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
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.
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.
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!
Things are coming together nicely for the 6th Tenkara Summit, which will take place in Estes Park on September 16th. This year we are counting on the presence of Dr. Hisao Ishigaki and Yvon Chouinard who will be speaking at the event, along with Adam Trahan, Jason Klass, Steve Schweitzer. In addition we’ll be featuring clinics and demos on fly-tying, casting and more. This is promising to be a great event, and we hope to see you all there!
You can register for the Tenkara Summit here.
Further details, such as the schedule, lodging, food, etc, on this page.
Last Friday I flew to La Crosse, WI, the heart of the famous Driftless region of Wisconsin. I came to the area to participate in the Midwest Tenkara Fest, organized by Badger Tenkara. This was my first time fishing in the area. And, although the Driftless had been on my radar for many years, it took me a while to get here. It was a phenomenal region to fish and I already can’t wait to return. Tenkara is made for the Driftless, where good presentations and drag-free drifts are the key to catching trout.
A few days before coming to the Driftless I received an email from fly-fishing author Jason Randall who had learned I would be in “his area” at the same time he and Ed Engle. Jeremy Shellhorn and I were planning to camp around here anyways, so we decided to camp with Jason and Ed. On Friday we fished the stream that ran by the camp.
I absolutely loved that stream. In a very short distance the spring-creek changed from looking like a mountain-stream to a slower meadow water, to typical limestone spring creek. Despite the rain earlier in the day the stream was running very clear.
Although the stream we fished is no secret, there is no need to mention specific stream names here. The Driftless regions has over 500 miles of publicly accessible trout streams, so you wouldn’t have a problem finding waters.
Another very cool thing, as is usually the case when fishing for trout in different areas, was the coloration of the brown trout we were catching. More specifically most of the trout we caught had a red coloration on their tail and a well-defined red mark on their adipose fin. It was fun to notice that when Ed Engle pointed it out.
After fishing for some time and getting my own fishing fix, it was time to get Jason Randall to experience tenkara. He had been out with someone before, but they really just fished it like a fly rod. I talked to him about the differences in the way we normally fish with tenkara, just as keeping the line off the water for better presentations. Shortly after his first couple of casts Jason hooked into trout, and then caught a few more.
That’s the thing about tenkara, when it is fished “the tenkara way” it will hook even the best anglers into its advantages; but if it is just fished like a western fly-rod then there is little to keep them using it.
Then Jason turned his buddy Tom into tenkara. Tom was just a tad skeptical about it to begin. After Jason caught some fish he insisted Tom try it. I hiked down to where Tom was and gave Tom the rod. On his first cast he hooked a trout, and immediately exclaimed, “I like this”. And thus we had another convert.
Of course, Jeremy also hooked a bunch of trout that day. And, of course, the big one got away. After dinner and before it got dark, Jeremy went back to the water close to us and caught some more fish to cap the day. Then he hooked what would likely have been the largest fish of the day, he played it well but the hook eventually came off. Well, here is a video of one that didn’t get away.
I have to go visit a supplier in a minute, and then catch a flight, but will see about posting some more information on the Driftless later. On Sunday we got to fish with tenkara guide Mike Warren and also Matt Sment in a completely different kind of stream. You can see a short video I made on Mike’s guide page here.
Many have noticed the cover for my new book spells tenkara out in lower-case, and a couple of people have already asked if that was done on purpose.
YES! Good eye!
I made a very deliberate decision to have tenkara written in lower case on the cover of the book, as well as throughout the book whenever I discuss the method of fishing. I see the word Tenkara with upper-case in many blogs and magazines. But, you see, tenkara is not a proper noun; it is a simple noun, like “fishing” or “fly” and it shouldn’t be capitalized. However, tenkara can become a proper noun when discussing a brand, like Tenkara USA.
I’d make the case that one should write tenkara in lower-case when discussing the method. Although I suppose we could just choose to end up with our own version of fly-fishing, flyfishing and fly fishing and never be certain which is the correct one (I always write it fly-fishing).
Simplicity is a choice. It is easy to make many things in life complex, but these complexities don’t usually add to our experience. Even when we learn that we don’t truly need a lot of flies we can choose to carry multiple fly patterns with us “just in case”. We can carry multiple line weights and change them any time winds change. We can carry accessories to indicate the presence of fish when we could have kept an eye to line to do that. It may seem like carrying additional items in our fishing kit will make fishing easier or more effective. Often it does not.
Tenkara shows us there is a different way of thinking about fly-fishing – and often about life too. It shows us we can leave the unnecessary behind. But, we must choose to do so.
This is short excerpt from tenkara – the book
It’s been a long, long road.
I typed its first words nearly 5 years ago. But, as I continued to learn more about tenkara, continued visiting Japan and meeting more teachers, and continued to look at words I typed with an increasingly critical eye, the completion of the book I envisioned a long time ago just kept getting further away. Yet, (at last!) tenkara – the book has been received at our warehouse and is now shipping!
With the help of Jeremy Shellhorn, our resident artist, I believe tenkara – the book turned out to be even better than what i could have envisioned years ago. It is something I’m very proud of having produced.
This has been a rewarding project. It has also been challenging trying to put all I could think of in pages that wouldn’t feel overwhelming; to give those who are deep in tenkara all they may want to know while also attempting to convey tenkara’s simplicity. I believe that has been accomplished.
With this book I also launched a new division of Tenkara USA, the Tenkara Press™, which will help us accomplish the mission of sharing the tenkara story. It has been interesting to learn so much about the publishing industry in the last several months. From concept, to writing, to designing and layout, and then finally the printing (which was done close to us in Denver and I watched the entire process) and now working out the best distribution for it, this has been quite an experience. I hope to get some other tenkara titles in production next year.
Those who have backed our Kickstarter campaign will be start receiving the book momentarily as we took care of shipping them earlier this week.