by TJ Ferreira
Having just recently turned the big Five O-no, I glanced in the mirror the other day and what I saw what was an aging, graying, balding shell of what I once was back in my 20s and even 30s. I wake every morning with a few more aches and pains, a few less hairs, but I have a purpose in this life so I get to my daily routine day after day.
Where have all the years gone? Time sure does fly! Both sayings you will hear older folks mention as we age. There are days I feel down. There are days I feel up. I am human after-all. But, I tell myself I have things pretty darn good so it keeps me going. And really, 50 is not that old, but sure, I am well past my ½ way point.
The way I look at things, I have another 20 to 25 in the business world working for a living. Another 30 to maybe 40 fishing tenkara, and if very lucky, another 50 on this earth. At least that is what I am praying for.
On Monday I awoke to another normal Monday, one that I happen to have off. Wife woke up around 5:45AM to get ready for work and I dragged myself out of bed around 7:30 to start my day. Now that may seem rather late for some, but I don’t sleep well. I am somewhat nocturnal, go to bead in the AM, toss and turn all night, with a brain that will not shut off I keep thinking of things all night that keep me awake. Needless to say I am not a morning person. I find that I finally doze off around 5AM and although I keep waking every 30 minutes, I feel snuggly in bed and get my best rest in these hours.
So no, I don’t like to wake at 5AM to go fishing. Therefore most my trips I am a solo fisherman, beating to my own time and my own drum. Not on a groups time schedule or have to be there at a certain time. Although, every now and then I enjoy fishing with my friends, and I rather look forward to the friendships I have made over the years getting to know them all. It is rewarding to fish with them, to watch, to learn, and to have fun.
On Monday I fished a High Sierra river in NorCal and it was a great day. Geared up wearing my favorite hat, when I walked up on the river I looked down and saw my reflection in the river. I saw a 25 year old, my legs stronger to take on the rivers current, my arms more precise in their movement back and forth, and my heart pitter patters with a youthful spirit again.
The Rivers Mirror does not lie, it holds many unknowns and rejuvenates an aging heart making it young again, and with every cast, and every trout, I am 25 again.
I caught many many trout on this fine Monday. Too many to count on my two hands. It was a great day and what has become the purpose of my tenkara, to enjoy life with a new spirit every day. Going after the unknown of what lurks under each riffle or behind each rock, makes me feel like a kid all over again, for every fishing trip I am learning something new, just like when I was a years ago.
A long drive home I am welcomed by the howling of my two dogs, happy to see their papa. I stroll in the house and pet each of my 4 cats, and as I walked by the mirror, I saw an aging man, gray hairs, balding, but with a smile on his face, and as happy as one man ought to be. The mirror does not lie. The mirror showed a boyish grin with a beating heart and desire for tenkara, and longing for his next adventure on the River’s Mirror.
There is a town in the United States where its entire population fishes tenkara. 100% of its people has a Tenkara USA rod! I know it because I just stopped by there last week and got to meet the town’s mayor, who himself is a huge fan of tenkara too.
Although it sits in between several of Wyoming’s famous rivers, it is not one of the West’s fly-fishing destinations. I myself know the town because it is right by a somewhat popular rock climbing destination, Vedauwoo (which is where Scott Hunter got the name for his own fishing pack company, Vedavoo).
That town is Buford in Wyoming. Dubbed the “smallest town in America”, Buford has a convenience store/gas station, and one resident, who is himself the official town’s mayor.
A few months ago I went climbing in Vedauwoo, but arriving there with freezing temperatures and high winds my friends and I decided to drive 5 minutes to Buford and get ourselves some coffee. Unfortunately the store was closed for renovation. Outside sat a silver Toyota Tacoma. Someone in our group noticed a Tenkara USA sticker on its back window, though we couldn’t see its only resident anywhere. If it hadn’t been so windy I would have tried to find out whose truck that was, but that day I decided to get back inside my cozy car.
This last week I was driving back from Utah and just as I came near Vedauwoo I noticed my car was running low on gas and I was starting to run out of water. Conveniently there was Buford’s only business to save me. I got what I needed and then struck up a conversation with the store’s clerk, “Is that your Tacoma with the Tenkara USA sticker, by chance?”
“Yes”, he replied. “I’m a huge fan of tenkara, I love it!”
He turned around to look for something, and a second later produced the third volume of our Tenkara Magazine! He opened its pages to a photograph I instantly recognized, it was the photo and article by Alison Pluda on fishing in Wyoming. I had read it, but it never clicked with me that she was talking about the Buford I had driven by a few months earlier and was also talking about its only resident, Jason.
