This is the first installment of a new series of blog posts we’d like to bring to you. The Tenkara Guide Spotlight will bring some of the experience and knowledge of the professional guides in our Tenkara Guide Network to the spotlight so we can all learn from tthem. You’ll see a diversity of tackle preferences and techniques used and hope this will help you in finding your own tenkara.
We start the series with Jim Mitchell, a full time fishing and hunting guide form the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana. Jim is a consummate professional and a super nice guy. I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with Jim a few times, and always find it an enjoyable and informative experience. His to the point answers give a nice glimpse into the thinking of a professional guide.
Where do you guide tenkara anglers and how long have you been guiding?
I started guiding in 2001 and became an outfitter in 2009. I guide float and wade trips on Rivers and Small streams in Montana.
Do you guide only tenkara or also western fly-fishing?
I guide Western and tenkara fly-fishing.
About how many guide trips and tenkara guide trips do you do in a season?
I guide about 150 client days per season 10 to 20 of those are tenkara
What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of guiding with tenkara?
A few advantages to tenkara are the simplicity and a drag free drift. One disadvantage is casting distance on big rivers and that is irrelevant when tenkara float fishing from a raft.
What are your favorite Tenkara USA rods for guiding on your favorites and are your personal favorites different that what you guide with?
What types of rigs do you fish (i.e. single dry fly, indicator rigs, dry dropper, etc.) ?
I fish single dries, dry dropper, double fly indicator rigs and nymphs without indicators. The one thing I have not tried is streamers
Has there been anything about fishing and guiding with tenkara that has been a surprise to you compared to your initial impressions of the fishing method?
The freedom. It’s nice to leave the big bag of flies and equipment and just take a small pack with a few essentials.
As a guide, what are your thoughts on using few (or one) fly pattern?
It’s fun to do at times, but I am not a one fly guy.
Do you have a favorite fly? What is it?
A prince nymph for the nymph. A Purple Haze for the dry.
Do you have a fly-fishing or tenkara based online blog? What is the URL?
It’s a hunting and fishing blog, but I don’t update it often.
Do you have an social media presence for your services? What are your Facebook or other social media accounts names?
Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/montanahuntingfishingadventures/
In this video Daniel will cover how to open and close an adjustable tenkara rod (also known as “tenkara zoom rods”). The Tenkara USA rods, such as the Sato, Rhodo and Ito, can be fished at different lengths and it is important to know how to properly use them.
Further, here’s a short video on how to replace segments on a tenkara rod, including the adjustable tenkara rods.
By Daniel Galhardo
This blog entry is a transcription from the Tenkara Cast podcast episode “Choosing a tenkara rod, tenkara line, and tenkara flies.” We have had many requests to have the podcasts transcribed and are happy to present the first one here. The podcast episode may be found here
Have you ever walked high above a river, perhaps on a bridge or a trail, and while looking down at the water far below steep walls said to yourself, “there must be a big trout in that pool, and I bet no one has ever caught it!” ?
I have walked many such trails, wondering the same thing to myself. The steep scrambles or sheer walls have kept me from reaching most of those fish. But, I have also started taking it upon myself to search for those fish and go catch them. Recently I recorded a podcast episode in which I talk about my “outdoor obsessions”: climbing and tenkara. The skills I have gained through my years of climbing allow me to get to those places where I ask myself whether there is a fish down there.
In the latest edition of the Fly Fish Journal, I recount one such story of chasing big trout in an inaccessible river in Wyoming. If this sounds appealing to you, get yourself a copy of their latest magazine for the story.
I imagine there are many reasons why people fish: to enjoy the great outdoors, to get away from it all, to heal, to think, to improve; the list is truly endless. Growing up in Maine, fishing was something special.
My mother and aunt tell me the most wonderful stories of reading below deck in the heat of summer. The family dog Topsy, kept pépère (my French Canadian grandfather) company while he spent weekends fishing off the side of his boat on the many lakes of Maine.
