We had a terrific turnout at today’s clinic at Headwaters Outfitters. The weather was gloomy, rainy, and it is Thursday but that didn’t stop about 30 people from coming to Rosman to learn more about tenkara. The interest was energizing. Once more I am reminded how important it is to hold these clinics and show people how versatile tenkara is and what it actually looks like. I have to do a lot more of these events next year.
As with my post yesterday, I first need to share the highlight of the day. After doing a presentation inside the shop, we headed outside for a demo. I wanted to share the casting and presentation techniques on the stream outside the shop. But, as we had so many people out there and there were not a lot of structures in the water the chances of catching a fish on that stretch were very small. So I concentrated on teaching casting techniques. After about 1 hour the rain started coming down and most people headed inside. I stayed behind with a couple of folks. I had been eyeing the other side of the stream but to keep things simpler didn’t bothers putting on a long line, and I didn’t have waders on either. Not being able to resist the urge of fishing the other side of the stream, about 40ft away, I got out the long line. Actually, I got two demo level lines, about 15ft each, and joined them together to make a long line. I started hitting the other side of the stream, right by an overhanging branch. About 5 casts later I offered the rod to one of the guys who stayed behind, Kevin I believe was his name. He is a local guide and has been doing tenkara for a few weeks, but had not yet tried the long level lines. Quickly he got good casts to hit the other side of the stream. And, guess what, on his 4th cast he hooked into a VERY nice brown!!! The folks inside the shop heard there was an epic fight going on and most came back out to watch it.
“No, that was my fish!”, I told him – only half-jokingly. After so many casts at the same area the brown had finally woken up and took the size 12 Ishigaki kebari. And what a fight that was. I’m guessing the fish was about 20″ inches. But, we will never know. Kevin did a fantastic job at fighting the large fish, keeping his arm close to his body, bringing the fish to calm water, keeping the fish on even after it leapt into the air 3 times. And, he finally grabbed the line. The fish was subdued, in calm water and ready to have his picture taken. And right as he was about to take the net from my hands, the fish decided to make a dash. Kevin was holding the level line tight in his hand and the tippet broke off!!! Oh, no!
So, a reminder, when using a long line and hand-lining the fish in, make sure to be flexible like a rod: if the fish wants to run, let him. I had shared the story of watching the osprey taking and then losing a trout yesterday, and hopefully that served as consolation, but Kevin will be dreaming about that fish tonight, I am sure of it.
Here are some of today’s photos:
Later in the afternoon one of the store’s staff, Lee, and I headed to a pretty small stream nearby. It was a challenging stream to fish with lots of canopy and low hanging branches. I had the 12ft Iwana, which I thought worked well with lots of crouching and a short 10ft line. But, that didn’t matter as the fish didn’t think so…nothing but one strike in the 2 hours we fished there. Although we did find Iron-man:
And finally, here is today’s bounty. Remember: just because with tenkara we can carry less, doesn’t mean that we should.
written by Jason
This weekend, I was invited to give a tenkara demo to a group of soldiers from Project Healing Waters. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s mission is to provide a form of therapy for disabled veterans and active military personel through teaching fly fishing and holding ongoing outings, events, and education. I not only thought the concept was great, but that tenkara was a perfect fit so, naturally, I was enthusiastic to participate.
This particular event was held at Red Draw Ranch, just outside of Edwards, Colorado. The venue has two small ponds with Rainbow trout. I was a little reluctant to teach the soldiers tenkara on such small stillwaters (especially with the number of people we had) but it all worked out in the end.
There were several other guides from Orvis and various other local fly shops who also volunteered to help out. It was funny because most of the guides seemed to have absolutely no interest in tenkara. A couple were curious and asked me some questions. And one really got into it. He spent a fair amount of time casting my Ayu, asked a lot of questions, and pretty much decided he was going to get a tenkara rod. I think he just “got it”. And as a former guide who wished he knew about tenkara back then, it wouldn’t surprise me if a good deal of his interest came from the idea that it would be much easier to get his clients into fish with tenkara rather than a Western rig.
