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.
Here’s the opportunity for the trip of a lifetime. Join me for a week of tenkara in Patagonia, Argentina in March.
Tenkara USA founder, Daniel Galhardo, will be hosting a week-long Tenkara Week, in Argentina Patagonia. The Patagonia Tenkara trip will take place March 5-12, 2015.
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 – www.tenkarausa.com.
Partecipazione speciale di Vito Rubino.
I’m in Italy at the moment. I came here to teach a tenkara class and meet people that have been spreading tenkara in Italy like wildfire.
Here are a few pictures I took with my phone yesterday and today.
Edited: The group class was held in the town of Ascoli, a quaint town about 2 1/2 hours NE of Rome, in a gorgeous mountainous setting. I’m being hosted by my new good friend Vito Rubino, who is active on Facebook. The class was organized by our first dealer in Italy, Ale-Fly, which is in the town of Ascoli.
It is 2am here in Japan right now. Got back not long ago from 3 days of backpacking and tenkara fishing. Dead tired, leaving early tomorrow morning to meet Dr. Ishigaki in Nagoya and then heading to the mountains again. I should be sleeping but couldn’t wait to share a few photos that caught my eye when I was putting them on a hard drive. Tremendous time, some excellent video footage and more photography to come, including interviews with Mr. Sebata, video on tying the Sebata tenkara fly (really unique, you don’t want to miss this one when it comes out), interview with Mr. Yoshida and more.
Originally posted on October 22nd, 2009. A look at Tenkara in the hands of some of the great names of fly-fishing in the UK. Great picture by Mr. Peter Lapsley. Tenkara has now been tried by some of the most recognized names in fly fishing, this was one of the first groups of notoriety.
“OK, yep its real. my middle daughter designed it for my bday.”
This was the response Brian Howerton gave me when I asked him about his tattoo. On his very first post to our forum, there was no “hello there”, or “is this really fly-fishing?”, just the image of his newest, very rad tattoo. An obvious sign of a passion for tenkara. One of the things I’m proudest of in the creation of Tenkara USA is the community developed around it. Not everyone posts on the forum, like Brian, whose first post was the shocker above, but I feel that every single customer we’ve had is out there talking about tenkara to their friends. The community is just awesome, and this is an incredible example of it.
As Brian explained, he and his daughter “did a three day backpacking trip in August, it was during that trip we discussed tattoo ideas while killing time in the tent I think. She designed this based on that talk with me just doing the general layout. She wanted it to look painted on with a brush, even tried to simulate brushstrokes.” On the top left you’ll find our logo – Brian, hope we make you proud to carry that in your arm forever! – then a very neat design of the sakasa kebari (reverse hackle fly) below it, and on the right side are markings from 9 to 18 inches, which is how he’s measured fish for many years.
Brian has been fly-fishing for 15 years and discovered tenkara 2 years ago when he “bought the Iwana because it will fit in my motorcycle mostly. First five minutes using it I caught a 17″ bow and loved it since. Take the darn thing everywhere I go where there is any chance for even a half hour of fishing.”
The tattoo is just the outward sign of his ambassadorship for tenkara: “I talk up Tenkara to anyone who will listen, got the bumpersticker on the jeep and the window sticker on my lunchbox. Handed out the Tenkara ‘ambasador’ cards the week I got them to any friend who fishes, only one bought a rod though. Kebari flies are my wallpaper on my facebook and work computers. Yea, Im addicted to it. “
Pretty cool Brian, pretty cool! If you visit Japan you may not be allowed into their onsen (hot-springs), but this will definitely be a good conversation starter with any yakusa-turned-tenkara-angler over there.
P.S.: no, we did not pay Brian to get the tenkara tattoo, but will be sending him a gift!
The first Tenkara Summit in the US was a great success, over 100 people attended and enjoyed awesome presentations as well as an on-stream demonstration with Dr. Ishigaki. This will be a quick post. Even though the event is over, we’ve been sleeping little and fishing pretty hard today with the day starting at 6 and now being 12:40am.
