It has been more than a week now and I’ve had a chance to digest my experience at the Tenkara USA 2017 Summit. Meeting Daniel, Margaret and the rest of the crew, my dream had become real. So many years I’ve been assisting people to learn tenkara and now, I am with the company and helping the person, the company that got me started.
I was a part of the Summit, now, part of Tenkara USA, one dream realized and another just beginning.
Flipping through the hundreds of photos I took, the one above is my favorite. All those rods bought by this couple, destined for tenkara fishing. I stopped them as they walked across the convention center floor, “can I take your picture?” Those rods will be gifts for the holiday season. Perhaps some will be used as a first rod, all I can think of when I see this picture is that Daniel is like Johnny Appleseed…
The Summit opened up with a dedication to Doug Heggart. Doug had recently passed and was a big part of the Colorado tenkara scene. I wish I was able to get to know him but he was well represented and many spoke of his kindness.
As I moved around the hall taking pictures, I had a pretty good idea on my own just how large Tenkara USA had grown the Summit. I counted chairs, 12 wide, ten deep on each side of the isle. There were several 10 seat tables, most were filled, it was 300 or so people attending.
Daniel began telling the story and I looked around the room, everyone was listening, paying attention carefully. I had been dreaming of this moment for a long time, two years since the last one and it seemed like the time just flew by.
The rod line up was there, rods for sale and many were now into the hands of young and old, new and experienced tenkara anglers. The rod on the left was a new version of the old Hane, the Hane 2, quite a departure with its white color, petite foam grip and soft tip.
On September 16th, 2017 over 300 people watch Mr. Yvon Chouinard talk about the threats facing our planet and more specifically our rivers. He argues that we “protect what we love” and that “we need more people to love rivers”, and the best way to do that is through tenkara. Here’s his full presentation where he talks about the environment as well as his approach to tenkara.
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.
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!
My passion for fly-fishing started well before I ever touched a fly rod, or tied my first fly. I could say it started when I saw images of people using flies to catch trout with the most beautiful scenery behind them. I had aspirations to do that one day, but most importantly, I aspired to be there.
The images were taken in Patagonia, Argentina. Fishing in Patagonia has been a dream of mine ever since. This area inspired me to fish with a fly and pursue trout. And now I’m here.
A few months ago the folks at Nervous Waters invited me to host a Tenkara Patagonia Week trip in their lodge on the Chimehuin River. While I had held tenkara clinics throughout the USA and other countries, I had never done a trip quite like this before. I am not a guide after all, and after so many years mostly traveling and fishing on my own, I feared the prospect of signing up to be with people I don’t know well for a whole week. But, I remembered I had always wanted to fish here, and I also do love to teach people about tenkara; so I agreed to do one. I was honored to have a couple of customers sign up as soon as the trip was announced. And, now my fears were put to rest, as the couple who joined me is absolutely delightful and I know I have a fun week ahead of me.
Yesterday afternoon we arrived at the Chime lodge. Perhaps it was the little sleep I got on my travel here, but it has felt surreal to arrive in such an idyllic place. The lodge is luxurious, but a the same time very inviting and with a super friendly and welcoming staff. The river’s waters are crystalline and just steps from the front door. And, today I confirmed there are some beautiful trout here, just as those images I saw close to 20 years ago had promised (yikes…what too me so long? And, yes, I felt old when I finished typing that sentence).
Aspirations. I think I have taken for granted the power of aspirations in the past. In the past I may have even complained about too many magazine articles being about places so far from home. Yet, here I am, fly-fishing, only because one day I saw pictures from a far-away place.
Today I thought I’d quickly share a couple of images and that thought about aspirations. Hopefully in the next day or two I’ll talk a bit more about the fishing here, such as the fact that yes, the one/any fly approach works perfectly in Patagonia too. The fish in this post was caught using the Amano kebari.
Fly-fishing doesn’t have to take place far and away, in fact I absolutely love fishing very close to home and am missing home a bit right now. However, know that if you take up fly-fishing, it will take you to the most beautiful places imaginable.
Tenkara is taking over the town by a storm, being featured in the local Boulder Weekly newspaper today and all, so this announcement is timely.
