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April 16 2014

John Gierach talks tenkara – All Fishermen are Liars

The legendary fly-fishing author John Gierach is at it again with a new book fresh off the press: All Fishermen are Liars.
Tenkara and Tenkara USA are featured in it as Gierach memorializes the time when I invited myself to come to Colorado and teach him tenkara. Over the weekend I caught up with Gierach in the writer’s den to talk about tenkara.
All Fishermen are Liars - John Gierach on tenkara
Please, do yourself a favor and buy Gierach’s new book! 

_______ Book Review  below ________ Read the rest of this entry »


April 12 2014

5 years Tenkara Giveaway

We had 309 comments entered by midnight MST of  04/13 (Sunday Night). All comments were pasted into a worksheet and assigned a number. Then, I used the website Random.org to pull 5 random numbers. And the winners are…:

Lance Lloyd


Will Bohrnsen

Doug Kinney

Daniel Paladino

We will be contacting you guys shortly via email!

We are super proud to have touched so many lives and hear from you about what tenkara has meant to you over the last 5 years. We will always make it right by you by continuing to provide great customer service, useful information, entertaining stories, and excellent products. .

Read the rest of this entry »


April 01 2014

LEARN TENKARA HERE – Tenkara is who we are

When I started Tenkara USA 5 years ago, I knew that tenkara fishing was destined to take off. Teaching tenkara through these years has taught me that people are hungry for simplicity and connection to our environment. Tenkara created a revolution in the fly fishing industry by improving the way people fish and changing the way they think about and teach fly-fishing. We are always excited to see more people learning about tenkara and want to welcome Patagonia to the tenkara community. Whether you’re a large company or one person teaching a buddy how to cast, you are spreading tenkara and that’s what we love!

A big part of why we exist is to get more people fly-fishing, simply. And, we believe the simplest way to fly-fish is to look at the tenkara anglers in Japan, which is what we have done for the last 5 years with innovative rod designs and sharing techniques.

If you are intrigued by tenkara, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some highlights about the tenkara story and techniques to get you started. We hope that you will dig into our resources and let us know if you have any questions or want to learn something specific.

1) How to cast with tenkara

Tenkara casting does not have to be fanciful. It is super simple actually. Here’s a good video on how to cast with a tenkara rod:

2) How to setup your tenkara rod

3) Main techniques for tenkara

Here are the 6 main techniques I have learned from tenkara anglers in Japan to help you entice fish.

4) How to open, close and care for your tenkara rod</h3>

5) Use only one fly pattern

Ever wonder how simple fly-fishing really can be? Tenkara fishermen in Japan don’t even change flies! Seriously. This is the hardest concept for most fly anglers to embrace, but by far the most liberating. Over the last several years we have followed this philosophy, and have not lacked for fish. Learn more about how to use only one fly and simplify all the way!

6) How to Tie a Tenkara Fly


Tenkara USA forum
Tenkara USA Facebook page
Discover Tenkara
Tenkara Talk
Podcast on tenkara with Tom Rosenbauer, Orvis

And, of course, we invite you to continue perusing our blog. We have some great posts and videos accumulated over the years, such as this one combining canyoneering and tenkara fishing, or this “Tenkara Diary” video of spending time with one of the tenkara masters in Japan, or this story about the last commercial tenkara angler in Japan.


March 31 2014

Easiest way to keep fly-fishing simple

The easiest way to keep fly-fishing simple may be to look back at the original practitioners of tenkara, a method of fly-fishing that hails from Japan.

One reason we have successfully introduced tenkara outside of Japan was because of the promise that fly-fishing could be simple again. By way of tenkara we were able to clearly show how simple fly-fishing could be.

Yet, people sometimes will try to reinvent the wheel. So much that even something as fundamentally simple as tenkara can be made complicated again.

When I started Tenkara USA I decided to stick to my instincts and introduce tenkara as it is practiced in Japan. This was more pragmatic in reason than for a need to stick to “tradition”. The reason I have stuck with introducing tenkara as I have been learning it from anglers in Japan is that from the beginning I have thought of that as the easiest way to keep it simple. Tenkara can be the simplest form of fly-fishing.

