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Tenkara

Questions and Answers

On November 2, 2014 • Comments (80)
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Tenkara FAQ questions and answerPlease ask any questions you may have about tenkara. It doesn’t matter if it’s been answered before, if you’re not easily finding it, I’ll be happy to answer it here. Ask away!
Of course, feel free to continue calling us at 888.483.6527 or emailing us at info@tenkarausa.com

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Interview with Mike Willis

On October 15, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Interview with Mike Willis

by Adam Trahan

I asked Mike to sit for this Interview with me based on a small group of anglers that I have been following from afar in social media. Over the years, we have had conversations on our interests centered on tenkara. I know Mike has an interest in bicycle moto cross like Christophe’ Laurent and I. Like many anglers that I meet, we all have varying interests but Mike and I seem to be on the same page on many fronts.

Adam: Hello Mike! Hopefully this Interview will not be awkward for you as we have had some discussions about how I manage the process. Actually, it may help you with your own development in that skill having been the target of it. We have had some conversations about my Interviews and you and I have similar interests.

Anyway…

With many of the Interviews that I do, the story of how we get into fishing and ultimately tenkara is always interesting. I would like to start our Interview that way.

“Mike, how did you get into Tenkara?”

Mike Willis: Sup adam?! Sup Tenkara-Fishers?!!!

I found tenkara in September of 2012. I was searching the internets for information about western style fly fishing and looking to buy a new rod. I’d recently bought a house next to a bigtime western fly fisher and he’d been after me to expand my quiver from a 7 1/2′, 5wt. L.L. bean special and the ultralight Ugly Stik I kept in my trunk. My fly fishing experience to that point had been a trip to the west walker river and a couple float tube excursion to mountain lakes – all with my neighbor, Doug. Doug has been fly fishing most of his 65 years. He’s fished all over the world, and he knows his poo. Doug and I would often have long conversations about the sport, but when I’d ask what I should get for my “next” rod, he’d always reply with, “Well, what do you want to fish for? Where are you going to fish? How much do you want to spend?”
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Interview with Thomas “TJ” Ferreira

On October 7, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Interview with Thomas “TJ” Ferreira

by Adam Trahan

I already have meet TJ (online) from my own web site and Tenkara USA circles. He is a super nice guy and I want to start off by apologizing to him because this Interview was delayed. I had planned to ask him because he is such a nice guy and really enthusiastic about Tenkara. So I did ask if we could do the Interview and not kidding, the next day I got a letter asking for a couple of writing projects. The detail of finishing those projects was that they needed immediate attention in order to time the different parts to get done. I had to ask TJ if we could delay his Interview. As I thought, “No problem Adam” and all those projects got done and here I find myself pecking away, thinking about TJ.

So, TJ, I apologize that it took so long, thank you for your patience.

I’ve have been wanting to do this interview with you since I found out a little bit more about you on Facebook. You are a VW bus enthusiast! Still! I dig that. Some of the best times I’ve ever had on the road have been in my 1971 bay window, VW microbus. So let’s just start from there.

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Adam: “So what is in the stable? What kind of buses do you have?”

T.J.: Hi Adam… hope equally you don’t mind that my answers to this interview come slowly. LOL.

My stable of VWs has changed over the years but today I own 3 Volkswagens. 2 older Air-cooled and 1 Water-pumper. My 1st VW is a 1960 Single Cab. I still have this but between money and laziness and time, it sits in my garage after I pulled the engine and started brake work. That was like 8 years ago . I have other running VWs that I soaked my money into instead so figure the 1960 Single Cab may not run again until I retire (yeah right!) and have time for a full restoration. My next VW is my favorite… a 1967 Westfalia Camper. I enjoy driving this one to local VW shows and to our local VW clubs Ice Cream socials. Then the granddaddy of them all is a 1987 Syncro Vanagon Camper. This is a 4×4 camper that VW only made a few of. This is the one that gets the most money and time. We camp in this yearly and take it on 2-week camping trips. Nice to have more comfort in the dual beds and more room to get around. I have owned more and over years sold them to get what I have now. It seems to be a never-ending cycle but I think I am now locked into these 3 and hope to have them forever. I would not mind though getting a Karman Ghia convertible one day. Oh and another VW Thing. Oh and a… you get the picture. LOL
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Reflections on the 2017 Tenkara USA Summit

On October 1, 2017 • Comments (4)
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It has been more than a week now and I’ve had a chance to digest my experience at the Tenkara USA 2017 Summit. Meeting Daniel, Margaret and the rest of the crew, my dream had become real. So many years I’ve been assisting people to learn tenkara and now, I am with the company and helping the person, the company that got me started.

