015
Jan18

International Sportsmen’s Expo 2015

Just off the heels of last week’s Denver Fly Fishing Show, today, I attended ISE 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center. For those of you not familiar with this show, it’s massive. To give you an idea, the floor plan puts the catacombs beneath Paris to shame: Whereas I was really please with tenkara presence at the Fly Fishing show, I was disappointed by the lack of it at ISE. Basically, Tenkara USA was the only booth that...

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Passing the Baton
Jan14

Passing the Baton

As of today, I will be closing my store, http://www.thetenkarashop.com/. I have several reasons, but mostly, I just hate packing things up and going to the post office. Life is already complicated enough with a full time job and toddler, so I really just want to simplify and focus more on fishing and writing this blog. The good news is that Oni rods will be now be available through my good friend Anthony Naples on his site Three...

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Framed Tenkara no Oni Flies
Jan12

Framed Tenkara no Oni Flies

I’m excited because I just got my Tenkara no Oni flies back from the framer. I know you can’t see much detail in this picture (my tenkara office has lighting issues) so here is a link to closeup pictures of the flies. I will add this to my growing collection of tenkara art including Dr. Hisao Ishigaki’s flies, my Gyotaku print, watercolor by Kiyoshi Ishihara and more. In all, I’ve got about 10 tenkara-related...

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Denver Fly Fishing Show 2015
Jan11

Denver Fly Fishing Show 2015

Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Denver Fly Fishing Show and came away with two impressions. First, it was PACKED. In all the years I’ve been going, I’ve never seen a crowd this big. You had to fight just to make it through the aisles and I had to park a mile away. If fly fishing is a “dying industry” as many proclaim, you’d never know it by the attendance this year. Second, tenkara was much...

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The Caribou Captain
Jan09

The Caribou Captain

The other day, I found myself thinking about a forgotten fly introduced to me by its creator, Gordon Wickstrom. I can’t remember how we first met, but I do remember our meandering chats in Boulder coffee shops talking fly fishing history, fly design, language, and how Garrison Keillor is a great storyteller but should never, ever, be allowed to sing. True to his thespian and literary background, Gordon always spoke with...

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Oni Bamboo Handle Rod
Jan03

Oni Bamboo Handle Rod

The Tenkara no Oni Type I has long been my favorite tenkara rod. It’s incredibly light in the hand and has an action that suits my casting style perfectly. I’ve been fishing the original model with the straight foam handle (not the current models) for a couple of years now, but ever since I heard Masami Sakakibara made one with a bamboo handle, I’ve wanted (OK, lusted after) one. Masami-san hand carves each handle...

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Tenkara Magazine Vol. 2
Dec31

Tenkara Magazine Vol. 2

The second volume of Tenkara Magazine has just been published, further anchoring tenkara as an established form of fly fishing in the West. In 96 pages, this latest issue explores a wide spectrum of tenkara-related topics including presentation techniques, tenkara in Japan, trout cooking techniques, tenkara with kids, interviews with Japanese tenkara anglers, and more. One complaint some people had about volume 1 was that the print...

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Tenkara Memes Round 4
Dec17

Tenkara Memes Round 4

With all the snow and cold weather, cabin fever is taking its toll–driving me slightly mad you could say. So I felt compelled to put together another set of tenkara memes. This is the fourth one. You can see past ones here, here, and here. Enjoy!                            ...

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Sparse Vs. Heavily-dressed Flies
Dec14

Sparse Vs. Heavily-dressed Flies

I got an email today from a reader who had the following comment: “While crawling around the web researching the subject, I ran across some Japanese websites, and noticed the flies they have seem to be more sparsely tied than the American versions. Is there anything to this?” It was an interesting observation–though (I think) not entirely true. If you research tenkara flies (both traditional and modern), you’ll...

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My Tenkara Rig
Dec11

My Tenkara Rig

Quick post today. I’m often asked about my go-to setup for tenkara so I thought I’d just list it out. After years of testing and refining, I think I have finally come up with the combination that’s perfect for me. Rod For about the last year and a half, I’ve fished almost exclusively with an Oni Type I rod. Mine is the old school one (back when Masami Sakakibara assembled them himself) with no markings other...

