As a good follow up to the post I wrote yesterday, the Denver Post is featuring a story on tenkara in today’s paper. It is a well-written piece by Scott Willoughby. Check it out: http://www.denverpost.com/outdoors/ci_22576834/simplicity-is-sacred-japanese-tenkara-technique-fly-fishing
A few months ago I wrote about the visit of Mr. Endo, editor of the Japanese “Fishing Cafe” magazine. I finally got to browse its pages. This issue is primarily dedicated to tenkara, with the profiles of some of the main personalities in the sport (including yours truly). For the last couple of years more and more fishing magazines have been dedicating issues to tenkara, an affirmation of the growing popularity of the method in Japan (by the way, Fishing Cafe is a magazine owned by Shimano). I love the layout of their magazine, with vivid images and text over images.
The cover features an illustration by Mr. Yoshikazu Fujioka, who is also featured in the magazine. Others featured are Mr. Sebata and Dr. Ishigaki.
I will write more about my experiences in the last couple of days after today’s fishing. No gnarly dishes this time, but a cool and new-to-me fishing method shown by the local kids, and some plain fun.
Below are some of the images I just took of the magazine with my phone (this post is being written on my phone as I wait to depart for today’s adventure).
Written by Daniel
Tenkara USA was just awarded a “Best of Show” award at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show (IFTD)!!! Wohooo! We received the prize for “Best Gift” for the 12ft Iwana tenkara rod, a tenkara line and tenkara flies.
Many people realized that a tenkara rod, tenkara line and tenkara flies make up for the best gift. Either they will be something the experienced fly angler will not already have, or it will be the ideal gift to get someone started into fly fishing.
We also submitted one of our rods as a “Best Freshwater Fly Rod” category. That was a tough one to compete in given that we were going head to head with all the conventional 9ft fly rods in the market. I knew the chances of that prize were extremely slim, but as they did not have a category for “Best Mountain Stream Fly Rod” that was our only chance.
When I asked my friend Tom Sadler what he thought the odds were of the tenkara rod winning the category prize, his response was “exactly the same as the percentage of people doing tenkara within the of fly-fishing”.
“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.
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).
It’s been a long time coming, and I have been anxiously waiting for these to come out. We finally received our copies of the latest issue of The Fly Fish Journal with my feature article on “finding tenkara” during my last trip to Japan. The Fly Fish Journal is a new magazine that I’m super excited to work with for their high-quality, “coffee-table” style magazines. They really go well with tenkara, and I’m proud of the essay being accepted.
Stay tuned for when the magazines become available within the next 1-2 weeks – we’ll send out a mass email, so you can subscribe to our site by using the subscribe box above. We got a hold of quite a few copies that we’ll put up for sale on our site. It’s a magazine worth having. Here’s a peek a the first spread page of the essay.
Anthony Naples, who runs the blog Casting Around, interviewed me for a feature on the website Midcurrent.com. You’re probably tired of hearing my story, but Anthony’s questions are good and could only be asked by someone who’s been following the development of tenkara in the US from the beginning.
On Midcurrent’s email newsletter this morning they announced the interview as follows: “THIS WEEK we look at what may be the fastest growing “style” of fly fishing: tenkara. Anthony Naples interviews Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA and someone who could fairly be called the “Ever-Ready Bunny of tenkara.”
The guys from Tenkaraguides.com, Erik Ostrander, John Vertelli, and Rob Worthing, marked a new milestone for tenkara’s introduction in the US by appearing at the TV program KSL Outdoors with Adam Eakle. They told the story beautifully; the host of the show, Adam, did a great job at narrating it, and the video was very well edited. Kudos to the tenkaraguides.com and thank you to KSL for the interest in tenkara! Love the energy those guys are bringing to the community.
Last May I got to spend 2 months in the Japanese mountain village of Maze, on the shores of the Mazegawa (Maze River). I went exclusively to learn everything I could about tenkara. But, along the way I definitely enjoyed some treats. One of the highlights was visiting the ryokan called Maruhachi. Actually, I had visited Maruhachi once before, in 2010, and really felt like I was in heaven at that place. Last year I was actually able to enjoy it 3 times! Once with my good friend Chikara and his wife Rebecca, once with a large group of tenkara anglers after a weekend clinic, and once with the local fishing cooperative officials.
