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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 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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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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Tenkara Cast: Simple flies

On September 14, 2015 • Comments (1)
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Listen to our newest episode of the Tenkara Cast, a very fun conversation with Morgan Lyle, author of the book Simple Flies. I really enjoyed this conversation where we talk about his book project, as well as the philosophies of simple flies and simple fly-fishing.

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Tenkara with Hans Florine

On July 7, 2015 • Comments (0)
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Hans Florine is best known for his rock climbing career, which includes setting the record for the fastest ascent of El Capitan (climbing 3,000ft of vertical rock in 2 hours and 23 minutes…in a place most people take 3 days to climb).
Last year I got to meet Hans, someone who’s greatly inspired my own interest in rock climbing. He was interested in teaching his young son how to fly-fish and realized tenkara would be a great tool for that. A couple of weeks ago he came to Boulder and we connected for a morning of fishing followed by an afternoon of rock climbing. Here’s a short video I made of him talking about where tenkara fits in with his climbing lifestyle.

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David Letterman got a tenkara rod

On May 18, 2015 • Comments (1)
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David Letterman talks about getting a tenkara rod for his birthday and describes the method in a piece for Rolling Stone Magazine. How cool is that? So, if you’re fishing in Montana this summer and see a tenkara rod being waved around, stop by and see if it is Letterman fishing.
David Letterman on tenkara for Rolling Stone magazine

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Ovis Podcast with Tom Rosenbauer

On May 12, 2015 • Comments (1)
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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

TomRosenbauer-DanielGalhardo_Tenkara_Orvis

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.

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Women love tenkara

On January 14, 2015 • Comments (1)
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It is no secret that women love tenkara. Over the weekend the Fly Fishing Show had its first Women’s Fly-Fishing Showcase in Denver. It featured a presentation on tenkara given by Sasha Barajas and Allie Marriott, and we got a chance to speak to Judy Cole, a tenkara angler from Leadville, Colorado.

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Interview with Dave Hughes, PART 2

On November 22, 2014 • Comments (3)
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by Adam Trahan

This is a continuation of the abridged interview by Adam Trahan with Dave Hughes on the subject of tenkara.
Part 1
Complete conversation here

Adam: I went through the phase of researching as much as I could from known Japanese masters and through Daniel and Dr. Ishigaki, I began my own training (from afar) of a tenkara kebari “one-fly” approach. I settled on a simple Takayama Sakasa Kebari and used it everywhere varying only the size. I caught fish; more fish than I’ve ever caught on the streams that I had been fishing with lite line fly rods for many many years.

It was crazy.

When I went to Japan, it was still hard to leave the comfort of my little Wheatley fly box filled with my knowledge of the different hatches and fliess that go along with it only to take a odd looking fly box that had only one style of fly. I caught fish all over Japan too.

“What is your approach to fly selection on a small stream? With your tenkara rod, are you just using the same flies or are you in Japanese Fly Fishing mode?”

Dave Hughes: I’m where you were with your little Wheatly: I have a small-stream fly box that I use when “western fly fishing”, and I carry the same box when tenkara fishing. It has a narrow selection of dry flies, nymphs, wet flies, and streamers that I’ve found effective on small streams over many years…now many decades…of fishing them. I’ve never tried to narrow my choice beyond keeping my burden light…my goal out there is to please the trout, which have difficult lives, and I’d like to give them a bit of pleasure.

One fly I’ll add, and its history and description are more thorough in my book, is a Saito-San Special. It’s a parachute pattern, rust brown body and blue dun hackle. I first encountered it when fishing with Megaku Saito, bamboo rod builder under the name Old Crab, near his home in Furukawa. He outfished the heck out of Masako and me. He loaned us a few of his flies–he only used the one, like a true tenkara fisherman, though we were not fishing tenkara–and we caught yamame and iwana on it as well as he did…almost as well.

When I brought the fly home, it outfished my old Royal Wulffs and Elk Hair Caddis here as well as it did there. I’ve been using it ever since.

Another small stream fly that catches lots of trout for me, tenkara or otherwise, is Chuck Stranahan’s Brindle Bug, a parachute dry…it’s on the web, or better yet, order them from Chuck; he’s on the web, too. It’s a great fly in size 12, and if trout only nibble at it without taking, then it’s stout enough to support a size 14 or 16 beadhead nymph of your choice…yes, I do that, too, tenkara and otherwise.

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Interview with Dave Hughes, PART 1

On November 20, 2014 • Comments (1)
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by Adam Trahan

This is a two-part interview conducted as a conversation by Adam Trahan of Tenkara-fisher.com. Both parts in our blog have been abridged.
For complete conversation please visit this page.
Part 2 will run on November 21, 2014

It has been 20 years that I’ve been fly fishing with light fly rods in small streams. During that time, I have searched out as much information as I could; I have an insatiable desire for it. Dave Hughes is always at the forefront when referencing books on small stream fly-fishing. I was pleasantly surprised to see Daniel had met Mr. Hughes and had done some tenkara fishing with him. I was equally delighted in understanding that Dave Hughes has been into tenkara longer than the American introduction that Daniel brought to us.

Adam: Mr. Hughes, thank you for taking my Interview, may I call you Dave?

Dave Hughes talks about tenkaraDave Hughes: In my youth I commanded 35 men on a communications site on the Mekong River…it’s not a small stream; I didn’t fish it. One day one of my men–Carter, I remember–came up and said, “Sir, you know what we call you behind your back?”

“No,” I told him. It caught me by surprise. I’d been working them pretty hard, and expected the worst.