I was a part of the Summit, now, part of Tenkara USA, one dream realized and another just beginning.

Flipping through the hundreds of photos I took, the one above is my favorite. All those rods bought by this couple, destined for tenkara fishing. I stopped them as they walked across the convention center floor, “can I take your picture?” Those rods will be gifts for the holiday season. Perhaps some will be used as a first rod, all I can think of when I see this picture is that Daniel is like Johnny Appleseed…

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The Summit opened up with a dedication to Doug Heggart. Doug had recently passed and was a big part of the Colorado tenkara scene. I wish I was able to get to know him but he was well represented and many spoke of his kindness.

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As I moved around the hall taking pictures, I had a pretty good idea on my own just how large Tenkara USA had grown the Summit. I counted chairs, 12 wide, ten deep on each side of the isle. There were several 10 seat tables, most were filled, it was 300 or so people attending.

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Daniel began telling the story and I looked around the room, everyone was listening, paying attention carefully. I had been dreaming of this moment for a long time, two years since the last one and it seemed like the time just flew by.

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The rod line up was there, rods for sale and many were now into the hands of young and old, new and experienced tenkara anglers. The rod on the left was a new version of the old Hane, the Hane 2, quite a departure with its white color, petite foam grip and soft tip.

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I had been reading about Daniel and Margaret’s van tour. They had kitted out a Volkswagen van, driving it to the best place to watch the eclipse and of course, to go fishing. Conducting business on the road in a Volkswagen no less, reminds me of my days when I was his age in my own VW.

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John, TJ and Mike, welcoming me to the team, it was a very warm reception. Seeing these guys in action brought back all the memories of following the company through the different trade shows except now, they were here. My dream was real, unfolding in front of me.

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There were people mixing with authors, famous fishermen and people that are into tenkara since day one in the US. As I walked around, I could recognize faces that I had seen in social media and from two years ago from the last summit.

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I had to get pictures of myself to show my friends at home that this was real. I’ve been writing from afar for so many years, creating content, bringing people together all across the globe but it was now my time to close the gap and make the relationships real.

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The flight to the Summit was short and filled with excitement for my fishing partner Jim. I had taught him tenkara some time ago and we had been making a lot of trips to Oak Creek and the Mogollon Rim. But now were were headed to Colorado to meet the people that we got our equipment from and the experts we had been reading about.

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Chris Hendriks had flown in from Europe, a Tenkara USA guide/rep there. Chris Fahrenbruch, I had already meet from the last summit, like I said, it was good to close the gap. It was great to chat with these guys.

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My fishing buddy John Sachen had introduced me to Dr. Ishigaki in Japanese. I could see sensei light up as he was able to express himself freely and quickly as John knew Japanese and tenkara. Dr. Ishigaki was one of the last tenkara experts from Japan that I had interviewed that I wanted to close the gap with. He was genuinely excited to meet me.

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John suggested we get a group shot. Smiles all around, it was great to meet Dr. Ishigaki, we had been exchanging e-mails for many years and I missed him the two times that I had been to Japan fishing.

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Back to the Summit activities, there was something for everyone. Here is the rigging table. There were a lot of people brand new to tenkara that wanted to see the knots and rigging done by experts.

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And then it was my turn. I set up the casting targets for Dr. Ishigaki. He effortlessly taught a class on casting to a huge crowd gathered around. One of the audience offered to be the fish, someone had asked sensei how he lands a fish. The woman grabbed the end of the line and sensei fought her in. Probably one of my favorite laughs of the summit, I really enjoyed it. Now imagine having to give a class on how to target cast after the world famous tenkara teacher gave us such a great show. It was intimidating but I managed to get my point across. I saw that Adam, Rob and JP were in the crowd and I called them out. I knew they were fresh off the stream and they helped demonstrate accurate casting. Rob grabbed my rod and put the fly in the tuna can a couple of times in a row, it was a good call on my part.

