Persimmon Silk Cord from Tenkara Bum
Aug05

Persimmon Silk Cord from Tenkara Bum

When I first started tying tenkara flies on eyeless hooks, I thought I had found a goldmine once I discovered that silk bead cord was readily available on eBay in a myriad of colors. It took a little trial & error but I finally found what I considered to be the right diameter (#2) and I’ve been using that ever since. But I recently discovered that Chris Stewart over at Tenkara Bum is selling a silk cord that is not only...

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The Picket Pin: A Good Fly For Tenkara
Jun11

The Picket Pin: A Good Fly For Tenkara

Over the centuries, countless fly patterns have been lost to history. Some have made brief resurgences in popular fly fishing culture, only to disappear and hibernate again, waiting for their next 10 seconds of fame. Still, it’s fair to say that there are probably dozens (if not hundreds) of once-popular patterns that modern fly anglers have never heard of. Perhaps it’s because the allure of using patterns with high-tech...

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The Caddy Kebari
Jan23

The Caddy Kebari

I’ve been meaning to share this fly for some time but for whatever reason, haven’t gotten around to it until now. It’s one of my most productive flies and although tenkara flies typically don’t intentionally match the hatch, I call it the “Caddy Kebari” because I think the fish mistake it for a caddis pupa. Honestly, I had little confidence in this fly until I had a few stellar days on a local creek...

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Sewing Thread Tenkara Flies
Nov24

Sewing Thread Tenkara Flies

When I started tenkara and first learned that many tenkara flies were tied with sewing thread, I was appalled. I mean, anything other than 8/0 Uni thread was sacrilege! And sewing thread was just plain crude. This was mostly because I was used to tying more complicated flies where sewing thread would be too thick. But gradually, as I moved more and more toward fishing simple flies like sakasa kebari, I could see using tying thread....

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Fur-hackled Sakasa Kebari
Nov20

Fur-hackled Sakasa Kebari

One of the main reasons the sakasa kebari style fly is so effective is because the hackle moves underwater making it look alive (click here for an underwater video to see one in action). Like most flies, tiers use feathers for the hackle on their sakasa kebari. This is because the fibers are usually soft enough to provide good movement and they’re very easy to wrap. But I’ve been thinking for a while about using fur for...

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Release the Bracken!
Oct02

Release the Bracken!

I haven’t tied a lot of tenkara flies with yarn bodies but Chris Stewart of Tenkara Bum certainly has.  In fact, he’s inspired a whole subculture of yarners with his recent blue fly challenge.  Chris sent me some samples of some of the yarns he sells and I can immediately see their advantages: 1. Yarn is easy to tie with.  You can easily build up a bulky body if you want, or separate the strands to make a more slender body...

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Little Village Fly Tying Tool Caddy
Sep22

Little Village Fly Tying Tool Caddy

Probably like many of you, I don’t have nearly as much time to tie flies as I’d like.  But when I can sneak in those precious few minutes to lash some feathers and fur to a hook, I like it to be organized so I can maximize my time–whether it’s preparation of materials or getting the necessary tools laid out ahead of time. Until recently, I’ve been keeping my tools in a simple clay teacup I made years ago...

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Owner Hera Sasuke Hooks
Feb24

Owner Hera Sasuke Hooks

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. The Hera Sasuke is both eyeless and barbless (which is not easy to come by) and features an angular bend that is the hallmark of Japanese hooks.  It’s also gold–something I haven’t tried yet in my tenkara fly tying. I used to...

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Free Mylar Tinsel for Life!
Dec19

Free Mylar Tinsel for Life!

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...

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Tying Flies with Common, Everyday Materials
Nov10

Tying Flies with Common, Everyday Materials

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...

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Snatcher Flies for Tenkara
Oct04

Snatcher Flies for Tenkara

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...

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Recycling Fly Tying Hooks
Sep15

Recycling Fly Tying Hooks

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,...

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The Calligraphy Brush Sakasa Kebari
Aug31

The Calligraphy Brush Sakasa Kebari

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...

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Learn Tenkara Fly Tying DVD Review

  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...

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New Vise Smell
Jun16

New Vise Smell

  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...

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Gosen Torrents Ace Eyeless Hooks
May31

Gosen Torrents Ace Eyeless Hooks

  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.     The hooks feature a nice black finish and are barbless.  Unlike many eyeless hooks, they lack a spade (a flattened part...

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Umpqua Competition Hooks
May22

Umpqua Competition Hooks

  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.   I got the C500BL model, which is a short shank heavier wire model.  I generally prefer heavier wire hooks to help my sakasa kebari sink better and these have a nice medium diameter with a gorgeous black...

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Tenkara Flies on Red Hooks
May17

Tenkara Flies on Red Hooks

  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...

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DIY Fly Tying Background Plate
May16

DIY Fly Tying Background Plate

  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… The Problem   As you can see, I...

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Owner Amano Tenkara Hooks
May08

Owner Amano Tenkara Hooks

  I recently got some #2 and #3 Owner Amano Tenkara hooks to play around with and thought I would share some info on them for anyone who is looking for smaller hooks for sakasa kebari.  These hooks feature a slight down eye, short shank, wide gap and, are made of fairly heavy wire to help them sink.  Unlike most standard wet fly hooks, the bend is square and slightly angled back which makes for a very distinctly Japanese looking...

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