If you look at tenkara anglers in Japan, they are using lines specifically designed for tenkara because they cast well and eliminate the need for leaders (something complex in itself). Go from line to tippet and be done. No need for taper formulas. Tenkara anglers in Japan also don’t use highly specialized flies that do one thing well, they use suggestive flies that work in a variety of situations. Even the casting, something western fly-anglers want to complicate over and over again, is kept way simpler by the tenkara masters of Japan. No need do do fancy casts or 15 minutes of instructions on different casts as I have learned. Just use a good overhead or sidearm cast for heaven’s sake! These are just a couple of examples.

So, there is that, the reason we stick with introducing tenkara as it is practiced in Japan.


March 27 2014

Hold everything on The SimpliFly, a Kickstarter campaign

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?

The SimpliFly fly box and tenkara line holders compartment


March 19 2014

Raise the River

After more than two months of attending a fly-fishing show nearly everywhere weekend, I have decided to go on a long-overdue vacation. Since moving inland to Colorado and becoming landlocked, once in a while I have missed the ocean, more specifically I have missed surfing, a sport I have enjoyed since I was 7. Don’t get me wrong, I chose to move and be closer to mountains, and I absolutely love living there. But how nice would it be if I could not only tenkara and climb when I want to, but also surf without having to fly to Nicaragua?
So, when I saw this video the other day, with Will Farrell and surf champion Kelly Slater advocating to move the ocean I couldn’t help but dream a little. And, laugh quite a bit.
But this is also a very serious message and I thought it should be shared here. The Colorado river no longer flows to its delta and the ocean. That is a very serious issue for the wildlife as well as the people who live downstream on it and no longer get much water. Checkout http://raisetheriver.org


March 15 2014

A small tip for tenkara casting

Here is a small tip that may help you in casting with your tenkara rod. It surprisingly makes a big difference in the cast. Having a hand fully gripping the rod makes the cast very “stiff”, all feels stiff this way. When you relax your grip and support the tenkara rod grip toward the edge of your palm all seems to work way better. Thanks John Geer for observing and pointing this out.



March 05 2014

Tenkara + Photography
No Need to Choose, article by Allison Pluda

Tenkara Magazine PDFOne of the best things about keeping fly-fishing simple and that it allows us to combine fishing with a lot of different activities. That’s the idea behind TENKARA+.
Here’s a very nice article written by Allison Pluda for our Tenkara Magazine (Allison’s awesome photography can be seen on her website: http://www.senecacreekphotography.com/). It  illustrates perfectly that there is indeed no need to choose between fishing and other activities you love. Read on! PDF available here.




by Allison Pluda

For me, tenkara is more than just a fishing technique I’m trying for a while. Tenkara is a tool that helps me to become more in tune with all of the goals in my life. It’s part of a lifestyle choice— to strive toward making everything in life as simple as possible, to eliminate unnecessary details internally and externally and to rely more on my senses and technique rather than gear. There is a beauty to tenkara that fits into the flow of the river and is compatible with a slower pace and a simpler style of life.
As a photographer, I tend to have details to fuss over and a heavy backpack full of gear and lenses to pack (why do lens caps always want to lose themselves?) before I even head out into the wilds. I used to feel that I had to choose: fish well, photograph well, or be bogged down trying to do both. When I got my first tenkara rod, I found that finally I didn’t have to choose between photography or fishing; I could do both. A small bag of fishing supplies, a box of flies, and a tenkara rod could all fit into my photo bag without weighing me down with gear to the point where I’m moving slower than my old-timer dog.

I take my modest tenkara set-up with me on backpacking trips and on long hikes to shoot the sunrise or sunset, just in case one of those high alpine lakes I stumble across, deep in the Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming, is holding some little hungry trout I did not expect. When bushwhacking around branches and brush, between trees and over rocky uneven ground, I can easily collapse the tenkara rod, stow it in the side of my backpack and navigate any tricky terrain without missing a beat and with as much grace as possible while lugging a heavy camera bag. When I find my way back out of the brush (after of course snagging a few branches on my myself) I can be fishing that perfect-looking fishing hole within a minute, and with my camera still hanging around my neck.

Allison Pluda Fish closeup tenkaraTo me, that simplicity is priceless and allows me to maintain the ease of mind I am striving for in the woods. Of course it’s still a challenge to maintain peace and grace when a fish I really had my eye on swims away into the deep just as I finally get my line untangled after what seems like an eternity. But that is just one of the many mental challenges that fishing teaches you to overcome.

