TENKARA+ Anything

On August 8, 2013 • Comments (11)
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It should go without saying that tenkara fishing is one of my great passions in life. It is my main excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the woods, streams and lakes. But, it is not my only excuse.

Tenkara and mushroom huntingA couple of weeks ago Margaret and I went mushroom hunting, a new interest for both of us. The intent was not fishing, but since we’d be near water I brought a tenkara rod and my small tenkara kit along. Just in case. After collecting many mushrooms we hiked back and I spotted a great piece of water. With tenkara it is just so easy and quick to setup that there is no reason for not stopping and fishing. In roughly 1 minute I was fishing. I caught three brookies. Mushrooms were our main reason to get out that day, tenkara fishing just happened to fit in perfectly with it. We took a 15 minute break to fish and then resumed our hike out, finding a couple more mushrooms along the way and cooking a great meal at home.

Before I discovered tenkara, I had to carefully choose my activity of choice for the weekend. It was either fishing, OR climbing, OR skiing, OR mountain biking, OR mushroom hunting. It was difficult to combine activities.

Then, last week, with my tenkara rod in hand and one eye on the stream with the other trying to spot mushrooms along the shoreline, I had this nice realization that tenkara goes so well with anything that it no longer has to be a choice between one OR the other. I was now having my cake and eating it too.

There are so many things that can go well with tenkara as I’m discovering. Every experience outside can be enhanced simply by bringing a tenkara rod along.

Bicyle biking and bike riding with tenkaraFor example, I recently biked to a stream nearby. The tenkara rod fit perfectly on my bike frame, I just strapped it there with two pieces of velcro. It took me an hour to get there, and I enjoyed every minute of that bike ride as much as every minute of my fishing that day. Biking and tenkara go together like beer and a campfire!
Tenkara fishing along with a dogWalking your dog and going near some water? Bring a tenkara rod along. Sure, if you’re as “lucky” as I am, your dog may be a horrible fishing dog. I don’t really bring my dog along on dedicated fishing trips, but if I’m taking my dog out for some exercise and there happens to be a pond nearby, you bet I’ll bring a rod.
Rock climbing and tenkaraFor a period of time I was forced to choose between two activities I love when I went out on weekends: climbing or fishing? It was a tough choice. Climbing started getting neglected in favor of fishing, but I missed climbing. With tenkara the two activities are not mutually exclusive. Not many things are as fun as a biathlon of scaling local craigs and getting in the water to fish when it gets too hot.
Backpacking and fly-fishing are made for each other, right? So why did I always feel I had to pass good water when backpacking with a rod and reel? Generally because it took too long to setup.Backpacking and tenkara are absolutely made for each other. Not only because the tenkara gear is minimalist and super compact, but also because it is super quick to setup. Any pool along the way can be fished by quickly setting up the tenkara rod without taking a major part of the day to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I still head out with the sole intention of fishing an entire day. One of my favorite things in the world is to find a tumbling stream, start casting into its waters and move from one pocket to another after every few casts, covering a mile of its waters in a day. But when you realize that any activity – whether it be walking your dog, foraging, climbing, biking… – does not have to exclude fishing, and that indeed, fishing can be a great complement to most other activities, you’ll feel less pressure to choose between hobbies because choosing between hobbies is like choosing which kid is your favorite.

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Do this and that, and that…with tenkara

On August 8, 2013 • Comments (10)
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It should go without saying that tenkara fishing is one of my great passions in life. It is my main excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the woods, streams and lakes. But, it is not my only excuse.

Tenkara and mushroom huntingA couple of weeks ago Margaret and I went mushroom hunting, a new interest for both of us. The intent was not fishing, but since we’d be near water I brought a tenkara rod and my small tenkara kit along. Just in case. After collecting many mushrooms we hiked back and I spotted a great piece of water. With tenkara it is just so easy and quick to setup that there is no reason for not stopping and fishing. In roughly 1 minute I was fishing. I caught three brookies. Mushrooms were our main reason to get out that day, tenkara fishing just happened to fit in perfectly with it. We took a 15 minute break to fish and then resumed our hike out, finding a couple more mushrooms along the way and cooking a great meal at home.

Before I discovered tenkara, I had to carefully choose my activity of choice for the weekend. It was either fishing, OR climbing, OR skiing, OR mountain biking, OR mushroom hunting. It was difficult to combine activities.

