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The Keeper now available!

On May 7, 2015 • Comments (3)


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.


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Coming Soon: Tenkara USA Line & Fly Keeper

On April 13, 2015 • Comments (24)

[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.

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NEW Tenkara Level Lines now available

On June 3, 2013 • Comments (0)

New Tenkara Level Lines now available in 2 colors and 3 different weights.

Tenkara Level Lines by Tenkara USA

We have been working with the manufacturer in Japan for about a year to come up with these lines and are excited to finally be able to offer them. We have decided to make our new lines available in two opaque colors, which are highly visible under the greatest lighting conditions, and also in 3 different weights (2.5, 3.5, and 4.5).

To keep it simple just get the Orange 3.5. But, if you are interested in playing with different line weights and colors, we have decided to make the options available to you. Tenkara Level Line review by Teton Tenkara.

These lines are available exclusively through Tenkara USA and its dealers.

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Best of Show award given to Tenkara USA at IFTD

On August 17, 2012 • Comments (7)

Written by Daniel

Tenkara USA was just awarded a “Best of Show” award at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show (IFTD)!!! Wohooo! We received the prize for “Best Gift” for the 12ft Iwana tenkara rod, a tenkara line and tenkara flies.

Many people realized that a tenkara rod, tenkara line and tenkara flies make up for the best gift. Either they will be something the experienced fly angler will not already have, or it will be the ideal gift to get someone started into fly fishing.

Here is the Tenkara USA team with the award: (left) Thomas Ferreira (TJ), Daniel, and Masaki Nakano

We also submitted one of our rods as a “Best Freshwater Fly Rod” category. That was a tough one to compete in given that we were going head to head with all the conventional 9ft fly rods in the market. I knew the chances of that prize were extremely slim, but as they did not have a category for “Best Mountain Stream Fly Rod” that was our only chance.

When I asked my friend Tom Sadler what he thought the odds were of the tenkara rod winning the category prize, his response was “exactly the same as the percentage of people doing tenkara within the of fly-fishing”.

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Ishigaki Style Wooden Tenkara Line Spool

On August 2, 2012 • Comments (9)

written by Jason

There were many unique tenkara items up for auction at this year’s Tenkara Summit and I was determined to come home with at least a few.  Among the gear up for bid was a series of wooden line spools similar to the one Dr. Ishigaki uses.  He generously donated several spools handmade by his friend in several variations.  They were all so gorgeous, I had a hard time deciding on which one to bid.  But here’s  the one I ended up with.

Wooden Tenkara Line Spool

This is one of the most beautiful pieces of fishing gear (let alone tenkara gear) I’ve ever seen.  The craftsmanship is superb and the style is beautiful, yet practical, staying true to the essence of tenkara.  The fish head that holds the fly in the center of the spool is meticulously painted and the eye of the fish is actually raised.  I liked the way the grey color contrasted with the brown wood of the spool so that’s why I bid on this one.

Wood Tenkara Line Spool


As a bonus, the line spool came with a #4, 4.5 meter level line and what I would call a “grey Ishigaki kebari” made of grey dubbing and grizzly hackle.  At first, I was more interested in the spool than the line itself until I got it home and examined it further to discover something more curious.

Wooden Tenkara Line Spool

Attached to the end of the level fluorocarbon line was about a 6″ loop of what I’m guessing is red silk bead cord (the stuff I usually use to make loops for tenkara flies that use eyeless hooks).  I didn’t have the foresight to ask Dr. Ishigaki about it but I can only assume the loop is connected to the lilian with a girth hitch connection, similar to the way I used to burn and glue dacron to my tenkara level lines so I could use the same convenient connections traditional lines employ.  This one is actually knotted to the line rather than my more gossamer method and it kind of makes me want to rethink it.  Yet in some way, it validates my original idea.  I had no knowledge of this type of connection before I came up with it independently.  It’s affirming to know that a Japanese tenkara angler halfway around the world values the same idea and that makes me want to re-explore it.

I’m adding this line spool to my growing collection of unique tenkara gear.  My only dilema now is, should I archive it as a precious artifact or actually use it and run the risk of losing or damaging it.

What would you do?  Use it or enshrine it?  