The diminutive ponds definitely didn’t reflect the size of the fish they held. The smallest fish I saw caught that day was maybe 18″ and I’m pretty sure at least a couple of guys landed fish over 23″. Here’s a quick video of a nice rainbow being landed on my Tenkara USA Ito–confirming it as a rod that is able of handling decent sized fish (remember, this guy is a beginner):
I was stationed on the lower pond and had people who were interested in tenkara rotate through all morning. Some weren’t interested but those who were immediately saw the benefit.
I was happy to meet some of the people behind the project such as Mark Heminghous and Mike Oros who I had been in contact with a lot prior to this event. We’re currently talking about how we can incorporate tenkara into future Project Healing Waters outings as soon as September.
One of the coordinators of the outing commented that they like to treat the soldiers as “rockstars”. And from what I witnessed, that was certainly the case. After a morning of spectacular fishing, they treated everyone to a great barbecue for lunch. All politics aside, these guys have been through hell and back and they’re people. I think they deserve a little pampering and was very impressed with the lengths the project is willing to go through to give a little something back.
Overall, it was a good day. If I just got one guy with PTSD or some other trauma to take a break and enjoy life for a few minutes, it was worth it. Judging by the smiles on their faces, I think it did. And tenkara really helped. I want to do more of this and I encourage all of my fellow tenkara colleagues to reach out and do the same–not just for vets, but for anyone who can benefit from the fun and ease of tenkara.
written by Jason
Jeremy (aka adventureR) from the tenkara forum posted about a fun game he calls “Knothead Trout”. It’s not only fun, but is a great way to improve casting accuracy. And to me, the “fun + simplicity” formula is the most successful way to learn anything–especially fly fishing.
First, he carved a trout out of wood and added magnets for the eyes. Then, he tied what could only be described as a “safety-pin kebari”, also with magnets. The goal is to cast your saftey-pin kebari close enough to the wooden trout so that the magnets catch each other and you can pull it in.
At the Summit, we had a contest with some really cool prizes. The rules were slightly different though. You got five casts and you were only allowed to “manipulate” the fly once (for lawn anglers, that means dragging your magnetic fly across the lawn closer to the target).
Here are some of the prizes that were donated by Dr. Ishigaki including some really unique line clippers, fishing-themed towels, keychains, pins, coasters, and tenkara DVDs:
Here’s a happy winner:
Daniel showing Mike Agneta of Troutrageous how the Knothead Trout game is constructed:
Dr. Ishigaki even gave the game a try. He didn’t win anything though. But after getting to know him a little, it wouldn’t surprise me if he intentionally took a dive so that others could have a chance at the cool prizes he donated. My impression is he’s just that kind of guy but would never admit it.
I was surprised by how many novices were actually able to be accurate enough to catch the prize. But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be as one who always touts the ease of tenkara. At any rate, the contest was fun, those who participated learned something, and the winners got some great prizes. How cool is that?
Many of us might practice our casting on the stream, but it’s probably better to not waste valuable fishing time to refine your cast and practice in the off hours in your backyard when you can’t actually go fishing. You don’t have to do anything as elaborate as hand carve a detailed trout from wood. It could be something as simple as attaching a magnet to some other lightweight object and slapping a magnet on a safety pin to be your “safety pin kebari”. Either way, it is an effective way to hone your accuracy, get used to a new rod, or just have fun with kids or tenkara novices. I don’t know about you, but I can see this blossoming into an official event at the inevitable “Tenkaralympics”.
Written by Daniel
The idea for a Tenkara Summit originated last year, when Dr. Ishigaki saw pictures of a trip I took to Montana and told me he’d like to go there himself. He needed an excuse to travel abroad, so he asked if I could arrange for him to do a presentation in Montana about tenkara. Not finding other events that matched his schedule, I decided to put up our own. And the Tenkara Summit was born. It really is just an excuse to go fishing in some pretty cool places.
This year’s Tenkara Summit is being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we are fortunate to have the participation of 4 special guests from Japan. They travelled to the US at my invitation specifically to show us how they fish tenkara, how they tie tenkara flies, and even how to make a tenkara line – and of course, they were all just looking for a good excuse to go fishing in a new place.