Then, last week, with my tenkara rod in hand and one eye on the stream with the other trying to spot mushrooms along the shoreline, I had this nice realization that tenkara goes so well with anything that it no longer has to be a choice between one OR the other. I was now having my cake and eating it too.

There are so many things that can go well with tenkara as I’m discovering. Every experience outside can be enhanced simply by bringing a tenkara rod along.

Bicyle biking and bike riding with tenkaraFor example, I recently biked to a stream nearby. The tenkara rod fit perfectly on my bike frame, I just strapped it there with two pieces of velcro. It took me an hour to get there, and I enjoyed every minute of that bike ride as much as every minute of my fishing that day. Biking and tenkara go together like beer and a campfire!
Tenkara fishing along with a dogWalking your dog and going near some water? Bring a tenkara rod along. Sure, if you’re as “lucky” as I am, your dog may be a horrible fishing dog. I don’t really bring my dog along on dedicated fishing trips, but if I’m taking my dog out for some exercise and there happens to be a pond nearby, you bet I’ll bring a rod.
Rock climbing and tenkaraFor a period of time I was forced to choose between two activities I love when I went out on weekends: climbing or fishing? It was a tough choice. Climbing started getting neglected in favor of fishing, but I missed climbing. With tenkara the two activities are not mutually exclusive. Not many things are as fun as a biathlon of scaling local craigs and getting in the water to fish when it gets too hot.
Backpacking and fly-fishing are made for each other, right? So why did I always feel I had to pass good water when backpacking with a rod and reel? Generally because it took too long to setup.Backpacking and tenkara are absolutely made for each other. Not only because the tenkara gear is minimalist and super compact, but also because it is super quick to setup. Any pool along the way can be fished by quickly setting up the tenkara rod without taking a major part of the day to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I still head out with the sole intention of fishing an entire day. One of my favorite things in the world is to find a tumbling stream, start casting into its waters and move from one pocket to another after every few casts, covering a mile of its waters in a day. But when you realize that any activity – whether it be walking your dog, foraging, climbing, biking… – does not have to exclude fishing, and that indeed, fishing can be a great complement to most other activities, you’ll feel less pressure to choose between hobbies because choosing between hobbies is like choosing which kid is your favorite.

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The Tenkara Lifestyle

On August 2, 2013 • Comments (12)
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Ryan Jordan wrote a wonderful piece on his blog called “Tenkaranicity”.

I suppose I like Tenkara because it’s a little bit on the fringe, but I think I like it more because it reflects a deeper simplicity that I’d like to achieve in other areas of life. In other words, I’d like to bring a little bit of Tenkaranicity to my home, my garage, my office, and even my locker of backpacking gear.” writes Ryan.

Tenkara like many other activities (think climbing, surfing, backpacking, …) is more than “just” fishing for a lot of people. Sure, it is a fishing method – most certainly it is not a religion nor a martial art – though, to be honest, I have a real hard time calling fishing of any sort a sport either. As some comedian has put it “fishing may be the only sport where the other player doesn’t know it is playing”.

Tenkara connected Any activity that deeply connects with people has a chance to become a part of  their lives. Without the need for them to explicitly say it, it becomes a part of their lifestyle. The enthusiastic climber can’t stop thinking about the craig he will visit next; his hands are callused; he often wears the practical clothing marketed to his tribe; he plans trips with the intent to visit specific climbing areas; he talks of the tough dihedral he climbed over the weekend and talks in admiration about the latest feats pulled by Dean Potter. He may also talk in admiration about the pioneers of climbing who started the sport-climbing movement in Yosemite Valley in the 70s, or about the StoneMasters!  Like Ryan, the enthusiastic climber may also wish to bring some of “climbinicity” to his home, perhaps screw some climbing gym holds to some studs on the wall.

Tenkara by Yuzo SebataTenkara has that effect on many people too. It is a method of fishing that has all the elements to engage a very large number of people – for different reasons. Tenkara has a long history and tradition that accompanies it. It has a story of being introduced outside of Japan. It has some of the coolest tools. It has the element of contrast (simpler when compared other methods of fishing). It goes well with other activities such as backpacking, kayaking, and even climbing. And it has a growing and welcoming community.

