How the Tenkara USA Satoki Came to Be

On February 22, 2024 • Comments (0)
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Would you like to hear a story of how the Tenkara USA Satoki came to be?

Well then… get a drink, sit back, and let’s chat a bit about the origins of one of Tenkara USA’s newest rods and how it came to be.

About 4 years ago, while Daniel and I were driving through Denver, Colorado, after just wrapping up another successful outdoor trade show, we started to chat about what we would like to see in our next rod. It was at that time that Daniel put this baby into my lap and said, if you have some ideas, work with the rest of the team and see if we can come up with a new rod.

As with any new project, since I started this discussion, I already had some ideas in my head, and I let him know some of my ideas for the new rod. He liked what I had to say and put it into my and our Tenkara USA team’s laps to get the ball rolling.

Now you see, to date, Daniel has been the chief architect behind all of the Tenkara USA Rods, from design to final product. We had some input and testing as a team, but the ideas were mostly his with some input from the team. This time would be different, though… the team would design it, and although Daniel would be there for support, we would be doing most of the communicating with our manufacturers to get the job done.

The idea I pitched to Daniel during that drive through Denver was a larger Sato, one of Tenkara USA’s best-selling rods. We had the Rhodo, a great small creek and stream 3-length Zoom rod, and the Sato, a great 3-length rod with all longer lengths than the Rhodo for more medium to larger waters. The two made a great 1…2 punch! So my idea of a next size up for medium to larger waters was the idea I had. That day many years ago, Satoki was born.

 

Picture provided by Michael Agneta from Tenkara Angler

Image courtesy of Michael Agneta, Tenkara Angler

 

The name Satoki came to mind by mixing the Sato with Oki, with Oki meaning big in Japanese. Big Sato! Back then, the 3 lengths that came to mind were roughly a 12’, 13’, to 14’ rod, 3.5 ounces or less, with a closed length shorter than the Sato was. A nice mid-flex action was the goal, and adding some nice graphic flare to the rod was important. I must say, the Satoki is one pretty rod. On this rod, we opted for a foam handle, and I must say, the rod as a whole is quite stunning!

With any new rod, the idea starts off the process, and then the whole team comes into the mix to help design it, offer their own ideas, make drawings, work with our manufacturers to create samples, we test, fine-tune, and eventually come out with a final product in the end.

The whole process is quite fun, actually, from getting the whole team involved to the whole team testing the samples. Once we all had a sample run that we all liked, some serious on-stream testing ensued. If our Tenkara USA name is going to land on a product, we want to make sure it is the best it can be, so the Satoki was no different. Lots of testing along the way, and we even showed samples to some close ambassadors of ours whom we tested the rod with towards the end, making sure many hands had access to really test this rod.

I must admit, before we introduced the Satoki at the end of 2022, around the holiday season, I had some butterflies in my stomach. Not that I did not think the Satoki was a great rod, but by this time, it had been many years since Tenkara USA introduced a new rod, and indeed this new rod was a whole team effort, and for all of us involved, the 1st tenkara rod we all created.

The good news is that the Satoki was very well received and blew away any butterflies within days of happy customers receiving the rods and offering their own notes about their experience with this new rod from Tenkara USA.

 

Picture provided by Michael Agneta from Tenkara Angler

Image courtesy of Michael Agneta, Tenkara Angler

 

The truth is Tenkara USA does not come out with new rods all the time as we feel it is important that a new rod offer something the others may not, or for some, refining the process over many years of making rods makes a new offering even better. We don’t just slap a new color or graphic on a rod just to have something new to offer, as we feel this would be a disservice. At times it may seem Tenkara USA has not made a new rod for quite some time, but for us, it makes sense to offer the best tenkara rods we can and to truly offer something new for folks to enjoy for many years.

I must say, I am very proud of my little part in creating and getting the Tenkara USA Satoki to market. Our whole team worked their tails off to make this rod happen. This whole process and seeing how happy folks are using their Satoki did light a fire under our bottoms to make a 2nd new rod, and as of this writing, our newest rod, the Ukiyo, just hit the market in December 2023.