Our guests arrived in San Francisco yesterday. And, today we arrived in Salt Lake City. We have packed a lot in just under two days. So far I took them out for a tour of San Francisco, hitting the touristy highlights of the city; and less than 24 hours later we were fishing in Utah. They are thrilled to be here and really looking forward to meeting all who come to the Summit.
Here are pictures I took yesterday and today.
AND, of course, pictures of some fish we caught today and more fishing pictures. Based on the fishing today, I simply can’t wait for what the next 5 days hold for us!
Tenkara Anglers Hold Convention in Salt Lake City
For Immediate Release
Salt Lake City, Utah – Practitioners of a Japanese style of fly fishing called “tenkara” will hold a convention July 28th to 29th in Salt Lake City, drawing anglers from around the world.
This weekend, anglers who practice an unusual form of fly fishing known as “tenkara” will participate at a second annual event dedicated to the method. The Tenkara Summit will be held at the University of Utah Campus.
Tenkara is unique in that unlike Western fly-fishing, no reel is used. Instead, the line is affixed directly to the rod. The method originated in Japan and was introduced to the USA by Daniel Galhardo through his company Tenkara USA— the main sponsor of the event. Since its introduction in 2009, tenkara has seen a steady rise in popularity in North America, South America, the EU, and Australia.
A similar event was held last year in Yellowstone National Park. This year the interest was so great that more than twice the number of participants will be attending, flying in from all over the US to enjoy the event and the fishing in Utah. Around 300 people are expected to attend the event, far exceeding Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo’s expectations.
Galhardo says, “The Tenkara Summit, an event I started last year, is intended to bring together the passionate community of tenkara anglers from all corners of the US and beyond.”
Several Japanese tenkara experts will be coming from Japan especially to attend and give demonstrations. Galhardo sees this as an important step in preserving tenkara as it is translated to a Western audience.
“We’re very proud to count on the special participation of very experienced tenkara anglers from Japan, including Dr. Ishigaki, the most prominent authority on tenkara. With the Tenkara Summit I want to spread the knowledge about tenkara and how it is practiced in Japan”, says Galhardo.
The Tenkara Summit is being co-organized by Salt Lake City-based Tenkara Guides, LLC—a company specializing in guided tenkara fly fishing trips. They will also be giving guided trips and clinics throughout the event.
For more information, visit www.tenkarausa.com/summit
About Tenkara USA
Tenkara USA is a fully independent, US-based company. Founded in 2009 by Daniel W. Galhardo. Tenkara USA is the first and company in the US dedicated to bringing the traditional method of Japanese fly-fishing, tenkara, to those in pursuit of a simpler and more effective way to fly-fish mountain streams.
About Tenkara Guides
Tenkara Guides is a tenkara based fly fishing guide service specializing in Utah streams and rivers. They provide guided excursions using unique, effective, easy to learn methods of tenkara fly fishing perfectly suited to Utah’s waters. Their certified professional guides will design a unique trip customized to your schedule, level of experience, and craving for adventure.
written by Jason
With the 2012 Tenkara Summit only a few days away, I’m starting to think of what I’ll be taking. Of course, there is the standard clothing, suitcase, fishing gear, Utah fishing license, etc., but I thought it would be useful to put together a list of some less obvious things that might come in handy at the actual summit itself.
- Flies to share or trade. A lot of people in the Tenkara USA forum have already been talking about bringing their favorite patterns along to share and you should too. It’s not only a great way to connect with fellow tenkara anglers, but if you give a fly, you’re likely to get one in return. This is a unique opportunity to see what other tenkara anglers are using and to get some design ideas for your own tying.
- An empty fly box with labels. Since it’s likely you’ll end up with some free flies, the last thing you want is to get home and forgot who gave you what, or what kind of dubbing was used on that one pattern you really want to tie. Bring an empty fly box and labels or small pieces of paper so you can write down who gave you the pattern, its recipe, and any other special notes you want to make about it. You never know, these flies might become collector’s items someday!
