Tenkara USA is the first company to introduce tenkara outside of Japan. Founded in 2009 by Daniel W. Galhardo, Tenkara USA is a fully independent company, based in Boulder, Colorado.
In 2007, Daniel discovered tenkara while researching the history and culture of fishing in Japan. In 2008, he visited Japan for his first time with his wife and saw tenkara in person. He returned to the US with a tenkara rod in his bag and started enjoying tenkara on backpacking trips. The method was simple and effective; yet, there was no information in English on tenkara. Daniel decided he wanted to share tenkara with people, it would make it easy for people to take-up fly-fishing and experienced anglers like himself were sure to enjoy its minimalist nature. He realized that to share tenkara he could have written many articles and books about it, but if people didn’t get a chance to experience tenkara for themselves it would not spread. Thus, Daniel set out to create a business designing tenkara rods, tenkara lines and tenkara flies and putting them in the hands of people.
In March of 2009, after several months of hard work creating the business and a month before Tenkara USA officially “opened doors”, Daniel left his nascent career in international banking to dedicate himself full-time to creating Tenkara USA. There were many challenges ahead with introducing a type of fishing that doesn’t target the largest fish around and went against the grain of the established industry.
Tenkara has been called a fad, and was initially dismissed by the industry. But, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that tenkara has since created a small revolution in the fly-fishing industry. 5 years on, tenkara has proven it is here to stay.
Tenkara is who we are.
Part of what makes us unique is our connection with Japan. Tenkara is a method of fishing that comes from Japan with a long history. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We have been fortunate to connect and be taught by the most respected anglers in Japan and also been counting on their support in the development of our products. Daniel goes to Japan yearly and spends time fishing and sharing what he learns. That provides insights into tenkara that one could not get otherwise, and helps in the development of our product as well as the instruction we provide. We believe the easiest way to keep tenkara simple is to look at the Japanese tenkara anglers and what they have to teach us. You can read more about our adventures in Japan here.
Why we exist
It is possible to make many things in life complex. We can choose to carry multiple fly patterns with us. We can carry multiple line weights. We can carry accessories along. When we don’t know any better, it may seem like the burden of carrying additional things in our fishing packs (in addition to the burden of then having to think about those additional things) will add value to our fishing and make it easier.
Often it does not. We exist to tell people that fly-fishing is much simpler than it seems. We exist because we believe that with more people taking up fly-fishing the more closely they will connect with their environment and help take care of it. We exist because we want to share the fun of tenkara.
The tenkara story tells us we can leave many things behind. And, after we know that we can leave stuff behind, what we then do is simply a matter of choice.