Rebecca is a freelance writer, and she just completed a story about the place for The Guardian. The story features some of my photographs. It is a very well written article that captures the essence of the place very well, even if it doesn’t mention tenkara. If you are interested in learning more about Japan, and a place that could still be considered a heavenly secret, take a look at the writeup. My mouth is now watering remembering the 11-course meal of sansai (mountain vegetables), iwana sashimi and shioyaki amago (sea-salt on the skin and on a skewer).
The current issue of Fly Tyer magazine (Winter 2011) has an article marking a milestone for tenkara in the USA. Morgan Lyle, the author, has been following the tenkara movement in the US from day one, and has seen its progression from the day Dr. Ishigaki gave a presentation and demonstration in the Catskills, to the first Tenkara Summit to be held in the US, where over 120 people attended.
In Tenkara Catches On, Lyle writes about how “American tenkara fans have embraced the method’s no-frills utility and the great presentations made possible by the 11 to 15-foot long rods and feather-light lines.” The Summit counted on the special presence of Blue Ribbon Flies’ Craig Mathews, who helped put the event together, and his friend Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, describing how, “Chouinard turned Mathews on to tenkara fishing years ago” and how Craig has “used his tenkara rod more foten than his conventional fly rod during the summer of 2011.”
This being a fly-tying magazine he mentions how “anglers have fallen in love with what is widely thought of as the tenkara fly: a simple soft-hackle pattern tied with feather fibers leaning forward. Known as sakasa kebari, it has inspired a wave of creativity as Americans dream up their own patterns and adapt western mainstays to the sakasa style.”
The article mentions the creativity brought about by Ashley Valentine, who created the “Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari”, the Utah Killer Bug by the Tenkara Guides of Utah and based on Chris Stewart’s Killer Kebari, as well as Anthony Naples’, Chris Kullow’s and Dr. Ishigaki’s flies.
Definitely get your copy of the magazine, and if I may, you may want to subscribe to it, as I can see a lot more articles on tenkara flies appearing in its pages.
As we try to spread the word about tenkara, advertising can be a powerful tool (though not nearly as powerful as you spreading the word to friends and family!). We only advertise in magazines that have introduced their readers to tenkara. Their readers will be more predisposed to knowing what tenkara is, and we can then drive our brand and reinforce the concept. Advertising in magazines that have never covered it will do little for tenkara.
Recently, I was creating an ad for the California Fly Fisher magazine, a large format, “tenkara-friendly” magazine in California . As I worked on a full-page ad, I placed a rod on top of its open pages. As it turned out, the rod was the same size as a spread! Taking a full spread on any magazine can be an expensive proposition. But, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to display a rod at “actual size” in its pages. It turned out pretty well. We’ll see now what the responses are like.
What do you think about the ad? What about print advertising in general?
Two pages later, our friends Ralph and Lisa Cutter of the California School of Fly-fishing, and tenkara-certified instructors, published their own ad. I really like the imagery and simple uncluttered design of their ad. Not quite a mountain stream, and Lisa still has a reel in her hand, but certainly mountain/backpacking territory good for tenkara.
And, their article on page 20-21 on “Winter Stuff” (clothing and layer suggestions for winter time fishing) is right on, and very educational. At the end of the article they talking about how “icing guides and frozen fly lines are the bane of every cold-weather angler” and “simply dunking rod and reel in the water…” I imagine the article was written pre-tenkara, as they probably realize there are no guides to freeze, no reel, and one can even keep his gloves on!
Launched this week, by filmmaker Brian Flemming and his assistant Ashley, is an exciting new website to check out: learntenkara.com. Their website is a content-rich, independent resource that somewhat follows Brian’s feature film project – a documentary on tenkara and its introduction to the US.
According to their site:
“LearnTenkara.com emerged from a feature-length documentary about tenkara that is still in active production. While shooting this movie since September 2010, we have acquired hours and hours of great fishing footage and interviews with tenkara luminaries such as Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, Daniel Galhardo, Chris Stewart and Ryan Jordan. A lot of this material happens to be instructional in nature, and for that reason it is not likely to make it into the final film, which will focus on the overall tenkara phenomenon and not so much on the nitty gritty of “how to.”
In addition, Ashley, who has been fly-fishing since she was 11 years old has discovered a new passion in tenkara through her work with Brian, and will be documenting her experiences learning tenkara.
The website will be a work-in-progress and a great chance to preview footage and photography captured along the way to the completion of the film; learntenkara.com is definitely worth bookmarking. There is already some great media on their pages, including excellent photography documenting pieces of the film, and the exciting video clip embedded above, where I hooked and landed a strong 20″ brown trout on the Madison during my last visit to Montana.