A couple of months ago a friend turned me on to the app Storehouse. I immediately started playing with it as a story-telling medium and loved the format. The first story I created with images and videos I have captured was “Tenkara with Yuzo Sebata“. I intend to create a series of stories of fishing and learning from different tenkara teachers. Here’s my story of “Tenkara with Hisao Ishigaki”. Hope you enjoy it.
The “One fly” concept of tenkara – in which it is observed that most experienced tenkara anglers in Japan stick with one fly and don’t change it all the time, and that just about any fly can work – is a difficult one for most people to embrace. It is also a concept that has sparked a fair amount of debate within the tenkara community; some of it by folks misinterpreting the message as “you must use one fly”. But really, all this concept brings to us is a different way of thinking about fly-fishing. It is just like tenkara, it brings us an entirely different way to think about fly-fishing.
When I first learned that tenkara anglers in Japan were only using one fly pattern, it absolutely changed my fly-fishing life. It simplified it by telling me I could reduce my fly choices considerably. And it liberated me from second-guessing what fly to use and from consulting hatch books and locals for what flies I should use. And, that’s why I’m passionate about sharing this concept. Not for sake of purity or tradition, but because I have found it works. At least it works well enough to keep my life simpler and keep me from second-guessing my fly choices or worrying about what fly pattern *might* work a *little* better.
I can not say whether one fly will always work, in fact I have been challenged and talked about that in this video. But over the last 4 years I have fished throughout the US and other countries with some of the most experienced anglers around, and to be honest have not yet seen a noticeable different in the numbers of fish caught.
So, if you’re getting into fly-fishing or have been at it for decades, just know there is a different way to think about fly-fishing, fly choices and fly selection. You can ask yourself, is changing flies and second-guessing your fly choice worth the *possible* marginal benefit it brings over sticking with one fly pattern anywhere, anytime?
We don’t always share news about some of the larger fish people catch with tenkara. After all we are some of the first to admit tenkara is not designed for targeting large fish. But, hey, we won’t stop anyone from doing it.
Here is a superb pike caught by Shaun Lezotte on the Tenkara USA Ito rod. Shaun is a guide at our dealer Dakota Anglers and Outfitters in South Dakota. And, no, he didn’t throw his rod in the water!
Where I live, spring has just begun to show itself but the fishing season does not begin on my favorite, small streams until late May. That doesn’t keep me from walking, or skiing, along them to see what changes have come by the season’s hand. I treasure exploring and fishing these out of the way places and moving quickly. Up and over- around and down- unencumbered. That’s what I love about tenkara.
The big snows of winter have toppled trees and the thick ice has scoured fragile stream and riparian areas. The coming runoff will also create new to places to fish in this already familiar terrain. Will that one large rainbow, brought to hand three times last season, still be in that pocket? I smile and wonder if he has found a new home.
Near the stream, the aroma of thawing duff and needles is mixed with dirty snow and icy water. The smell is oddly fresh. On patches of bare ground travel is easy and maybe I will find that nipper I dropped last season. Is that one of my flies snagged in the willows? Not mine. I probably have a few in there also.
Farther up there is evidence of a large wind storm. Broken branches and boughs are strewn about the snow like pick-up sticks. I make my living in the woods and hard-earned habit compels me to look up. There are widow-makers hanging in the trees around me. Thankful there is no wind today, I quicken my pace to leave the drop zone and make note to be careful here later on.
I am ready for the coming season and several signs tell me that it will not be long. Not far from here, the big-name rivers are open, fishing well and several cars are in the turnouts. I’ll pass those by, thanks. Up here just suits me better. I look down and recognize a fly that I place on a stump to examine more closely.
Fishing Among Tenkara Friends
by TJ Ferreira
Had a great time this last weekend fishing with some of my tenkara friends. These are friends I have met in the last few years through tenkara and it was great to fish with all 3 of them for the first time. We already have a new trip planned soon but before that, I figured I would post some pictures that we have collected.