Tenkara teaches me more than just a different style of fishing. It teaches me to be fluid, to adapt, to really feel the flow of the water, to worry less about the gear and more about my own connection with the river. It teaches me that the more in tune with my surroundings I am, the more I can concentrate and clear my mind of cluttered thoughts, and thus the more fluid my casts will become and the more energy efficient and graceful my fishing will become. Ideally, all of this results in me catching more fish as well as gaining a sense of active meditation guided by the river itself. But even if the end result is just a few nibbles, working on improving my tenkara technique always gives me some type of lesson to take home. These lessons that are the reason tenkara has become more than just fishing for me. It is a lifestyle and a philosophy of mind. Lao Tzu once said, “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest



February 28 2014

TENKARA+ [Contest]

Tenkara+ is the idea that tenkara goes well with anything you already enjoy doing outside. You should not have to choose between activities. I wrote about this a while ago here. Read on to see how to win a Tenkara USA shirt and a hat.
That’s the beauty of this simple fly-fishing method. Because it doesn’t take a lot of equipment nor a lot of room, and it is super quick to setup, you can always bring tenkara along. Sure, sometimes (very often actually) we head out with the sole purpose of fishing. Tenkara can be its own excuse for us to head out, but what if you are planning to do other things? Do you need to choose one OR the other? We don’t think so. And, what if you’re going on a hike and happen to find a nice looking stream, will you wish you could cast your fly into its waters? Tenkara can make your next hike more interesting; it can ensure you’ll not go bored at rest days during your next climbing trip; and it will surely complement your backpacking trip very nicely.

So, we’re starting this “TENKARA+” campaign to illustrate there is no need to choose.
Share a picture or story of something you have done along with tenkara with. You may share that here on our blog or on our Facebook page or Twitter. At the end of the week we’ll be giving out a Tenkara USA shirt and a hat to one winner from Facebook, one from Twitter and one who posted on our blog. Please include the hashtage #tenkara+ at the beginning of your comment, or on your Twitter or Facebook post. You’re welcome to post in all three but if we select your photo or story we’ll only give you one prize.
Whether climbing, backpacking, foraging or hiking, make sure to bring a Tenkara USA rod along in your next adventure.




February 28 2014

[VIDEOs] The Tenkara Kid in HD
Do NOT throw your Tenkara USA rod in the water

Here are two fun episodes on tenkara made for the TV show “Lip’em & Rip’em”. The video was shot last year in the Minturn area of Colorado. The hosts of the show saw in tenkara a simple fly fishing method and invited me to participate. In these episodes we go through a very comprehensive view of tenkara. We talk about the tenkara rods, the philosophy behind the tenkara flies and then, how to catch and land a LOT of large trout (without ever throwing our rod in the water!)
Enjoy it, and share it with friends. Make sure to click on the gear icon and select 720 for high-definition resolution.



As you can see here, you should never have to throw your tenkara rod in the water! At least not a Tenkara USA rod.


February 26 2014

Forgiving Boulder Creek by Sasha Barajas

Tenkara Magazine story - Forgiving Boulder CreekForgiving Boulder Creek is a story written by Sasha Barajas about her discovery of tenkara and renewed connection with Boulder Creek, which was subject to alarming floods last year. It is a feature story in the first Tenkara Magazine. The story has been receiving great feedback and we thought you’d enjoy reading it. Photographs by Kate Mason
Tenkara fishing at Boulder Creek

Forgiving Boulder Creek

About a quarter-mile from the hustle and bustle of downtown Boulder, Colorado runs a small creek. In the heat of the summer giggles are frequently heard as children wade in the water and college students aboard black tire tubes float by. This autumn, with several days of heavy rain, the creek grew to monstrous proportions, enveloping the landscape and ravaging our mountain town.

Just one month later the creek runs swiftly within its previously defined banks. Although we have resumed biking, running, and skateboarding along the winding Boulder Creek Path, for many of us our relationship with the creek is still on the bedrocks. Read the rest of this entry »


February 25 2014

Wild Trout (UK) Auction

The non-profit organization Wild Trout Trust is holding an auction with some items that may be of interest to the tenkara angler. The auction will be happening from March 4-13 via Ebay, so international bidders and supporters of their organization can easily participate. Tenkara USA is a staunch supporter of the Wild Trout Trust.
From their site: “The annual auction is the most important fundraising event for us. It raises vital funds which we use to deliver practical advice and habitat work, inspiring and helping people to protect wild trout. Click here to see how we use the funds raised in the auction.”
Below are a couple of items that were donated by Dr. Ishigaki for the auction. More items can be viewed here.

Wild Trout picture