Registrations for the 4th annual Tenkara Summit are now open! The Tenkara Summit will take place in Boulder, Colorado on September 27th 2014. The event is open to the public, with a cost of $25 per person, which includes lunch and tons of tenkara knowledge.
This will be a super fun event, taking place at the Millenium Hotel, right at Boulder Creek. There will be presentations, including by Dr. Hisao Ishigaki who is flying from Japan for the event, workshops and clinics, and entertainment. Plus, the camaraderie of an expected 200 tenkara anglers coming together for the biggest Tenkara Summit yet. If you want to get an idea for what the previous Tenkara Summit events were, browse these posts.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Here’s a one-minute time-lapse of the Tenkara USA booth at the recent Fly Fishing Show in Somerset. If you want to see why we were one of the busiest booths at the show, please come by one of the shows listed below.
February 7-8: Winston-Salem, NC
February 15-16: Lynnwood, WA
February 21-23: Pleasanton, CA
March 1-2: Lancaster, PA
March 13-16: Salt Lake City, UT
March 21-23: Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous, Denver, CO
March 28-29: Wasatch Fly Fishing and Tying Expo, Salt Lake City, UT
This weekend we held the first Tenkara Tie-a-thon to help victims of the devastating Colorado flood. The recent floods have swept homes, displaced thousands of people and took a few lives right near the Tenkara USA headquarters (which, luckily, was mostly untouched). The Colorado community has been super welcoming to Tenkara USA. we are at home here, and we wanted to help in some way. We also wanted to engage the community for support. It’s one thing to send a check out, it’s another thing to send a check out and have hundreds of people sending their thoughts and moral support to those affected.
So, we proposed that for every fly the community tied and shared a picture of this weekend we would donate $1 to help flood victims. As we expected, the tenkara community showed their support en masse. According to our tally, 701 flies were tied and pictured this weekend (and 12 videos, for which we’re giving $5/ea., were made). That’s $761 going to flood victims this week on behalf of the tenkara community. The donation has been sent to United Way’s Foothills Flood Relief Fund. Thank you all who contributed for your show of support.
How much fun would it be to have a bunch of tenkara anglers show up in mass with their tenkara rods in hand at a tenkara-perfect mountain stream that is practically in town and full of trout? It would be like taking-over the stream for a day, with a bunch of 12 to 13ft long tenkara rods waving about, attracting the curious looks and questions of passers-by.
That’s the premise of a casual gathering I’m proposing for Saturday, August 3rd on Boulder Creek, in Boulder, Colorado: The Tenkara Takeover – Boulder Creek. This is the first event of what I hope may become a tenkara tradition across the country, where tenkara anglers may hold their own “takeover” of popular streams.
If you’re anywhere near Boulder, Colorado, please join me on August 3rd to fish Boulder Creek. No RSVP required, and this is a free event. This is a casual outing and tenkara anglers are encouraged to fish up and down Boulder Creek at their own pace. Show up anytime, fish as late as you can. We just want to see as many tenkara rods there as possible. There will be some giveaways, some tenkara instructions if you desire, and likely free beer afterwards at Upslope Brewery.
– At 9AM I will be across the street from the first very large parking lot in the Canyon on the North/Right side of the road going up (by the footbridge for the Boulder Canyon Trail, and near and “The Dome”, the parking area across the street is huge and can’t be missed). I will assist anyone who may have questions about rigging and then do a short clinic on the water. I also plan on having some free giveaways like shirts and hats.
– Fish all day, until whenever you want
– At around 3 pm anyone interested can head over to Upslope brewery on 1898 S. Flatiron Court, Boulder, CO. we may be hooked up with some free beer by a brewery that supports local trout stream conservation!
– If you’re up for it, fish some more in the evening!
* I will have some demo rods if you or a friend wants to join but doesn’t have one.
Boulder Creek is the stream near Tenkara USA’s new home and it would be great to see the community coming together there. Other anglers may hate us or may be very curious, I sure hope it will be the latter.
*** In case they hate us, I also suggest bringing a plastic bag and pick up any and all trash we see there.