At a later time, we shall talk about the Ukiyo, but for today, we hope those who own a Satoki have many great years fishing the rod. If you don’t own a Satoki yet, check them out at the Tenkara USA website.

May the Satoki bring you many smiles along the way!

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Tenkara USA Team Highlight – Meet John Geer

On June 29, 2022 • Comments (0)
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Tenkara is who we are.

Hello! Welcome to the second edition of a little series we’ve put together to help you get to know our wonderful crew. Tenkara USA has always been a tight-knit team of responsive anglers dedicated to sharing tenkara, and while we work with outside firms for some other aspects of our business (such as fulfillment) and count on supporters at events, the team we’re highlighting here is our close-knit in-house staff with whom you’re likely to interact when you reach out. While it’s true that our founder Daniel Galhardo has taken a step back from the helm, our main team is together and we’re happy to help you with all things tenkara.

Man holding a fish.Meet John Geer, Dealer and Customer Services
John Geer brings decades of fly-fishing with him. He works with our dealer network and Tenkara Guide Network, manages our repair department, and supports TJ in customer service.

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Tenkara USA Team Highlight – Meet Faith

On May 2, 2022 • Comments (0)
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Tenkara is who we are.

Hello! Welcome to the second edition of a little series we’ve put together to help you get to know our wonderful crew. Tenkara USA has always been a tight-knit team of responsive anglers dedicated to sharing tenkara, and while we work with outside firms for some other aspects of our business (such as fulfillment) and count on supporters at events, the team we’re highlighting here is our close-knit in-house staff with whom you’re likely to interact when you reach out. While it’s true that our founder Daniel Galhardo has taken a step back from the helm, our main team is together and we’re happy to help you with all things tenkara.

Woman smiling while holding a fish.Meet Faith Clauson, Special Projects
Faith has been an integral team member since 2013 and jumps on whatever special projects come her way. She smoothly supports our operations in a way that allows more and more people to be reached by tenkara. Faith is delightful to work with and we’re so happy she’s a part of our team!

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Tenkara USA Team Highlight – Meet TJ

On April 8, 2022 • Comments (0)
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Tenkara is who we are.

Hello! Welcome to the first edition of a little series we’ve put together to help you get to know our wonderful crew. Tenkara USA has always been a tight-knit team of responsive anglers dedicated to sharing tenkara, and while we work with outside firms for some other aspects of our business (such as fulfillment) and count on supporters at events, the team we’re highlighting here is our close-knit in-house staff with whom you’re likely to interact when you reach out. While it’s true that our founder Daniel Galhardo has taken a step back from the helm, our main team is together and we’re happy to help you with all things tenkara. If you’ve ever called us, emailed, or even been to our booth at a fly fishing show there is a good chance you’ve talked with TJ. He’s also super creative and fun to work with, so we thought he would be the perfect person to start this off.

Man smiling in the mountains.Meet TJ – Customer Service & Ops

TJ has been working with us since 2011 and is in charge of customer service, and works behind the scenes helping to make sure products are available for you. His jolly smile and friendly connection with customers help ensure Tenkara USA continues its reputation for terrific customer service!

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Signs of Spring

On March 19, 2022 • Comments (0)
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springflowers

Written by Martin Montejano

The days are getting longer and the weather is warming up. It’s almost that time of year where the transition away from colder days breathes new life into nature. Along with that, we move closer to those afternoons of watching a trout snatch a fly off the top of the water, inciting the excitement that we all seek. While we may not be there just yet, we keep our eyes on the creek, ready and waiting to cast some kebari onto the water.

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My Journey into Tenkara

On February 18, 2022 • Comments (3)
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Written by Amanda Hoffner

Hi! I’m Amanda, but everyone may already know me as @LadyTenkaraBum on Instagram. I dubbed myself LTB within the past year and boy has it been an eye-opening experience. It has jumpstarted my journey into the worldwide tenkara network and fixed line community on Instagram and Facebook and has allowed me to increase my knowledge in pursuit of becoming the tenkara angler that I aspire to be. What is that exactly? I am not 100% sure, but I am sure that I am going where my heartstrings are pulling me.

