The biggest tenkara event – ever! – happened this weekend.
The 2017 Tenkara Summit brought together the largest gathering of tenkara anglers anywhere. Just over 300 people from all over the US as well as Argentina, Norway and Japan attended. Attendees enjoyed a great series of speakers, clinics with experienced tenkara anglers (including Dr. Hisao Ishigaki), vendors, and a very fun fly-tying evening that featured a live band as well as tying contests timed to their songs, plus magic by Dennis Michael.
I am still stunned by the participation. In the past Tenkara Summits we had up to 150 people show up. I was fully expecting this year to count on the same number of people, so when I went to pull the final tally I was shocked to see about 240 people registered and another 60 walk-ins. I had tremendous fun meeting so many people in the community as well as spending time with an incredible crew of staff and volunteers that made the event possible.
After a week of taking Dr. Ishigaki fishing around Colorado, hosting our staff and then working at the Summit I will say that I am pretty beat. In fact, I may even take a nap in a few minutes, which is a very rare thing for me to do. But, I wanted to share a little update as well as post some photos from the event. These are photos that some of our crew or myself took; we actually had a professional photographer shoot photos and video at the event but it may be a few days before we get to process and post some of those.
There were several highlights that stood out for me. One of them was once again spending time fishing with my teacher, Dr. Ishigaki. The Tenkara Summit really started as an excuse for Dr. Ishigaki to come fishing in the US; in 2011 he wanted to fish in Montana but said he wanted to speak at an event to justify the trip to his wife. Since there were no events taking place I decided to put the Summit together. It turned out to be a tough week of fishing, with us visiting several different places that didn’t seem to be “on” (I will have to add “river otters” to my “Excuses to use when not catching fish“).
Another highlight was meeting and talking to a large number of people about how tenkara has had a positive impact on their lives. It always gives me a warm feeling when I hear those stories of how people are enjoying tenkara in one way or another, of how sometimes it gave them a different perspective on some aspect of their lives. And I absolutely loved meeting a few young kids who are in love with tenkara and asked their parents and grandparents to bring them to the Summit.
The fly-tying evening was a pure fun part of the event. In the evening the band Paper Moonshine entertained the audience as people tied flies, enjoyed their beers and whiskey, and shared stories or made plans to fish the next day.
The event was recorded in its entirety and we will be posting some of it online in the near future. More photos to come as well.
This video has no fishing in it, at all.
But I thought you would enjoy the video I just created. Yesterday morning, at the last day of our 3-week long book tour, I woke up in the tenkaravan next to a gorgeous forest. Those who know me will remember foraging is right up there with tenkara in terms of things I love doing. As I had coffee I felt inspired to go foraging and to film it all. Hope you enjoy it.
We have been on the road for 11 days now. Margaret and I have been enjoying our time together (we actually celebrated our 10th anniversary on the road last Sunday!). Living the “Van Life” is not glamorous, but we have seen some beautiful country, fished some gorgeous waters and enjoyed a few experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Time has been short, and it is going by fast. I have been working on some videos and photography but it’s been hard to find reliable data connection or wifi along the way, so almost no time for writing and sharing things. I have been good at keeping our Instagram posts going when I find a bar or two of service on my phone.
This morning I turned the tenkaravan into a makeshift studio to record a new podcast episode about living life off the tenkaravan and about our very cool experience fishing for smallmouth bass with the fly-fishing author Dave Hughes and his wife Masako. If you’re interested, below is the episode I just posted (more information referenced in the episode please visit the podcast page.
Yesterday part of the Tenkara USA team (myself, my wife and our husky Shiso) hit the road for the first leg of what I expect to be several road trips in the new tenkaravan. On this trip, which will last three weeks, we’re making stops in Oregon, Washington and then Montana at several different events primarily focused on book signings.
The full schedule and details are kept up-to-date in our events page but for now here are our next stops. I hope to see you at one of these stops.
July 19 – Book signing and Q&A at Central Oregon Fly Fisher’s Club – Bend, OR at 6pm
July 20 – Social gathering and a quick talk + book signing at the Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters, OR 4-7pm
July 21-23 – Tenkara Bugout, Oakridge, OR
July 25 – Book signing and talk at Creekside Fly Shop, Issaquah, WA
July 26 – Book signing and talk at Wayward, Bellevue, WA
Augu 4-5 – Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, MT
It’s amazing to have looked at our schedule and even with 3 weeks not be able to hit a bunch of other places I wanted to stop by. I have already been getting a bunch of messages on social media about whether we are stopping in other places along the way or other parts of the country, and while we are not at this particular tour it makes me feel that I need to spend more time on the road. These 3 weeks will show whether I’m cut out for the vanlife lifestyle.