Several months ago I was devastated to lose my Uncle Al whom I attribute to opening my eyes to fishing. Since this loss I have found it difficult to pick up my rod though I always keep it close by. I remember being a child and feeling so special driving to the Gulf of Maine with the important task of keeping the eels in check (they sloshed around in a bucket on the floor of the car). The Bluefish were running and this was just the treat we hoped to entice them with. This trip is one of my most cherished memories of time spent with Uncle Al.
My tenkara journey began a couple years back, not long after the flood ravaged Boulder Creek. For me it was a time to mend my relationship with the creek, build trust, and reacquaint with all the wonder and beauty it has to offer.
This past weekend I braved the water once again, and under the guidance of a most admired friend, Allie. Allie is tremendous. She’s not only an amazing fly-fishing guide, skilled hunter, and leader of the Rocky Mountain Lady Anglers, she’s also a trusted friend. Living over 2,000 miles away from home can be hard and I have such fond memories of us fishing together on holidays.
With Allie by my side I was happy to find the strength and courage to move forward and honor my Uncle with each cast of my tenkara rod.
This past Saturday I joined colleagues, old friends, and about two hundred potential new friends to clean up Boulder Creek. The crackle of the velcro on my safety vest alerted me that it was “go time.”
Daniel Galhardo and I proudly led a group of volunteers up to the Eben G. Fine Kayak Park near the mouth of Boulder Canyon. This is one of two areas adopted by Tenkara USA (our other location is just a few miles upstream).
As Boulder Creek sees a lot of action, our part in tidying it up is essential. Aside from friendly fisherman it is also frequented by wildlife, quick dippers, rope swing enthusiasts, inner tube travelers (our town boasts a 9-year running “Tube to Work Day”), and as the park name suggests, kayakers. What does this all mean? The possibilities of what we could find were endless.
What comes to mind are those large bins you have to dig through at those post holiday sales, or stealthily navigating a garage sale for that long forgotten treasure. On this particular adventure there were finds a-plenty, including bed springs, and this “like new” bike frame. Oooh, ahh. And though I was not looking for it I found loads and loads of poison ivy (I wasn’t aware of it until the following day). Surprise!
Overall it was a fantastic day with great vibes, and awesome after party at Rocky Mountain Anglers. If asked for any take-home advice, I’d say “Be careful where you step”.
When I first heard the term “flyathlon” I was not quite sure what to make of it. It sounds exciting and definitely piques my interest. As I could not for the life of me recall the lessons I thought I learned my high school Latin class I conducted an on-line search.
The world wide web suggested that “athlon” comes from the Latin for “competition”. Looking up flyathlon directed me to the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon website.
The Flyathlon is a competition comprised of “run, fish, beer”, one runs a course, stops to catch a fish and take a photo of it, and at the end, winner or loser, drinks some beer with other competitors.
For the second year in a row tenkara was present at the Flyathlon in the hands of the Conrad family. Steve Conrad participated last year, and this year brought his son Tony along.
After the event, Steve posted on his Facebook page: “Made it back home after a weekend off the grid running the Rocky Mountain Flyathalon. My oldest son Tony & I run 12 miles caught fish (Tony 1, Me 4) and drank more than our share of beer. I only did one superman that finished in a beautiful tuck and roll. We’re already making plans to return next year. Love it!”
If you want to learn more about this event from Steve, you can hear his conversation with Daniel on this Tenkara Cast episode.
What do you think? Would you take up a challenge involving fishing, running and beer?
In this latest episode Daniel, who has been described as a “rock-climber disguised as a fly angler”, but sometimes as a fly angler disguised as a rock-climber, discusses how he found his two big passions in life, rock-climbing and tenkara fly-fishing, as well as how they fit together and have inspired him to start Tenkara USA. Without knowing where the episode was going to go, Daniel concludes that one shouldn’t dismiss an activity after a quick glance as you may get hooked when you actually try it. And, that some activities are great complements to each other and bring us balance.