“Dave,” Carter said.

I laughed. “That’s what my friends call me,” I told him. If we’re friends, you can call me Dave.

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Why Mossy Creek Fly Fishing

On July 18, 2014 • Comments (1)
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Brian and Colby Trow own the Mossy Creek Fly Fishing shop in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They saw the opportunity in carrying tenkara at their shop very early on, embracing it to the extent of having the first dedicated tenkara guide in the country, Mr. Tom Sadler. Rather than seeing tenkara as a threat to the industry or a fad, they saw it as a possible “gateway drug to fly-fishing” or something that would once again excite their long-time customers. I believe what makes a fly shop a great fly shop is that open-mindedness, the ability to embrace diversity in a sport perceived as traditionalist. The Trow brothers give aways their secret here.

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Interview with Adam Trahan

On July 2, 2014 • Comments (9)
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Over the years Adam Trahan produced good content about tenkara, particularly in the form of interviews, on his website tenkara-fisher.com. But, while he’s often been the interviewer Adam has not yet been the interviewee. I thought you’d enjoy learning a bit more about who Adam is and where his experiences with tenkara have taken him.

Adam Trahan in JapanDaniel: Adam, I’ll start by talking to you about Japan. You just put out a nice resource asking a few people who have spent time in Japan learning tenkara about their experiences. This includes yourself, who went to Japan last year and spent time visiting tenkara anglers. It has been very cool to see more people going to Japan with a focus on learning more about tenkara. What made you decide to visit?

Adam: Adventure! That’s the main reason. Going to Japan, a country that I have been pouring over in historical tenkara research for years, sharing time with Japanese friends on Facebook seeing their pictures and information feed, reading about your trips to Japan, I had to go.

There were other reasons too, I wanted to fish with my friend Satoshi Miwa. He is a Western Fly Angler, we met at smallstreams.com We had been conversing about his favorite streams and I came out and asked him if he would help me visit. “Of course!” he said, thinking that I was being diplomatic and not really going to visit. Continue reading

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Podcast: Tenkara’s Evolution
with Ask About Fly Fishing

On June 18, 2014 • Comments (2)
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On June 4th I participated in the internet radio show Askaboutflyfishing.com. Roger Maves and I talked about “Tenkara’s Evolution”. We started with the basics of what tenkara is, then moved on to discuss how it evolved from an activity of commercial anglers to a sport, and finally talked about the endeavor of introducing the method here and creating a small revolution in the world of fly-fishing. We also discussed quite a bit the business of Tenkara USA, how I started it, our marketing strategies and more. Take a listen:

Ask about fly fishing tenkara

This was the second time I was invited by Roger to talk about tenkara in his podcast / internet radio show. The first time was in July 2012. That show is available at Askaboutflyfishing.com for subscribers.

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Fly angler describes his first experience with tenkara

On May 28, 2013 • Comments (2)
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A few weeks ago I arrived back home from a fishing trip. I got home at night time. As I removed stuff from the back of the car I noticed someone crossing the street in my direction. It was dark and hard to see, but I noticed he was carrying a long item in his hand. It would either be a baseball bat and he was coming to beat me up, or it was a fishing rod case. Luckily when he got near enough for my heart to race I noticed it was a fishing rod case. And, not only that I could see it was a tenkara rod case. Cool.
This was my neighbor, Allen, who a couple of weeks prior had bought a tenkara rod. He then noticed my car with the TENKARA license plates and figured I probably liked tenkara too.
A couple of weeks went by and I finally was able to join him for some tenkara fishing. He drove to the spot before I did and gave tenkara a try on his own for a couple of hours. When I arrived I asked him how he’d done. He didn’t sound too happy about it and said he beginning to wish he’d brought his western setup. I figured I would just have to show him a couple of things and he’d be good. And, indeed that’s what happened.

To avoid any frustration I highly recommend watching these videos:
How to tie tenkara knots
How to cast with a tenkara rod

Another couple of tips:
– Stop the rod tip high to fish with most of the line off the water as you get started, as opposed to laying the line on the water and mend. Or maybe put about 10 inches of the main line in the water to serve as an anchor.
– Make sure your line is tight, if it starts getting too slack or close to you, recast. It is very common for people to want to get the longest drift they can, but if the current is not pulling your line to keep it tight, it will be slack and difficult to cast or set the hook. Work with shorter drifts on more likely spots
– Don’t be afraid to cast. Many people coming from a western fly-fishing background are afraid to backcast and want to do a roll-cast or some type of flick. CAST! Just make sure to stop the backcast at 12 o’clock and don’t wait very long to do the forward cast, the casting stroke is quick and short to avoid getting caught up in trees.

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Luke Uyeda, Product Designer Newest addition to the Tenkara USA team

On March 24, 2013 • Comments (7)
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(Daniel): Tenkara USA is entering a new era. From the beginning I feel the company has followed the intended vision for its timeline. On our first year in business (2009) the important thing was to introduce and prove the concept of tenkara in the USA. Year 2 was focused on getting our business foundations in place and further introducing the idea of tenkara to fly-anglers. The third year was a year of discovering tenkara and really finding out as much about tenkara as possible and sharing that in more depth with those who are interested(that’s the year I spent 2 months in a small mountain village in Japan). Our fourth year was dedicated to start bringing tenkara to the masses. And, as I had predicted year 5 would be the year when we would start focusing more on innovations and new product development, not to clutter the marketplace but with the intention of simplifying it, keeping it authentic and making it more intuitive.

In preparation for year 5, I have been looking for a product designer that would be the ideal fit for our company.

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