We should be easy to spot now, so keep an eye out for us! Yesterday we had the first person come say hi to us right before we drove into the Flaming Gorge/Green River in WY. Soon after we had our first peak at the not-so glamorous vanlife lifestyle…I’ll tell you that story next time I login!
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/
I imagine there are many reasons why people fish: to enjoy the great outdoors, to get away from it all, to heal, to think, to improve; the list is truly endless. Growing up in Maine, fishing was something special.
My mother and aunt tell me the most wonderful stories of reading below deck in the heat of summer. The family dog Topsy, kept pépère (my French Canadian grandfather) company while he spent weekends fishing off the side of his boat on the many lakes of Maine.
Several months ago I was devastated to lose my Uncle Al whom I attribute to opening my eyes to fishing. Since this loss I have found it difficult to pick up my rod though I always keep it close by. I remember being a child and feeling so special driving to the Gulf of Maine with the important task of keeping the eels in check (they sloshed around in a bucket on the floor of the car). The Bluefish were running and this was just the treat we hoped to entice them with. This trip is one of my most cherished memories of time spent with Uncle Al.
My tenkara journey began a couple years back, not long after the flood ravaged Boulder Creek. For me it was a time to mend my relationship with the creek, build trust, and reacquaint with all the wonder and beauty it has to offer.
This past weekend I braved the water once again, and under the guidance of a most admired friend, Allie. Allie is tremendous. She’s not only an amazing fly-fishing guide, skilled hunter, and leader of the Rocky Mountain Lady Anglers, she’s also a trusted friend. Living over 2,000 miles away from home can be hard and I have such fond memories of us fishing together on holidays.
With Allie by my side I was happy to find the strength and courage to move forward and honor my Uncle with each cast of my tenkara rod.
When I first heard the term “flyathlon” I was not quite sure what to make of it. It sounds exciting and definitely piques my interest. As I could not for the life of me recall the lessons I thought I learned my high school Latin class I conducted an on-line search.
The world wide web suggested that “athlon” comes from the Latin for “competition”. Looking up flyathlon directed me to the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon website.
The Flyathlon is a competition comprised of “run, fish, beer”, one runs a course, stops to catch a fish and take a photo of it, and at the end, winner or loser, drinks some beer with other competitors.
For the second year in a row tenkara was present at the Flyathlon in the hands of the Conrad family. Steve Conrad participated last year, and this year brought his son Tony along.
After the event, Steve posted on his Facebook page: “Made it back home after a weekend off the grid running the Rocky Mountain Flyathalon. My oldest son Tony & I run 12 miles caught fish (Tony 1, Me 4) and drank more than our share of beer. I only did one superman that finished in a beautiful tuck and roll. We’re already making plans to return next year. Love it!”
If you want to learn more about this event from Steve, you can hear his conversation with Daniel on this Tenkara Cast episode.
What do you think? Would you take up a challenge involving fishing, running and beer?
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
by TJ Ferreira
Sometimes it takes a nice relaxing camping trip to give my mind respite. A time to look, listen, and learn. Although camping can be a bit of work, the down times are a wonderful way to recharge one’s mind and body.
My wife and I camped this past weekend at a very small and remote PG&E Campground in Northern California. This was one of those “tenkara +” moments for me. The goal of this trip was rest, eat, sleep, talk, wander, listen, look, learn, and sure… some tenkara too.
It is probably true that tenkara never sleeps for me. I mean, I work for Tenkara USA so my job is to talk about tenkara all day long. Not a half bad job. Then comes the weekend and what do I tend to gravitate to? Fishing. LOL! Tenkara fishing that is.
Do you all carry tenkara gear in your modes of transport? I do. I aways have a pack with a tenkara rod or two, lines, flies… the basics. I am always on the ready if I see a pool that entices me or extend my second rod to a stranger inquiring about what I am up to.
This camping trip was no different. I chose this campground as it was near a creek, and I had read it was once a great fishery but has since died off. A mix of California drought and a growing population of otters have made fishing at this creek very difficult. But I knew fishing would be possible so I went prepared.
Upon our Saturday arrival we set up camp. Once done, the wife and I were lazy bones. Never did my mind stop thinking of tenkara. Waiting for that dusk awakening time for my best chances of catching a few trout “in the style of tenkara”, as a buddy of mine Mike Willis calls it. Most the day was spent listening to sounds from the forest, looking at wildlife that meandered by, bugs and flying insects that have no clock and they seem to work 24/7.
I only fished about one hour on Saturday but did catch a nice small wild brown. I was happy as the creek that skunked me a few weeks prior (when I went there on a recon outing). A nice pat on the head and off the brownie went to serve someone else “hello” in the near future.
Sunday was another day of laziness, listening and eye-balling mother nature at its best. Dragonflies on parade, yellow jackets and meat bees hovering around you every time you decide to snack (this is diet control for sure), but all day I was waiting for was dusk. Dusk tonight meant I would hit this creek much harder than the day before.
