4 Reasons to Fatten up your Flies
Aug22

4 Reasons to Fatten up your Flies

When I first started tying soft hackle flies, the conventional wisdom was that you should make the body as slender as possible. I practiced a lot to achieve perfectly smooth, anorexic bodies that were literally no more than a few silk strands thicker in diameter than the hook shank. They definitely worked great and were beautiful ties. But something seemed amiss. If “thinner was better”, why did more robust flies like the...

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Tenkara no Oni’s Flies
May14

Tenkara no Oni’s Flies

I just got a care package from Japan from Masami Sakakibara (a.k.a. “Tenkara no Oni”) which included some of his flies. His patterns are simple, but very versatile and buggy looking. I’m not sure of all of the materials, but thought I’d share some pictures of the flies one of the greatest tenkara anglers in the world fishes with.         I’ll probably frame these the way I did with my...

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Mismatching the Hatch
Mar27

Mismatching the Hatch

As a beginning fly tier, one concept was thoroughly drilled into my brain by the cronies at the local fly shop: match the hatch. The “goal” of fly tying was to imitate specific species of insects and the more realistic the fly was, the better it was. It made perfect sense. The trout are eating something that is this particular color, is this certain size, and has this many tails. Why wouldn’t I want to imitate it if...

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Maribou-bodied Sakasa Kebari
Mar07

Maribou-bodied Sakasa Kebari

The more I fish tenkara the more I’m starting to think about flies in terms of “paradigms” rather than “recipes”. Instead of specific patterns like an Oki Kebari or Takayama Kebari, I’m starting to think more in terms of the general characteristics a fly has such as movement, silhouette, attention point, and size. One of the things that really sold me on tenkara early on was the versatility and...

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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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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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Takayama Sakasa Kebari
Jun17

Takayama Sakasa Kebari

The Takayama sakasa kebari is a classic tenkara fly that is tied in many color variations.  But basically, it’s characterized by having a thread abdomen, a peacock thorax, and forward facing hackle.  My first encounter with this fly was the red version so that’s what I chose to base my interpretation on.  Here’s my recipe for what I consider the Royal Coachman of tenkara flies…   Takayama Sakasa Kebari...

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Oki Sakasa Kebari
Mar08

Oki Sakasa Kebari

Many of the streams tenkara anglers fish in Japan are fast flowing mountain streams.  In those streams, fish have very little time to “inspect” food.  If they hesitate, it’s gone–lost to the swift current or a competitor.  A good fly for these conditions is a larger, easy-to-spot fly like the Oki Sakasa Kebari. For fast flowing streams, or high or muddy water conditions, the Oki kebari is a great choice....

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New Flies from Tenkara Times
Jan26

New Flies from Tenkara Times

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.     To learn more about these flies and get their recipes, visit the Tenkara Times Kebari...

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Sakasa Kebari from Tenkara Times
Nov06

Sakasa Kebari from Tenkara Times

I just got a new tenkara rod today from Tenkara Times (review to follow) and it included a free sampling of some of their sakasa kebari.  I didn’t think much of it at first until I opened up the packaging and saw the quality of tying.  These are good tenkara flies.  Here are some closeups if you’re looking to buy (or inspiration to tie) some different sakasa kebari.         People often ask me where...

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Viva Sakasa Kebari
Oct24

Viva Sakasa Kebari

No, I’m not trying to start a revolution (yet). “Viva” is a color scheme for fly patterns that is extremely popular on the UK Stillwater scene. The original Viva was a wet fly tied by Victor Furse for reservoir fishing but has since become a template color combination of black, chartreuse, and silver and is now applied to myriad of patterns such as buzzers, boobies, buggers, and other wet flies.  I used to do a lot...

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Tri-color Sakasa Kebari
Sep10

Tri-color Sakasa Kebari

To western fly tiers, typical tenkara flies like sakasa kebari might seem boring.  After all, many of them are nothing more than hackle and a thread body.  No wings, no tails, no intricate bodies.  It might seem that if one wanted to fish tenkara flies exclusively, they’d quickly tire of tying the same old thing.  But there’s a lot you can do with just thread and hackle.  And with a little imagination, one quickly...

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