Tenkara è un semplice metodo giapponese di pesca a mosca che utilizza solo una canna, la linea e la mosca. E ‘simile alla Pesca alla Valsesiana. Tenkara USA è la prima azienda a diffondere tenkara fuori del Giappone e in italia, e ha istituito un centro di distribuzione nel Regno Unito per il trasporto facile per l’Italia senza dogana e trasporto rapido per soli $14.
Before there were reels many cultures around the world had methods of fly-fishing that closely resembled tenkara. In most of those, the tradition did not get passed on and was soon forgotten. However, in Italy they had a method of fly-fishing that survived modern times, albeit it too almost disappeared: pesca alla valsesiana, the Italian version of tenkara. As we popularized tenkara outside of Japan, Italy has also seen a revival of the Italian method. Although they are different, Italian anglers have adopted tenkara passionately.
In Italy the method of tenkara is spreading in a very visceral and unpredictable way.
Expressions such as “It’s just a fad,” “It’s not fly fishing,” “It’s just dapping” and many others of similar content are becoming increasingly rare. I think the reason for tenkara’s growth in our country is the result of the inseparable and absolutely winning binomial that tenkara brings with itself: the extreme simplicity and the immediate result. It ‘s true, the “way of tenkara” is long, and as in every art the road to learning is never-ending. But those who experience it for the first time always come back home with a stunning smile, unlike in other techniques in which the first steps are painful as a walk on hot coals.
Italy is full of trout waters, most of which are spring-fed except for the northern dolomitic snow-fed waters. Small streams that wind through dense woods are very common. The English style of fly-fishing has too often, on these kinds of streams, left Italian fly anglers with the feeling that Shakespeare would describe as, “much ado about nothing”: pounds of equipment; convoluted casts among brambles and bushes; rods of little sensitivity being used to catch trout, whose size in the rivers outside of the reservoirs is often no longer than 30 centimeters (approximately 12 inches).
Now let’s imagine the same situation with a Tenkara USA 11-foot Iwana rod, a line and a fly. Jumping the rugged currents with a smooth cast to put the small kebari on the opposite bank, without dragging and with the entire line out of the water and the mind focused while waiting for the fish to rise. The fish does rise and with a belly flop grabs our kebari and all the vibrations, even the smallest, are transmitted to our hand. Everything seems to be colorful again, and perhaps this is the greatest tenkara power that has bewitched so many Italians: to discover the poetry of forgotten places close to home.
The Italians, beyond the momentary fads, have always been very attached to the real and simple things. Our grandma’s pasta will always be better than Gordon Ramsay’s most famous recipes. How not to love then a traditional and simple technique, in which it is not the brand of the vest but the skillful hand that moves the fly which makes the difference?
In Italy we are not new to traditional fly-fishing techniques. In past times it is known that the ancient Romans, after their entry into Britain, fished salmon downstream with the “plumme” (feather in Latin), a small fly made of a feather rolled up on a hook of iron. Some centuries ago, in the Sesia Valley, a valley among the beautiful mountains of northern Italy, the commercial fishermen there developed a fishing technique using braiding horse hair lines and flies made of feathers and silk. This fishing method is known as Valsesiana.
While the Valsesiana remained very attached to its tradition, spread only by word of mouth in the closed valley among the mountains, tenkara has been able to evolve and keep up with the times thanks to Tenkara USA, the first company to spread tenkara throughout the western world and therefore also to us Italians. Because of this we can count on reliable and modern equipment for tenkara. The main mission of this company, however, is not the business of gear, but the sharing of traditional tenkara techniques. By sharing the traditional techniques, Tenkara USA gives everyone the foundation and freedom from which to proceed with their own experiments and follow their own tenkara path.
This year after his most recent visit to Japan fishing with the great tenkara masters, Tenkara USA’s founder Daniel W. Galhardo visited for a week in our beautiful country— and they were magnificent days. We fished in wonderful surroundings such as under the ruins of Roman Emperor Nero’s villa. This is one of the things that make fishing in Italy unique. In an hour’s drive we switched from the historical center of Rome, with the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon and all its wonders to pristine woods with crystal clear waters and good-sized trout. In a setting such as this, on a river flowing beneath ancient stone bridges, old walls and castles, the first Tenkara Italian Day was held. Daniel explained to an attentive and enthusiastic audience about tenkara, including the equipment, the casting, kebari and the basic tenkara techniques. And he did this all in a simple and humble way— just like tenkara.