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Dr. Ishigaki took the stage and gave his presentation, “Advanced Tenkara Technique” which was excellent and I was learning from the best, we were all learning, all skill levels and we were getting into the sweet spot of the summit.

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I moderated the panel of speakers, Matt Sment, Yvon Chouinard, Dr. Ishigaki and Daniel. Taking the microphone to the people in the audience, I started to realize just how important the summit is to my own tenkara. I have a few friends here in Phoenix that I fish different areas of the state with. But here in front of me where a panel of experts taking questions from a large audience. It was amazing to say the least.

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That evening we came back to the venue to do some fly tying. I needed a few kebari for the fishing that I was going to be doing the next day. I had been fishing for the last few weeks and my box was depleted of my favorite kebari. It was fun to tye with friends from afar. I tied up a few of my own “wrong fly” and Ishigaki kebari. And before I knew it, the event was over.

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Late into the evening, we shared our experiences of the Summit around the table. We shared a bottle of spirits and enjoyed each other’s company. Around one a.m. I turned in. John and Jim picked me up the next morning from the Tenkara USA house. I said my good byes and quickly the time was slipping behind us. We fished a couple streams and then turned the car back to Estes Park where my friends hotel was.

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I’m back home now, reflecting on the summit and meetings with my friends to come. As time moves along, I’m sure that we will meet again in Colorado or any of the places where tenkara anglers gather. For sure, tenkara is growing, very much alive, so many people excited to meet each other and learn.

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Tenkara Summit 2017: Full presentation by Yvon Chouinard

On September 21, 2017 • Comments (2)
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On September 16th, 2017 over 300 people watch Mr. Yvon Chouinard talk about the threats facing our planet and more specifically our rivers. He argues that we “protect what we love” and that “we need more people to love rivers”, and the best way to do that is through tenkara. Here’s his full presentation where he talks about the environment as well as his approach to tenkara.

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Tenkara Summit: Full presentation by Dr. Hisao Ishigaki

On September 20, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Here’s a recording of Dr. Hisao Ishigaki’s full presentation

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2017 Tenkara Summit (report 1)

On September 18, 2017 • Comments (5)
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Tenkara Summit 2017 The biggest tenkara event –  ever! – happened this weekend.

The 2017 Tenkara Summit brought together the largest gathering of tenkara anglers anywhere. Just over 300 people from all over the US as well as Argentina, Norway and Japan attended. Attendees enjoyed a great series of speakers, clinics with experienced tenkara anglers (including Dr. Hisao Ishigaki), vendors, and a very fun fly-tying evening that featured a live band as well as tying contests timed to their songs, plus magic by Dennis Michael.

 

Tenkara Summit 2017  - bI am still stunned by the participation. In the past Tenkara Summits we had up to 150 people show up. I was fully expecting this year to count on the same number of people, so when I went to pull the final tally I was shocked to see about 240 people registered and another 60 walk-ins. I had tremendous fun meeting so many people in the community as well as spending time with an incredible crew of staff and volunteers that made the event possible.
Tenkara Summit 2017 volunteers
Dr. Hisao Ishigaki showing how to cast with a tenkara rod at the Tenkara Summit 2017
After a week of taking Dr. Ishigaki fishing around Colorado, hosting our staff and then working at the Summit I will say that I am pretty beat. In fact, I may even take a nap in a few minutes, which is a very rare thing for me to do. But, I wanted to share a little update as well as post some photos from the event. These are photos that some of our crew or myself took; we actually had a professional photographer shoot photos and video at the event but it may be a few days before we get to process and post some of those.
Dr. Hisao Ishigaki tenkara cutthroat
There were several highlights that stood out for me. One of them was once again spending time fishing with my teacher, Dr. Ishigaki. The Tenkara Summit really started as an excuse for Dr. Ishigaki to come fishing in the US; in 2011 he wanted to fish in Montana but said he wanted to speak at an event to justify the trip to his wife. Since there were no events taking place I decided to put the Summit together. It turned out to be a tough week of fishing, with us visiting several different places that didn’t seem to be “on” (I will have to add “river otters” to my “Excuses to use when not catching fish“).

