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
Flat tinsel is a great material for adding flash and segmentation to a fly. Years ago, tiers basically had only two choices in colors: silver and gold. This is why so many classic patterns call for those colors. It was really more about availability rather than a conscious design choice. But today, flat tinsel comes in a myriad of colors–red, blue, green, pearl, and even holographic. Most of it is made of Mylar (which is really a plastic, not the metal tinsel of days past) and comes in a few different widths. There are so many choices and sizes that you could easily go overboard and fill up rack after rack of spools. But, what if you could get all the Mylar you want free, for the rest of your life? You can! All you have to do is look around…Read More
Fly tiers have it pretty easy these days. Run out of red floss during a marathon tying session of Royal Coachmans? Head down to your local fly shop and pick some up. Need fluorescent pink guinea fowl for a killer new Spey fly? Order in online and it will be at your door in a few days.
But imagine what it must have been like for early tenkara anglers. Not only were there no fly shops (or e-commerce) back then, but living in remote mountain villages, they were pretty much cut off from the rest of the world. They had to tie flies with whatever they had available to them locally.
This forced them to be pretty creative when designing flies. And it got me thinking…Read More
I recently wrote that I’ve been tying and fishing palmered flies for tenkara lately. My theory is that if the hackle is spread out over more of the body of the fly, it will give the pattern more movement and, thus, be more attractive to fish. So I started tying flies with hackle palmered through the thorax (rather than just concentrated at the head of the fly like a sakasa kebari). I was pretty happy with the results. But then I saw this post on the Fly Angler’s Online forum. Someone was asking about using “snatcher” patterns for tenkara. Snatcher? I had never heard of them. But after a little research, it instantly hit me that these patterns would be perfect for tenkara. So, I tried my hand at some…Read More
Let’s face it. Even the most expertly tied fly is not immortal. Though it might have escaped the perils of underwater snags, tree branches lurking in our backcasts, or weak knots, it will eventually succumb to the merciless jaws of countless trout ripping it to shreds. And at some point, it’s time to retire it. The problem is that hooks today are made so well, that they far outlive the comparatively fragile thread, fur, and feathers we tie our flies with. It’s a shame to throw them away when they’re still perfectly good. It’s even worse when you ties with expensive or hard-to-find hooks. So, why not reuse them?Read More
The “Calligraphy Brush” is basically a slightly more dressed up version of the Kamikaze Kebari with cufflinks and a collar. The ingredients are almost the same except “the brush” is tied on a slightly longer hook to accomodate an ostrich herl thorax. The ostrich thorax gives a little meatiness to the fly, absorbs water to help it sink, and pulses to give a little more movement. The materials I list below are just a suggestion but you could substitute a wide variety of color combinations.Read More
This new tenkara fly tying DVD series was just announced today but I happened to receive one in the mail prior to launch (Thanks Brian!). This DVD isn’t good. It’s GREAT! The clarity and quality is amazing and the running commentary by tenkara experts is surprisingly informative. When I first opened the package, I was kind of dismissive. I thought that I’d pretty much heard everything there was to be said about simple tenkara flies by now. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of tips, info, and ideas for presentation that I hadn’t thought of, heard of, or done myself. This is a must-have DVD for anyone into tenkara.Read More
The first fly I ever tied was composed of some fur and feathers I cut off a Mepps spinner, some too-heavy thread I stole from my mom’s sewing kit, and was precariously held in the chipped corner of my father’s tool vise as I haphazardly wrapped something resembling Cousin Itt on a bait hook (that’s being diplomatic–I’m probably subconsciously blocking out what it actually looked). Early on, I learned that the right tools and materials make a big difference in fly tying and since then have come to have a deep appreciation of well designed fly tying tools.Read More
In my ongoing exploration of tying tenkara flies on eyeless hooks, I recently got a package of Gosen Torrents Ace GII hooks from Esoteric Tackle. These hooks have a very radical bend that makes them great for tying traditional looking tenkara flies, plus a couple of other features I really like.Read More
I swung by Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs on Sunday and they had a sale on Umpqua Comepetition hooks. They looked like they might be good for sakasa kebari so I picked up a couple of packages in size #10 and #12.Read More
Many anglers tout the effectiveness of using red hooks in their fly patterns. While there appears to be some science behind it, I’m not a red hook fanatic; nor am I a foe. I don’t know if or why red hooks add some attractor qualities to flies or not. I’ve caught fish on them and I’ve caught just as many fish on bronze, blue, or black hooks. But as a tenkara angler who is dedicating himself to tying mostly simple flies with only two or three ingredients, different colored hooks are a nice way to add some diversity to the aesthetics of my tying (whether for me or the fish, I don’t know). Anyway, here are a few patterns I’ve tied on red hooks that you might find interesting if you’re looking to add some different dimensions to your tenkara fly tying.Read More
Even the most organized fly tying desks can have cluttered backgrounds that can be distracting when you’re trying to put the finishing touches on that perfect fly. It can not only adversely affect the quality of the fly you’re tying, but also cause eye strain. Here’s a simple, low-cost solution I came up with to block the complicated background of my tying desk…Read More