Today we celebrate 10 years of building Tenkara USA and sharing tenkara outside of Japan. It is an incredible milestone, and this journey has been filled with incredible experiences, milestones we never could have predicted, and a lot of hard work to accomplish all of that. And, of course we wouldn’t be here today without your support for these many years. So, THANK YOU so very much for the continue support, for sharing tenkara, for enjoying it, and for allowing us to be here today!
Little did I know that Tenkara USA would give rise to movement so passionate and that it would bring such enriching experiences into the lives of so many people. When I launched the company, I was not, as the famous fly-fishing author John Gierach wrote in one of his books, “unaware of the difficulties of introducing something small, quiet and simple to a country that likes things big, loud and complicated.” Indeed, the introduction of tenkara outside of Japan had its challenges. Starting at business in the fly-fishing industry in the midst of a Great Recession and betting all my savings into it was quite a bit scary(this was way before the launch of funding websites like Kickstarter by the way). I was also leaving a secure and promising career to pursue something I believed strongly that people should get to know. It is amazing to look back at 10 years of existence, and see how far we have come as a company. That we have not only been able to overcome challenges but create a thriving business has been quite a validation of people’s cravings for a simpler experience in the outdoors.
So much has happened in the last 10 years that I figured the best thing to post here today would be our interactive timeline, which I try as best as I can to keep updated as milestones are reached in the business (and of course, today is the last day of our 10th anniversary sale, so check that out):
The event registration is $40 and includes a catered lunch plus a bunch of great knowledge!
Date: July 27, 2019.
More details will be posted at www.tenkarausa.com/summit as we near the date, but here is what we have so far:
Location: Millenium Harvest House Hotel, Boulder, Colorado. This is the location of the Tenkara Summit a few years ago in the video below. We have a nice grassy area, presentation rooms and Boulder Creek right at the hotel.
Registration fee: $40, includes a catered lunch
Accommodations: Millennium Harvest House hotel, where the event will be held has a great discounted rate of $120/night. Reservations must be made by calling their In-House Reservation Agents directly at 866-866-8086. Please reference Reservation ID#: 1904TKFISH.
There are several other accommodation options around Boulder. You should also checkout our friends at the Adventure Lodge, which is up Boulder Canyon
Schedule: A final schedule will be posted as we get closer to the date. But the event generally starts at 9am, and consists of 2-3 morning presentations, followed by about 3-4 hours of time dedicated to lunch, vendors, clinics, short-format presentations and meeting fellow tenkara anglers, with another 2 or so presentations afterward. In the evening we will be hosting a fly-tying session, which this year will count on the very special live music of Takenobu, who provides a lot of music for our videos.
IMAGE RELEASE: THE TENKARA SUMMIT WILL BE DOCUMENTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO AND AUDIO. BY ATTENDING THE TENKARA SUMMIT, HOSTED BY TENKARA USA, YOU CONSENT TO IMAGES OF YOU AND YOUR LIKENESS, AS WELL AS VIDEOS OF YOU AND RECORDINGS OF YOUR VOICE TO BE USED IN ANY AND ALL MEDIA BY TENKARA LLC AND TENKARA USA FOR ANY PURPOSE AND WITHOUT COMPENSATION. YOU RELEASE TENKARA LLC. AND TENKARA USA AS WELL AS ITS MEDIA PARTNERS FROM ANY LIABILITY WHATSOEVER.
We received word that the fulfillment center we have worked with in the UK for the past 10 years to fulfill orders in the European Union is closing doors and leaving the UK.
Going forward all orders going to the UK and European Union countries will be shipped from our warehouse in the US.
Unfortunately orders will potentially be subjected to customs and duties.
For the next month or so, we will keep the shipping rate at $14.50. This is much lower than the actual shipping and handling costs that we incur on shipments to Europe, but we will work with that for the time being.
Welcome to the fourth issue of Tenkara USA’s official monthly ezine, covering the best stories on the tenkara method of fly-fishing. mounTEN brings forth content created by Tenkara USA over the last 10 years in a fun-to-read format. This month features an article on tangles & snags, covers a trip fishing tenkara with Ed Engle and John Gierach, a piece on the versatile tenugui, a new Up Tenkara Creek Comic and much more. Enjoy!
You can read the ezine in the reader above, or download the full PDF version here.
