April 29 2013
*Once you click play, click on the gear icon and select the 1080p for best quality!
I went fishing with Steve Schweitzer, author of “Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park” (an excellent guide book that now includes a section on tenkara). The fishing turned out to be quite tough due to cold snowmelt. Yet, this tenkara experience was great nonetheless, and we even ran across a tenkara angler on the water.
April 14 2013
Had a fun day of fishing yesterday on the Big Thompson, outside of Estes Park. One of the highlights of the day was a group of rams butting heads on the side of the road.
All we needed was a tenkara rod, tenkara line, and tenkara fly.
Tagged Under : fly-fishing, Tenkara, tenkara diaries, tenkara flies, tenkara fly, tenkara fly fishing, tenkara line, tenkara rod
April 06 2013
A writeup about In Search of Tenkara Part 3 is below. In case you missed parts 1 and 2:
In Search of Tenkara, Part 2:
In Search of Tenkara, Part 1:
About “In Search of Tenkara, Part 3″:
Let me get this out of the way first: I used non-tenkara flies, split shot and even a bobber! Let me explain (and I cover this in the video too).
Over the last couple of days my “one fly” (technique over gear) approach was really challenged. For over 2.5 years I have chosen to stick with one fly pattern and focus on refining techniques, as my teachers in Japan have taught me, to see how far I could go with using one fly pattern.
I once said to a class that “the one fly approach works…until it doesn’t”. In streams, spring creeks and rivers thorough the US, in different seasons, the approach has so far always worked. However, I have been waiting for a moment to be shown that it does not; and when the moment came I would not be above changing flies. I thought this finally would be the time where “one fly” would be proven to not work everywhere.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tagged Under : eagle river, eagle river colorado, minturn, one fly, Tenkara, tenkara eagle river, tenkara flies, tenkara fly, tenkara fly fishing
April 02 2013
Our search for tenkara continues in this video, which documents a 3-day backpacking trip in the backcountry of Colorado with tenkara guide Paul Vertrees, owner of Kifaru Patrick Smith, and Daniel Galhardo.
If you missed “In Search of Tenkara, part 1″, here it is:
Tagged Under : fly-fishing, in search of tenkara, Tenkara, Tenkara Colorado, tenkara fly fishing, tenkara guide
March 31 2013
Maybe we should start featuring more of the images our customers share with us in their experiences with tenkara. The one that Larry Yien, the legendary archer, just shared with us on our Facebook page is probably a good one to start with.
This week Larry went fishing with tenkara for the first time. While he wasn’t going to a mountain stream, that didn’t deter him from bringing along his new toy, the 13ft Ayu Tenkara USA rod. Larry describes the experience to us: Read the rest of this entry »
Tagged Under : bass, black bass, largemouth, Larry Yien, Tenkara, tenkara experience, tenkara usa, Tenkara USA Ayu
November 14 2012
Written by Daniel
I have been sharing some good stuff on our Facebook page and thought I should also share them with you, our loyal blog reader. This post started out as a quick “here’s what happened” description of the picture below, and before I knew it, it was was one of my longest recent posts. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This weekend I took a friend and her family tenkara fishing near Shaver Lake, CA. This was her Mayli’s first time EVER. I setup the rod for her, giving her just a quick overview of what I was doing, and told her 3 things:
1) First I pointed to the fly and asked her what it looked like. She responded it looked like a bug. So, I told her that fish like to eat bugs that are in the water, so that was how we were going to catch a fish.
2) Next I explained to her that fish will be in the water that looked deeper. And, that she was going to cast that fly to the water in front of her.
3) And, finally I told her one thing about casting as I demonstrated it: “you’ll move your arm like this, back and forth, and the fly will go to the spot – now, here, try it.”
I gave her the rod and let her try to figure it out on her own. In my experience teaching tenkara to kids, you tell them the objective and they will figure it out. It’s always the same, you give them a target, and at first the line starts out by falling right under the rod, but with every cast the fly starts going farther. As seems to be the norm, within 2 minutes she was casting the fly pretty close to where she wanted – with no further instructions from me.
