The Pleasanton show ended yesterday, took me about a day to recover. What a show! For tenkara, this was the apex of the fly fishing show season, and the beginning of the “year of tenkara”.
This time the impression that we had a busy booth was confirmed by multiple reports that indeed we had the busiest booth in the show! Our inventory dissipated like crazy despite the careful planning with experience from previous show. So, yes, I’m stoked – the tenkara community grew considerably this weekend.
Connecting with customers in person was certainly the highlight for our team. A new tenkara adopter, Mike Sevon and his wife wrote to us after the show, “Tillie and I really enjoyed the show and being able to handle the different Tenkara rods was the highlight. I spent the entire day on the internet learning as much as I could about Tenkara…Since we only bought one Tenkara rod, the 12 foot Iwana, I have a feeling we will be fighting over this rod until I get another one.”
Photo by Mike Sevon.
TJ, our customer service face, and Masaki lent us their very passionate and energetic enthusiasm for all three days. It wouldn’t have happened without their help. They helped customers left and right and allowed me to give a couple of demonstrations or interact with other vendors and friends. A winning team.
The casting demonstrations again served to dispel the “myth” that tenkara is dapping. I couldn’t keep track of the number of people who stopped by our booth and said, “oh, so it’s just like dapping…”. I would respond that no, it is not, and invite them to watch the casting demo a few minutes later, or take them behind the booth and let them cast the rods themselves.
Next up, Pasadena! Please join us next Saturday and Sunday at the Fly Fishing Show in Pasadena.
Our booth has been up and running at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show the last couple of day, and again I have to consider it a wild success! The show, again, is being greatly run by the Furimsky family, and I am very pleased we signed up for it – definitely will be coming back next year!
Masaki and TJ have been of immense and very passionate help in manning the booth with me. In these last two days we have introduced a huge number of people to tenkara – way more than I could have predicted even after attending the large Somerset show – so if you want to guarantee you get a tenkara rod this weekend, and are reading this, come early tomorrow!
A shoutout to The Fiberglass Manifesto blog run by Cameron Mortenson.
In Denver, Massachussets, Somerset and now Pleasanton we have spotted folks wearing his t-shirts. He has a passionate crowd of people who appreciate the work he’s doing, and we’re very happy he’s a guy who gets tenkara!
Today we had a visit by Derrol Hammer. He agreed we should get a cool TFM Spotting picture on the Tenkara USA booth. The first picture was supposed to be a funny picture, where the “manifesto” guy gets put against the tenkara wall. The other picture is just a good picture of him trying out the glassier-feeling tenkara rod, the Ayu.
Today we setup our booth at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show, tomorrow the real fun starts!
Daniel has two demonstrations scheduled at this show, one on Saturday at 10:15AM, and one on Sunday at 1:15PM. We also have lots of fly sets and stickers that we’ll be giving away to anyone who asks!
Come by our booth and talk to us – by the way, you can’t miss us, we’re on the main pavillion and our sign is visible from just about anywhere.
See you there!
“Otsukaresama deshita” can be taken to mean “thank you for being tired”, more literally “you are tired”, and is usually used to express “good job” after a hard day of work.
Thank you everyone who came by our booth at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show! This was a terrific event. The interest for tenkara was nothing short of phenomenal. A special thanks goes to the tenkara anglers who came by and helped with the booth. That level of passion was awesome to watch. A huge thank you goes to Chris Stewart who helped man the booth this weekend, Tom Sadler who was a regular and very passionate presence, and the many bloggers and friends who came by: Lou of Fly and Fin, Matt of Funcfish, Bart of The Jersey Angler, Michael of Troutrageous! and Richard Dooley who I don’t believe has a blog but who was the winner of multiple tenkara nets and bamboo rods we auctioned for the tsunami victims early last year (pictures of Richard with his prized nets below) and who was there often helping many people with their questions as I gave a few interviews on the side or otherwise ran to my presentations.
Richard Dooley helping out a customer. Great watching it. Thanks to all who did that.
Bloggers of tenkara and friends hanging out at the welcoming booth of Tenkara USA!
Richard was the winner of several items that helped the victims of the tsunami that struck Japan last year. He brought two of the nets he acquired and it was great seeing those again!
