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/
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.
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
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.
[UPDATE: Estimated availability now is April 15th. Pieces are on their way to our packaging facility and will be in stock soon!]
Since the beginning of tenkara, anglers have pondered how to best manage and store their line. There have been multiple solutions devised since then, and we thought we’d bring our insights into creating something we think will be useful to those taking up tenkara and even for the western fly anglers looking for a good way to store a couple of leaders and some flies.
Coming soon: “The Keeper” (April, 2015)
The Tenkara USA Line Keeper is line holder solution that also incorporates an integrated fly box. The Keeper is designed to hold two tenkara lines, or tenkara line and tippet. That way a minimalist tenkara angler can have the tenkara line, tippet and flies in a compact solution.
This tenkara line keeper features two patent-pending solutions. The first one is a completely unique line-catching mechanism. As you wind the line it gets automatically caught between two walls so that the line never “explodes” out of the spool, and you can stop winding it at any point rather than looking for a notch to stop.
Another one is a small compartment to hold between 6 and a dozen flies. It’s not designed as a fly box replacement, but for a quick outing, or just in case you lose flies, these will always be there with you.
And, perhaps the best part, The Keeper is always smiling
Stay tuned for updates on its availability. Coming in early April 2015. Estimated price $12.
A good friend of mine decided to give her dad a tenkara net (also known as a “tamo“) for Christmas. She’s been working on the branch frame for a few weeks and now it is time for connecting the mesh bag to the net frame. Yesterday she asked me for help with it but we couldn’t meet up. While I had put together this video years ago, I had since learned a better way of connecting the mesh bag to the tenkara net frame. And then I remembered I had some great footage from when I spent time with the famous tenkara net maker Yukihiro Yoshimura and his daughter learning the techniques for tenkara net making. So, I quickly compiled the most relevant shots of the steps needed in connecting the mesh bag to net frame. If you’re finding yourself at the point of connecting a mesh bag to your beautiful tenkara net frame, I hope this video will be of help. I also intend on putting together a number of “Quick Guide to Tenkara” videos in the coming weeks.
Still looking for a holiday gift? What about the most innovative tenkara rods around?
Louis Cahill from the must-follow blog Gink & Gasoline, stopped by our booth at a tradeshow earlier this year and did a great video about tenkara and our new tenkara rods, the Sato and Rhodo tenkara rods. My favorite quote in the piece he wrote to go with the video is probably “tenkara has spread like pink eye in kindergarten“, I guess that’s true, but without any of the symptoms. Here’s the video he made:
It’s been a long-time coming and with many requests from our customers. We have been working for a while on putting together a tenkara fly-tying kit that has everything you need to tie a variety of tenkara flies, and nothing you don’t need. The Tenkara Fly-Tying kit is our way of showing you that fly-tying is actually pretty simple.
Both kit options feature a booklet we created to teach you how to tie tenkara flies as well as a vise (two options available), a set of tools, soft-hackle, dry rooster hackle, peacock herl, two spools of thread and 50 hooks in two sizes. There are also a lot of resources we’re putting together to help you get into fly-tying, such as our weekly Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, with one video released every week. Both kits feature enough hooks to tie 50 flies, and materials for more, so it would pay for itself pretty quickly compared to buying flies.Kits will start shipping on December 16th but order now to make sure you get one.
The Basic Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a spring-action vise by Terra. This vise is great for beginners as it requires no adjustments, all you do is press the lever to open the jaws and put whatever size hook you are using. This is a clamp-style vise, which you will clamp onto a table/desk. All materials are the same as in the Upgraded kit. Ships December 16th.
$95, Basic kit
The Upgraded Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a high-end vise made by Peak Fishing in Loveland, Colorado. It’s a pedestal-style vise, which can be used on any surface. It is a beautifully crafted vise made in the USA. All other materials are the same as in the Basic kit. Ships December 16th.
$145, Upgraded kit
The Tenkara USA Rhodo, an adjustable tenkara rod we released earlier this year, just received the “Kudo Award” from renowned author and tenkara angler Dave Hughes and Fly Rod & Reel magazine (and yes, we do love the fact that a magazine with “Reel” in its name just gave us a Kudo Award”).
