Learn from the Bruce Lee of Tenkara
May11

Learn from the Bruce Lee of Tenkara

Masami Sakakibara (AKA Tenkara no Oni) is coming to the U.S. next month for the first ever Oni Tenkara School! In case you don’t know, Tenkara no Oni is widely regarded as the most skilled tenkara caster in the world and has a huge following in Japan. This is an unprecedented event and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from a living legend (unless you want to travel to Japan). The class will focus on both intermediate...

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Fulling Mill Hooks
May10

Fulling Mill Hooks

I have to confess, I’d never heard of Fulling Mill hooks until I saw them on Anthony Naples’ site, Three Rivers Tenkara. There are a million hooks out there today and I’ve tried a lot of them–not just for tenkara, but for many other applications as well. I usually don’t get too excited about hooks because most of them are just doppelgängers. But these seemed somewhat unique, so I asked Anthony to send me...

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Does Tenkara Actually Catch More Fish?
May08

Does Tenkara Actually Catch More Fish?

This question isn’t new. In fact, it probably arose on day one when tenkara first hit the U.S. Over the years as I’ve watched tenkara go from an underdog in the flyfishing community to a tour de force, I’ve heard many anglers tout that its efficacy is what won them over. This got me to wondering–was it true for me? After more than 5 years, do I really catch more fish with tenkara than I did with my 4 or 5 wt.?...

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Nissin SP Pro Tenkara Line
May06

Nissin SP Pro Tenkara Line

Every time someone asks me to try out a new tapered tenkara line, I always say the same thing: “I’m a level-line guy”. But, because of my STGA (“Severe Tenkara Gear Addiction), I always accept, and am always reminded of how easy tapered lines are to cast. So when Chris Stewart of Tenkara Bum asked me to try out the new Nissin SP Pro line, it was the same old story. The SP pro is a multi-strand fluorocarbon line...

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Fishing Fiascos
May03

Fishing Fiascos

A few weeks ago, I went fishing with my good friend Dennis Vander Houwen. Neither of us had been out in a while so we were really looking forward to a much-needed day on the water. Everything started off fine–we were in good spirits, the weather was good for February–all indications pointed to smooth sailing and a great day of fishing. But both of us agreed on one thing: we were sick of fishing Clear Creek and Bear Creek...

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The Heraclitus-fly Approach
Apr18

The Heraclitus-fly Approach

I’ve mentioned on many occasions that I don’t adhere to the tenkara “one fly” approach simply because I would quickly get bored tying the same pattern over and over again. To me, fly tying is as much fun as fly fishing and the monotony would ruin one of my favorite aspects of the sport. So, since I started my tenkara career, I’ve been more of an “any fly” angler, tying on whatever strikes my...

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Rediscovering the Teeny Nymph
Apr11

Rediscovering the Teeny Nymph

It’s funny how easy it is to forget good fly patterns. I was recently reminded about a good pattern that I had fished years ago with a rod and reel but had forgotten about since starting tenkara fishing–the Teeny Nymph. This pattern was invented by venerable angler Jim Teeny in 1962 originally for for trout. But since then, it’s proven itself as an effective fly for a multitude of species including steelhead, bass,...

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Fujino Tenkara Line
Apr07

Fujino Tenkara Line

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Stewart from Tenkara Bum told me about a new line he was thinking of carrying. It was a nylon tapered line similar to those used in conventional fly fishing. This type of tapered line is nothing new in tenkara. There are many tapered nylon lines available today such as the Fujino Soft Tenkara that I’ve already reviewed. But two things intrigued me about this one: First, it was a “hard”...

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Discovering Tenkara DVD: Japanese Kebari Patterns & Principles
Mar29

Discovering Tenkara DVD: Japanese Kebari Patterns & Principles

I just finished watching volume 2 of the DVD series from Discover Tenkara: “Discovering Tenkara: Japanese Kebari Patterns & Principles”. When I heard of the video’s release, I had pretty low expectations. I thought, “just what the world needs … another video showing you how to tie the exact same flies 500 other videos on YouTube have already shown.” After all, how many times do you need to see a...

