We’re less than two months away from what might be the largest tenkara gathering in the West to date. The Tenkara Jam in Cherokee, North Carolina will feature some of the most influential anglers and early adopters of tenkara in the West including:
- Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA who initially imported tenkara to the U.S. and then spread it far beyond the borders of Japan. If it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t be reading this post–let alone contemplating attending this year’s event.
- Chris Stewart, owner of Tenkara Bum, where you’ll not only find a wealth of informative articles, but an array of esoteric Japanese tackle for purchase that was largely inaccessible to us early adopters of tenkara back in the early days. We have him to thank for broadening our tenkara and fixed-line specific menu options while circumventing high shipping costs, long wait times, and translators.
- Anthony Naples writes the tenkara-inspired Casting Around blog, and is also the proprietor of Three Rivers Tenkara–another great vendor for authentic Japanese tenkara gear, esoteric flies, fly fishing art, and more. Anthony is a creative half philosopher/half angler, which will surely make for an interesting talk on several different levels.
- Jason Sparks. If you’ve spent any time at all on social media researching tenkara, you’ve undoubtedly come across Jason’s posts. He’s one of the most prolific advocates of tenkara online today (not to mention the organizer of this event) and will have a lot of “basics” to share that even “experts” will learn from.
- Luong Tam has only come on to the western tenkara scene (relatively) recently with his Tenkara Tanuki site, yet has already made a splash with his innovative rod designs. If you’re curious to see what intricacies and subtleties go into developing a hi-tec tenkara rod, you’ll want to sit in on his session.
- Robert Worthing and Erik Ostrander of Tenkara Guides founded the first fixed-line guiding service in the U.S. and have probably tested more tenkara gear than anyone I know (not to mention have pushed the boundaries of tenkara far beyond merely small trout). They’ll show you some “out-of-the-box” casting techniques you probably won’t find anywhere else.
I’ll also be giving a talk focused on various presentation techniques and the advantage that tenkara affords you in versatility and efficiency (some of which might not be immediately apparent to even experienced anglers).
I suppose my point here is that there will be something for everyone and whether you think you can’t afford it, fit it into your schedule, or just think you’re going to be rolling your eyes being bored listening to things you already know, I guarantee you will walk away from this experience with many valuable takeaways.
Whether it’s a few tips you learned, maybe some interesting history or techniques, or just some cool social interaction with like-minded anglers, it’s worth the effort/sacrifice to make it this year if you can. Plus, you’ll come away with some free swag like stickers, flies, etc. And, as we all know, people like to swap flies at these things so don’t forget to bring some of your own to trade (flies at a tenkara event are akin to cigarettes in prison–they’re a form of currency).
For the gear junkies, there will be plenty of vendors on hand, showing of their latest offerings and this will be a great opportunity to try out a variety of rods in person.
I hope to meet you this year and hope you find my preso helpful in some way. For the full schedule, list of presenters, dates, times, and all of other details, please visit the Tenkara Jam website.