When I emailed Dave to thank him for the nomination, he responded of how he was showing the rod to someone, “I held my fingers on each side of the +/- 3″ section that has the extension ferrules, and said, ‘This three inches of rod deserves the Kudo.’ Then I caught a fish on it.”
Along with the 12ft Tenkara USA Iwana, which received an award in 2012 as a Best of Show at IFTD, the Rhodo is the second award given to a tenkara rod by the mainstream industry.
Dave has been doing tenkara for probably longer than anyone else in the USA, and his latest book “Trout from Small Streams” has a terrific chapter on tenkara.
Tenkara net making may be a good summer activity for kids. But, it’s probably best to start early because of the long drying period – though you can get away with a short drying.
When I met Kyosuke in the Japanese mountain village of Maze, he saw the nets I made. They are a traditional Japanese craft that may be at risk of dying. He had seen nets before at the museum and with other anglers but never saw them being made until I found a branch and started working on one. When he arrived to spend the month with us here in the States, one of the first things he asked me was if I could teach him how to make a tenkara net. Yesterday evening I finally had the time to take him out to look for the perfect branch. We hiked for nearly an hour, I showed him what we were looking for (he doesn’t speak English, and I’m trying my best to speak only in English to him, so we had some challenges, but he got it). Continue reading
Even I can find myself with a broken tenkara rod tip in need of repair. The odds implied that it was bound to happen. After about 6 years of tenkara fishing and opening and closing tenkara rods thousands and thousands of times, this weekend I was fishing in the Pacific Northwest when I broke the tip of my tenkara rod, for the first time ever not on purpose. It was my fault, I hurriedly tried to pull the line out and didn’t heed to my main advice: always keep the hard tip of the rod inside the handle segment while pulling line out of the spool.
Still, even though we were almost done for the day I tried to make the best of the situation by making a field repair of my tenkara rod tip with some spare replacement lillian I had on the rod. It was my first time attempting a field repair of the tenkara rod tip out of necessity. Watch to learn what to do if you find yourself with a broken tenkara rod tip.
The words below are one of the nicest testimonials about how our Tenkara Care program is ensuring customers use our rods more often than any other, because they know we “have their back”.
By customer Jacob Johnson:
“I love companies that stand by their products. Tenkara USA is such a company. I break a rod on the weekend. I post a photo of a big fish and a broken Tenkara rod. John Geer from Tenkara USA sees the photo and figures out what is broken on his own. He then contacts me to confirm his findings and magically a day later the part shows up and my rod is back in business. That is customer service, that is quality, that is awesomeness in action. I have dozens and dozens of Tenkara rods. They look cool but I am afraid to fish them frequently or chase the “Monsters” because I know that if I break them, some of them would be impossible to get fixed. Tenkara USA rods are functional pieces of art, that I know I can rely on even if I am rough on them and put them through their paces. The Tenkara USA team has my back.”
A few months ago I wrote about what has become my best hydration solution while fishing. For years I used to carry a water bottle, but then would run out of water, even while surrounded by a lot of fresh clean water. I drank from streams directly on occasion, but then tested positive for giardia (never had any symptoms).
So, I picked up an ultra-light and very small water filter made by Aquamira, the Frontier Pro. It was cheap, super light and easily fits in a pocket. To go with it, I found the Platypus 500ml water pouch to be the ideal companion. I had finally come my across the best solution for always having water with me but without carrying a lot of weight. It kind of changed my life for fishing.
If I’m on the stream pretty much the whole time I’ll carry just the filter by itself, pull it out and drink directly from the stream.
When walking any distance to or from the stream I’ll take the bottle with me. And, of course, this has become my go-to water bottle for traveling anywhere or using on a daily basis as it is foldable and slim, so it fits in my back pocket and reduces in size as I drink from it.
Here’s an interesting product concept, “The SimpliFly“. The concept is a box that will hold everything you need to fly-fish (and probably more than you need). The product has been conceived and prototyped now they are looking for help on bringing it to market. I have not yet seen one in person, but really like that they took tenkara into account, even featuring a space to fit our tenkara line holders. Their Kickstarter page is here. What do you think?