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Tenkara Guide Spotlight: Daniel Pierce II

On January 25, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Dan Pierce

In this installment of the Tenkara Guide Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Pierce II of our Tenkara Guide Network. Daniel Pierce has been a great help to Tenkara USA and the north eastern tenkara community for some time now. Dan guides classic trout waters in his home state of Maine, wild places with beautiful native book trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth bass. Besides guiding, Dan is very active at teaching tenkara at area events and can usually be found in the Tenkara USA booth when we are in New England.

Besides tenkara activities, Dan works as a middle school counselor, enjoys spending time with his family, and bow hunting for deer and turkey, all of which influence his fishing and guiding. Dan genuinely enjoys sharing the outdoors with others, as his responses below will support.

What types of environment do you guide tenkara anglers and how long have you been guiding?  About how many guide trips and tenkara guide trips do you do in a season?

I guide in the great state of Maine.  The number of days I guide changes year to year and depends on the weather but it is usually 20-25 days a year of guiding with clients and then a few tenkara classes through out the year.  I work full time as a school counselor at a middle school and started guiding when people asked at fly fishing shows where they could find a guide in Maine.  I saw an opportunity and jumped on it!  People come from New England to fish in Maine with me because of the native brook trout we have here and because there are so few tenkara guides in New England.

Daniel Pierce tenkara guide Maine

Do you guide only tenkara or also western fly-fishing (or spin fishing)? 

I exclusively guide fixed line fly-fishing which has given me my niche in Maine.  Maine has a number of outstanding fishing guides but only one tenkara guide!

What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of guiding with tenkara?

Tenkara is great for people who are new to the sport of fly-fishing because there is a quick learning curve if you have someone knowledgable with you.  I have found tenkara to be a great “add on” activity to recreational guiding here in Maine.  Disadvantages would be sometimes people don’t fully understand the limitations of tenkara fishing.

What are your favorite Tenkara USA rods for guiding on your favorites and are your personal favorites different that what you guide with?

Ever since I got the Rhodo and Sato, I have never looked back.  There are times I still fish my Amago but 95% of the time both guiding and fishing on my own, it is one of those rods.  The rods are well made and reliable which is why they are my go to rods.  Between the two rods I can effectively fish a rod between 8 and 13 feet.

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What types of rigs do you fish as far as terminal tackle, i.e. single dry fly, indicator rigs, dry dropper, etc. ?

Especially when I am guiding, I do not get very technical with rigging.  Many of my clients are looking for simplicity and effectiveness.  For this reason, we rig with level line, tippet, and a single fly.

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?

My biggest surprise was the effectiveness of this method of fishing and the range and variety of fish I have been able to target with tenkara.

11781688_966302743391924_2565133519501835744_nAs a guide, what are your thoughts on using few (or one) fly pattern?

So we come to the question of fly choice.  I generally guide people who are interested in being outside, learning something new, and hopefully catching fish.  For this reason, I fish very few fly patterns.  From 2011-2014 I fished one fly; a black hook, black thread, grey turkey feather sakasa kebari.  Early in 2015 I started to mess around with killer bugs AKA ( UKB, Sawyer’s, Crane fly larva).  I now fish a sakasa kebari 3 different colors and a killer bug in 3 different colors, although 9 out of 10 flies I tie on is a black sakasa kebari.  My general philosophy is the more time my fly is in the water, the better chance I have of a fish seeing it.

Do you have a favorite fly? What is it?

Most people would think spring in Maine means early season fishing, when really it means turkey hunting.  The two spring male wild turkeys I shoot each year  will give me enough feathers to refill my fly box for the season and beyond.  I started using turkey feathers in 2011 and have exclusively used them for my sakasa kebari since then.  The feathers are a blackish grayish color that have an unbelievable amount of action and turn almost translucent when underwater.  So my favorite fly is a simple one; TMC103bl size 13, black thread, turkey feather sakasa kebari.

Do you have a fly fishing or tenkara based online blog?  What is the URL?

No blog yet but keep your eyes open!

Do you have an social media presence for your services?  What are your Facebook or other social media accounts names?

You can find me on Facebook.com/Mainetenkaraguide and on Instagram @Mainetenkaraguide.

 

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Tenkara Transitions, Casting Goals

On January 24, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Sebata-tenkar

Here at Tenkara USA, we’ve been very excited about sharing tenkara with people new to fishing in general. This has been incredibly rewarding for all of us, but I would like to spend a bit of time in Tenkara Transitions helping those who are experienced and accomplished fly-anglers transition to tenkara.