At this point I held her hand and showed her how to make the cast better: “keep your arm close to your body so you don’t get tired; stop the rod tip straight above you when you move it back (she was going a bit farther back); and stop the rod tip a bit high when you go forward”. I cast with her some 5 times, to assist in her getting the muscle memory. From then on the fly was landing right where she wanted it.
We moved to the next fishy pool to start fresh and have a chance to catch a fish. Her casts in this pool were BEAUTIFUL! This was only about 5-6 minutes of fishing time, and she was getting the fly right where I pointed. Then I told her to keep the fly in the water a bit longer with every cast to give the fish a chance to eat the fly if they wanted. What came next was a big surprise to me. She started casting and leaving the fly in the water, and after a few casts she started making the fly dance in the water; she was pulsating it! I am not sure if she had seen me doing it, or just started playing it on her own. Regardless, that she did this on her own was remarkable.
THIS IS EXACTLY HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE! INTUITIVE.
November 08 2012
Written by Daniel
Forum user Acheateaux had a brilliant idea: the Vagabox. The Vagabox is a traveling fly box that will be “bringing surprise, intrigue and fishing stoke with it wherever it goes. You fish with the box, enjoy it’s humble offerings and post up some stoke here.” Since our post on the Vagabox back in July, the box has enjoyed a journey to a few new spots. Here’s the updated map, you can click on the faces to see what the Vagabox experienced in each of the places it has visited.
Tagged Under : Tenkara, tenkara flies, tenkara fly tying, traveling fly box, Vagabox
October 17 2012
It is my first time in North Carolina, and I’m loving it.
I had been meaning to take this trip for quite sometime to familiarize myself more with Eastern waters and spend time with our dealers in the area. Tomorrow morning (Thursday, Oct 18) I will be speaking and doing a demo at Headwaters Outfitters, in Rosman, NC. On Saturday I will be speaking and holding a clinic at Mossy Creek, in Harrisonburg, VA. If you are near these areas, I’d love to see you.
Before I share today’s pictures I have to share the highlight of the day. Pete, one of the guides for Headwaters, took me to some beautiful water today on the North Fork of the French Broad. Soon after we started fishing, I noticed a very large osprey flying to the tree near us, and perching almost over our heads, maybe some 40ft off the ground. I pointed it out to Pete. We watched the osprey for a minute, and then it started flying – DOWN!
I had been eyeing the pool in front of me, and intended to fish it…but so did the osprey. For the first 10ft of flight it kept its wings open and flew slowly, like a parachute really. And, then it turned into a torpedo, tucking its wings and pointing its legs towards the water. It struck the water like lightning. We watched it mesmerized; the osprey dove not 15ft away from us! A moment later it came out of the water with a 10 inch trout, likely a rainbow, in its grasp. The moment wasn’t yet over. As it took off, about 4ft in the air, the osprey lost its grip to the wiggling fish. As an angler, I could relate to the osprey. I felt bad for it.
Needless to say, I passed on the pool in front of me and also skipped the one above, the commotion and splash surely scared fish for quite a distance. The osprey also knew that and flew far downstream in search of another pool – a reminder not to spend too much time in one place. Unfortunately no pictures or video…I would have had the perfect angle, just perfect.
The fishing for the rest of the day was absolutely gorgeous, and the fishing superb. I have been told the Fall colors are at their peak, the air has been crisp, and cool. The streams here remind me a lot of many streams in Japan, more open than I expected and super clear too. I used the Ito in the beginning of the day and that worked very well. Later I switched to the 11ft Iwana and really missed the longer length several times. The fish were rainbows, healthy, and very feisty. Most in the 12-14 inch range. The first thing I did was to show Pete the techniques of tenkara. The first fish came when I was showing him the idea of stopping the fly and drifting it, stopping and drifting. That was the most successful technique for me today.
I am looking forward to a few more days out this way.