Originally we had expected, optimistically, that about 70 people would show up. The conference room was setup to accomodate 100 people, but that was not enough. Over 100 people showed up yesterday. People came from 23 different states, and from 3 different countries specially for the Summit (well, they did come to fish in Montana…). I’d really like to thank all those who came and helped make this an extraordinary event; it was the best crowd ever. Thank you!
The Tenkara Summit had the presence of special guests Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, the leading authority on tenkara in Japan; Chris Stewart of tenkarabum.com; Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies who gave a very passionate presentation about tenkara in Montana and showed some great clips of large fishing being caught; Ryan Jordan of backpackinglight.com as well as ryanjordan.com; and Tom Sadler who spoke about the advantages of using tenkara as a guide and as a way to introduce new people to fly-fishing so they can continue conserving the environment in the future.
In the afternoon we headed to Yellowstone National Park for an on-stream demonstration with Dr. Ishigaki and myself. The fishing in the middle of the day was very difficult. I ended up catching a 5″ rainbow and that was about it as for fish. Nevertheless guests were able to see what tenkara looked like in person.
A personal highlight of the event for myself was the presence of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, whose business philosophies greatly inspired Tenkara USA from day one – these are mostly found in his book “Let My People Go Surfing”. I had become a great fan of Patagonia and Yvon long before the start of Tenkara USA. When creating the business plan for Tenkara USA I used his book as a roadmap for our business philosophies and his business as a benchmark for Tenkara USA. Along with Craig Mathews, who was a presenter at the Summit, they founded the 1% for the Planet initiative, which is a “set-on-stone” commitment to donate at least 1% of revenues to environmental organizations. We have been a member from day one. When I learned that Yvon, himself, had recently become a huge fan of tenkara fly-fishing my jaw just dropped. How could this happen? Really? He wrote a beautiful article about Fly Rod and Reel magazine on tenkara and simplicity, converted Craig Mathews to tenkara, and has been one of our best ambassadors introducing people to tenkara almost daily and on an almost weekly basis telling people to talk to us. Yes, I was stoked that they were there for the whole event, we spent a good amount of time talking, and are scheduled to go fishing together tomorrow… in about 6 hours. So, time to go to bed now!
Of course, Dr. Ishigaki was also very happy to meet them and they got along great despite the language barriers.
The first Tenkara Summit in the US is only 2 days away! Can we accomodate over 150 people?
Dr. Ishigaki landed in San Francisco today. We had an enjoyable day, and he’s very excited about the summit. He also brought some very cool items for our auction and giveaways!
It’s very late, 12:50 AM to be exact. We will leave the house at 6:30AM tomorrow, I figure I can manage on about 5 hours of sleep this time. I’m so excited, can’t stop doing last minute things. I prepared some auction sheets for the higher value items (bamboo rod, tenkara net, etc!). Then, I became curious about how many people are actually coming and decided to tally it up. I knew it was near 100. But, we have 119 people registered!!! This number doesn’t even take into account my own party, speakers, a handful of people I know will be there, and a few drop-ins. Can we expect about 150 people? We may actually not have room for so many guests. For what I hear we may end up getting more people than most fly-fishing shows these days.
The stats are also cool: we have people from 4 countries coming especially for the event, including Japan (of course), Canada, Italy and Norway. There are people from 23 different states registered too, and I know most booked a flight especially to be there.
I’m simply stunned. It’s kind of funny because I have never been very good at throwing parties. But, this is looking like it will be a heck of an event – but don’t expect a super well organized event….I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.
See you there!
*** PS. Orders are being shipped as normal through our automated fulfillment, however, no customer service will be provided from tomorrow (August 25th) until we return on August 30th.
I’m getting behind on all the content I’d like to write as it is difficult to keep up with all the experiences. Yesterday I had a wonderful day with staff from the Patagonia-Japan stores. I felt inspired by their energy and a couple of the pictures I took, so I submitted a trip report to Patagonia for their blog. Since that may take a while for them to see it, I thought I’d share the story here
Patagonia and Tenkara – Crossing Paths Again
Today tenkara, Tenkara USA (or, in this case, Tenkara International) and Patagonia once again crossed paths. This time in Japan with staff from a couple of Patagonia stores in Tokyo.