While tenkara casting is usually much easier for beginners to pick up than western fly-casting, we have seen instances where casting a tenkara rod is difficult or clumsy for an experienced angler. As the physical requirements of tenkara casting are minimal, (after all, we’re casting a much shorter and lighter line with a longer lever) the difficulty some experienced western anglers  have can be attributed more to a mental block than a physical inability to execute the task of a good tenkara cast. In my  opinion, this block can largely be conquered once the different casting goals of western fly-casting and tenkara casting are understood.

For sake of brevity, I’m going to define these goals in the aspects of western fly fishing and tenkara that I and most of my friends seem most enthusiastic about, casting dry flies on rivers and streams with a western fly rod and casting unweighted flies (dry or wet) on a mountain stream with a tenkara rod.

With western casting, the cast begins with a straight line back cast roughly parallel to the water’s surface. Once the line has straightened behind the angler, the forward cast sends the line roughly parallel to the waters surface until it unrolls above the target, usually about eye level. Just as the line falls, (hopefully) controlled slack is often put in the line in the form of an arial mend. The rod tip then follows the plastic fly line to the surface of the water to leave the intentional slack in place and at the ready to place additional mends in the line as conflicting currents have time to take hold. Obviously, there are many different scenarios a western fly caster may find themselves in, but I hope this provides a good baseline for comparison.

In tenkara, the cast begins with a backcast above and behind the angler. Usually a bit before the line straightens out behind the angler, the forward cast begins and throws the line in front of and down from the rod tip. The line should unroll relatively straight to the target, roughly ten inches from the surface of the water. As the fly and some tippet hit the water, the rod tip should be left high, holding all or at least most of the casting line off of the water so that no mending is required. Again, there’s a lot one can do with a tenkara rod, but this is the norm for myself and many, (perhaps most) of the tenkara anglers I speak with.

Once a western fly-fisher understands these different casting goals, tenkara casting can be the simple and elegant act it should be; not much more than a flick of the wrist sending the line above and behind the angler followed by a flick of the wrist sending the line down and in front of the angler. There are more detailed and well done tenkara casting articles and videos that I encourage aspiring tenkara anglers to seek out, but believe understanding these basic goals will help the information in those sources be more accessible for someone entrenched in western fly-fishing. I also feel that understanding these goals will help the angler transition back and forth from tenkara to western fly fishing, should they so choose.

If you’re a western angler who’s had issues making a tenkara rod cast the way you think it should, please let us know if this explanation helps you. If not, we’d love to hear what you’re having troubles with in an effort to help you on your tenkara journey. Best of luck and happy casting!

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Tenkara Guide Spotlight: Jim Mitchell

On January 18, 2017 • Comments (0)
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Jim Mitchell Tenkara on the West Fork Bitterroot

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

A cutthroat caught on one of Jim's secret streams.

A cutthroat caught on one of Jim’s secret streams.

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?

My personal and guide rods are the same the Amago and the Sato.

John Geer of Tenkara USA with a rainbow caught on a trip with Jim.

John Geer of Tenkara USA with a rainbow caught on a trip with Jim.

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.
https://montanahuntingfishingadv.com/blog/

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/
Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/mthuntfishadv
Twitter, mthuntfishadv
Instagram, montana_hunting_fishing_adv

Tenkara guide Jim Mitchell with Daniel Galhardo in Montana

Tenkara guide Jim Mitchell with Daniel Galhardo in Montana

 

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How to open and close an adjustable tenkara rod

On November 8, 2016 • Comments (2)
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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.

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Conversations: Japan with Adam Trahan and Adam Klags

On November 2, 2016 • Comments (0)
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adam-photos

This blog entry is a transcription from the Tenkara Cast podcast episode “Conversations: Japan with Adam Trahan and Adam Klags.” We have had many requests to have the podcasts in this format and are happy to present the first one here. The podcast episode may be found here

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Choosing a tenkara rod, tenkara line, and tenkara flies

On October 17, 2016 • Comments (1)
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By Daniel Galhardo

complete-set

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

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Untouched fish

On October 6, 2016 • Comments (0)
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tenkara in the fly fish journalHave 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.

 

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Back on the tenkara saddle again

On October 4, 2016 • Comments (0)
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Cheers following a late November outing with my pal Allie.

Cheers following a late November outing with my pal Allie.

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.

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You found what where?

On September 30, 2016 • Comments (0)
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fullsizerenderAh the smell of donuts fresh out of the oven and the crisp fall breeze wafting in from the open window. Nothing like a great community event to get me in the baking mood!

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).

clean-up-bikeAs 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!

Awesome to have the kiddos out with us!

Awesome to have the kiddos out with us!

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”.

 

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Flyathalon – It’s a Family Affair

On September 15, 2016 • Comments (0)
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steves son tony - flyathalonWhen 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.

tryathalon its a family affairAfter 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?

 

 

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