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Tenkara

Tenkara featured in current Fly Fisherman magazine Article by Yvon Chouinard

On May 23, 2012
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“Believe it or not, what started as a novelty for me has actually increased my catch rate by three or four times.” – Yvon Chouinard, Fly Fisherman magazine (June/July 2012)

In what can be seen as a huge milestone for tenkara in the US, tenkara has finally been featured in Fly Fisherman magazine (June/July 2012), in an article written by no less than the legendary outdoorsman Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia. It took quite a while for the largest magazine in the sport to cover tenkara maybe they feared their advertisers weren’t going to be too happy with the idea of a reeless method of fly-fishing being featured . We couldn’t be happier to see the article written by Chouinard himself, a person with great knowledge of the method and dedicated to it.

What most people don’t know about Yvon is that he is a huge fan of tenkara, and one of the only people in the country that practiced tenkara before we came about. He has been by far our biggest ambassador; during the fishing season last year  there was probably not a week that went by when we didn’t get a call or  email from someone saying, “Yvon suggested I talk to you guys…”.  And, he even attended the 2011 Tenkara Summit, where I had the pleasure of fishing with him.

In the article, Yvon describes his favorite technique, twitching the fly. He says, “just like your house cat or any predator, [fish] want action…The best way to imitate that action and to trigger a response is by using a slow-action rod with a delicate tip and a short, line line. The best rod for that is the Tenkara.”

When I was in Oregon last week it was evident most subscribers were already receiving the magazine. When I finished my presentation several people came to ask me about his technique, which Yvon says is deadly. One of the last times I saw him he told me about the article he was writing and a new technique he had been using. He sounded excited about the success he’d been having with it, outfishing his friends 4 or 5 times he told me. It sounded very similar to one of my favorite ways of fishing, so I was looking forward to reading how he described this.  We will let you get a copy of the magazine to read more about how he does this, and the rig that he prefers to use.

Yvon makes special mention of two books as “Suggested Reading”: Tenkara: Radically Simple, Ultralight fly Fishing by Kevin C. Kelleher and Misako Ishimura, and Wet Flies by Dave Hughes.

If you’re not a subscriber to Fly Fisherman magazine, or gave up your subscription because they never talked about tenkara, definitely look for this issue. (And, no, the big striper on the cover is not a fish caught on tenkara – big fish are what sell magazines… or so they say).

Fly Fisherman magazine features tenkara by Yvon Chouinard

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4 Responses to Tenkara featured in current Fly Fisherman magazine Article by Yvon Chouinard

  1. Bruce says:

    I wonder if he has any tenkara-related materials on display at the Patagonia/Great Pacific Iron Works mother store in Ventura.
    There’s all sort of interesting surf flyfishing nearby at the mouth of the Ventura River (another of his causes: dam removal and steelhead restoration), but I’m not man enough to try tenkara in the vicinity of corbina and the stray halibut.

  2. Delane G says:

    Very interesting article. I question the use of floating 000 line causing him to “mend” the line. One advantage I enjoy is using tenkara line and not needing to mend to get a drag free drift and initiating the various “twitching” methods. Other than that minor issue, I enjoyed his article and learned several new things from reading it. I also found interesting the article in the same issue concerning Tippets, especially the comparisons with the different knots used. The people that use the “Davy Knot” should find the testing results for the tippet to hook interesting. I’m rethinking my use of some knots.

    Thanks for the heads up on this issue. If it weren’t for this Blog, I wouldn’t have purchased this issue.

    • Hey Delane,
      His use of the heavy line is indeed something I have discussed with him several times over the last couple of years. I have pleaded that he try the lighter lines (or that he give them a more fair chance). I have tried the 000 line and it is way too heavy, not for our rods, but for tenkara in general. It indeed creates the need to mend, and it also doesn’t allow for a multitude of techniques that can be used with tenkara, for example, get more line in the water to help get the fly deeper.
      With that being said, he spends a lot of his time fishing some larger rivers in Wyoming, and I suspect that he started getting into tenkara in very windy conditions, and settled for a line that is very heavy. There are techniques for casting the light lines in wind too, but if he’s always casting against in heavy wind and he self-taught tenkara, then the 000 lines would make sense.
      Will certainly read the tippet article, thanks for the tip. I have been so caught up seeing tenkara featured in the mag, and also reading Yvon’s new book, The Responsible Company, that I haven’t gone through the magazine yet.

  3. Andres says:

    Great work and article Daniel G. and Tenkara crew. Sitting in the Bay area and really looking forward to try Tenkara in the Sierras some time soon. It brings memories of early childhood fishing in the Orinoco rivers where the locals use fine tip rods made of natural occurring Guava trees and a similar technique as Tenkara, the only difference is they use real insects including fishing massive hatches of South American mayflies. The tropical species caught were of absolute beauty!

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