For example, you may hear Lance Gurney talking about how tenkara got him to thinking about simplifying things in his life. You may hear from dozens of people on the forum, on our Facebook page or the Tenkara Anglers Facebook group about how tenkara got them to include fly-fishing in their lives, either again or for the first time.  And, of course, tenkara has also been one of  the greatest activities for families to do together and teach their young that life doesn’t have to be that complicated. I feel super honored that introducing tenkara here has enriched the lives of many of them in one way or another. Tenkara has shown something new to just about everyone who has given it a try.

Tenkara by John GierachWe know a lot of people for whom fly-fishing looked like nothing but a sport done by old middle-aged while males, but they saw how tenkara made fishing accessible and decided to try it. We know a huge number of people who have been backpacking most of their lives but for whom fly-fishing seemed like a distraction comprised of gear, then they discovered how minimalist and simple fly-fishing can be through tenkara and decided to adopt it. We also know a good number of people who never thought about fly-fishing in their lives, but who have always been interested in Japanese culture, so they decided to try fly-fishing because of tenkara’s Japanese influence, and then they got hooked. And, of course, we know well a very large number of people who have been fly-fishing their entire lives but then saw something unique in tenkara – maybe its advantages in the type of water they fish, maybe the opportunity to simplify their fly-fishing, or perhaps just a portable tool for specific waters.

The coolest thing about tenkara is that there is something in tenkara for everyone. For some it will be just another tool in their fly-fishing lifestyle. For a few people it will be a way to catch food. For others tenkara will become a part of their lifestyle. And, for others yet, it will be simply another excuse to get out.

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The Best Way to Understand Tenkara

On July 28, 2013 • Comments (7)
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20130728-145151.jpg
“The best way to understand tenkara is to think about the original tenkara angler, the commercial fisherman in Japan trying to catch fish for a living.” Daniel Galhardo

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Going deeper for mushrooms and trout my idea of “from heaven”

On July 21, 2013 • Comments (14)
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I was inspired by the story written by Sebata-san, Go Deeper Upstream with Skill. I enjoyed learning his story, where Sebata-san describes how he learned tenkara, and also the “secret” of tenkara: ” “Ah ha, I need to slow down by one breath. This is the secret of tenkara fishing”, he says. But, what really inspired me was how we went deeper, and took the time to describes what makes the tenkara experience whole, for him at least.

Tenkara fly fishing with mushrooms and trout

Since I was a little kid I have been a bit of a forager. My parents instilled the interest in “free foods” found in nature by stopping on the side of the road to take fruit they spotted while driving. Guavas were my favorite. But my parents were not much of the wild foraging type though, it was more of a drive-through foraging experience with them. My grandfather, on the other hand, would take me on walks in the woods and show me the use for every plant we came across. Unfortunately the knowledge did not stick; luckily, curiosity did.

Mushrooms were the one thing neither my parents nor my grandfather ever touched. Like most people in Brazil, where I grew up, and here in the USA, my family was afraid of mushrooms and figured it would be best to not touch them.

Sometimes I like to go deeper upstream too. When I found tenkara, I thought it would be a perfect complement to my backpacking trips, and that’s a big part of the reason I fell in love with it. As I strived to remain ultra-light, I figured the 7 oz kit of a tenkara rod, line and some flies could even replace the need to bring much food with me; I would supplement my diet with freshly caught trout. I tried learning about edible plants while living in California, and occasionally would come across something I could use, but on the drier Sierra Nevada we didn’t get nearly as much wild mountain vegetables as Mr. Sebata can find in Japan.

This year I decided to really delve in the world of mushrooms and edible plants. I have been studying every mushroom I find, and joining a local group of some mushroom forays. I have also been trying to learn at least one new plant every time I go for a hike, which is pretty much every morning with my dog. I spend a lot of time outside, so I figured I should learn more about what I can eat should I come across it or should I ever need it.
Bolete mushroomsToday, Margaret and I decided to go deeper into the mountains…to acquire more skill in finding and identifying mushrooms, more specifically with an interest in finding the prized boletes that are coming up now and can be a great addition to meals in future trips.

Mushroom hunting was the primary objective of today’s trip. So, when I came across a stream, I initially didn’t think of fishing at all, we had the dog along (not the best fishing dog in the world) and I was focused on the task at hand. But, then I remembered the stream that I was staring at was a brook trout stream. You see, brook trout are an invasive species to these areas, and even though I am a mostly catch-and-release angler, it’s really not a bad thing to take some brook trout home. There is even a blog called “Eat More Brook Trout”. Plus, if we found some mushrooms most certainly we would go home and cook them, but mushrooms alone don’t make a complete meal. So I armed the tenkara rod and proceeded to catch as many trout as we needed for a complete foraged meal of mushrooms and trout.