Another highlight was meeting and talking to a large number of people about how tenkara has had a positive impact on their lives. It always gives me a warm feeling when I hear those stories of how people are enjoying tenkara in one way or another, of how sometimes it gave them a different perspective on some aspect of their lives. And I absolutely loved meeting a few young kids who are in love with tenkara and asked their parents and grandparents to bring them to the Summit.
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The fly-tying evening was a pure fun part of the event. In the evening the band Paper Moonshine entertained the audience as people tied flies, enjoyed their beers and whiskey, and shared stories or made plans to fish the next day.
Dr. Ishigaki fly tying Tenkara Summit

The event was recorded in its entirety and we will be posting some of it online in the near future. More photos to come as well.

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R.I.P. Doug Heggart

On August 12, 2017 • Comments (4)
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Doug Heggart Tenkara Guides Colorado
It is with a very heavy heart that I must share that a great friend and positive influence in the tenkara community, Doug Heggart, has passed away.
I am absolutely devastated by the news of Doug’s untimely death. Doug was an incredibly generous and kind person. We shared some great times on the water and on dry land. Doug was a super positive individual who was ready to share fishing with all in the community. Doug always showed a tremendous disposition to help; his energy and enthusiasm was always contagious when I spent time with him. I will really miss him, and my heart is with his family.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 19th at 11am at the Odd Fellows Lodge, 434 Main St., Longmont, CO

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Mushroom Walk (video)

On August 11, 2017 • Comments (5)
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This video has no fishing in it, at all.
But I thought you would enjoy the video I just created. Yesterday morning, at the last day of our 3-week long book tour, I woke up in the tenkaravan next to a gorgeous forest. Those who know me will remember foraging is right up there with tenkara in terms of things I love doing. As I had coffee I felt inspired to go foraging and to film it all. Hope you enjoy it.

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VanLife and Bass Fishing with tenkara

On July 28, 2017 • Comments (1)
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We have been on the road for 11 days now. Margaret and I have been enjoying our time together (we actually celebrated our 10th anniversary on the road last Sunday!). Living the “Van Life” is not glamorous, but we have seen some beautiful country, fished some gorgeous waters and enjoyed a few experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Time has been short, and it is going by fast. I have been working on some videos and photography but it’s been hard to find reliable data connection or wifi along the way, so almost no time for writing and sharing things. I have been good at keeping our Instagram posts going when I find a bar or two of service on my phone.

This morning I turned the tenkaravan into a makeshift studio to record a new podcast episode about living life off the tenkaravan and about our very cool experience fishing for smallmouth bass with the fly-fishing author Dave Hughes and his wife Masako. If you’re interested, below is the episode I just posted (more information referenced in the episode please visit the podcast page.

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Tenkara USA hits the road

On July 18, 2017 • Comments (1)
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Yesterday part of the Tenkara USA team (myself, my wife and our husky Shiso) hit the road for the first leg of what I expect to be several road trips in the new tenkaravan. On this trip, which will last three weeks, we’re making stops in Oregon, Washington and then Montana at several different events primarily focused on book signings.

The full schedule and details are kept up-to-date in our events page but for now here are our next stops. I hope to see you at one of these stops.

July 19 – Book signing and Q&A at Central Oregon Fly Fisher’s Club – Bend, OR at 6pm
July 20 – Social gathering and a quick talk + book signing at the Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters, OR 4-7pm
July 21-23 – Tenkara Bugout, Oakridge, OR

July 25 – Book signing and talk at Creekside Fly Shop, Issaquah, WA
July 26 – Book signing and talk at Wayward, Bellevue, WA

Augu 4-5 – Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, MT

It’s amazing to have looked at our schedule and even with 3 weeks not be able to hit a bunch of other places I wanted to stop by. I have already been getting a bunch of messages on social media about whether we are stopping in other places along the way or other parts of the country, and while we are not at this particular tour it makes me feel that I need to spend more time on the road. These 3 weeks will show whether I’m cut out for the vanlife lifestyle.

We should be easy to spot now, so keep an eye out for us! Yesterday we had the first person come say hi to us right before we drove into the Flaming Gorge/Green River in WY. Soon after we had our first peak at the not-so glamorous vanlife lifestyle…I’ll tell you that story next time I login!

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