Toward the end of the day I got snagged on a tree behind me, I tried freeing it by using my rod, and it came free. What was most interesting was what came with it, not a leaf as had happened throughout the day, but rather a fly and tippet:
I fished alone in the afternoon, and soaked in the fall colors. I tried to pay nature back by picking up some trash on my way back to the car and learned of one more use for the angled tenkara nets. I had a long walk back, but was able to leave the net tucked in my wading belt with the cans inside:
But that was not quite enough for a karma-neutralizer. I suppose I caught too many fish and still needed to get another scrape to balance it all out. I walked to the water next to my car for one last fish. As I came down the bank I tripped over and fell forward. Falling is not that uncommon, but this time it could have been real bad, as I fell with my neck right over a broken and very sharp branch! I thought it may have punctured myself badly, but there was not a whole lot of blood coming out. I took this picture to see how bad it really was. Wow, that was close. It could have been real bad.
Tagged Under : EastCoast, fall, north Carolina, Tenkara
October 15 2012
Story written by Paul Vertrees,
Photos by Randall Haynes
Driving up an asphalt artery in the dark of a Friday evening, I was trying to shake off the hectic pace and content of a full work week. This artery was leading me, as it had countless times before, to the very heart of Colorado, and ultimately to that home away from home I call The Stomping Grounds. I’ve memorized every twist and turn of the road, the locations of the rare and lonely homes along it, and the rhythm and pace as familiar landmarks fly by. In the dark, all I had to lead me north were road signs, distant ranch house lights, and the topography I knew by heart.
I drove until I found the camp my good friends, Patrick, Randall, and Ori, had set up along a road at the top of a high pass. Inside the glowing tipi were good friends, good food, and a huge bottle of the very best small batch Kentucky bourbon. Patrick always knows how to make a friend feel welcome!
The next morning we hiked down from 11,600’ for several miles, stopping frequently to soak in the stunning view.
Reaching the first brook trout in the stream, we deployed our tenkara rods and quickly caught fish. A former tenkara client of mine, Ori had really caught the tenkara bug since I guided him this past summer. His casting skills had improved considerably, and he was letting his Ayu put his self-tied sakasa kebari right where he wanted it. I was working a modified killer bug with my 11’ Iwana. I had recently started tying my killer bugs with a different colored yarn on heavy scud hooks. They were working like a charm.
We fished our way down to an old outfitter’s camp, one that Patrick and I had been using for quite some time. That night we celebrated the autumnal equinox with a feast of grilled brookies and rice. We topped off the evening with a kotsuzake ceremony, paying tribute to those orange-bellied brook trout and the rare cutthroat that the tiny stream has offered up to us over the years. Sipping trout-infused sake from a titanium cup at eleven-thousand feet, in the company of your closest friends, is truly a gift. We talked deep into the night until the campfire died down to coals.
Brookies over a campfire:
Kotsuzake, fish-bone-infused sake. A tribute to the fish, the idea of not wasting any of it. It is better than it looks:
Hanging out by the fire at night:
The next morning was dedicated solely to fishing our way back upstream for two miles. It had been two years since I’d caught a cutthroat out of this stream, and I was ready for the next one. I’m always cautiously optimistic, because it took many, many years for me to ever catch the first one here. Thousands of brookies, just a handful of cutts. What I didn’t count on was an encounter with my first golden trout in a stream I’ve been fishing since the late 1970s. There’s plenty of gold in the Stomping Grounds…gold in the trees, gold in the willows, gold along the banks of the stream, and one finned flash of gold in the water.
After reaching the top of the fishable water, we decided to bushwhack a mile of deep, dark timber, full of steep blowdown. We were still unsuccessfully hunting dusky grouse. We knew that ptarmigan were being taken up top on the tundra, and we had feathers on the brain. After all, I still wanted to tie a kebari with the soft hackle from a nice grouse. After a mile of deep timber gymnastics with full backpacks, we emerged from the ridge birdless.