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Tenkara Winter Series
Mar21

Tenkara Winter Series

I just got back from the Tenkara Winter Series event in Loveland, CO organized by Zen Fly Fishing Gear. I went with my good friend and early tenkara adopter Dennis Vander Houwen. Unfortunately, both of us had to be back in Denver fairly early in the day so we couldn’t stay for the full conference, but we did manage to get some mingling in and catch some great content. The crowd was intimate (but passionate) and the venue was...

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The Keeper Tenkara Line Spool
Mar03

The Keeper Tenkara Line Spool

How can you improve on something as simple as a tenkara line spool? After all, it’s nothing more than a spindle to wrap your line around for storage and transport, right? Think again. Tenkara USA has literally just reinvented the wheel with their latest innovation–The Keeper. The Keeper’s most important innovation is that it features a rubber core that catches and tightly holds the line when winding and unwinding....

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Tenkara Rod Flex
Feb17

Tenkara Rod Flex

Probably the #1 thing that confuses people new to tenkara is the way rod actions are described. And I can see why. 5:5? 6:4? 7:3? What the heck do these numbers mean? While there are many good charts out there that (I think) describe these actions well, I still see a lot of people who are a little confused. They think the numbers are based on the number of segments in the rod or that they describe how stiff or soft a rod is. So in an...

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360° Sakasa Kebari
Feb13

360° Sakasa Kebari

If you’ve been into fly fishing for any length of time, you might have heard of a pattern called the “Brook’s Stone“. It was invented by Major Charlie Brooks to imitate the big stoneflies on the Yellowstone River. It’s a simple pattern. Unlike most stonefly patterns, it doesn’t even have a wing case. It’s basically a dubbed body with a few wraps of hackle palmered through the thorax. But that...

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Want to be a fly fishing guide? Read this first.
Feb10

Want to be a fly fishing guide? Read this first.

I’ve had several people ask me about what it takes to become a fly fishing guide. I was only a guide for a couple of years in my grad school days out of a shop in Boulder that was then managed by the great Charlie Craven. But in that short time through my own experiences (and also due to Charlie’s shared knowledge), I gained some great insights into what makes a good guide. Here are a few tips you should consider if...

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Dennis & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Line
Feb08

Dennis & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Line

I went fishing with Dennis Vanderhowen a couple of days ago. I usually don’t pay much attention to the gear my fishing buddies use, but something caught my eye as I turned my head to see where he was upstream–his line. Tenkara lines are notoriously difficult to see–both on the stream and on camera. But I could see Dennis’s line from many yards away. What was it? When I met up with him, I discovered it was a...

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Tying with Zenmai
Feb02

Tying with Zenmai

I first heard about zenmai a few years ago in a blog post from Tenkara USA. What is zenmai? It’s a fuzzy fiber that grows on sprouting fern plants in the spring and Japanese anglers use it as dubbing material. It might seem strange to use vegetation as a tying material, but it actually makes quite good dubbing. One thing I really like about zenmai is the color. It’s a beautiful carmel/brown with some light and dark...

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[Video] The Tenkara Guide Sling
Jan31

[Video] The Tenkara Guide Sling

Here’s a video of how I set up the Tenkara Guide Sling Pack from Zimmerbuilt to be my ideal carry system for tenkara fishing around Colorado. This pack was designed by the Tenkara Guides in Utah to be a tenkara-specific pack but could also be used for conventional fly fishing. How do you carry your tenkara...

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Parrot Hackle Flies
Jan30

Parrot Hackle Flies

To me, tenkara anglers are an intrinsically “outside the box” breed. We don’t fish with reels, we reject the prevailing notion that more gear catches more fish, and lets’s face it, our flies look…well…strange. Even stranger are the materials we experiment with. I’ve seen tenkara flies tied with everything from snakeskin to fuzz from a fern (and even junk just laying around the house). I think...

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Tenkara iPad & Android App
Jan25

Tenkara iPad & Android App

New to tenkara? There’s an app for that! Last year, I heard about an English language tenkara app published by Tsuribito Magazine. I thought it was interesting but didn’t download it since it was geared towards beginners. But today, curiosity finally got the better of me. I wanted to see exactly what it was, so today, I finally downloaded it. I was really impressed with not only how much information it contained, but the...

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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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