In this installment of the Tenkara Guide Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Pierce II of our Tenkara Guide Network. Daniel Pierce has been a great help to Tenkara USA and the north eastern tenkara community for some time now. Dan guides classic trout waters in his home state of Maine, wild places with beautiful native book trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth bass. Besides guiding, Dan is very active at teaching tenkara at area events and can usually be found in the Tenkara USA booth when we are in New England.
Besides tenkara activities, Dan works as a middle school counselor, enjoys spending time with his family, and bow hunting for deer and turkey, all of which influence his fishing and guiding. Dan genuinely enjoys sharing the outdoors with others, as his responses below will support.
What types of environment do you guide tenkara anglers and how long have you been guiding? About how many guide trips and tenkara guide trips do you do in a season?
I guide in the great state of Maine. The number of days I guide changes year to year and depends on the weather but it is usually 20-25 days a year of guiding with clients and then a few tenkara classes through out the year. I work full time as a school counselor at a middle school and started guiding when people asked at fly fishing shows where they could find a guide in Maine. I saw an opportunity and jumped on it! People come from New England to fish in Maine with me because of the native brook trout we have here and because there are so few tenkara guides in New England.
Do you guide only tenkara or also western fly-fishing (or spin fishing)?
I exclusively guide fixed line fly-fishing which has given me my niche in Maine. Maine has a number of outstanding fishing guides but only one tenkara guide!
What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of guiding with tenkara?
Tenkara is great for people who are new to the sport of fly-fishing because there is a quick learning curve if you have someone knowledgable with you. I have found tenkara to be a great “add on” activity to recreational guiding here in Maine. Disadvantages would be sometimes people don’t fully understand the limitations of tenkara fishing.
What are your favorite Tenkara USA rods for guiding on your favorites and are your personal favorites different that what you guide with?
Ever since I got the Rhodo and Sato, I have never looked back. There are times I still fish my Amago but 95% of the time both guiding and fishing on my own, it is one of those rods. The rods are well made and reliable which is why they are my go to rods. Between the two rods I can effectively fish a rod between 8 and 13 feet.
What types of rigs do you fish as far as terminal tackle, i.e. single dry fly, indicator rigs, dry dropper, etc. ?
Especially when I am guiding, I do not get very technical with rigging. Many of my clients are looking for simplicity and effectiveness. For this reason, we rig with level line, tippet, and a single fly.
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?
My biggest surprise was the effectiveness of this method of fishing and the range and variety of fish I have been able to target with tenkara.
So we come to the question of fly choice. I generally guide people who are interested in being outside, learning something new, and hopefully catching fish. For this reason, I fish very few fly patterns. From 2011-2014 I fished one fly; a black hook, black thread, grey turkey feather sakasa kebari. Early in 2015 I started to mess around with killer bugs AKA ( UKB, Sawyer’s, Crane fly larva). I now fish a sakasa kebari 3 different colors and a killer bug in 3 different colors, although 9 out of 10 flies I tie on is a black sakasa kebari. My general philosophy is the more time my fly is in the water, the better chance I have of a fish seeing it.
Do you have a favorite fly? What is it?
Most people would think spring in Maine means early season fishing, when really it means turkey hunting. The two spring male wild turkeys I shoot each year will give me enough feathers to refill my fly box for the season and beyond. I started using turkey feathers in 2011 and have exclusively used them for my sakasa kebari since then. The feathers are a blackish grayish color that have an unbelievable amount of action and turn almost translucent when underwater. So my favorite fly is a simple one; TMC103bl size 13, black thread, turkey feather sakasa kebari.
Do you have a fly fishing or tenkara based online blog? What is the URL?
No blog yet but keep your eyes open!
Do you have an social media presence for your services? What are your Facebook or other social media accounts names?
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
I have noticed I am appearing to be dormant recently. Not too many videos, posts, articles… not even so many new podcasts recently. But, I am still here.
To show that I am still around, and contrary to some rumors I haven’t been murdered by any of the tenkara-hating crowd, I’ll show my face on a live video next week. I’ll be going to a nearby stream on Wednesday, June 8th at 10am MST (4pm GMT) and will be talking about tenkara, answering any questions you may have and showing you how I fish with tenkara. All will be showing live via Facebook. To watch it, just visit the Tenkara USA page on Facebook here and tune in on Wednesday at 10am MST.