It was cold and windy when we finally reached our trucks. After snacks and beers on the tailgate, we shook up, made promises to get back out soon, and parted ways. Heading down off the pass, I knew this had been the best celebration of the equinox I’d ever had. There’s always a certain sadness when I leave the backcountry, like I’m going to miss something important by leaving. Pointing my truck south into the evening, I followed that same familiar black artery back home in the dark.
Paul Vertrees is an avid outdoorsman who spends much of his time in the backcountry of Colorado. Paul is a Tenkara USA Certified Tenkara Guide who guides for RIGS Adventures, out of Ridgway, CO.
Tagged Under : brook trout, equinox, fly-fishing, kotsuzake, Paul Vertrees, Tenkara, tenkara adventure
August 05 2012
written by Jason
Never in a million years would I guess that a peaceful streamside tea ceremony would draw the attention of local law enforcement, but the day before this year’s Tenkara Summit, several tenkara anglers (including yours truly) almost spent the night in the slammer.
It started out innocently enough. John Vetterli of Tenkara Guides has studied the meticulous Japanese Tea Ceremony and thought it would be a good cultural bridge to host a tea ceremony for our Japanese tenkara guests while we were fishing the Little Big Cottonwood.
We all arrived at the stream, but the complicated ceremony takes time to set up. There was a lot of gear to carry down and prepare so John did that while the rest of us went fishing. The idea was to meet up later when the water was heated up and the tatami mats laid out (among other preparations).
In the meantime, John practiced one of his other hobbies while waiting for us to return: Japanese swordplay. Here’s a shocker: a guy dressed in a black ninja outfit wielding a sword in the middle of the woods is considered “suspicious” by some people in Utah.
I was taking a quick break from filming the ceremony (video to come) when I was approached by four very serious looking police officers. They told me they had a report of a guy with a “big sword” and and “urn”. The conversation went something like this:
Police: What’s going on here?
Me: We are hosting an event with some Japanese fly fishermen and are having a traditional tea ceremony.
Police: We got a report about someone with a sword.
Me: It’s part of the ceremony. It’s not a real sword. (complete lie. It was a real sword and wasn’t part of the ceremony).
Police: Do you have an urn? Someone reported seeing an urn.
Me: An urn? No. You’re welcome to go and check it out if you want.
Police: No, that’s OK. (after scanning the situation from a distance).
And with that, they left. I can only think whoever reported the “urn” must have mistaken that for the pot the tea is heated in. At any rate, the SLC cops were pretty cool about it even though it probably did look pretty suspicious. It’s a good thing too. Because I couldn’t really come up with a good answer to the requisite question, “what are you in for?”.
Here are a few more pics:
Tagged Under : japanese culture and tenkara, tea ceremony, tenkara tea ceremony
July 26 2012
Written by Daniel
The idea for a Tenkara Summit originated last year, when Dr. Ishigaki saw pictures of a trip I took to Montana and told me he’d like to go there himself. He needed an excuse to travel abroad, so he asked if I could arrange for him to do a presentation in Montana about tenkara. Not finding other events that matched his schedule, I decided to put up our own. And the Tenkara Summit was born. It really is just an excuse to go fishing in some pretty cool places.
This year’s Tenkara Summit is being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we are fortunate to have the participation of 4 special guests from Japan. They travelled to the US at my invitation specifically to show us how they fish tenkara, how they tie tenkara flies, and even how to make a tenkara line – and of course, they were all just looking for a good excuse to go fishing in a new place.
Our guests arrived in San Francisco yesterday. And, today we arrived in Salt Lake City. We have packed a lot in just under two days. So far I took them out for a tour of San Francisco, hitting the touristy highlights of the city; and less than 24 hours later we were fishing in Utah. They are thrilled to be here and really looking forward to meeting all who come to the Summit.
Here are pictures I took yesterday and today.
AND, of course, pictures of some fish we caught today and more fishing pictures. Based on the fishing today, I simply can’t wait for what the next 5 days hold for us!