The Tenkara USA guarantee means we’ll make sure your tenkara rod bearing our name gets fixed quickly and conveniently. Do not mail anything back to us, we will send you just the part(s) you need for your tenkara rod. […]
We sold out of the Tenkara Summit 2013 shirts very quickly today, so, here it is if anyone is interested in purchasing them. To make things quick (we’re posting this less than 12 hours after selling out) we’ll be offering the shirts through Zazzle, and yes, it’s a little more expensive. Artwork by Anthony Naples.
Most of our products go through minor iterations and revisions on a regular basis. We follow the Japanese philosophy of kaizen, or continuous improvement, and are constantly making the rods, lines and flies better. Many of these changes, we will never announce. But, today we’re releasing what is essentially a brand new rod, and worthy of your attention: The 13ft Ayu Series II, a redesign of one of the most popular tenkara rods around. This rod is a direct result of my last trip to Japan, which was followed up by a week spent with our factories and engineers in China to ensure we built the best tenkara rods possible.
In creating (and tweaking) a tenkara rod I pay particular attention to four criteria I feel are most important for a good tenkara rod: it must cast well (precisely and effortlessly); it must feel comfortable to be cast all day long; it must set the hook well; and it must play fish well.
For the current version, I wanted to strengthen the Ayu a bit more and make it capable of more easily landing some of the larger fish people have been catching. The previous Ayu, I started realizing, was a bit too soft; this made casting with it a delight, but landing some of the larger fish took a bit longer than ideal – Not that it couldn’t handle good size fish! I also did not want to lose the soft feel of the rod, which was the original vision for the Ayu. It is a rod that reminds many people of a fiberglass rod or a bamboo fly rod, and I did not want to let that go, many of our customers love the Ayu for that reason. We kept most of the original Ayu there, but gave it slightly more “backbone”, and also made it into a 6:4 tenkara rod. This change gives it a crisper feel (it recovers faster and makes casting more precise. Moving to a 6:4 rating also allows us to get away from a rating system that adds complexity into something meant to be simple. Our goal, going forward, will be to have the best tenkara rods, but eliminate too many decision making aspects to trying tenkara.
This photo shows our first iteration of the Ayu
The new Ayu still casts beautifully, effortlessly, but now also with much more precision. It will also handle fish much more easily, yet feel great when a smaller fish is caught. It is not as robust or as heavy as the 13ft 6inch Amago tenkara rod. Nor as light as the shorter Iwana. It is simply a great tenkara rod.
I felt these changes warranted a change to the look of the rod. Typically I like to keep the look of the rod the same. People start recognizing the rods by their stripes. Essentially we start building some “model equity” into them. People will certainly remember the recognizable green stripes of the old Ayu, and letting that go wasn’t an easy decision. But, in the end we also found a finish that would be more durable, and would, as one of the first people to see it said, “look sexy”. The new Ayu has a carbon scrim look at the handle, and clear carbon look throughout the rod. You can see the quality of the rod thorough its entire length. I realized there was no need to hide something that is well done, and you can see the uniformity in the carbon behind the finish and be assured we have taken every step in ensuring the quality is good.
And, lastly, a small detail worth noting that we’ll be phasing in for all our future rods. We’re starting to connect a segment of lillian (the hollow braided material that makes up the tip of tenkara rods), to the plug of the rods. This serves two functions: (1) it makes it easier to keep track of where the plug is, and/or connect it to your shirt/vest/fishing bag, and (2) it can be used for field repairs should you ever break the tip of the rod.
*PLEASE KEEP IN MIND PREVENTING BREAKAGE IS VERY EASY: Just put the hard tip inside the rod and put your finger on top of it as you tie or untie the line.
The Ayu is currently only available for shipping out of the USA (USA, Australia, South America, Asia and Africa), we’ll soon stock it in Europe as well. For those in Europe, we have a great deal going on for the Series 1 Ayu here, until supplies last.
This has been a great year for us here at Tenkara USA. We have far exceeded any expectations in sales and the number of new people taking up tenkara has surpassed our wildest imagination. Although we are a little late for it, we are thankful and this is our way of thanking the streams that allow people to take up tenkara, and our version of a BlackFriday/CyberMonday/GivingTuesday Sale – except that it will last until our supply of the super popular 11ft Iwana tenkara rod runs out.
Without further ado, we present you the Tenkara USA Pay it Forward Sale. Our most popular rod going for only $100 and $50 of that going to organizations that protect fish habitat. We expect this sale won’t last long, so get them while they are available for you, for your brother, for your cousins, for your wife, for your kids, and even for your neighbor!
Please note, the intent is to distribute the money to at least 4 charities and let you pick your own. We’re currently working on lining them up. Until then you’ll have the option to pick whether your money goes to Trout Unlimited, another organization (to be determined) or, if you’re outside the USA, to an organization with international ties.
Some very exciting news and a huge milestone for the introduction of tenkara outside of Japan: Orvis, the 156-year old fly-fishing company starts carrying our equipment today! That’s an incredible nod of approval to the method and irrefutable evidence that tenkara is here to stay. Needless to say I’m thrilled.