Wow, what a show this is!
Today was the first time we held out own booth at a Fly Fishing show, and the first day at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show. It was a blast. AND BUSY! Of course, I imagine anyone who works at their own booth feels they were the busiest booth around, but I suspect we were one of the busiest, for real. I mean, no one could miss our large overhead banner from anywhere in the pavilion. Many people mentioned they saw our sign from the entrance and came by to see us. It’s really cool we were the only company featuring one of those – the show organizers suspect we just started another trend.
We met at lot of people that have been tenkara fishing for sometime and came by to say hello, and I really appreciate that. Especially as they may have hung around and talked to others who were interested in giving it a try – I mean, we can not get better support than those who do it and share it with others just because they love it.
Chris Stewart (Aka. the Tenkara Bum) was a great help at the show today. His enthusiasm for tenkara really showed at every interaction with our customers and he was a great help.
The day started with a presentation on tenkara at 11AM. I thought this was going to be completely empty as many people were still trying to get in the show, but turned out to have the presence of some 20 guests or so.
Then, it ended with a great interaction with a group from Italy, the TLT Academy. There were some 5-6 guys from Italy who came to the show and had their own booth about a method of fly casting they teach. I turned out that one of their people, Mr. Massimo Pulze, has been practicing the Italian method of “tenkara”, called Pesca alla Valsesiana, since he was a young boy some 50 years ago. The methods are similar, but we also learned of some differences – such as the Italian’s preference for a very soft rod – Mr. Pulze LOVED the Ayu rod, “bella cana” he would say. I learned they prefer the softer rods for the ability to keep the line off the air by casting wider loops, and this may have derived from the fact that early on they used live bait, which would fall apart if being cast with a stiffer rod. In any case, we had a terrific interaction and I look forward to spending more time with them.
On Thursday I head to the East Coast to participate in a couple of Fly Fishing Shows. Please come by to check out tenkara. And, don’t miss the casting demonstrations – especially the ones right before Lefty Kreh’s!
Being at the fly-fishing shows has been much more fun than I thought it would be! Originally intimidated by the prospect of participating and introducing tenkara to the large Fly Fishing Show audience, I have realized this was unfounded. Tenkara was very warmly received by hundreds of anglers who stopped by yesterday and today.
Today was our second day at the Fly Fishing Show supporting our dealer, the Rigs Fly Shop.
These two days went by as in the blink of an eye, not a moment to stop and I am not complaining. I have given 3 presentations so far, and several casting demonstrations (2 official ones) – showing to a lot of people that tenkara is not dapping after all.
It has been great to connect with a lot of customers, many whom I was meeting for the first time, and some whom I had already met. We – meaning myself, the great folks from Rigs and yes! our customers – introduced loads of people to tenkara in these last two day. One of the coolest things to see was our most passionate customers stopping by the booth and hanging around and introducing friends and passersby to tenkara. To all of you who have stopped by today and who stop by tomorrow, thank you!
It was also very pleasant to reconnect with John Gierach, Ed Engle and hang out with Steve Schweitzer, author of the super useful book “A Guide to Fly Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park”. These guys are very well known in the fly-fishing scene here, with their badges clearly stating “celebrity”. So, being able to spend time talking to them and know they are into tenkara, lends a lot of comfort to our work here.
Thank you to Jason Klass, of Tenkara Talk, who took a couple of nice pictures, posted on his website and allowed me to use them here.
The tenkara community in Colorado is very passionate, and for that reason I had been meaning to come back for quite sometime – plus, Colorado does have a lot of tenkara-perfect waters!
Jason Klass of of tenkaratalk.com (Jason already has a couple of posts of this trip), and Karel Lansky of tenkaraonthefly.net have been spreading the word fast and wide in the state. As they continue to spread tenkara, I wanted to see if I could show them anything new. I booked a ticket to Denver, posted the announcement on his blog, and I did a post on our forum. On Saturday, we had the 15 anglers meet at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Most of the participants already practiced tenkara, and due to the very evident passion of the other 12, 3 anglers have certainly decided to switch – despite the lack of fish, and the wind!