Our 5th annual Tenkara Summit took place this weekend in Estes Park and by all accounts I’d say it was a big hit. We had approximately 180 participants this year, with nearly 1/3 of that being people who travelled from out of state to attend. We also counted on the presence of two guests from Japan who came to share their experience with tenkara. Mr. Yoshikazu Fujioka came to share his vast knowledge of tenkara flies and Mr. Go Ishii spoke about his experiences fishing in Japan and did a demonstration on casting and approach techniques.
There is a lot to be said about this event. Every year, because of the huge amount of work involved (and the big expense) I think it will be the last time I want to do it. But every year I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many people passionate about tenkara when the Summit time comes. And, I’m so grateful to all the amazing volunteers and support staff who made this an incredible community event. Their help always allows me to contemplate holding more Tenkara Summits. So I’m sure 2016 will see one too.
A huge hank you all those who attended and those who couldn’t be there in person but were with us in spirit, you made it the incredible event it turned out to be. A toast to another incredible tenkara experience. Below are some pictures of the Summit as well as the slide presentation given by Mr. Fujioka, which I promised I’d post on the site today.
More Tenkara Summit 2015 photos
A little while ago we updated our tenkara rod cases. If you are interested in getting one of the new Tenkara USA rod cases to upgrade your existing one, these are now available here. They will be sold at a discounted price of $15 for the next two weeks to give you a chance to get them for an upgrade. These cases all share the same cap thread, but the rod name is printed on the cap. The rod cases also come with a stretchy woven rod sock.
I’m testing out a new platform to continue “sharing the tenkara story”. A friend of mind recently turned me on to Storehouse. Here’s a short photo story with Mr. Yuzo Sebata. What do you think?
Direct link to Tenkara story on Storehouse
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Orvis headquarters in Vermont. It’s always fun spending time with those guys and in that area. We got out and fished a couple of times, including floating the Battenkill river with Shawn Combs at the helm of his drift boat, and me swinging a big streamer on tenkara flies! Yes, you heard that right!!! With fish seemingly sleeping and little activity I put on a big bright gigantic streamer at the end of my line to see what would happen. The next day I sat down with Tom Rosenbauer to chat about tenkara and that experience.
You can listen to our conversation at the Orvis podcast here. The tenkara portion starts at 27:45
Orvis is now selling a tenkara kit with the Sato rod.
This was the second Orvis podcast on tenkara, you can listen to the first Orvis podcast on tenkara that Tom and I did here.
Wohoo! The Keeper is finally here!
The Keeper™ is a tenkaraline holder solution designed to hold two tenkara lines, or tenkara line and tippet. It also features a small integrated fly box. That way a minimalist tenkara angler can grab his favorite tenkara rod, and a loaded Keeper and go fishing.
Learn more about The Keeper.
Thank you all very much for your patience as we faced a delay overcame some challenges in the initial run.
It is time to put tenkara rods in the hands of more people, and to allow you to stop by your favorite shop and get the lines and flies you need as well as the full lineup of tenkara rods. We are expanding quickly into more stores and welcome several new tenkara dealers that just received their first shipment of Tenkara USA gear.
Tenkara USA products can now be found in over 80 stores around the country. This number will continue to grow and will include many outdoor sporting goods stores that so far do not carry any fly-fishing equipment.
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.
Since the beginning of tenkara, anglers have pondered how to best manage and store their line. There have been multiple solutions devised since then, and we thought we’d bring our insights into creating something we think will be useful to those taking up tenkara and even for the western fly anglers looking for a good way to store a couple of leaders and some flies.
The Tenkara USA Line Keeper is line holder solution that also incorporates an integrated fly box. The Keeper is designed to hold two tenkara lines, or tenkara line and tippet. That way a minimalist tenkara angler can have the tenkara line, tippet and flies in a compact solution.
This tenkara line keeper features two patent-pending solutions. The first one is a completely unique line-catching mechanism. As you wind the line it gets automatically caught between two walls so that the line never “explodes” out of the spool, and you can stop winding it at any point rather than looking for a notch to stop.
