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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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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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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International Sportsmen’s Expo 2015
Jan18

International Sportsmen’s Expo 2015

Just off the heels of last week’s Denver Fly Fishing Show, today, I attended ISE 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center. For those of you not familiar with this show, it’s massive. To give you an idea, the floor plan puts the catacombs beneath Paris to shame: Whereas I was really please with tenkara presence at the Fly Fishing show, I was disappointed by the lack of it at ISE. Basically, Tenkara USA was the only booth that...

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Passing the Baton
Jan14

Passing the Baton

As of today, I will be closing my store, http://www.thetenkarashop.com/. I have several reasons, but mostly, I just hate packing things up and going to the post office. Life is already complicated enough with a full time job and toddler, so I really just want to simplify and focus more on fishing and writing this blog. The good news is that Oni rods will be now be available through my good friend Anthony Naples on his site Three...

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Denver Fly Fishing Show 2015
Jan11

Denver Fly Fishing Show 2015

Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Denver Fly Fishing Show and came away with two impressions. First, it was PACKED. In all the years I’ve been going, I’ve never seen a crowd this big. You had to fight just to make it through the aisles and I had to park a mile away. If fly fishing is a “dying industry” as many proclaim, you’d never know it by the attendance this year. Second, tenkara was much...

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The Caribou Captain
Jan09

The Caribou Captain

The other day, I found myself thinking about a forgotten fly introduced to me by its creator, Gordon Wickstrom. I can’t remember how we first met, but I do remember our meandering chats in Boulder coffee shops talking fly fishing history, fly design, language, and how Garrison Keillor is a great storyteller but should never, ever, be allowed to sing. True to his thespian and literary background, Gordon always spoke with...

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Oni Bamboo Handle Rod
Jan03

Oni Bamboo Handle Rod

The Tenkara no Oni Type I has long been my favorite tenkara rod. It’s incredibly light in the hand and has an action that suits my casting style perfectly. I’ve been fishing the original model with the straight foam handle (not the current models) for a couple of years now, but ever since I heard Masami Sakakibara made one with a bamboo handle, I’ve wanted (OK, lusted after) one. Masami-san hand carves each handle...

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Tenkara Magazine Vol. 2
Dec31

Tenkara Magazine Vol. 2

The second volume of Tenkara Magazine has just been published, further anchoring tenkara as an established form of fly fishing in the West. In 96 pages, this latest issue explores a wide spectrum of tenkara-related topics including presentation techniques, tenkara in Japan, trout cooking techniques, tenkara with kids, interviews with Japanese tenkara anglers, and more. One complaint some people had about volume 1 was that the print...

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Tenkara Memes Round 4
Dec17

Tenkara Memes Round 4

With all the snow and cold weather, cabin fever is taking its toll–driving me slightly mad you could say. So I felt compelled to put together another set of tenkara memes. This is the fourth one. You can see past ones here, here, and here. Enjoy!                            ...

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Sparse Vs. Heavily-dressed Flies
Dec14

Sparse Vs. Heavily-dressed Flies

I got an email today from a reader who had the following comment: “While crawling around the web researching the subject, I ran across some Japanese websites, and noticed the flies they have seem to be more sparsely tied than the American versions. Is there anything to this?” It was an interesting observation–though (I think) not entirely true. If you research tenkara flies (both traditional and modern), you’ll...

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Tenkara Christmas Contest
Dec06

Tenkara Christmas Contest

This year, Tenkara Santa wants to give you some neat stocking stuffers! He’s giving away a nice little package of tenkara gear, including the following: 1. A wooden fly box hand made by Boulder Artisan and avid tenkara angler Dave Burchett. 2. A 13′ horsehair tapered line made by me. 3. A cork line spool from Tenkara Pryenees. 4. A 4-pack of sakasa kebari from Tenkara Times. 5. A tenkara “Catch & Release”...

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Transitioning to Tenkara Flies
Nov25

Transitioning to Tenkara Flies

When I first started fishing tenkara, I didn’t give much thought to traditional tenkara flies. The initial allure was really the tenkara rod itself and by default, I assumed that I would just use my standard patterns like the Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Bead Head Hare’s Ear Nymph, and so on. And I did. And I caught fish. That was enough to convince me that the rod worked, but eventually, either romance or guilt got to me....

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