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Tenkara Fishing Yellowstone National Park

On June 14, 2021 • Comments (0)
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Someone fishing. Picture shows a hand holding an extended tenkara rod over a running creek in Yellowstone National Park.

Tenkara fishing Yellowstone National Park

Tenkara fishing Yellowstone National Park can be a very enjoyable experience if you’re up for it, but planning ahead is key. Here’s what you need to know before you go. Pay particular attention to the native vs. non-native catch and release maps.

#1 Look at and become familiar with the Yellowstone National Park Fishing regulations (pdf) and their Catch a Fish guide.

“Fishing regulations in Yellowstone National Park are structured to strongly support native fish conservation goals. Cutthroat trout are the sole, native trout of the park and were the dominant fish species here prior to Euroamerican settlement. Cutthroat trout, Arctic grayling, mountain whitefish, and other native fishes are important to the ecology of Yellowstone.”

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Fishing simply

On June 8, 2021 • Comments (0)
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ValFish2

June 2021 – As we drove down the canyon following a stream, my friend Val and I couldn’t help but notice how much gear everyone was wearing to fish. The usual: waders, plus vest, lanyards, pouches and all the accessories. It seems fly-fishing has suffered from gear inflation over the years. There is a definite “look” and it certainly appears to require a lot of gear. We found an empty pull out, took an Ito out of the trunk and our small pouch with the basics. We setup a line. 6 minutes later Val had a fish, a beautiful rainbow of good size for that stream. There was little for gear but much joy out of the experience of pulling over, catching a fish, and continuing on to new grounds all while wearing comfortable clothes and sandals. Fishing simply.

ValFish

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No Lines Attached – Become The Kebari – Tenkara Fly Fishing

On March 12, 2021 • Comments (1)
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TJ's fooled trout

TJ’s fooled trout

Written by TJ Ferreira
Sitting at a nice warm spot in the sun, taking a breather next to a very small creek many moons ago, I was watching some flies and bugs. You see, this was one of my solo tenkara trips I often like to take in the warmer times of summer, where I can take all the worries of the world, brush them aside even if for just a couple hours, to play tenkara.
As I sat and watched the flies fly around, I started to think to myself, do these bugs have lines connected to them? Do these flies have some weighted line tied directly to their behinds controlling their every natural or unnatural movement?

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Winter Fly-Fishing for Rainbows on the Urban Landscape

On February 13, 2021 • Comments (0)
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Written by Brad Trumbo

February 7th, 2021. It had been one year to the day that I stood downstream of the rusty, graffiti-tagged rail bridge on the Touchet River in Dayton, WA. The afternoon offered a gorgeous mix of bluebird and cloud-dappled skies, intermittently pummeling the earth with pea-sized graupel. A soft flip of the wrist landed a hare’s ear nymph with a copper John dropper into a flow seam under the bridge, offering potential to hook into a colorful rainbow trout or steelhead at any moment. 

The year prior, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with dozens of city and county residents, mostly strangers, pitching sandbags along the levees in an attempt to hold the river in its quickly vanishing channel. Those that could, pitched in, while those that couldn’t, watched hopefully as volunteers engaged in the fight against the rising waters of an epic flood.  

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2020 Retrospective: Tenkara in the Present

On February 5, 2021 • Comments (12)
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Written by Daniel Galhardo

It’s a bit of a coincidence that I was in the middle of writing a blog post with a similar theme on tenkara reflection when Mike Agneta’s opinion piece “Tenkara’s Future Outside of Japan” popped up over on Tenkara Angler this week, so I’d like to respond to that a bit here.

I think the pandemic did something to many of us, it forced us to reflect on our lives and what’s important. And as a company we’ve considered how we can best continue to serve our community during this time as well.

