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Here is a slideshow of the majority of my collection of tenkara flies. Most of these flies were gifts from tenkara anglers in Japan, and a large part of this collection was tied by Mr. Yoshikazu Fujioka who recreated historical tenkara flies he learned about in books and through hearsay.
This is the photo of a Japanese char, the Iwana, which I took on one of my trips to Japan. Iwana translates roughly as “rock fish”. Aptly I caught this guy on the Tenkara USA Iwana rod. It is said they can “walk” on rocks to get back to the water, and legend has it that they can use that ability to cross paths and get on different waters if their stream is drying up. I can vouch that they can use their fins to stand, though I haven’t yet seen one walk from one stream to another.
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 »
It is clear that Jason and I really enjoy talking about tenkara. We can talk for hours, although we try our best to cap it to 40 or so minutes in our podcast series.
In this podcast we talk about using large tenkara flies, tenkara techniques, using long lines with tenkara, how to find streams to fish, a tenkara book I’m working on, and more.
Tenkara Podcast, March 4th 2013 LISTEN NOW
Tenkara Podcast – Tenkara USA and Tenkara Talk about Large tenkara flies, tenkara techniques, tenkara book and more
What a great couple of months! The experience at all of the fly fishing shows these last couple of months left me thinking of adopting the name TJ “Kebari” Ferreira, or TJ “FLY” Ferreira.
As some of may know, Tenkara USA had a booth at almost all of the Fly Fishing Shows throughout the USA, and for the first time we also had a booth at the International Sportsman Expo held in Sacramento, CA. All in all we attended 6 of the 7 Fly Fishing Shows and 1 ISE show. What a whirlwind tour for myself, Daniel, John, and our guest helpers. We really enjoyed being able to spread the joys of tenkara to the masses.
The 3 of us at Somerset Fly Fishing Show. Daniel, John, and TJ.
If you do not like a long blogs, you can stop reading here knowing we all had a great time. But… if you would like to come on a little trip with me, hop in my 1967 VW Bus for a little ride, a little chat, and lets get this tenkara peace pipe smoking!
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.
Phew! Day 2 of the ISE Sacramento show is behind us, and 2 more days ahead. As TJ wrote about it on facebook “busy, busy, busy”…
Here’s a picture of the booth today. It was packed a big deal of the time and that was fun. At 1:30pm I did a presentation and at 6:30pm a casting demo. If you’ll be coming by in the next couple of days, I’ll be doing a presentation at 5:30pm on Saturday (and I’m guessing a casting demo at 6:30) and a presentation at 2:30pm on Sunday. Hope to see some of you there, and thank you all who stopped by to say hello and to learn more about tenkara.
We’ll be attending several of the Fly Fishing Shows in the next two months. We’d love to see you coming by our booth if you’re near any of these locations. Additionally we’ll have presentations and casting demonstrations at each one of these shows. Looking forward to meeting as many of you in 2013 as possible:
3) Not my our favorite, as it caused a lot of angry discussions but it had to be written, the post on “What is a tenkara rod?” is one of the top 3 most viewed for the year. Lots of other blogs have subsequently written about this.
4) “Orvis to Sell Tenkara Rods” – this was our big announcement of the year. Orvis came to us with a belief that tenkara will last long and they wanted to partner with the best tenkara company out there. Expect to see more in 2013.
7) Jason Klass’ post “Using Contrast in Sakasa Kebari Design” was another very popular post in 2012 with great examples of tenkara flies that use contrast. It has a good number of comments and the number of hits was super close to the Yoshida Kebari post.
9) I had a post about visiting a fishing store in Japan, that evening we had several comments of people wanting to learn more about the rods found in the shop. The next day I returned to the shop and made this video on the numerous types of telescopic rods found in the store. We receive lots of questions still about the different types of rods and usually refer folks to this post.
We just received the artwork from Anthony Naples for the 3rd Annual Tenkara Summit, which will be held in Harrisonburg, VA on May 11 and 12. We’ll count on the support of the Mossy Creek Fly Shop to carry the event on. Anthony’s artwork this year is designed to reflect the bluegrass feel of the area with tenkara embodied in it.
Registrations and further details will be released in coming weeks – for now, just mark your calendars. For your planning The event format will consist of two days, with day 1 being clinics and presentations, we’ll request a $25 registration fee which will include lunch. Day 2 will consist of free demos /get together in the morning and optional $75 lunch and guided clinics in the afternoon.