Orvis approached us earlier this year, and while initially a bit reluctant I was delighted that every single person there - from their retail stores as well as the corporate office - just got tenkara. They not only understood the potential for introducing new people to fly-fishing through tenkara, but they were excited about the technique and how it worked on streams. They were also interested in promoting the method, which totally sold me on working with them. I recently visited with Tom Rosenbauer (yes, that’s the answer to this question) and we recorded a podcast together that should be up sometime soon (likely this week).
The press release below just went out:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orvis to Sell Tenkara USA Products
San Francisco, California
Today, San Francisco based company Tenkara USA announced that Orvis, industry leader in fly-fishing equipment, will start carrying Tenkara USA’s rods, line and flies and helping promote the Japanese method of fly-fishing called tenkara.
Every so often I’m reminded that outside perception is a double-edged sword. When perceived as a small, solely-owned entreprise that is run by one person with a mission, the community respects and rewards the entrepreneurial spirit, the underdog if you will, and roots for his success. When the small, solely-owned enterprise run by one person is rewarded and starts succeeding and growing some people may start perceiving it as a large corporation, “the man” if you will, that is out there for an ulterior motive.
Recently I read a couple of things out there, on the world wide web, that reminded me Tenkara USA may now be perceived by some as a large “Tenkara Inc.” that is out there to dominate the world. The perception of growth in a new market like tenkara can also bring about new competitors, vying to take a slice of the market being created. As new companies try to imitate our products, in some cases trying to market the “tool” while ignoring the “method” of tenkara, I’m reminded that leadership in a product category and growth presents its unique challenges, perception is probably the smallest but most vocal and to me the most personally disturbing.
A few days ago I started going through some of the pages of our website to update content. I noticed I had not updated the “About Tenkara USA” page in quite a long time. It contained a couple of paragraphs about Tenkara USA, what its mission is and the fact that we donate 1% of our revenues to environmental non-profits. I had written that page soon after starting Tenkara USA, more concerned about stating what Tenkara USA is I didn’t concentrate on sharing the story of who Tenkara USA is. Read the rest of this entry »
A huge thank you to all of you who contributed with product reviews!
You contributed a total of 218 reviews during the contest period! This is really helping give our products your voice, and hopefully will help those taking up their method make their decision more easily. And, the reviews feature has already been serving as a great way to capture your feedback on our products. Some of the feedback is already making its way into our products, and at least one review prompted me to create some additional instructions/tips for the tenkara line holder.
Of course, we would still very much like to continue receiving your reviews of our products to make them better and help others. Please give us your honest review on our products by signing on and visiting the desired product to comment on it.
Without further ado, here is the table of winners. I’ll be emailing the winners of the complete sets and t-shirts to get more info, but will be mailing the other items shortly. Congratulations and thank you!
We just released a new feature on this site: Product Reviews. But, the reviews are trickling in slowly. We really would like for you to review the products you have tried to help future tenkara anglers know more about our products.
To give you an incentive we’ll be giving out a lot of prizes for your honest review. All you have to do is log on to our site, go to your favorite product, and writeup a review before May 10th.
DRAWING: Every review has an unique id, we’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners – reviews already entered will be included in the drawing. The more products you review, the more chances you have to win though, of course, we only want reviews of products you know. The review should be honest – no special consideration will be given to content.
We are proud to unveil the first catalog entirely dedicated to tenkara! This is a first, according to our sources, anywhere in the world. The printed version was sent out to customers last week and is arriving at the homes of those in the US who were registered with us as of December 1st. The actual catalog is a high-quality, coffee-table style booklet. If you’re new here, you may also order one online or include one with your next order. Otherwise, please enjoy the online version.
Does the publication of a catalog deserve a press-release? For this one we think so! Here’s an excerpt from our press release:
“Producing a catalog is usually not a big deal. But this one is”, says Tenkara USA founder, Daniel Galhardo. “This is the first catalog dedicated to tenkara ever produced. None have been made in Japan, and it is more of a booklet about the method than a catalog per se.”
The catalog is already arriving at the doors of those who have registered on the Tenkara USA website in the past and the responses are pouring in. Long-time tenkara angler Chris Stewart says, “Wow and double wow. Fantastic. That is one of the best promotional/sales pieces I have ever seen.” Mr. Somao Ochi requested a copy for a friend and wrote, “The photos and illustrations in the catalog are amazing.”
A unique feature of the catalog is that it dedicates a significant number of pages that serve as a “how to” manual for those wanting to learn the sport. “We shot for making it a high-quality coffee-table style booklet rich with the philosophies of tenkara, instructions and compelling imagery”, Galhardo added.
The company designed the booklet as a way to add value to its customers. The 56-page booklet lists the entire range of Tenkara USA products, including tenkara rods, lines, nets, flies, and the minimal accessories used in tenkara. But, the products are there as much to illustrate the gear used in tenkara as to serve as a guide to tenkara fly-fishing.
With assistance from his designer, Megan Condict, Galhardo worked on each page of the catalog himself, including taking all but one of the photos. “I love seeing a final, concrete product that I can touch and feel proud of having created”, says Galhardo. “As with all our products, I have aimed at producing something that will be lasting, that people will feel proud to show their friends, to display on their coffee table, and will not throw away like the dozens of holiday catalogs they have received this season.”