- Promo items. If you have a blog, bring some stickers, hats, or other promo items to hand out to promote your blog. This is a great way to get the word out about your website and network with readers and other bloggers.
- Business cards. It’s a lot easier to hand someone you want to connect with a business card than to scavange around for a pen to write down their name and email on a napkin.
- A pen and notepad. There is going to be a LOT of information given out during the scheduled events and you might want to make a few notes. Plus, you’ll probably get lots of free advice from other attendees that would be worth writing down. I’m bringing a small note pad and mini space pen that will easily fit in my pocket. If you don’t have business cards, a pen and notepad will also come in handy.
- A real camera. For many of us, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Do you want to come back with dingy iPhone pictures? Bring a real digital camera—one that has video too. You’ll be glad you got higher quality pictures–especially if the chance arises to get your photo taken with a celebrity like Dr. Ishigaki!
- A list of questions. The Tenkara Summit is the largest gathering of tenkara experts on Earth and the only place to tap in such a collective body of knowledge on the subject. Don’t slap your head when you get home saying, “I should have asked about…” It’s a good idea to sit down and write out a list of questions ahead of time to ask the experts. It’s probably an even better idea to ask the same question to more than one person, as each might have their own unique perspective.
What else would you suggest bringing to the Summit?
For the last 2 years Tenkara USA has been going global and expanding its brand internationally. In 2010 we opened a distribution center in the UK and established Tenkara Europe™ (aka. Tenkara EU). 2012 has been our year of expanding efforts at fly fishing shows around the world and we were supported by Chris Hendriks in Norway to bring the representation to Europe. Please read below his report of the 2012 Fly Fair in the Netherlands.
Chris Hendriks’ Fishing – Experiences introduced Tenkara in Europe at the Fly Fair 2012!
Report by Chris Hendriks
The Fly Fair is an event which attracts the hard-core fly fishermen and women from the Netherlands as well as Germany and England. This time they had several areas for presentations, demonstrations, fishing-clubs; a huge tent which held all the retailers under one roof and one tent for the fly tiers.
The dreamteam of Chris Hendriks Fishing – Experiences and their website
As I settle in my hotel room for the night, I turn the TV on to relax after a long day of what others would perceive as work: introducing about 100 new people to tenkara. After a minute of surfing channels, I come across the movie “The River Why”. While I was familiar with the title and I have meant to read the book, I have never read it, and must confess I don’t know the story line is (the movie is playing as I write this post, and if the post has grammatical errors, well, forgive my distraction).
According to the program description the movie had been on for approximately an hour. And, I just so happen to turn it on right as this is happening: Gus, the main character of the movie, is showing someone a new trick. It turns out, the person he was showing the trick to caught a fish, and he was also a very famous writer. And, thus, the writer decides he wants to interview Gus, and he writes a book stating Gus is a young guy who may be the best angler he’s met in decades. As the book comes out, Gus’ business of selling tackle and flies that he ties, booms.
Why do I tell you this story? Because the coincidence, if I can call it that, was too much to ignore. For the last two days I have been fishing with the world-renowned writer, Dave Hughes! And, yes, I was teaching a few new tricks to the famous writer and angler. But, no: none of us caught a large Chinook, was forced to jump in the water, and fight a super large fish into the night as a result. So, I’m sure this post will be infinitely less entertaining than the movie.
We just released a new feature on this site: Product Reviews. But, the reviews are trickling in slowly. We really would like for you to review the products you have tried to help future tenkara anglers know more about our products.
To give you an incentive we’ll be giving out a lot of prizes for your honest review. All you have to do is log on to our site, go to your favorite product, and writeup a review before May 10th.
DRAWING: Every review has an unique id, we’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners – reviews already entered will be included in the drawing. The more products you review, the more chances you have to win though, of course, we only want reviews of products you know. The review should be honest – no special consideration will be given to content.
Ah, “what prizes can I get?”, you ask.
So, we will make this very sweet for you and give plenty of stuff away:
1) Complete tenkara set (two will be given)Any tenkara rod you want* along with a traditional tenkara line, tenkara level line, 2 tenkara line holders and set of flies. *rod subject to availability but all should be in.
