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/
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
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.
by TJ Ferreira
Having just recently turned the big Five O-no, I glanced in the mirror the other day and what I saw what was an aging, graying, balding shell of what I once was back in my 20s and even 30s. I wake every morning with a few more aches and pains, a few less hairs, but I have a purpose in this life so I get to my daily routine day after day.
Where have all the years gone? Time sure does fly! Both sayings you will hear older folks mention as we age. There are days I feel down. There are days I feel up. I am human after-all. But, I tell myself I have things pretty darn good so it keeps me going. And really, 50 is not that old, but sure, I am well past my ½ way point.
The way I look at things, I have another 20 to 25 in the business world working for a living. Another 30 to maybe 40 fishing tenkara, and if very lucky, another 50 on this earth. At least that is what I am praying for.
On Monday I awoke to another normal Monday, one that I happen to have off. Wife woke up around 5:45AM to get ready for work and I dragged myself out of bed around 7:30 to start my day. Now that may seem rather late for some, but I don’t sleep well. I am somewhat nocturnal, go to bead in the AM, toss and turn all night, with a brain that will not shut off I keep thinking of things all night that keep me awake. Needless to say I am not a morning person. I find that I finally doze off around 5AM and although I keep waking every 30 minutes, I feel snuggly in bed and get my best rest in these hours.
So no, I don’t like to wake at 5AM to go fishing. Therefore most my trips I am a solo fisherman, beating to my own time and my own drum. Not on a groups time schedule or have to be there at a certain time. Although, every now and then I enjoy fishing with my friends, and I rather look forward to the friendships I have made over the years getting to know them all. It is rewarding to fish with them, to watch, to learn, and to have fun.
On Monday I fished a High Sierra river in NorCal and it was a great day. Geared up wearing my favorite hat, when I walked up on the river I looked down and saw my reflection in the river. I saw a 25 year old, my legs stronger to take on the rivers current, my arms more precise in their movement back and forth, and my heart pitter patters with a youthful spirit again.
The Rivers Mirror does not lie, it holds many unknowns and rejuvenates an aging heart making it young again, and with every cast, and every trout, I am 25 again.
I caught many many trout on this fine Monday. Too many to count on my two hands. It was a great day and what has become the purpose of my tenkara, to enjoy life with a new spirit every day. Going after the unknown of what lurks under each riffle or behind each rock, makes me feel like a kid all over again, for every fishing trip I am learning something new, just like when I was a years ago.
A long drive home I am welcomed by the howling of my two dogs, happy to see their papa. I stroll in the house and pet each of my 4 cats, and as I walked by the mirror, I saw an aging man, gray hairs, balding, but with a smile on his face, and as happy as one man ought to be. The mirror does not lie. The mirror showed a boyish grin with a beating heart and desire for tenkara, and longing for his next adventure on the River’s Mirror.
Today I sat down with long time tenkara angler and Tenkara USA supporter Graham Moran (aka Tenkara Grasshopper). Graham is an outdoor enthusiast who took on tenkara with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, to the point where he now even guides with a tenkara rod. We chatted about…you guessed it, tenkara, as well as about Graham’s tenkara blogging, his experience guiding with tenkara, and learned some of his tips for tenkara fishing. For the items referenced in this episode, please visit the podcast page here.
Listen to the episode with the player below, or listen via iTunes
I have noticed I am appearing to be dormant recently. Not too many videos, posts, articles… not even so many new podcasts recently. But, I am still here.
To show that I am still around, and contrary to some rumors I haven’t been murdered by any of the tenkara-hating crowd, I’ll show my face on a live video next week. I’ll be going to a nearby stream on Wednesday, June 8th at 10am MST (4pm GMT) and will be talking about tenkara, answering any questions you may have and showing you how I fish with tenkara. All will be showing live via Facebook. To watch it, just visit the Tenkara USA page on Facebook here and tune in on Wednesday at 10am MST.
I’m so excited about this new episode of the Tenkara Cast that I’m releasing it ahead of schedule. I try to release new episodes on Wednesdays but couldn’t contain myself here. This is an interview I did with John Gierach last year. At the time the interview was destined to be put together as a short video and I posted that video below for you to see. But, we kept the video short. Since then, people have asked for the full interview and the podcast is the perfect medium for this interview. I hope you enjoy my conversation with renowned author John Gierach.