Talking of a meal, it’s time for me to shut the computer down and cook today’s bounty. Luckily Sebata-san already wrote the conclusion I’m trying to make with this story:

“Tenkara fishing is very simple, which makes me feel I am a part of the mountains. If you want to submerge yourself deep in nature, it is the best fishing style. But just through the act of fishing, we won’t be able to enjoy real thrill and joy of tenkara fishing. Fishing becomes much more fun by experiencing the joy of being able to be a part of nature and learning something new in nature.”

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In Search of Tenkara, part 3 [VIDEO]

On April 6, 2013 • Comments (15)
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A writeup about In Search of Tenkara Part 3 is below. In case you missed parts 1 and 2:
In Search of Tenkara, Part 2:

In Search of Tenkara, Part 1:

About “In Search of Tenkara, Part 3″:
Let me get this out of the way first: I used non-tenkara flies, split shot and even a bobber! Let me explain (and I cover this in the video too).
Over the last couple of days my “one fly” (technique over gear) approach was really challenged. For over 2.5 years I have chosen to stick with one fly pattern and focus on refining techniques, as my teachers in Japan have taught me, to see how far I could go with using one fly pattern.
I once said to a class that “the one fly approach works…until it doesn’t”. In streams, spring creeks and rivers thorough the US, in different seasons, the approach has so far always worked. However, I have been waiting for a moment to be shown that it does not; and when the moment came I would not be above changing flies. I thought this finally would be the time where “one fly” would be proven to not work everywhere.
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In Search of Tenkara, 2 [VIDEO]

On April 2, 2013 • Comments (3)
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Our search for tenkara continues in this video, which documents a 3-day backpacking trip in the backcountry of Colorado with tenkara guide Paul Vertrees, owner of Kifaru Patrick Smith, and Daniel Galhardo.

If you missed “In Search of Tenkara, part 1″, here it is:

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Luke Uyeda, Product Designer Newest addition to the Tenkara USA team

On March 24, 2013 • Comments (7)
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(Daniel): Tenkara USA is entering a new era. From the beginning I feel the company has followed the intended vision for its timeline. On our first year in business (2009) the important thing was to introduce and prove the concept of tenkara in the USA. Year 2 was focused on getting our business foundations in place and further introducing the idea of tenkara to fly-anglers. The third year was a year of discovering tenkara and really finding out as much about tenkara as possible and sharing that in more depth with those who are interested(that’s the year I spent 2 months in a small mountain village in Japan). Our fourth year was dedicated to start bringing tenkara to the masses. And, as I had predicted year 5 would be the year when we would start focusing more on innovations and new product development, not to clutter the marketplace but with the intention of simplifying it, keeping it authentic and making it more intuitive.

In preparation for year 5, I have been looking for a product designer that would be the ideal fit for our company.

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Tenkara Changed my Life

On February 23, 2013 • Comments (0)
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Troy Meadows volunteered at our booth this weekend. He often says that “tenkara changed my life”, and I always meant to ask him how.

Has tenkara changed your life in any way?

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Simplicity is Sacred

On February 13, 2013 • Comments (4)
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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

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One Tenkara Fly – A personal choice

On February 12, 2013 • Comments (15)
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If you’re like most fly anglers, you like flies. Small and large, dull and shiny, reversed or “normal”. As we have introduced tenkara outside of Japan, we have focused on telling the story of tenkara, on sharing the fascinating layers of a method that has been practiced in Japan for centuries. I have gone to Japan numerous times and have spent a lot of time with multiple tenkara masters to learn the method as a whole. I did that to learn things that I couldn’t have learned otherwise, and to share the story with anyone who is interested.

Through tenkara, we have learned that we can make nets out of one branch of a tree. We have learned about flies made from snake skin, and flies made with dubbing from a plant. And, we have learned that most Japanese tenkara anglers of nowadays, perhaps largely influenced by their commercial angler predecessors, use only one fly pattern and focus on learning and refining technique rather than second-guessing fly choice. We also learned that a tenkara rod is just a tool, and in the end ANY fly will work. These are things I have shared on this blog for no purpose other than tell the true story of a method of fishing that I find fascinating, and perhaps to inspire folks to realize how simple fly-fishing can be. It’s never to tell people to simplify their fishing, simply to say it is possible to simplify it.

