By Daniel Galhardo
This blog entry is a transcription from the Tenkara Cast podcast episode “Choosing a tenkara rod, tenkara line, and tenkara flies.” We have had many requests to have the podcasts transcribed and are happy to present the first one here. The podcast episode may be found 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.
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.
A good friend of mine decided to give her dad a tenkara net (also known as a “tamo“) for Christmas. She’s been working on the branch frame for a few weeks and now it is time for connecting the mesh bag to the net frame. Yesterday she asked me for help with it but we couldn’t meet up. While I had put together this video years ago, I had since learned a better way of connecting the mesh bag to the tenkara net frame. And then I remembered I had some great footage from when I spent time with the famous tenkara net maker Yukihiro Yoshimura and his daughter learning the techniques for tenkara net making. So, I quickly compiled the most relevant shots of the steps needed in connecting the mesh bag to net frame. If you’re finding yourself at the point of connecting a mesh bag to your beautiful tenkara net frame, I hope this video will be of help. I also intend on putting together a number of “Quick Guide to Tenkara” videos in the coming weeks.
Still looking for a holiday gift? What about the most innovative tenkara rods around?
Louis Cahill from the must-follow blog Gink & Gasoline, stopped by our booth at a tradeshow earlier this year and did a great video about tenkara and our new tenkara rods, the Sato and Rhodo tenkara rods. My favorite quote in the piece he wrote to go with the video is probably “tenkara has spread like pink eye in kindergarten“, I guess that’s true, but without any of the symptoms. Here’s the video he made:
It’s been a long-time coming and with many requests from our customers. We have been working for a while on putting together a tenkara fly-tying kit that has everything you need to tie a variety of tenkara flies, and nothing you don’t need. The Tenkara Fly-Tying kit is our way of showing you that fly-tying is actually pretty simple.
Both kit options feature a booklet we created to teach you how to tie tenkara flies as well as a vise (two options available), a set of tools, soft-hackle, dry rooster hackle, peacock herl, two spools of thread and 50 hooks in two sizes. There are also a lot of resources we’re putting together to help you get into fly-tying, such as our weekly Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, with one video released every week. Both kits feature enough hooks to tie 50 flies, and materials for more, so it would pay for itself pretty quickly compared to buying flies.Kits will start shipping on December 16th but order now to make sure you get one.
The Basic Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a spring-action vise by Terra. This vise is great for beginners as it requires no adjustments, all you do is press the lever to open the jaws and put whatever size hook you are using. This is a clamp-style vise, which you will clamp onto a table/desk. All materials are the same as in the Upgraded kit. Ships December 16th.
$95, Basic kit
The Upgraded Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a high-end vise made by Peak Fishing in Loveland, Colorado. It’s a pedestal-style vise, which can be used on any surface. It is a beautifully crafted vise made in the USA. All other materials are the same as in the Basic kit. Ships December 16th.
$145, Upgraded kit
The Tenkara USA Rhodo, an adjustable tenkara rod we released earlier this year, just received the “Kudo Award” from renowned author and tenkara angler Dave Hughes and Fly Rod & Reel magazine (and yes, we do love the fact that a magazine with “Reel” in its name just gave us a Kudo Award”).
When I emailed Dave to thank him for the nomination, he responded of how he was showing the rod to someone, “I held my fingers on each side of the +/- 3″ section that has the extension ferrules, and said, ‘This three inches of rod deserves the Kudo.’ Then I caught a fish on it.”
Along with the 12ft Tenkara USA Iwana, which received an award in 2012 as a Best of Show at IFTD, the Rhodo is the second award given to a tenkara rod by the mainstream industry.
Dave has been doing tenkara for probably longer than anyone else in the USA, and his latest book “Trout from Small Streams” has a terrific chapter on tenkara.
Tenkara net making may be a good summer activity for kids. But, it’s probably best to start early because of the long drying period – though you can get away with a short drying.
When I met Kyosuke in the Japanese mountain village of Maze, he saw the nets I made. They are a traditional Japanese craft that may be at risk of dying. He had seen nets before at the museum and with other anglers but never saw them being made until I found a branch and started working on one. When he arrived to spend the month with us here in the States, one of the first things he asked me was if I could teach him how to make a tenkara net. Yesterday evening I finally had the time to take him out to look for the perfect branch. We hiked for nearly an hour, I showed him what we were looking for (he doesn’t speak English, and I’m trying my best to speak only in English to him, so we had some challenges, but he got it). Continue reading
Even I can find myself with a broken tenkara rod tip in need of repair. The odds implied that it was bound to happen. After about 6 years of tenkara fishing and opening and closing tenkara rods thousands and thousands of times, this weekend I was fishing in the Pacific Northwest when I broke the tip of my tenkara rod, for the first time ever not on purpose. It was my fault, I hurriedly tried to pull the line out and didn’t heed to my main advice: always keep the hard tip of the rod inside the handle segment while pulling line out of the spool.
Still, even though we were almost done for the day I tried to make the best of the situation by making a field repair of my tenkara rod tip with some spare replacement lillian I had on the rod. It was my first time attempting a field repair of the tenkara rod tip out of necessity. Watch to learn what to do if you find yourself with a broken tenkara rod tip.
The words below are one of the nicest testimonials about how our Tenkara Care program is ensuring customers use our rods more often than any other, because they know we “have their back”.