The legendary fly-fishing author John Gierach is at it again with a new book fresh off the press: All Fishermen are Liars.
Tenkara and Tenkara USA are featured in it as Gierach memorializes the time when I invited myself to come to Colorado and teach him tenkara. Over the weekend I caught up with Gierach in the writer’s den to talk about tenkara.
Please, do yourself a favor and buy Gierach’s new book!
We had 309 comments entered by midnight MST of 04/13 (Sunday Night). All comments were pasted into a worksheet and assigned a number. Then, I used the website Random.org to pull 5 random numbers. And the winners are…:
We will be contacting you guys shortly via email!
THANK YOU ALL OF OUR READERS FOR THE WONDERFUL COMMENTS YOU TOOK THE TIME TO ENTER HERE!!!
We are super proud to have touched so many lives and hear from you about what tenkara has meant to you over the last 5 years. We will always make it right by you by continuing to provide great customer service, useful information, entertaining stories, and excellent products. .
Tenkara+ is the idea that tenkara goes well with anything you already enjoy doing outside. You should not have to choose between activities. I wrote about this a while ago here. Read on to see how to win a Tenkara USA shirt and a hat.
That’s the beauty of this simple fly-fishing method. Because it doesn’t take a lot of equipment nor a lot of room, and it is super quick to setup, you can always bring tenkara along. Sure, sometimes (very often actually) we head out with the sole purpose of fishing. Tenkara can be its own excuse for us to head out, but what if you are planning to do other things? Do you need to choose one OR the other? We don’t think so. And, what if you’re going on a hike and happen to find a nice looking stream, will you wish you could cast your fly into its waters? Tenkara can make your next hike more interesting; it can ensure you’ll not go bored at rest days during your next climbing trip; and it will surely complement your backpacking trip very nicely.
So, we’re starting this “TENKARA+” campaign to illustrate there is no need to choose.
Share a picture or story of something you have done along with tenkara with. You may share that here on our blog or on our Facebook page or Twitter. At the end of the week we’ll be giving out a Tenkara USA shirt and a hat to one winner from Facebook, one from Twitter and one who posted on our blog. Please include the hashtage #tenkara+ at the beginning of your comment, or on your Twitter or Facebook post. You’re welcome to post in all three but if we select your photo or story we’ll only give you one prize.
Whether climbing, backpacking, foraging or hiking, make sure to bring a Tenkara USA rod along in your next adventure.
We’re starting to roll out new cases for our tenkara rods. I’m very excited about this new packaging concept. These tenkara rod cases were designed with the help of our design intern Luke Uyeda. Starting immediately, the Sato rods purchased in the USA will be shipping with the new cases, then we’ll slowly be repackaging all our other rods with the new cases in the next few weeks, and soon make them available for sale individually as well.
The new cases are ultra-light (2.8 oz compared to 7oz for the older cases, with option to use only nylon bag which is under 1oz), well-designed with functionality and simplicity in mind, and sleek looking. The new Tenkara USA rod cases feature an ultra-light plastic case for crush protection with a durable nylon sleeve covering it. The sleeve can also be used by itself for even lighter-weight protection against scratches.
Each case features the name of the rod stitched directly onto it, making it easy to identify which tenkara rod you’re grabbing on your way to the water.
They have strategically placed straps and loops, making it easy to strap the case onto packs or tie a should sling directly into the case. It even features a segment of lillian should you ever need to do a field repair. Though the design is simple, the possibilities of use are limitless and we’ll cover some ideas soon.
Lastly, we printed the most basic instructions needed for tenkara fishing directly on the packaging.
About the white color? We wanted it to be authentic and establish it as our brand’a cases (after all our initial green case got copied by everyone making a tenkara rod). Plus, we plan to hold some contests to see how dirty you will get yours. A white case will quickly help make the case that you fish often.
