Today I had the pleasure to speak about tenkara and my recently released book with Nathan Heffel and Ryan Warner at the Colorado Public Radio (an affiliate of NPR).
As I mention in my segment, I started Tenkara USA with the aim of introducing more people to the joy fly-fishing, and tenkara was a great tool to do that. I was honored the CPR picked up my book and decided to cover tenkara. This introduces a lot of people who may not even be thinking about fly-fishing to our sport, in a simple way.
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.
This weekend Tenkara USA reached a milestone when the first video we created to introduce tenkara to the US and beyond reached 1 million views!!! Not exactly a viral video, but certainly a cool number to reach.
I have certainly learned a lot since that video was created, and some of it makes me chuckle, or even cringe a bit these days. But that video certainly did its job and introduced a lot of people to tenkara. I will save you from it and not embed it here, but you can watch the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.
Thank you all for watching!
And, make sure to watch our newest videos at www.tenkarausa.com/tenkara-videos
Got some news about the book: the files have been sent to the printer!!! YEAY! We are told about 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. The book will be printed in Denver, so I’ll be going to the press checks and keeping an eye on it as it comes out. I’ll be sending out a survey to ask for addresses from those who have pre-purchased it.
Meanwhile, as Jeremy worked on wrapping the files up yesterday I recorded a new podcast episode, in which I talk about my favorite rod, the Ito.
The Ito is The Ito is my favorite as well as that of many of the most experienced tenkara anglers. Yet, people are intimidated by its length. Listen to this episode to learn about what makes the Ito a favorite of so many anglers and why you should give it a try!
Referenced in this episode:
Landing a large brown on tenkara with the Ito
Facebook live video catching carp and bass with the Tenkara USA Ito
Unfortunately the Rip’Em & Lip’Em videos I mentioned are no longer available on Youtube, I’m trying to get the video files to share soon.
Mr. Sebata with the Ito
Shaun Lezotte with a large 29″ pike caught on tenkara
Me with a large size brown trout caught on the Ito (right after the header image for this podcast was taken)
This is an update on tenkara – the book, which will soon be arriving.
The book is now in its final stage before we print it and mail it. Thank you for your patience! After seeing the near-final product I can promise it will be worth the wait!
Over the last two weeks I holed myself up and focused exclusively on finishing final text revisions for tenkara – the book. The current version is looking so much cleaner than how it started. I don’t say this easily very often about my own work, but I am very proud of how this book has shaped up.
On Wednesday the book designer and illustrator, Jeremy Shellhorn, flew over to Boulder and we got to work together non-stop on the book. It was 3 long days of doing the final layout, placing the final images and touching up every single detail on every single page we touched. It was quite a amazing experience to see Jeremy do the work in front of me and bring words and photos to life in a way that just feel so…tenkara. We did a Facebook live video when we started working on it yesterday morning where we show a bit of what we have done.
The most interesting thing was our process in this last leg of the journey. We sat next to each other at the office, I would send him sections of text that were finalized and he would lay them out with the suggested photograph. But, because Jeremy knows our photography portfolio and tenkara so well, he would remember images that could be even better in a certain section. I’d find the image and send it to him and we would see how it worked. Other times we explored the text and found better, usually simpler, ways of saying things. This is a big contrast with traditional publishing, where the publisher requests that the text and images be completely done and sent over, then there are some several rounds of back and forth between author, designer, editor. In our case, the instant collaboration on every single page of the book has undoubtedly created a better produce. We can not begin to imagine doing this phase in any other way.
I expect about 5 more days to send the file to the printer, then about 3 weeks for it to be ready to ship. So, we are looking at approximately March 15th at the moment.
I feel embarrassed that I originally promised the book would be in your hands in January and I didn’t get it ready on time. I am not sure I underestimated the scope of this project or whether I just kept finding ways to make it a better book. This has been the toughest thing I have ever done, but I am incredibly excited about how it is turning out. I do apologize for the delay, if any would prefer a refund for me not meeting the timeline, I’d completely understand.
Now the finish line is very clear and we are just about to cross it. tenkara – the book will be something you’ll be very happy with. Next time you hear from me will be to get your address.
My best regards,
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
More Tenkara Summit 2015 photos
A little while ago we updated our tenkara rod cases. If you are interested in getting one of the new Tenkara USA rod cases to upgrade your existing one, these are now available here. They will be sold at a discounted price of $15 for the next two weeks to give you a chance to get them for an upgrade. These cases all share the same cap thread, but the rod name is printed on the cap. The rod cases also come with a stretchy woven rod sock.
I’m testing out a new platform to continue “sharing the tenkara story”. A friend of mind recently turned me on to Storehouse. Here’s a short photo story with Mr. Yuzo Sebata. What do you think?
Direct link to Tenkara story on Storehouse
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Orvis headquarters in Vermont. It’s always fun spending time with those guys and in that area. We got out and fished a couple of times, including floating the Battenkill river with Shawn Combs at the helm of his drift boat, and me swinging a big streamer on tenkara flies! Yes, you heard that right!!! With fish seemingly sleeping and little activity I put on a big bright gigantic streamer at the end of my line to see what would happen. The next day I sat down with Tom Rosenbauer to chat about tenkara and that experience.
You can listen to our conversation at the Orvis podcast here. The tenkara portion starts at 27:45
Orvis is now selling a tenkara kit with the Sato rod.
This was the second Orvis podcast on tenkara, you can listen to the first Orvis podcast on tenkara that Tom and I did here.
Wohoo! The Keeper is finally here!
The Keeper™ is a tenkaraline holder solution designed to hold two tenkara lines, or tenkara line and tippet. It also features a small integrated fly box. That way a minimalist tenkara angler can grab his favorite tenkara rod, and a loaded Keeper and go fishing.
Learn more about The Keeper.
Thank you all very much for your patience as we faced a delay overcame some challenges in the initial run.
It is time to put tenkara rods in the hands of more people, and to allow you to stop by your favorite shop and get the lines and flies you need as well as the full lineup of tenkara rods. We are expanding quickly into more stores and welcome several new tenkara dealers that just received their first shipment of Tenkara USA gear.
Tenkara USA products can now be found in over 80 stores around the country. This number will continue to grow and will include many outdoor sporting goods stores that so far do not carry any fly-fishing equipment.