I jokingly, with a smile, asked Jason if he was also the mayor. He seriously responded that “yes”, he was indeed its mayor. That made a lot of sense, the smallest town is incorporated and of course it has to have a mayor.
We then chatted a bit about his favorite waters in the area, which mostly consist of beaver ponds with lots of brook trout.
I couldn’t stay very long, I had been driving for nearly 7 hours and still wanted to make it home for dinner. I gave him a few more stickers and copies of our magazine which I had in my car and left with the promise of returning soon.
He’s not that far away. He promised to take me to his favorite spots, perhaps on horseback. Plus, where else in America can we have the claim that all 100% of its people, including the mayor fishes with a Tenkara USA rod?
Today I held my first live streaming video session via Facebook. It was actually a lot of fun interacting with folks as they logged in, and showing one of my streams as well as the techniques and rigging that I use. So much fun that I intend to do this at least a couple of more times, especially when the water levels come down a bit and I have a better chance of hooking fish (not that I expect it will happen on live video!). For now, here are the recordings if you missed them (it got split into two parts when I mistakenly clicked on “done”).
Our friends at Vedavoo, a company with a loyal following among the tenkara crowd for its packs, just released a fun video where they use tenkara rods to slam some good size fish in Wyoming with the crew from Pig Farm Ink. The video includes an incredible trico hatch that turns the fish mad, and a broken tenkara rod – NOTE: do not bite your tenkara rod blank when fishing! Enjoy video below, and get out this weekend!
Today I sat down with long time tenkara angler and Tenkara USA supporter Graham Moran (aka Tenkara Grasshopper). Graham is an outdoor enthusiast who took on tenkara with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, to the point where he now even guides with a tenkara rod. We chatted about…you guessed it, tenkara, as well as about Graham’s tenkara blogging, his experience guiding with tenkara, and learned some of his tips for tenkara fishing. For the items referenced in this episode, please visit the podcast page here.
Listen to the episode with the player below, or listen via iTunes
I have noticed I am appearing to be dormant recently. Not too many videos, posts, articles… not even so many new podcasts recently. But, I am still here.
To show that I am still around, and contrary to some rumors I haven’t been murdered by any of the tenkara-hating crowd, I’ll show my face on a live video next week. I’ll be going to a nearby stream on Wednesday, June 8th at 10am MST (4pm GMT) and will be talking about tenkara, answering any questions you may have and showing you how I fish with tenkara. All will be showing live via Facebook. To watch it, just visit the Tenkara USA page on Facebook here and tune in on Wednesday at 10am MST.
We have 4 fun new items available today. I’m especially excited about our new Tenkara Rod Ties, which are a new way to help you manage your tenkara line on the go, and the 2016 Tenkara Magazine, which is finally here!
A new way to manage your tenkara line on the go. Tenkara Rod Ties are designed to fit any tenkara rod and have multiple uses. Get creative and show us how you manage your line. Watch a video.
The 2016 Tenkara Magazine is here! This volume 3 of our annual publication and features excellent articles by the tenkara community and several of our teachers from Japan.
A versatile piece of garment in any angler’s wardrobe, our neck gaiters feature a unique pattern that will shield you from sun and wind.
On my first time wearing waders I fell in the water, my waders filled up, and there was a real risk I could have suffered tragic consequences.
Many people are not aware of the dangers presented by the action of wading as well as by wearing waders, which can trap wader and weigh you down. Last year I did a post about wading safety, with several videos produced by Simms ages ago – you can watch the videos here. But, I think this is a topic that deserves more frequent coverage; after all there are always people who will be wearing waders for their first time, and if the topic of wading safety is not on top of their newsfeed they may not know the things to look for.
In this episode of the Tenkara Cast I talk a bit about some basics of keeping safe while wading.
We hope you all enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving and got to go fishing in the last few days. In the last week we gave you a chance to acquire a tenkara rod for excellent prices. We decided to start the sale early so you wouldn’t feel you had to stay on a computer to get the deals. Now, on Giving Tuesday, we want to make it easy for you to generously give something to your friends and family. As the Giving Tuesday website put it, “On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.” In addition to the 1% of our sales that we donate to environmental organizations (and we can attest a lot of money will be donated as a result of this previous week’s sale), we thought the best way for us to get everyone involved today would be with the coupon below. Print it out, give it to a friend and take them fishing.
I’m so excited about this new episode of the Tenkara Cast that I’m releasing it ahead of schedule. I try to release new episodes on Wednesdays but couldn’t contain myself here. This is an interview I did with John Gierach last year. At the time the interview was destined to be put together as a short video and I posted that video below for you to see. But, we kept the video short. Since then, people have asked for the full interview and the podcast is the perfect medium for this interview. I hope you enjoy my conversation with renowned author John Gierach.
The original video: