Ah, memes. Those ironic, sarcastic, or dichotomous pictures with allegedly clever slogans overlaid upon them, or the over-the-top videos (think Gangnam style) that go viral overnight are all the rage right now. They dominate social media these says. I happened to see one related to tenkara today and thought, “why not bring tenkara down to this level?’. So here are a few memes I created. I doubt any of them will go viral, but some might be good for a little laugh…Read More
For as long as I can remember, describing fly rod action has always been problematic. The typical adjectives used such as “fast”, “medium” and “slow” are not only inadequate, but also subjective. What does “fast” mean? And does it mean the same thing to you as it does to me? At some point, there was a push to further parse the meanings of these adjectives by combining them (eg. “medium-fast”). But the subjectivity problem remained so that didn’t really help. Now throw tenkara rod ratings into the mix and the confusion escalates. But I think we can do better…Read More
When I first heard Tenkara USA was redesigning their Ayu rod, it was a little disconcerting. I’ve seen it too many times before: a company has an excellent product—one that everybody likes. Then, they redesign it and it becomes pedestrian. I’m not sure what leads gear companies to do this but after a few casts, I was relieved to find that it wasn’t the case for the redesign of the Ayu.Read More
At this year’s Denver Fly Fishing Show, I caught up with Gary Borger after one of his presentations. I asked him if he had tried tenkara. He hadn’t, but told me that his son, Jason, had done quite a bit of tenkara. So, I took Gary over to the Tenkara USA booth, let him wiggle a rod, and offered to send him one to try out. I’m happy to report that he now has it in his hands and will likely review it this spring. But I was curious about Jason Borger’s perspective on tenkara.
Jason needs no introduction. In addition to being an expert angler in his own right, he is also a master rod builder, author, and accomplished artist. You can see examples of his work on his blog, Fish, Flies & Water. So, what does Jason think of tenkara? I asked him a few questions to find out…Read More
I recently had a chance to field test the new Yamatoyo level lines available from Tenkara Times. There has been a proliferation of fluorocarbon lines on the market over the last few years–especially good ones. And this line is no exception.Read More
David Dirks had a great idea for a book: put together a list of tenkara topics and get a range of tenkara anglers to give their opinions on them. And that’s exactly what the soon-to-be-released Tenkara Fly Fishing: Insights & Strategies is. You’ll recognize a lot of the names in this book (including yours truly) giving their tips, tricks, advice and opinions on all things tenkara. To give you a sneak peek, here is an outline of the book’s contents:Read More
Over the last few years, I’ve read some pretty harsh criticism on the marketing of Tenkara. I find this curious because all of us are surrounded by marketing in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, yet those same critics don’t seem to complain about it (at least not with the same vehemence).Read More
A while back, I posted some tenkara flies I got from Tenkara Times. I recently got another sample pack from them and thought I would share. I really like the look of the Sakakibara kebari and might start tying some up.Read More
Anyone who fishes with me for the first time invariably makes the same comment: I move. A lot. I pretty much take a few casts in a spot and if I don’t hook up, I move on. Part of this is practical. Like Dr. Ishigaki and many other tenkara anglers, I’m of the philosophy that there are fish all over the river. It doesn’t make much sense to stand in the same pool for twenty minutes beating the water to death and changing fly after fly to persuade one stubborn trout. There are other trout who will be more amenable to whichever fly you happen to have on the end of your line elsewhere. You could call it impatience, but to me, it’s just a more sensible approach to catching more fish. But, I also think there’s more to it than that.Read More
In my early reseach of tenkara, one of the first sites I came across was Trout and Seasons of the Mountain Village. The site has vast amounts of information on tenkara techniques, and streams and fish species in Japan. But I was particularly impressed with the vast collection of Japanese fly patterns there and to see how they varied by region. Yet I really didn’t know much about the site’s author, Yoshikazu Fujioka. But after recently digging through his site a little deeper, I have come to discover that Mr. Fujioka is a fascinating man.
Not only is he a master tenkara angler, but also an accomplished artist. You can see some of his fishing-inspired paintings here and he even has another site called Paper Trout where you can download free templates to cut out and make, well, paper trout!
In 1979, he and his friends founded the Tsuttenkai fishing club and they have met twice a year since. Mr. Fujioka has fished all over Japan and has a broad knowledge of tenkara so I was honored when he agreed to do the following interview.Read More
Today, I got the best piece of mail I’ve gotten in a long time. Japanese tenkara angler Hiroyuki Hasegawa (known as @kebarer on Twitter and Che Kebarer on Pinterest) sent me a great assortment of Gamakatsu and Owner hooks, plus a few surprises…Read More
Rod: Long telescopic rod with tapers specifically designed to cast a light line without weight
Line: Level fluorocarbon or tapered furled nylon monofilament, thread, fluorocarbon, or horsehair.
Terminal Tackle: None
Lure: Artificial fly
Delivery: Overhand cast, bow & arrow cast, roll cast, side arm cast, steeple cast, etc. (Same casts as in fly fishing)
Presentation: Dead drift, wet fly swing, pause & drift, pulsating, etc. (Same as in fly fishing)
Approach: Read water, and strategically position oneself for the best presentation. Keep moving and seek out fish in different lies
Cane Pole Fishing
Rod: Long rod (either telescopic or jointed cane) designed to lob weight (or not designed at all in the case of actual cane)
Line: Usually nylon monofilament
Terminal Tackle: Hook, weights, bobber
Lure: Natural or synthetic bait
Delivery: Lob or flip bait into water and let it sink
Presentation: Let live bait swim or let dead bait sit. Watch bobber for signs of a strike. Adjust depth of bait if necessary.
Approach: Typically stationary: sit & wait for fish to take bait.
Tenkara is not cane pole fishing!Read More
There’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed on many social media fishing sites. It basically goes something like this: Someone posts an idea. Maybe it’s a new fly tying technique, a DIY project, a new way of rigging, etc. Someone else responds to it saying that it’s too complicated, or takes too much time, and they’d rather just go fishing instead. Some go so far as to dismiss the whole idea and decree that the person who posted it should go fishing instead of developing their idea. I’ve seen it over and over again and each time I do, I feel like pulling out the white glove and delivering a gentleman’s slap in the face.Read More
A reader recently asked me about the stopper knots on the ends of lilians (those red cords at the end of a tenkara rod where you attach the line). He said that some of the rods he purchased came with a knot and some didn’t. The question was if a knot is really necessary. Since I think other people might have this question, I thought it was worthy of a post.Read More
I came home from this year’s Fly Fishing Show with a few flies from Paul Vertrees and thought they were good ties so wanted to share a few pictures.Read More
Wow, it’s been forever since I gave anything away so I’m feeling the need to do something about that! Here’s your chance to win 12 free tenkara flies and a fly box. It’s easy to enter. Here are the details…Read More
If you’re anything like me, you’ve accumulated a bunch of level lines that live in anonymity. You’ve long forgotten the size and have no idea what the length is. And they all start to look the same after a while. Rather than getting the micrometer and measuring tape out every time you uncoil a mystery line, here’s a simple system you can use to instantly identify any level line’s length and diameter.Read More
Tenkara USA recently introduced their first minimalist fishing pack and I got one this weekend at the Denver Fly Fishing Show. Here is a brief review…Read More
In my recent post about a new tenkara nymph line, someone asked if I used weight to get my flies to sink. I replied that I do use copper wire in some of my flies which helps them sink a little better but first and foremost, it’s ribbing to created a segmented look. I’d hardly call a fly with 5 turns of copper wire “weighted”. If I really wanted to make Titanic flies, I’d use a lead wire underbody or a tungsten bead. I also stated that I never use split shot. They said that all the books they’ve been reading about nymphing mention that you need to use weight to get the fly into the strike zone or you will not reach the fish. That comment gave me great pause for thought because, A: That was exactly what I was told when I was learning fly fishing, and, B: I know it’s not true (well, not 100% true anyway).Read More
While fluorocarbon has proven itself to be the ideal material for tenkara level lines, it’s density makes it sink. When using subsurface flies, this is an advantage. But when fishing dry flies or other techniques, it can be a real drag–literally. Having the line underwater can prevent you from getting a drag-free drift or even pull a floating fly under (which always seems to happen at the perfectly wrong time). An alternative is a nylon line. But level nylon is harder to cast and furled nylon lines don’t “float” as much as they “don’t actively sink as much as fluorocarbon”. Many have been searching for a tenkara line that really floats–the way a western fly line does. And with the release of the new floating lines from Rigs Adventure Company, the search might be over.Read More
When I first heard Rigs Fly Shop (a Tenkara USA dealer here in Colorado) was coming out with a new level line, I wasn’t really all that interested. After all, how much can you really innovate a level line? But when I first laid eyes on it, I knew it was something special. And when I first fished it, I got excited and knew it was unlike any other tenkara line I’d ever fished.Read More
I hit the South Platte today since it was one of the only rivers that isn’t frozen over right now. I didn’t expect to catch much because, well…it’s the S. Platte in December. And, my expectations were met.Read More
When I fished with Dr. Ishigaki at Last year’s Tenkara Summit, the first thing that struck me about his style was his laserlike concentration. As soon as he locked his sights on his target, you could practically feel being shut out of his world. His focus was so intense, I felt like I didn’t exist–like some force field had emanated from him and erased me from his reality. He was completely in the moment. With the constant chatter that fills our minds today, that kind of concentration is difficult to achieve. But I think it ‘s what makes a expert angler. And, I think tenkara helps.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
Most tenkara flies are simple. But they don’t have to be. In fact, some can resemble miniature Atlantic salmon flies. Here is an example of a fancier tenkara fly to show some possibilities. I normally tie simple flies for fishing, but let’s face it…if you’re a fly tier at heart, a few turns of hackle and a thread body gets old after a while. For those of us who consider fly tying an art and a passion (not just a utilitarian endeavor), pushing the boundaries of sakasa kebari design fuels our enthusiasm and connection to the sport.Read More
An ongoing dilema I’ve faced has been line visibility. If you’re using a furled tenkara line, then visibility is usually not an issue. But if you use level fluorocarbon lines, you know that even the brightest line can sometimes be hard to see in different light conditions. I basically use two colors: orange, and bright yellow. Neither are 100% high vis all the time so I find myself switching between them based on the conditions. I really don’t want to do this. I’ve thought about knotting alternating sections of orange and yellow lines together, but this is kind of a pain and having too many knots can affect line performance (not to mention increase snags). But what if you could paint your line with alternating colors?Read More
The Seiryu is actually the second rod I’ve field tested from Tenkara Centre UK. I recently viewed their new Masu rod and while it’s a great rod with a specific niche action and a lot of nice finishing touches, I think of the Seiryu more as an all purpose workhorse.Read More
On November 17th, I posted a fly tying challenge to Tenkara Talk Readers: tie a fly using only materials you can find in your everyday life–no materials from a fly shop allowed. Today, I’m excited to announce the winner as well as some honorable mentions. Here are their flies, recipes, and comments…Read More
Not too long ago, I reviewed the Tenkara Times 1st Step rod. Overall, I really liked the rod even though it was a littler stiffer action than I generally prefer. But recently, I was able to test another rod in their lineup: the Next rod. With a 5:5 action, this rod was a little more my speed.Read More