Mounted up with wet wading gear I hit the creek for two hours this fine Sunday. The creek only yielded me one more brownie, but a little bigger today. This creek was most generous as it tries to rebuild on the past, slowly but surely, even when the odds are stacked against it.
Sneaking like a tenkara angler has to learn to do, I heard some crunching in the weeds near the creek. I stood motionless as an otter swam within one foot from my feet as it worked its way down river. How cool was that!
I could tell the locals in charge of this area are trying to re-grow the fishing here. A few 4×4 posts with survey boxes were at the creek and each night I was proud to fill out a form to tell them thanks. Every day I caught myself a little extra energy boost, that I know will make my tenkara grow even more after this fine trip.
So what did I learn on this trip?… patience for sure. This creek was very poor in quantity but the quality and wildlife were rather spectacular. I went camping to chill with my wife, and that I did. Tenkara + patience was at hand on this trip and for that I am thankful.
Even if one does not catch double digits of fish, remember there is much more to tenkara than just fishing. Look, listen, and learn. Each trip you can bring something wonderful home if you head out with an open heart and open eyes.
Much like a forest that never sleeps, neither does my tenkara. It has become part of my being. I am living tenkara +.
** Remember to listen for new sounds when out in nature. I told my wife that these sounds were made by a Velociraptor: https://youtu.be/LXyfFX3EGAw. Hehe.
Our friends at Vedavoo, a company with a loyal following among the tenkara crowd for its packs, just released a fun video where they use tenkara rods to slam some good size fish in Wyoming with the crew from Pig Farm Ink. The video includes an incredible trico hatch that turns the fish mad, and a broken tenkara rod – NOTE: do not bite your tenkara rod blank when fishing! Enjoy video below, and get out this weekend!
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.
My teacher Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, whom most of you have read about by now, has just arrived in Boulder. While he couldn’t make it to this year’s Tenkara Summit, he put aside a week to come visit us again and share more of his passion for tenkara internationally.
Dr. Ishigaki arrived today at around 1pm. I drove him to my home, which is an hour away from the airport. We had some lunch. Then I expected Dr. Ishigaki, who is 67 years old, to want to take it very easy today. But, he is a devout fisherman and as I should have known, couldn’t wait to get on the water. At 3:30pm Dr. Ishigaki said he wanted to go fishing later; he needed an hour to take a short nap and then would be ready to go at 4:30pm. That’s the kind of energy I really want to have!
At 4:30pm we readied ourselves and drove to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Though it was not a fish-in-every-pool kinda day, the fishing was still terrific. He was mesmerized by the high cliffs that surrounded us. And, we lost ourselves in time in that canyon. We did what I consider to be my long run when I visit “Eldo” and covered some good ground. We left as it started getting dark and we felt we had reached what seemed to be a logical place to conclude our evening of fishing.
I captured some beautiful images today, and am excited to share them all at some point. But, I think what I want to do for now is share one fun image of Dr. Ishigaki per day this week. Here he is with one of the fish that didn’t want to pose for a picture.
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask Dr. Ishigaki? I’ll be compiling questions submitted here, on our Facebook page, and via Instagram (#tenkara #questiontime or #ishigakiweek) and will go over them with him. We’ll post those either in writing, as a video or in our new podcast.
It’s been overdue for sometime, we know. But, I’m happy to announce we finally built up the functionality on our website for you to download the digital version of the Tenkara Magazine.
You can order the 2014 and the 2015 versions online. The 2015 is available in two electronic formats, one is the original layout of the magazine, the other is a narrow layout optimized for reading on a phone or tablet. Either costs $4.00 (print version is $9.00). The 2014 magazine is only available in one electronic format, the original layout, and costs $2.50.
Sorry I have been very absent from posting recently. Right now I’m in the middle of a very large writing project that is consuming a lot of my time and just about all of my brain power. The business is keeping me very busy when not writing. And, when I can, I have been fishing to support the large writing project and future blog posts. But, those are just excuses! I thought you’d enjoy a few images we captured recently. Some tenkara inspiration in case you can’t go fishing right now. I have been active on our Instagram page, so please follow that if you don’t yet. More blog posts to come in the future, I promise.
A large brown trout is released in healthy condition. Image by Doug Heggart.
A double tenkara hookup in Wyoming.
A rainbow kisses the water
“Elegance is achieved when, having discarded all superfluous things, we discover simplicity and concentration. The simpler the pose, the better; the more sober, the more beautiful.” Paulo Coelho.
Long exposure to fishing is good for the soul
a rainbow tail
fishing among araucaria trees in Argentina
a great fighter caught on the North Platte in Wyoming