Events of this kind are crucial to the spread of tenkara in Italy. Not knowing Japanese and not having access to reliable historical and technical information, it is very difficult to learn and study traditional tenkara. Tenkara USA, through its website and especially through Daniel’s constant updating (always in direct touch with the old Japanese masters) makes continued learning possible. This is the only way for those of us far from the culture of the Rising Sun to deepen our understanding and to continue the long journey of tenkara.
The Tenkara Italian Day was an opportunity not to be missed and it was also very fun.
It was great to see people, who are in everyday life serious professionals, come back to childhood, exchange ideas, and try those “thin” rods with the smile of the child who wakes up on a Sunday morning preparing the equipment to go fishing. And this is tenkara: to rediscover the simplicity of the forgotten small things, the lightness of walking on a river, the concentration in fishing to end up looking above and get lost, serenely immersed in the fabulous Italian nature that embraces us as like sons.
The hopes for the future of tenkara in Italy are many and its potential is very large.
From the wild and powerful south-central trout, to the mighty and suspicious grayling in the north, Italy seems to marry to tenkara entirely. And tenkara responds to the new demands of the Italian anglers who are burdened by brands, equipment and superfluous things. In addition, tenkara is perfectly in line with the new mentality of the Italian anglers who are more and more aware of the environment and the catch-and-release philosophy. In past times it was common to kill fish, thereby emptying the rivers of our dreams and our passions fish by fish. But for several years now, many Italians have understood that catch-and-release (C&R) plays an important role in the conservation of the ecosystem. And thanks to C&R the fish will return.
With the knowledge that the fish are there, because of C&R, people’s passion to go fishing and spend a great day on the river increases and this brings more and more people, including tourists, to our beautiful paradises. Catch and release is a powerful weapon, capable of safeguarding the river, the angler, nature and the local economy through tourism. For this reason, in Italy, new no-kill areas are born each year, and their spread is changing the culture of those who do not practice C&R, dragging them in with an overwhelming positive energy.
In short, Italy is a country where ancient monuments and unspoiled places walk hand in hand and where I hope more and more, tenkara can feel at home and be welcome and loved, not anymore as a guest but as the lady of the house come to stay.
by Vito “Tsurikichi” Rubino
Valsesiana and Tenkara are very similar methods of traditional fly fishing, created for sustenance and both born and raised in small mountain villages many centuries ago, one in the “Val Sesia”, a small valley of the Sesia river in northern Italy, and one in Japan. It’s amazing to see how two cultures, so very far from each other, with no single point of contact or communication between them, reached a similar solution and method of fishing to earn a living. In Valesiana we have a fixed line rod, traditionally made of river canes called “canna di nizza” with a bamboo tip, with no reel and with an braided horsehair line. The Valsesiana has remained stuck to its tradition, which still sees a braided horsehair line and, with very few modern exceptions, a wooden rod.
The braided horsehair line used in Valsesiana becomes heavy when it gets wet, so the rod has to be much stiffer to cast it than many tenkara rods. In fact, in Valsesiana, the rod action goes from a stiff 7:3 to 8:2. Also the casting technique is different, because in Valsesiana we have many false casts to reach a spot or to dry the line, with an air rotation of the horsehair line similar to a whip in the air.
The flies used in Valsesiana are in fact similar in feather, size and tying method to the tenkara’s kebari. However, in Valsesiana we use a brace of flies or what Italians call a “trenino”, literally “small train”, made of three flies, with the first one working as a dry, or as a strike indicator like in the dropper technique or just under the surface in the bigger pools. Fly colors are chosen according to the season.
In short, the concept and birth of tenkara and Valsesiana are similar, but both the gear and the technique in fishing are very different, very much. To please your Italian stereotype, I would say that Valsesiana and tenkara are two wonderful “sisters”, but one blonde and the other brunette!