Welcome to the third issue of Tenkara USA’s official monthly ezine, covering the best stories on the tenkara method of fly-fishing. mounTEN brings forth content created by Tenkara USA over the last 10 years in a fun-to-read format. This month features Ice Shelf Fishing, Bamboo Rods, Iwana Sashimi, a new Up Tenkara Creek Comic and much more. Enjoy!
You can read the ezine in the reader above, or download the full PDF version here.
Tenkara USA’s designer, Jeremy Shellhorn, sits streamside and lets nature inspire his work as he takes viewers along his drawing process.
Jeremy’s work beautifully captures the essence of tenkara. One guiding principle in much of his art is “mujo”, the Japanese concept of leaving things incomplete and giving as much importance to what is left out as to what is drawn.
In Search of Tenkara is a series of videos where people capture what makes tenkara unique and what its essence may be.
Our 2-week long trip to Japan is now over. At the end of the trip we experienced the beginning of the rains that have been ravaging Western Japan. In fact, the night before we left we were at a guest house having dinner as heavy rain fell outside. Our hostess came to inform us that there was a chance the river nearby, the Maze, could flood and she explained the contingency plan. It was not likely she said, but just in case there was an alarm they would guide us to the school on the hill nearby.
The Maze, a river we had fished just the day before, didn’t flood, but much of the areas around where we were experienced landslides and devastating floods. The disaster has been hardest felt farther west from where we were. Our hearts are with the people as they deal with the difficulties of yet another disaster. We were lucky to escape unharmed. It has been bittersweet to get to the comfort of my dry home knowing people are suffering. But, as I review footage and images from another good trip to Japan I keep the Japanese people in my heart.
Today I worked on a short film where I was able to capture an epic fight Dr. Ishigaki had with a large rainbow trout in Hokkaido. I wish my microphone was closer to hear his tenkara rod singing, as I am sure it did. I hope you’ll enjoy the short film above.
If you’re interested in helping, here’s some information on relief efforts taking place.
Press Release, Boulder, CO
Fly-fishing equipment company Tenkara USA has named industry veteran Patrick Stratton CEO. He will join Daniel Galhardo on the senior management team.
Stratton has held senior management positions at The North Face, REI and Mountain Equipment Co-op, among others. His experience will help Tenkara USA build momentum and grow the brand as it works to expand sales and dealer networks to grow fly fishing’s audience.
“Patrick’s product management and entrepreneurial experience are a perfect match to help take Tenkara USA to the next level, where we can continue to provide the best product to an ever-growing audience of people who spend time outdoors and may want to add fly-fishing to their list of preferred activities,” said Galhardo, Tenkara USA’s founder and chairman.
“I’ve known Daniel for a long time, and have envied his ability to communicate the technique and simplicity of the sport,” Stratton said. “I see many opportunities for the brand and the sport, and I look forward to being able to introduce Tenkara USA to new audiences while maintaining a strong connection with our existing customers and ensuring we tackle the challenges faced by a growing brand.”
Galhardo will focus on product development and storytelling, and will work closely with Stratton and the rest of the Tenkara USA team to continue pushing forward their mission to “enable people to enjoy the benefits of tenkara by sharing the philosophies of simplicity, open-mindedness and caring for the environment while providing the best tenkara information, gear and service.”
Mountain Home, Arkansas
In March, Tenkara USA had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Sowbug Roundup “Celebration of Fly Fishing” event. Daniel, Jeremy and I were on hand to represent Tenkara USA and additionally, Daniel also gave a tenkara presentation and a couple of casting demonstrations.
[Daniel’s note: a new podcast episode of the Tenkara Cast, in which the 3 of us sit down and chat about the finer points of the philosophy of simplicity, is now available via iTunes, other podcast apps, or directly at ]
The Sowbug Roundup is a basically a fly tying show with a selected vendor list chosen to augment the content of the event.
It was quite an honor for me to attend and I do appreciate the welcome that the community gave to us. The tenkara vendors did a great job and we made the front page of the area newspaper.
What follows is a few photographs that I took from the event.
I am a strong believer that companies shouldn’t release new products simply with the goal of loading people with something new. Too often a need for growth rather than customer interest is what drives product releases. But we were missing a product that I feel completes our lineup.
I wanted to create an adventure rod. It would be strong to handle just about whatever was thrown at it in terms of fish; and it would be super portable but not compromise durability or feel. At last that rod is here.