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Tenkara Christmas Contest
Dec06

Tenkara Christmas Contest

This year, Tenkara Santa wants to give you some neat stocking stuffers! He’s giving away a nice little package of tenkara gear, including the following: 1. A wooden fly box hand made by Boulder Artisan and avid tenkara angler Dave Burchett. 2. A 13′ horsehair tapered line made by me. 3. A cork line spool from Tenkara Pryenees. 4. A 4-pack of sakasa kebari from Tenkara Times. 5. A tenkara “Catch & Release”...

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Transitioning to Tenkara Flies
Nov25

Transitioning to Tenkara Flies

When I first started fishing tenkara, I didn’t give much thought to traditional tenkara flies. The initial allure was really the tenkara rod itself and by default, I assumed that I would just use my standard patterns like the Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Bead Head Hare’s Ear Nymph, and so on. And I did. And I caught fish. That was enough to convince me that the rod worked, but eventually, either romance or guilt got to me....

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Moonlit Flyfishing Oudachi Tenkara Line
Nov22

Moonlit Flyfishing Oudachi Tenkara Line

  I’ve tried many furled tenkara lines and most of them are pretty similar: a single-material, single-color, line that tapers from butt to tip. But the new Oudachi line from Moonlit Fly Fishing is a whole different animal. The Oudachi is billed as a “nymphing” line and I’d say that’s accurate.  First, rather than a consistent butt-to-tip taper, this is a “weight forward” line, similar to...

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Occam’s Razor
Oct12

Occam’s Razor

At my neighborhood Starbucks, they used to have this fancy dispenser for those cardboard sleeves you slide over your to-go cup to prevent you from burning your hands while holding your $6 drink (probably to avoid a lawsuit). It was a clever design–a plastic box with two rows of sleeves spring-loaded like a Pez dispenser. The idea seemed to make sense–pull out one sleeve and the ones behind it are pushed forward to make it...

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Tenkara Swag
Oct05

Tenkara Swag

I don’t know what it is about trade shows or conferences, but they always seem to turn people into zombies scouring the convention center floor for freebies like vultures circling over road kill.  I’m no exception. And at this year’s Tenkara Summit, I managed to snag a few gems. The first was a Summit poster designed by Anthony Naples of Casting Around.  I’ll have to find a place to hang this in my fishing room...

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The Oni Weight Debate
Oct04

The Oni Weight Debate

On his excellent blog, Tom Davis posted a picture of an X-ray of the handle of an Oni rod.  The X-ray appears to show some kind of insert near the butt. This sparked much speculation that the Oni rods are only so light in the hand because there is weight added to the butt of the handle to counterbalance the tip. I asked Tenkara no Oni directly if this was the case and he said no weight is added.  I tried to share this on social media...

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Tenkara Summit 2014
Sep28

Tenkara Summit 2014

I just returned from the 2014 Tenkara Summit in Boulder. This only the second Summit I’ve attended but I was amazed not only by the turnout, but by how strong our community has grown.  We may have our squabbles on social media from time to time, but at the Summit, it’s pure camaraderie with people trading stories, swapping flies, and having a good laugh over drinks. These gatherings really make me feel proud to be part of...

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Tenkara Symphony
Sep14

Tenkara Symphony

Imagine listening to a symphony where the conductor put their baton back on the podium in between every motion they made with it. With the music stopping each time the baton is laid down, it would be painful to sit through. There would be no flow and the piece would probably take twice as long to play. When I look back on my early days of fly fishing, I now see that I was that conductor–conducting a terribly disjointed and...

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Tenkara Minus
Sep05

Tenkara Minus

You’ve probably seen the meme “Tenkara +” going around social media. It’s the idea that tenkara compliments other outdoor hobbies such as “tenkara + hiking”, “tenkara + mushroom hunting”, “tenkara + mountain biking”, etc. While the portability of tenkara gear certainly lends itself well to being combined with other activities, it got me to thinking about the concept of...

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