2) Tenkara net *(US ONLY) (1 will be given).
3) A new tenkara bamboo fly box valued at $63 (1 will be given).
4) Copies of The Fly Fish Journal with Daniel Galhardo’s article on tenkara and his visit to Japan. (5 will be given)
5) Tenkara Sakasa Kebari T-SHIRT (2 will be given).
6) Tenkara baseball cap (2 will be given)
DEADLINE: May 10th. Winners will be selected within a couple of days from May 10th.
Quite sometime ago we talked about the beginnings of a fascinating film project, the Manzanar Fishing Club. This project documents the stories and history of Japanese and Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Manzanar internment camp (Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada) but would risk their lives to sneak out of the camp and pursue freedom in some moments of fishing.
We’re happy to share that the film has been completed and is opening soon in several theaters. I had the pleasure of watching a pre-opening showing a couple of months ago and it is a touching story that is very well told by the film-makers and those who tell us their personal stories.
The angler pictured above was an angler from Japan who would disappear for days at a time to go fishing in the mountains nearby. In this particular stance he was gone for 2 weeks, leaving the camp with absolutely nothing on him, and for 2 weeks surviving off the harsh terrain of the Eastern Sierras. The fish he proudly displays are golden trout, which were only found miles and miles away from the camp.
We will never know whether he, or anyone else who suffered the injustice of being imprisoned, was aware of tenkara or not. It is actually irrelevant. If tenkara really means from heaven, then I’m certain they practiced their tenkara. Those who fished outside the camp found their tenkara, their moment of freedom and their gift from heaven, on the streams on the other side of the barbed wires.
This weekend we participated at the Wasatch Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Expo. It was very much a last minute decision to attend. The Tenkara Guides of Utah were participating, as was Craig Mathews from Blue Ribbon Flies (one of our dealers and very passionate tenkara angler). Also, Utah is one of the states with most potential for tenkara, with lots and lots of streams in the mountains nearby but where, by perusing the main online forum for fly-fishing in Utah, it seems like many people have the wrong ideas about the method. Thus I decided to come in and help tenkara take over the show. It turned out that we did make a big splash, and introduced tenkara to hundreds of people and “converted” a good number of them. It was hard to look at our corner and not see a crowd. Several people commented that we were keeping people in that area for too long. So, tenkara has now made big strides in Utah.
Also, a huge thanks to John and Rob of tenkaraguides.com for their enthusiastic participation at the show. Having their booth next to ours provided huge synergy.
It was also great seeing many advocates stopping by and talking tenkara to anyone who came near our booth. Several people said they came to the show specifically to see tenkara. If there is something that makes me truly happy it is to see those who adopted tenkara come to say hi and then hang out talking to everyone about their newfound passion.
The day before the show John and I went fishing at one of the Cottonwood canyon streams. We only had a bit over an hour of fishing time and I landed a beautiful brown trout. Using an ishigaki kebari of course. We fished a small stretch without a bite. The temperature the day before had swung dramatically: t-shirt and shorts weather when I arrived, but a nano-puff jacket and gloves when we went fishing the day after. Caught it by casting upstream and getting my fly to sink a few inches on a small plunge.
In a couple of hours we’re heading to a new-to-me stream outside of Salt Lake City, and I’m truly excited to see what that holds. The tenkaraguides.com couldn’t stop talking about it last night. I think they know something most people here don’t.
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.
Idaho has been awesome and I can’t wait to visit other states spreading tenkara. Utah in April and July (at the Tenkara Summit), Oregon in May and maybe your state if you invite me for a gathering/presentation and organize something.
Today I held a tenkara clinic hosted by the Idaho Angler. The morning session consisted of going through the history, story and philosophy of tenkara as well as some of the basic techniques used. We then moved outside to practice casting. And, finally, headed to some nearby private water to put into practice the landing techniques.