At the moment, I am sitting in my tatami room in the town of Kaida Kogen, Nagano prefecture in Japan. We just finished a hot-pot dinner, which topped off a day of teaching tenkara to four Patagonia-Japan employees. Over the next couple of days more people will join the tenkara class. As I learned today, employees from different Patagonia stores in Tokyo have formed an informal “Patagonia Tenkara Club”, which currently has about a dozen members.
Dr. Ishigaki doing a tenkara demonstration for Patagonia employees of different Tokyo stores
It’s serendipitous that very soon after I started Tenkara USA, I discovered Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, had recently become a tenkara convert. Especially given the fact that Yvon’s book, Let My People Go Surfing, was one of 2 books that inspired my business, and the one I used as a guide on developing of my own business philosophies….
It’s been 12 days since I arrived in Japan seeking to learn more about tenkara and experience the mountain fishing culture of Japan. This is my third visit to Japan, and each time I continue to learn more and more about tenkara. Who knew such a simple method of catching food would have so many subtleties to keep me coming back!
Tenkara and Tenkara USA for me are much more than selling fishing rods and other items; I’m very passionate about sharing the method of fishing with you. I’m happy to be writing this and working on videos, pictures and other content from my new room overlooking the mountains of Gifu. I will try to find time between fishing and hanging out with the people from the area to share what I learn on the blog. Rainy days like today are perfect for that.
After about a week of travelling, I have now been settled in what will be my home for the next month and half in the small mountain stream village of Maze, on the Maze River in Gifu, Japan. It’s a beautiful, idyllic setting. Very inspiring. Out of 12 days in Japan I think I have fished on 8 of them. I can’t say enough about how beautiful the streams here are, I absolutely love them. Crystal clear water, emerald gems with movie-like settings of cedar forests and mossy rocks.
But,unfortunately, I’m quickly acquiring a new appreciation for the streams in the US and sometimes I wish I could mix the best of both worlds, where regulations, and stream management and keep-limits would make the rivers here more productive. Rivers don’t have a keep-limit and the concept of catch-and-release is virtually unknown – though I revisited the Itoshiro River, a very productive C&R river about 1 1/2 hours from here. Out of the many stretches of streams I have fished in this area, few showed much sign of life. I did catch fish just about every day, but it was hard work! Conditions are good, insect life very abundant, but the fish seem to be mostly gone. A shame, but we’ll see what I find deeper in the forests.
My host, Rocky Osaki, manager of the Mazegawa Fishing Center, and his wife Ikumi, have taken great care to introduce me to the community of both anglers and non-anglers in the region. I have been blessed to be invited into numerous homes where I soak all I can about tenkara, fishing culture and other aspects of life here. And, of course, have been soaking on the local onsen every chance I get.
A local kid whom I just had to nickname “Sanpei”, he doesn’t seem to mind.
This weekend there was a wonderful event here. 3 tenkara masters, and I do not use that word lightly, taught a course on tenkara to a group of about 15 people. I spent most of my time with Amano-sensei (more on him later, but quite a character and a most skilled tenkara angler).From each of them, as well as other very experienced tenkara anglers, I have learned more about tenkara.
Ah, and today I was featured in the regional newspaper, in an article talking about the event and the presence of Tenkara USA there:
Tenkara USA is now available internationally.
Customers in Canada, the UK, and Western Europe will now be able to take advantage of our new distribution centers in Vancouver and the UK for cheaper shipping rates, faster delivery and no customs/ duty hassles. We’re very proud that word on tenkara has been quickly reaching many parts of the globe. The great international demand we have experienced has prompted us to make it easier for our international customers to order from us. At this point we’re making products available in limited quantities, and customers may order tenkara rods, tenkara lines, and tenkara flies as well as replacement tips for their rods. DVDs, t-shirts, and wallets are not currently available.
We’re currently working on making our site available in multiple languages as well, so stay tuned. If you’re interested in helping translate Tenkara USA into your language, we’d love to hear from you by email.