Five years ago virtually no one had heard the word tenkara. Now, 5 years after we introduced the method outside of Japan it has become a part of the fly-fishing vocabulary. When I was working towards creating Tenkara USA, taking a huge leap of faith in introducing a very foreign concept here, I knew I could write many books and articles but if people didn’t get to experience tenkara on their own the method would never spread. So, I decided to invest my life savings, quit my job and start a company making tenkara rods, lines and flies. The method took hold and has been spreading quickly, because it makes sense, is fun and effective and its simplicity appeals to a large number of people.
Five years later the number of tenkara anglers has grown, and grown, and grown. It has been a dramatic movement with exponential numbers of anglers adopting the method. But, there has been a question we have been asked over and over again: “so, how many tenkara anglers are there.”
I still debate whether it is a number I want to share. But, I am curious, if you were to guess how many anglers there are in the US, how many would you say? I can tell you it is more than 1,000 but less than a million.
The biggest thing tenkara brings us is a different mindset, a different way of thinking about fly-fishing.
Tenkara tells us we don’t have to worry about bugs that are hatching. It tells us that if we decide to leave floatant and split-shot behind we can. And, it tells us fly fishing is not complicated and cluttered with equipment.
Tenkara can be more than just fishing, it is a paradigm shift in fly fishing.
It started off as a magazine but I’m tempted to say the end-result is much more like a book. This year I decided it was time to add value to the tenkara community by creating the Tenkara Magazine. The first print publication dedicated to tenkara in the world, the Tenkara Magazine™ is a beautiful collection of essays, interviews, how-to’s, and philosophical thoughts revolving around the tenkara lifestyle. The magazine is 112 pages long, printed in high-quality paper, with submissions from talented writers and photographers who have been practicing tenkara.
Get it here
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Beginnings: A Japanese Story by Paul Gaskell
Tenkara: Me and the Past by Gordon M. Wickstrom
Taking a Chance by Daniel Galhardo
Home by Dinner by Graham Moran
Arctic Grayling Ultralight Tenkara Backpacking in Utah’s High Country by Rob Worthing
A Gal Who Loves to Double-Haul by Aileen Lane
Q&A with Dr. Hisao Ishigaki and Masami Sakakibara by Adam Trahan
I Love the No-Tarin Club by Kiyoshi Ishihara
The Tenkara Summit by Daniel Galhardo
Tenkara and the Beginner by Tom Davis
Ten Techniques for Tenkara by Jason Klass
Finding the Perfect Tenkara Water by Steven B. Schweitzer
Forgiving Boulder Creek by Sasha Barajas
The Basics of Tenkara
The Guide School by Mark R. Cole
Tenkara Guide Network by Daniel Galhardo
Tenkara Brothers by John Vetterli
A Homecoming by Paul Vertrees
A Great Way to Catch Trout by Morgan Lyle
Tenkara Fly Tying: Sakasa Kebari by Chris Kuhlow
Tenkara Flies by Daniel Galhardo
People Who Fish by Tienlon Ho
Small Streams: There and Back Again by Anthony Naples
From the Heavens to the Peak District: A Short History of the
Rise of Tenkara in the UK by John Pearson
Under the Ruins of Nero’s Villa: Tenkara in Italy by Vito “Tsurikichi” Rubino
A Boy, A Bus, Tenkara! by TJ Ferreira
No Need to Choose by Allison Pluda
Uptown Tenkara: A Crappie Experience by Ron P. Swegman
Gyotaku from the Water, to the Paper, to the Plate by Kirby Wilson
Destinations by Adam Trahan, Paul Vertrees, Daniel Hoda, Rob Worthing, Judy W. Cole, and Guillaume Chavanne
The Colors of Tenkara by David Dirks
***The Tenkara Magazine is currently only available for shipping to the USA (or Canada and Australia if ordered with other items as shipping costs are prohibitive.) We are researching our options for overseas shipping and digital publication.