Oh, the wind…It was a very windy day in the park. But it worked out okay as I was able to show clearly that with good technique tenkara does work in the wind too. Jason just posted a short video preview on his site. After the initial workshop, which we held at the Roaring River, a few people split off, and five of us headed to the Big Thompson. I was very proud of the group, their casting improved dramatically and I think we covered a lot of good information.In all we had a great time talking, sharing experiences and just enjoying the amazing background:
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO CAME!
Scheduled to post on Wednesday morning: select pictures of my trip to Colorado. Got some good shots I believe, including: Greenback Cutthroats (swimming and feeding 3 feet away from me), good pictures of South Platte River, and just general landscap shots. Please check the blog again on Wednesday.
As mentioned here, the first Tenkara Summit was by most accounts and opinions a great success. Over 100 people came, to enjoy the conversations, meet other tenkara anglers and of course fish in Montana. Following the summit our party, which consisted of Dr. Ishigaki, Masaki Nakano, Chris Stewart and filmmaker Brian Flemming, enjoyed several more days of tenkara fishing on the Madison, Firehole, Gallatin and Gibbon Rivers. Since we had Brian taking many pro-shots, I didn’t take many pictures this time. Below are some of my favorites:
One of my favorite pictures during the Summit, Ryan giving a very entertaining talk about tenkara and the backcountry:
What about that drag-free drift?
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.
Around January of this year the vision for a tenkara gathering started taking place, now the first Tenkara Summit in the US is only one week away! For more information about the event, or to RSVP, please visit: www.tenkarausa.com/summit
How the event originated?
Last September I had been invited to speak about tenkara at the Ennis Fly Fishing Festival. It was my first visit to Montana. As one would expect, fishing was absolutely great, and it was a tenkara-perfect state. About one week after the festival, Dr. Ishigaki visited California. Still excited about my visit to Montana I showed him many of the photographs of my trip. He returned to Japan, and soon asked me if I could arrange for him to speak about tenkara in Montana. Not being able to match the dates he was available with any existing events, I thought the best way to go about it would be to organize our own, the Tenkara USA Summit.
Who is coming?
At the moment there are about 100 people registered for the event, which is free of charge and being held in West Yellowstone on August 27th. In addition to visitors, we’re counting on the honorable presence of Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, as well as the enriching presence of guest speakers and participants such as Chris “Tenkara Bum” Stewart, Craig Mathews of the Blue Ribbon Flies and our retailer in the area, authors Kevin Kelleher and Misako Ishimura, Ryan Jordan from Backpackinglight.com, Tenkara guide Tom Sadler, and more.
What will be happening there? When?
A detailed scheduled is available here. I’ll kick off the event at 8AM on Saturday, the speakers listed above will give a presentation on their topics.
We’ll have lunch at around 12pm (sandwich buffet will be available at the hotel, a donation of $12 will be requested for those wishing to eat at the event to cover the cost of the lunch). At lunch time we’ll be holding a raffle and silent auction, among some great items there will be an authentic tenkara net from Japan, a complete tenkara gear of rod, line, line holder, flies and and the exclusive UL tenkara net and ebira rod quiver which were donated by Thom Darrah from Trail Lite Design, and more.
Then, guests will be welcomed to drive to a nearby stream for an on-stream tenkara demonstration. This is not going to be a fishout, but rather a great opportunity to see what tenkara really looks like. Most people use tenkara the way they would use western fly-fishing equipment, and may lose out on some of the refinements of the technique, I strongly encourage you to join us for this portion of the event.
Will gear be available for purchase at the event?
This is not a sales event and items will be available but on a VERY LIMITED quantity. Blue Ribbon Flies will be selling our gear at the event, and items will definitely be available for trying out, but do not expect any guarantee to get your gear during the event. If you’re interested in any particular items, or would like to guarantee you have a rod in Montana, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you purchase it ahead of the summit, through our site or Blue Ribbon Flies and later exchange if you saw something that you wanted instead.
In addition, we just received some very cool t-shirts with artwork by Anthony Naples (see first picture on top of this post) to celebrate the event. These will be available for purchase at our table.
Backpackinglight, Blue Ribbon Flies, Tenkara Bum, and other partners may have additional items for sale too.