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Tenkara Pocket Water in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

On November 14, 2020 • Comments (0)
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photo3Joel St. Marie

Written by Joel St. Marie

Local water travels from many places on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Small creeks from the headwaters above meander through the meadows, forest, and the high alpine. Icy water runs as the snow melts and is met with the bubbling hot spring water heated by the geothermal cauldron beneath the Earth’s crust. Spring fed rivers snake the open lands of the caldera and carve the deep gorge as it makes its way beneath the table lands and beyond.

I’ve been fortunate to explore the local outdoors on many levels as an outdoor enthusiast; as a climber, biker, fisherman, hiker, photo1Joel St. Mariephotographer, skier and more. Often revisiting the same area multiple times depending on the activity or adventure. The gorge is one of these places I first explored as a climber nearly 25 years ago with one thing on my mind; to climb the steep pocketed cliffs above. The gorge offers miles of exploring other than climbing as well. On bike you are limited to the the few roads that allow access to the gorge. On foot is another option and has its many advantages to exploring this historic destination.

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Gone Fishing. Sticking to the Familiar Is All We Really Need

On October 28, 2020 • Comments (0)
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Written by Dennis Vander Houwen

articlepic3 - Dennis Michael

Whole wheat bread with a glob of peanut butter on one side and a wash of jelly on the other. PBJ’s never let you down. Adding a banana from the bunch, I grab my water bottle, and load my lunch into my small backpack along with my simple tackle and my Tenkara USA Sato rod and I am out the door. Gone fishing. In about 40 minutes I will see an old friend.

In the car I tap on Colorado Public Radio. Ironically, they are talking about the increase in people taking up fly-fishing in Colorado. It is an interview with a familiar voice, John Gierach. The topic is about the effect of more people taking up fly-fishing than ever before. I have my fingers crossed John will mention tenkara or talk briefly about stream etiquette, but my hopes are dashed. It is still a good interview and he has a new book out that I have now added to my reading list. I shut off the radio. Silence gives me room to think.

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Tenkara Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder Creek and Beyond

On October 17, 2020 • Comments (0)
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Tenkara Community Submitted Content
Written by Cheri Felix

2Cheri FelixTo be honest, I just started fishing a few months ago. I used to know the exact number of days (it’s been about 60) but that started to get weird. In the beginning, I would go to Boulder Creek twice in one day. I’d go to areas where there are less trees to catch my line on. And then I worked my way up to the more dense areas of the creek.

In the early days, I’d only go with my husband and then gradually I started going solo. I watched the knot tying videos and I tried to actually listen to my husband when he showed me, but I tend to get distracted. Then I realized that in the worst case scenario, I could come home to get another fly tied on if I needed to.

Since then, I’ve cast a wider net (see what I did there?) and ventured to a place below Jamestown and also into Clear Creek canyon and along the I-70 (I know. Sounds so romantic). I’ve learned that tenkara fishing Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t like fishing along the Popo Agie in Wyoming. I’ve tested my patience in Wyoming on a tiny part of the Laramie River and will test it again when we go to Montana in a few weeks.

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Tenkara Lake Fishing in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

On October 10, 2020 • Comments (0)
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Indian Peaks Wilderness - Oliver SmithWritten by Oliver Smith

Living in Lyons, Colorado is a wonderful thing. Walking two blocks to the St. Vrain river to drop a fly in the water is certainly a privilege, and one I don’t take for granted. But the town stretch – like many easily accessible Front Range rivers in Colorado – sees a good deal of pressure, particularly in the summer months. Which means it’s time to head up into the local high country, the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Tenkara fishing to me is inextricably linked with moving through the mountain wilderness. It is so complimentary to hiking and scrambling around in the alpine, it’s almost silly. Here in the Indian Peaks there is an abundance of low volume, high gradient streams full of trout. And then there’s the high alpine lakes. The tenkara lake fishing is phenomenal, and the whole area is tailor-made for this simple method of fly-fishing.

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