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Tenkara Testimonials (VIDEO)

On January 28, 2013 • Comments (9)
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Using All Your Senses

On January 16, 2013 • Comments (3)
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Written by TJ

During my lunch time I enjoy watching fly fishing shows that I have recorded on my DVR. One of those shows is Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming. Often this show has coverage of Project Healing Waters events and the show I watched today included an elderly war veteran that went blind after a car accident 6 years ago. The nice thing about Project Healing Waters is this group helps veterans fly fish even if their accident was not during combat or when they were enlisted. What a great group supporting this noble cause.

As the story unfolds, this blind gentleman greatly enjoyed fly fishing, but after his accident was unable to fish because he no longer has eye sight. The show moved me as I watched this gentleman enter the water with assistance and start fly fishing to catch trout. Must admit a few tears trickled down my cheeks as I saw the smile on this gentleman’s face when he hook set and landed a trout.

After the show I started to think about how tenkara has already been working its way into Project Healing Waters events and many veterans are getting to enjoy fly fishing once again or even for the first time. Not only are they fly fishing and catching fish, but they are doing so despite their disabilities. In the case of the episode aired today, by using all his senses this gentleman did not have to use indicators or anything special to catch fish. As Darth Vader would say, “use your senses Luke.”

Tenkara is a fairly simple way to fly fish and there really is no need to over-analyze or complicate the way we enjoy fishing. I see posts of folks adding floatant to this and that, adding weights to the line, using multiple flies. To me, all these things overcomplicate fly-fishing and tenkara. Why not try to perfect our techniques and use every available sense we have to catch fish? Why not use our senses of touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing when we tenkara fly fish?

Now I am not telling you to go lick a fish or anything, although I am sure many of us have taken that magic picture of kissing a fish we have caught and you sure know uncooked trout does not taste that good. But… I feel we can work on better using the light touch of a tenkara rod to detect that very slight take when a trout is going after our fly; or work on better using our sight to see the rise of a fish going after or taking your kebari. We can also envision the great taste of a hard-earned fish in that camping trip. And, we can sense the smell of victory after landing that larger-than-expected-trout in our small 9″ net. And, of course, hearing: hear that rise away from where you’re looking, or later hear your own voice telling great fish stories to your buddies around the campfire.

Here is a little exercise I will be trying this 2013 season. I will try to fish closing my eyes for a few casts. I will line myself up at a target, close my eyes, and ever so briefly feel what this gentleman on Fly Rod Chronicles was feeling. I will enjoy feeling a Tenkara USA rod in my hand, using a very soft touch while casting a line, feeling and hearing the rod work for me rather than overpowering the cast, feeling the fly drifting. Hopefully during the drift I will get a strike so I can feel better with my hands and not my eyes a subtle take of the kebari. All this time I will try to listen for the flow of the water to sense how fast the water is and how far the fly should drift. Hopefully my other senses will kick in and help me fish this way for just a little while.

The goal of this blog post is to just make sure you try all your own 5 senses to their full potential before resorting to “add-ons” that supposedly make it “easier” to fish. I would have to say, don’t make it easier with doodads on your rod and line but practice using all your senses instead in hopes you become a better fly fisherman using the very basic tenkara gear.

Soak it all up and make sure to use all your senses while tenkara fly fishing and I am sure you will go home feeling great joy even if the fishing was not great that day. I know I will!

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Joy in Tenkara

On September 20, 2012 • Comments (17)
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A kid filled with the joy of tenkara, a simple method of fishing

This picture was shared with us today by Kirby Wilson (of Freshcatchgyotaku.com). Kirby took his son out to a local stream for his son’s first tenkara lesson. The image captures a subject I have been meaning to talk about for a few weeks. Seeing his son’s smile provided the energy to put the words down and talk about something the tenkara community (myself included) has forgotten to relate recently: JOY.

When I started Tenkara USA about 3 1/2 years ago, my vision and the message were very clear: fly-fishing is simple, and tenkara is a joyful activity. The first videos I made (1, 2, 3…) probably encompassed the joy best. They were done when I paid little attention to others and just stuck with my message. There were also no distractions. The vision for my business was also pretty clear: keep the business simple, and do not pay attention to what others are saying; after all, if I paid attention to what anyone had said it would be clear that tenkara would never have a chance in the US.