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Confessions of a Recovering EZ Keeper User

On July 5, 2012 • Comments (40)

Written by Jason

Tenkara Rod with EZ Keepers

Many people might not realize this but I was actually the first person to suggest using EZ Keepers on tenkara rods as a line storage solution. That’s right. Check out the video I did here more than two years ago.

At the time, I thought it was a brilliant solution. And apparently, many other people did too because I now see photos of tenkara rods with EZ Keepers on them all over the internet. But anyone who has fished with me in the last year has noticed that they’re conspicuously absent from my rods. I gave up on the idea of using EZ Keepers a long time ago and returned to using spools.

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Tenkara Level Lines – cut them or join them

On June 29, 2012 • Comments (5)

Maybe we need to revise the term “fixed-line fishing” slightly. While it is accurate to describe tenkara as a “fixed-line” method of fishing, it should be noted there is more flexibility and versatility in tenkara than most people think. One example of that is how I normally use our tenkara level lines.

Tying blood knot with tenkara line

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Traditional Tenkara Lines

On June 28, 2012 • Comments (14)

Traditional Tenkara Line

I normally fish tenkara level lines, but today, something possessed me to dig up my traditional tenkara line and give it a workout.
“Traditional” may not be 100% accurate as tenkara lines were made from horse tail, not today’s modern materials.  But the furled style is traditional. What Tenkara USA calls a “traditional tenkara line” is also known in Japan as “tenkara tapered line”.

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Long Line Tenkara

On December 19, 2011 • Comments (1)

Since the introduction of tenkara outside of Japan, to many people the method has seemed to acquire the meaning of “short-line fly-fishing.” Yet, just like tenkara is not dapping, and is not restricted to small streams, it needs not be restricted – and I believe it really shouldn’t be restricted – to the use of a short line. In fact, my favorite rig for tenkara consists of a level line about 1 ½ times the length of my rod (often 20 ft of line) plus 4 ft of tippet. Using a long line, where the stream allows it, or perhaps calls for it, will open an entire new tenkara world for you.

long line tenkara

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Tenkara Level Lines and Larger Streams

On December 3, 2009 • Comments (0)

There has been much discussion about, and a long wait for “the other” line used in tenkara fly-fishing, the tenkara level line. In tenkara, two types of lines are used: traditional tenkara lines (furled and tapered), and tenkara level lines (level). Traditional tenkara lines have always been our preferred choice of line, for they offer the absolutely most delicate presentations of any type of fly-fishing, are a delight to cast, and keep things simple. However, we can’t ignore the utility of tenkara level lines, which are less expensive, may be cast against wind a bit more easily, and,most importantly in our opinion, can be cut to the desired length depending on river size.

Tenkara level lines make it possible to very effectively fish water that is some 30 to even 40ft away, yet, because the line is so much lighter than any Western fly line (including 00-wt lines) and because of the use of a very long rod, the line can be kept entirely off the water at a considerable distance. This means that only tippet and fly will touch the water when fished properly.

Please watch our new video, which shows Tenkara USA founder fishing a larger stream/river, in the Sierra Nevada, California.

Use of Western fly-lines with tenkara – not suggested!

We have seen many people suggesting, experimenting, and even selling lengths of western fly-lines to be used in conjunction with tenkara rods. This is highly discouraged as it would take away one of the great advantages of tenkara fly-fishing, namely, the ability to cast and fish a very light line. Even a 00-wt line is too thick and heavy, actually, at least about twice too heavy for a tenkara rod.  Yes, a western fly-line would be even easier to cast, simply because it’s so heavy and it would overload tenkara rods. However, once cast a western fly-line would be immediately dragged back to right below the rod tip as soon as it’s cast, greatly reducing the distance one may fish. It would also make the splashing, and pick-up noise that happens with western fly-fishing, thus spooking fish. A western fly-line would also have not good way to attach to the tip of a tenkara rod, and the use of a transition loop with those lines would create a very noticeable hinging effect.

If we felt it a western fly-line could be a good product, we would sell it on our site. We could simply buy a bunch of used fly line, start a “fly line recycling program”, or even buy it new in bulk, and make money off it. But, we are here to introduce what has been tried and works well, typically what is traditional tenkara. After decades of evolution and experimentation in Japan with modern materials, tenkara anglers have settled for traditional tenkara lines, and tenkara level lines for a reason.

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