The original video:
I’m so happy to be getting good feedback from listeners about our podcast series, the Tenkara Cast. I’m getting emails almost daily about how people are enjoying the episodes, and that gives me great enthusiasm to keep putting them out.
Long-time tenkara angler Ed Baldridge just sent me a kind email with his story about how the last podcast episode helped him catch more fish. He said,
Really enjoying your podcasts. Today I was fishing and things were real slow. I felt like I was casting for absolutely no reason. Water was cold and no fish seen anywhere. I took off my backpack and other gear and was about to pack it inand I remembered your recent technique podcasts. I figured I would cycle through the techniques and see if anything might do the trick. Went back to the stream with only a rod, line and a fly. Dead drift- nope. Pulsing the fly- nope and then I did the “drift and drag”. Letting the fly drift, pause and drag it back up stream. Next thing I knew fish were hitting the kebari and a bad day was turned into another fun day on the water.
On our Facebook page, Glenn D. Grossman shared:
“Daniel, thank you very much for your podcast series. Your advice has helped me take my Tenkara game to a new level. The episode in which you discuss detecting a strike has been especially helpful. I honestly would not have landed a single fish today if I hadn’t followed your advice. Cheers, Friend! :)”
What do you say? Are you enjoying the episodes? What would you like to have me cover?
Share your thoughts with me here, via email, or PLEASE, as a review in iTunes here. Your comments really help me keep the podcast alive.
In today’s episode of the Tenkara Cast, I cover the 6 main tenkara techniques I have discussed in the past in an audio format. I also go a bit more in depth about how to improve each of the techniques. Tenkara is simple, but there is always more to learn.
This is a longer episode, 53 minutes…and I recognize I’m probably a bit monotone sometime. So, do me a favor and listen to it in sections if you’re driving as I don’t want to be blamed for anyone falling asleep while driving
Overview of the fly presentations with a tenkara rod
1) Dead-drift: allow the fly to naturally drift with the current
2) Pausing: move the rod tip upstream from the fly to pause the fly in place for a couple of seconds in spots where fish are likely to be, such as in front of rocks.
3) Pause-and-Drift: Put the rod tip upstream from the tenkara fly to pause it for a second or two, then let it drift, pause it again, let it drift.
4) Pulsing: with a rhythmic motion move your fly up and down, making the tenkara fly pulse with life. The tenkara fly will open its hackle when you pull it, but close a bit when you relax it.
5) Pulling: this is a bit like using your fly as a streamer, where you will impart a lot of action. Part of the tenkara line must be in the water to serve as an anchor as you pull the tenkara fly across or upstream about 1 1/2ft at a time. It is particularly useful in faster or higher water conditions.
6) Plunging: This is a technique that may be combined with any of the previous 5 techniques and is used to help sink your fly without using any weight, using currents instead. Cast upstream from a place where the water drops, plunges or gets channelled between rock, as the fly hits the part where the water is more turbulent, let some of the line into the turbulence to take it down. If you’re doing it correctly and hitting a good spot, your line will seem to stop for a couple of seconds, then it may move in circles a bit, and then it will move downstream, typically fairly deep.
Ever wanted to visit the land of pasta, wine and espresso? And, of course, fish a little when you’re there?
We recorded a good episode of the Tenkara Cast with Vito Rubino on travel and tenkara in Italy. Listen to it now, or via iTunes (just look up tenkara in the iTunes app).
Our 5th annual Tenkara Summit took place this weekend in Estes Park and by all accounts I’d say it was a big hit. We had approximately 180 participants this year, with nearly 1/3 of that being people who travelled from out of state to attend. We also counted on the presence of two guests from Japan who came to share their experience with tenkara. Mr. Yoshikazu Fujioka came to share his vast knowledge of tenkara flies and Mr. Go Ishii spoke about his experiences fishing in Japan and did a demonstration on casting and approach techniques.
There is a lot to be said about this event. Every year, because of the huge amount of work involved (and the big expense) I think it will be the last time I want to do it. But every year I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many people passionate about tenkara when the Summit time comes. And, I’m so grateful to all the amazing volunteers and support staff who made this an incredible community event. Their help always allows me to contemplate holding more Tenkara Summits. So I’m sure 2016 will see one too.
A huge hank you all those who attended and those who couldn’t be there in person but were with us in spirit, you made it the incredible event it turned out to be. A toast to another incredible tenkara experience. Below are some pictures of the Summit as well as the slide presentation given by Mr. Fujioka, which I promised I’d post on the site today.