And then, I got caught up. I got caught up with defending whether tenkara is fly-fishing or not; I got caught up with understanding and sharing the deeper aspects of tenkara – things that appeal greatly to me, such as the culture of the method, the techniques, and what tenkara looks like – but may not appeal to everyone. And, recently, as people start trying to capitalize on tenkara, I got caught up with defending the method from possible bastardization; I got caught up on sharing information on what tenkara is and also what it is not. But, as was pointed out to me a couple of times, a message that contains a negative is not the best way to spreading joy.

All of this has eaten me up. What happened to the original vision of 3 1/2 years ago? What happened to the joy I wanted  to share? I still feel it every time I go out, but I also want others to feel it too.

The fly-fishing community tends to be perceived as elitist; fly anglers as snobs. That was something I had set out to ameliorate through Tenkara USA. I can’t believe I got caught up in that part of the sport too.

Most people understand that I have been creating a community that wasn’t there before, and that I am passionate about sharing the method . Today I felt joy when received an email from a friend indicating that understanding: “I know you have a personal style and like to let people know how you like to fish – and to preserve tenkara as you believe it should be seen – so that their is a reference point and a continuation of that tradition. I have never gotten the feeling from you that you are trying to tell others what to do.”

Indeed I do not intend, nor ever wanted to tell people how to fish. On the contrary, I have written a fair amount about “Searching for Tenkara”. As I have written on our catalogs/books, I see the search for tenkara as a personal one. To me, tenkara is the place where one will find most joy on the water, with as little as possible between him/herself and the fish.

JOY. That is the ultimate goal, I think.

A few months ago there was a discussion on our forum about how someone had dismissed tenkara as a “fishing for children“.

And, then a great response from Eiji Yamakawa, a good friend from Japan who has been sharing great information with anglers in the US:

“Fishing for children” is a great compliment to me. I usually wish to enjoy fishing like a child, being free from the constraints of the world. We used to fish by very simple tackle — a pole, line, bobber, sinker, hook, and worm–, when we were children, and that was very fun.

I like to fish by a very simple tackle like a child, and it is tenkara for me now. The simpler the tackle and the technique are, the more enjoyable the fishing is.

Enjoy fishing like a child.

Indeed, enjoy fishing like a child. If Kirby’s picture of his son does not make you want to feel that joy and forget about what anyone tells you regarding what fishing should or should not be like (myself included), then I think our search for tenkara will lead nowhere.

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Fly Box (Dis-)Organization

On July 22, 2012 • Comments (7)
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written by Jason
  

Tenkara Fly Box

Back when I “matched the hatch” and carried various stages of each species of insect, my fly boxes were the epitome of organization.  Each pattern was grouped together by type and size and always in the same quantity.  If I had six of every other fly in the box, but only five of one pattern (or I lost one), I would promptly tie one more just to make sure the quantities were all the same.  I even went so far as to hook and re-hook the fly next to it’s box mate two or three times to ensure even perfectly even spacing.  Row after row of perfectly arranged and composed patterns and colors.  When opened, my unfolded fly boxes resembled pointillist paintings and I swear that if you squinted your eyes and stared at them long enough, you would see some kind of hidden image come to life like in those op-art posters.

Fast forward to today and my fly box (notice the lack of “-es” on the end of the word “box”) looks more like someone threw a bunch of hooks and feathers in a blender and then haphazardly poured them into each of the compartments.  My fly box is a mess and I know it.  People sometimes ask me, “how do you find anything in there?” To which I reply, “Easy, I don’t look for anything.”

In tenkara, the actual fly itself doesn’t really matter as much as what you do with it.  When asked how he decides which fly to fish, tenkara master Dr. Ishigaki always answers that he doesn’t give it much thought.  He just picks a fly and fishes it.  Of course, he essentially ties one pattern so when you only have one choice to begin with, the decision is pretty easy.  This rejection of finding the “right” fly is at the heart of the tenkara one fly approach.  It’s something I’ve been practicing and maybe that explains my newfound rejection of fly box organization.  I just pick a fly and go with it.  And somehow, it works.

One thing is for sure though.  The obsessive-compulsive me from my match-the-hatch days would have a heart attack if he opened my fly box today.  But then, he hasn’t heard of tenkara yet so I’ll cut him some slack.

How do you organize your fly box(es)?  Are you a neat freak, a slob (like me), or somewhere in between?

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