We intended to fish a small stream that ran near the lake where I could show the main techniques for presenting a fly. However, I decided to start at the lake to go through a few basic techniques together. After a few minutes someone had the first fish on, and as you may imagine at that point no one was really interested in leaving the spot. As you’ll notice on the fish below, everyone of us was using a tenkara fly. The class embraced the idea of not switching flies despite the size 20 midges we observed on the shore. I showed them that by pulsating the fly with a controlled up movement was very effective. As we were in a lake and the fish were deeper, I taught them to keep more line in the water as they did this.
It turns out it was a great place to learn how to land fish properly with tenkara, and we still covered some of the main techniques for manipulating the fly.
During the indoor portion of the class I started talking about how to land a fish with tenkara. There is one thing I always share with people regarding landing fish – with tenkara and western fly fishing: keep your arm low and angle the rod back and DO NOT EXTEND YOUR ARM OVERHEAD. With the arm extended high one can not control the fish and it can be impossible to grab the line or remove sudden slack from the system. Just as I was demonstrating what would happen when one raises the arm high, I looked at the wall by the front of the classroom and I noticed the picture below, a great example of what not to do but also something all too familiar from action shots we see in magazines.
As I promised on my last post, here’s a picture of Chris Gerono’s first trout on tenkara. Chris is the head guide of Idaho Angler, in Boise . Fish caught on the Owyhee River, Idaho. About 20″. Chris embraced tenkara and acquired the skills readily. I was mostly impressed by his quick understanding of the landing techniques with tenkara – arm low, steady retrieve and no rush.
And, lastly, here is one of the reasons for me to return to Idaho in the future: the S. Fork of the Boise River canyon. Rick drove me on a road at the top of the canyon. The view was spectacular and the “river tenkara-perfect”.
This is Tenkara Week – Idaho.
For quite sometime I have thought of coming to Idaho, it just never seemed to work out in the past. Then, recently a very dedicated tenkara angler, John Ellsworth, convinced everyone here to bring me over for a presentation and clinics with Trout Unlimited’s Boise chapter (Ted Trueblood Chapter). John, with the help of Rick Williams, one of the owners of Idaho Angler and someone who totally gets tenkara (and is a huge conservation advocate) organized the week around tenkara. Thank you John and Rick, and TU for making this happen. It started off great.
Please read on for what kinds of techniques and flies worked best on yesterday’s outing.
On Wednesday evening I gave a presentation to a packed room at the TU meeting. The presentation went pretty well and there was a great amount of interest aftewards. Prior to the presentation we spent sometime tying tenkara flies, and Carrie showed a couple of flies she had been tying.
Yesterday, Rick and I were joined by Chris, the head guide at Idaho Angler, for a day of fishing on the Owyhee river, about an hour out of town. We had a nice break in the weather, with no rain and great temps.
The fishing was incredible and everyone got a good number of some very shiny browns – a few confused me for rainbows actually. Chris and Rick were great students, very open to learning the techniques and I could see they got a lot out of it because of that. Their humbleness and openness to learning deeply betrayed their vast angling experience.
It was Chris’ first time tenkara fishing, and Rick had been out a few times before. I spent quite a bit of time showing them tenkara – the method – and I believe they learned a thing or two and enjoyed seeing what could be done with tenkara. The trick of the day was to pulsate the fly, a slow and controlled up and down movement did the trick for several fish.
I missed Chris’ first fish on tenkara, but it was reportedly 19-20″ (they got a picture of it, and I’ll have to post it here soon). He caught a few afterwards, with most fish being caught with a pulsating fly.
There were small mayflies being sipped on the surface and a few large stoneflies with egg-sacks drifting around. It was interesting for Rick and Chris not to have to think much of fly patterns. Instead, throughout the day we just referred to the flies as “the large one”, “the gray one”, or “the olive one”.
I caught my first couple of fish by using the Ishigaki Kebari cast to rising fish sipping small mayflies, and at least one more on that fly afterwards. The ones cast to rising fish were caught on dead-drifts, later I caught one by pulling the fly upstream about 1ft at a time.
The large Oki Kebari did very well. I got a monster rise to my oki kebari as I manipulated it slowly on a slow pool by fast water. I would guess, the hump of the fish I saw, it would be a 22″-25″ fish! Chris later hooked two more that could be on that size range, using the same large fly and getting it deep by using the currents.