If you are interested in a rod that will fit in your small carry-on when you travel, your daypack when you go for hikes, or your bike’s saddlebag, check out the Hane ($150). It is a great rod to tag along in all your adventures.
I’m an American tenkara angler that is influenced by Japanese tenkara and my own experiences at home. I initially learned about tenkara nine years ago from Tenkara USA (Daniel Galhardo) and subsequently deepened my knowledge from researching Japanese blogs and web sites. I used what I knew from my own fly fishing knowledge and by researching and interviewing famous Japanese Tenkara anglers. I shared many of those interviews with the community here.
What follows is a basic look into the equipment that I use to wet wade and fish my own home streams and as I travel around North America and beyond.
My primary tenkara rods are the Ito, Sato and Rhodo. I’ve been fishing these rods since they have been available. I own a couple of Japanese brand rods in my quiver but my Tenkara USA rods are my first choices to go fishing in my home streams. I think if I had one rod to choose, it would be the Ito. It is a rod where I can hunt small native trout in wild places and then further down the mountain where the stream flows into the high meadow lake, I can catch stacked up big trout coming from out of the lake. It’s a rod that has length and makes a small fish fun yet I can catch 20” fish with it all day long.
A new episode of our podcast, the Tenkara Cast, is now available through your favorite podcast listening app, or right here on our website. This time Daniel chats with Chris Johnson about tenkara fishing in Texas.
Most of the time when I am interviewing or having a written conversation with a person, I ask them for a couple of paragraphs to tell me who they are. I meet Jeremy at the 2017 Tenkara USA Summit and he and his wife are super nice, like all the people that I have meet in Tenkara USA. I knew he was an artist and a family man but beyond that, I did not know much about him. So I asked him if he would pen a brief “about me” so that I could develop a deeper understanding of his interests to develop our Interview.
What caught my attention in his response was not the things that I thought I needed, it was an actual fishing moment describing resting a pool. He brought me there with his words.
I’m excited to have a chance to share a conversation with Jeremy with you as he is an interesting and aesthetic loving individual.
Adam: I’m not sure I discussed the process of these Interviews with you Jeremy so I will do it here. I write the thing in one single whack and send it to you. You fill it out and send it back. When I create the document, I think about the subject and then bring out his or her interests and hopefully get them to build a picture, a interesting inner view of who they are.
Your answer to my request about fishing, spooking a pool and then sitting down and drawing, waiting for the pool to resume it’s peace struck a cord with me. I was taken to one of my own streams, I have been fishing it for 50 or so years. There are distinct pools that always have dinks flitting about chasing flys on the surface. If you approach too quickly, they scatter for the undercut or the log. But if you sit down, have a drink, check your fly, lay back and relax for about 10 minutes or so, the trout slowly come back to their feeding and playfulness.
“You have obviously been fishing for a while so let me thank you for taking this interview and sharing with us a little bit about you.”
Jeremy Shellhorn: Thanks for interviewing me. Yes, I guess I have been fishing for most of my life. I am glad my Dad took me when I was young. My family has always encouraged me to pursue the things I love to do…fishing and design. I am very very fortunate.
Interview with John Lawrence Geer
I’ve known John for a little while now, I met him through social media. Recently, I joined Tenkara USA as a writer and contributor. At the 2017 Tenkara USA Summit, we shared some time together. Having met him in person, he is a super nice, knowledgeable about fly fishing and tenkara. In short, I look forward to the next time we meet and I hope I am able to do a little fishing with him. So with that and without any more introductions, I want to get into the interview.
Adam: Hey John! I know this might be a stretch for you (the interview) but I appreciate you doing it. Outside of Tenkara USA, I want to tell you that the pictures you post tell a thousand words. You are an experienced fly angler, a tenkara fisher and your story is worth telling, even if it’s just a little slice here.
Let me begin with a thank you for accepting my invitation. I appreciate it and I’m sure our community will enjoy getting to know about you.
“Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?”
John Lawrence Geer: Hi Adam. Thanks for interviewing me and the nice intro. I grew up fishing in southern Illinois on strip pit lakes and farm ponds. We’d took most of our family vacations when I was younger to fish in Missouri on their trout parks, which are basically spring creeks managed as put and take fisheries, and then the large warm water fisheries there when I got older.