Referenced in this episode:
Daniel brings up the newly published book by one of his climbing heroes, Hans Florine: http://onthenosebook.com/
Giveaway campaign: http://onthenosebook.com/contest/ (the Tenkara USA giveaway will be on the week of September 19th).
The Fly Fish Journal with Daniel’s current story on combining climbing and tenkara fly-fishing: http://www.theflyfishjournal.com/issue/8.1/8.1
by TJ Ferreira
Sometimes it takes a nice relaxing camping trip to give my mind respite. A time to look, listen, and learn. Although camping can be a bit of work, the down times are a wonderful way to recharge one’s mind and body.
My wife and I camped this past weekend at a very small and remote PG&E Campground in Northern California. This was one of those “tenkara +” moments for me. The goal of this trip was rest, eat, sleep, talk, wander, listen, look, learn, and sure… some tenkara too.
It is probably true that tenkara never sleeps for me. I mean, I work for Tenkara USA so my job is to talk about tenkara all day long. Not a half bad job. Then comes the weekend and what do I tend to gravitate to? Fishing. LOL! Tenkara fishing that is.
Do you all carry tenkara gear in your modes of transport? I do. I aways have a pack with a tenkara rod or two, lines, flies… the basics. I am always on the ready if I see a pool that entices me or extend my second rod to a stranger inquiring about what I am up to.
This camping trip was no different. I chose this campground as it was near a creek, and I had read it was once a great fishery but has since died off. A mix of California drought and a growing population of otters have made fishing at this creek very difficult. But I knew fishing would be possible so I went prepared.
Upon our Saturday arrival we set up camp. Once done, the wife and I were lazy bones. Never did my mind stop thinking of tenkara. Waiting for that dusk awakening time for my best chances of catching a few trout “in the style of tenkara”, as a buddy of mine Mike Willis calls it. Most the day was spent listening to sounds from the forest, looking at wildlife that meandered by, bugs and flying insects that have no clock and they seem to work 24/7.
I only fished about one hour on Saturday but did catch a nice small wild brown. I was happy as the creek that skunked me a few weeks prior (when I went there on a recon outing). A nice pat on the head and off the brownie went to serve someone else “hello” in the near future.
Sunday was another day of laziness, listening and eye-balling mother nature at its best. Dragonflies on parade, yellow jackets and meat bees hovering around you every time you decide to snack (this is diet control for sure), but all day I was waiting for was dusk. Dusk tonight meant I would hit this creek much harder than the day before.
Mounted up with wet wading gear I hit the creek for two hours this fine Sunday. The creek only yielded me one more brownie, but a little bigger today. This creek was most generous as it tries to rebuild on the past, slowly but surely, even when the odds are stacked against it.
Sneaking like a tenkara angler has to learn to do, I heard some crunching in the weeds near the creek. I stood motionless as an otter swam within one foot from my feet as it worked its way down river. How cool was that!
I could tell the locals in charge of this area are trying to re-grow the fishing here. A few 4×4 posts with survey boxes were at the creek and each night I was proud to fill out a form to tell them thanks. Every day I caught myself a little extra energy boost, that I know will make my tenkara grow even more after this fine trip.
So what did I learn on this trip?… patience for sure. This creek was very poor in quantity but the quality and wildlife were rather spectacular. I went camping to chill with my wife, and that I did. Tenkara + patience was at hand on this trip and for that I am thankful.
Even if one does not catch double digits of fish, remember there is much more to tenkara than just fishing. Look, listen, and learn. Each trip you can bring something wonderful home if you head out with an open heart and open eyes.
Much like a forest that never sleeps, neither does my tenkara. It has become part of my being. I am living tenkara +.
** Remember to listen for new sounds when out in nature. I told my wife that these sounds were made by a Velociraptor: https://youtu.be/LXyfFX3EGAw. Hehe.