Another one is a small compartment to hold between 6 and a dozen flies. It’s not designed as a fly box replacement, but for a quick outing, or just in case you lose flies, these will always be there with you.
And, perhaps the best part, The Keeper is always smiling
Stay tuned for updates on its availability. Coming in early April 2015. Estimated price $12.
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.
Three years ago, on January 22nd, 2012, I rode an elevator with the legendary fly angler Mr. Lefty Kreh. In the 30-second elevator ride I was able to ask Mr. Kreh what he thought of tenkara, and his response was, in short, “I think tenkara is a fad and it won’t last long.“. I wrote about this experience. Within hours the post went viral, with nearly every fly-fishing blog reposting it in the following days and, by my estimates, well over 700 comments being written in response.
Fast-forward to January 24th, 2015 and we officially have a change in the status of tenkara in the fly-fishing world. On that Saturday morning we were getting ready for the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, when Mr. Lefty Kreh appeared in our booth looking for me. Oh, oh…was I about to get an earful for publicly writing about our conversation? Not at all. Mr. Kreh said he wanted to talk to me about our conversation three years earlier, to “clear the waters” as he put it, about his comment on tenkara being a fad.
I confess, I had wanted to talk to him in the years since but never felt very comfortable approaching him. I never felt there was any animosity between us, but he is Lefty Kreh, a celebrity usually surrounded by many people. I was delighted to see him coming over. He sat down and we chatted for a good 20 minutes. Those around me will tell you I had a smile from ear to ear, Lefty, after all, is an angler I have looked up to since I started my career in fly-fishing, and I rejoiced at the chance of chatting with him for longer than 30 seconds. Two of my favorite things about having created a business in the fly-fishing industry are that I can talk to like-minded people all the time, and that it has put me in touch with those I had looked up to since I first learned I could imitate bugs with hooks and feathers.
Lefty told me that in the several decades he’s been fly-fishing he’s seen many things coming and going, so tenkara could have been one of those. But, he has had a change of heart and has been looking into tenkara a lot and “no longer think[s] tenkara is a fad”. In fact, he said, tenkara has “many great applications, particularly for the trout angler and for teaching people how to fly-fish.”
I was particularly delighted when he told me we have a great website and that he’s been spending a lot of time looking into tenkara right here. He knew a lot about tenkara, and could tell me about the knots and the flies, and more. And, yes, Lefty has fished with tenkara and has been experimenting with it too.
By far my favorite part was when he told me:
“make sure to keep it [tenkara] simple; you are doing a great job, just continue to keep it simple.”
The much anticipated 2015 Tenkara Magazine has arrived!
The second annual issue of the Tenkara Magazine has an incredible lineup of stories, how-to articles, and tenkara photography. This high-quality print publication is intended to continue sharing the tenkara story and features pieces submitted by the tenkara community and curated by the Tenkara Publishing team. And, yes, this issue also has larger font size!
A digital version will be made available in February/March of 2015.
Catch And Release, By Jack E. Williams
Tenkara+ Bouldering, By Daniel Pierce
Mid-River Boulders, By John Geer
Encountering Yuzo Sebata, By Daniel Galhardo
Interview With Yuzo Sebata, By Adam Trahan
First Summer Of Tenkara, By Hannah Williams
Purple Fly, By Michael Agneta
Cooking Trout On A Campfire, By Daniel Galhardo
Grand Slam, By Jen Kugler Hansen
Tenkara+ Saltwater, By Chris Kuhlow
Tenkara And Dry Fly, By Mark Cole
Hemming The Seam, By Tj Ferreira
Tenkara Underwater, By Ralph Cutter
Thinking Outside The Fly Box, By Jason Klass
A Weekend Hike, By Jourdan Arenson
Tribes Of Itoshiro, By Paul Gaskell
Visiting Japan, By Rebecca Milner
The Tenkara Flower, By Daniel Galhardo
Discovering The Fish Of Japan, By John Pearson
Tenkara Journeys, By Dave Southall
Incidents With Tenkara, By Dave Hughes
Fly-Fishing The Enchantments, By Daniel Silverberg
Fish Tales From Wales, By Dyfan Morris
Plus: The Basics Of Tenkara And Tenkara Summit