By customer Jacob Johnson:
“I love companies that stand by their products. Tenkara USA is such a company. I break a rod on the weekend. I post a photo of a big fish and a broken Tenkara rod. John Geer from Tenkara USA sees the photo and figures out what is broken on his own. He then contacts me to confirm his findings and magically a day later the part shows up and my rod is back in business. That is customer service, that is quality, that is awesomeness in action. I have dozens and dozens of Tenkara rods. They look cool but I am afraid to fish them frequently or chase the “Monsters” because I know that if I break them, some of them would be impossible to get fixed. Tenkara USA rods are functional pieces of art, that I know I can rely on even if I am rough on them and put them through their paces. The Tenkara USA team has my back.”
A few months ago I wrote about what has become my best hydration solution while fishing. For years I used to carry a water bottle, but then would run out of water, even while surrounded by a lot of fresh clean water. I drank from streams directly on occasion, but then tested positive for giardia (never had any symptoms).
So, I picked up an ultra-light and very small water filter made by Aquamira, the Frontier Pro. It was cheap, super light and easily fits in a pocket. To go with it, I found the Platypus 500ml water pouch to be the ideal companion. I had finally come my across the best solution for always having water with me but without carrying a lot of weight. It kind of changed my life for fishing.
If I’m on the stream pretty much the whole time I’ll carry just the filter by itself, pull it out and drink directly from the stream.
When walking any distance to or from the stream I’ll take the bottle with me. And, of course, this has become my go-to water bottle for traveling anywhere or using on a daily basis as it is foldable and slim, so it fits in my back pocket and reduces in size as I drink from it.
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?
We’re starting to roll out new cases for our tenkara rods. I’m very excited about this new packaging concept. These tenkara rod cases were designed with the help of our design intern Luke Uyeda. Starting immediately, the Sato rods purchased in the USA will be shipping with the new cases, then we’ll slowly be repackaging all our other rods with the new cases in the next few weeks, and soon make them available for sale individually as well.
The new cases are ultra-light (2.8 oz compared to 7oz for the older cases, with option to use only nylon bag which is under 1oz), well-designed with functionality and simplicity in mind, and sleek looking. The new Tenkara USA rod cases feature an ultra-light plastic case for crush protection with a durable nylon sleeve covering it. The sleeve can also be used by itself for even lighter-weight protection against scratches.
Each case features the name of the rod stitched directly onto it, making it easy to identify which tenkara rod you’re grabbing on your way to the water.
They have strategically placed straps and loops, making it easy to strap the case onto packs or tie a should sling directly into the case. It even features a segment of lillian should you ever need to do a field repair. Though the design is simple, the possibilities of use are limitless and we’ll cover some ideas soon.
Lastly, we printed the most basic instructions needed for tenkara fishing directly on the packaging.
About the white color? We wanted it to be authentic and establish it as our brand’a cases (after all our initial green case got copied by everyone making a tenkara rod). Plus, we plan to hold some contests to see how dirty you will get yours. A white case will quickly help make the case that you fish often.
Our newest tenkara rods are now in! ***
RHODO – Triple-zoom 8’10”/ 9’9”/10’6” (270/297/320cm), with “Keep your Plug™” system (patent pending) – $215
SATO – Triple-zoom 10’8”/ 11’10”/12’9” (330-360-390cm), with “Keep your Plug™” system (patent pending) – $215
***Ship date: Friday, December 13th for North America orders; Friday, December 20th for European Union orders.
With several years of experience designing tenkara rods under our belt now, and with a lot of great customer feedback over these years, we have been able to develop two of the nicest tenkara rods we have designed to date. Whether you’re an experienced tenkara angler or just about to give tenkara a try, we wanted to give you the best possible tenkara rod anywhere.
The Sato and Rhodo are very lightweight – in actual weight as well as feel – something people have been asking for. And, because sometimes you will want to get a couple of feet closer to the fish without spooking it; and sometimes you will want to stay away from the pesky trees above, we designed them with the innovative triple-zoom system which allow you to fish either rod at 3 different lengths. These rods also have two patent-pending features: a new and more durable system to lock in place the zoomable sections and the innovative “Keep your Plug™” system which allows you to store your tenkara rod plug in the rod while not in use.
Despite its beautiful flowers sometimes anglers find themselves losing flies to the overreaching branches of the rhododendron. We developed the Rhodo, a tenkara rod that can be fished short when things get tight, or longer when the stream opens up. Since we began Tenkara USA people have been asking for a sub-9ft tenkara rod. We felt that a short rod could come in handy in some cases but for the most part anglers would miss the advantage that comes from fishing with a long tenkara rod. So, for years we have been working on developing a rod that could be the best of both worlds: short when you need it, long when you want it!
The Sato rod is named after Mr. Ernest Satow, an avid mountaineer who was the first person to make a written record of tenkara. The Tenkara USA Sato is a compact and lightweight tenkara rod. At its shorter length it is perfect for tighter streams, and at its full length it will be ideal when the stream opens up again or when you find a bigger pool to cast your fly. The average length for a tenkara rod is 12ft long, we like to recommend rods that are closer to 13ft, yet many people are intimidated by such long lengths for rods intended for smaller streams. So, we felt a rod with the 3 most common lengths would be an easy choice: short to ease you into tenkara, long to give you a taste of the advantages presented by a long tenkara rod.
After hearing that no one has ever been able to keep their tenkara rod plug for longer than a year we decided we should find a solution for you to never lose your plug again. We designed the “Keep your plug”™* system (patent pending).
Although it is a very simple solution, Tenkara USA is the first to have designed and incorporated this into its tenkara rods. Next time you go fishing, remove the plug from the top end of your rod and insert it into the hole at the bottom of your rod.