No Lines Attached – Become The Kebari – Tenkara Fly Fishing

On March 12, 2021 • Comments (1)

TJ's fooled trout

TJ’s fooled trout

Essay by: TJ Ferreira
Sitting at a nice warm spot in the sun, taking a breather next to a very small creek many moons ago, I was watching some flies and bugs. You see, this was one of my solo tenkara trips I often like to take in the warmer times of summer, where I can take all the worries of the world, brush them aside even if for just a couple hours, to play tenkara.
As I sat and watched the flies fly around, I started to think to myself, do these bugs have lines connected to them? Do these flies have some weighted line tied directly to their behinds controlling their every natural or unnatural movement?
Well we know that is not the case, but today I am fly fishing, tenkara fly fishing to be exact. My mind then wandered as I continued daydreaming about this whole line connected to a real fly, and then started to think how my journey of exploring tenkara has shown me what I feel a more natural way to become that fly, for just a few minutes here and there, to trick that trout to take and gobble me up!
Little do the trout know I am using a tenkara rod, my favorite rod the Tenkara USA Sato, casting an artificial fly. “But where is the line”, he says to himself? Well, it is there… but guess what, it is being held off the water so it is much less visible nor does it drag on that fly to make it seem unnatural.
TJ's “Salt and Pepper” Sakasa Kebari

TJ’s “Salt and Pepper” Sakasa Kebari

Tenkara is such a unique, simple, and fun way to fish, and I find it feels more natural than any other method I’ve tried. Probably one of the reasons I was attracted to it back in 2009 when I started my journey of exploring this Japanese form of fly fishing, and making it my own. My own little world for when I need some time away from all the chaos, I can slip away, in peaceful serenity, to become a kebari for a little while.
By fishing a more traditional tenkara method of fly fishing, I was taught to keep the line off the water. Now, I do realize some kind of line connected to the fly will be on the water, and that is where the thinnest of lines come into play, the tippet… a spider web strand of clear line that if presented well, will do little to disturb that attentive trout to think anything unnatural is at play.
There is also a main line above that… quite bright for us humans to see, but the wonderful thing is that this line is held off the water, and can also be used as a built-in indicator. No need for any more thing-a-ma-bobbers or weights, just a simple line. Allow just the fly to land first, and some tippet can follow if needed when submerging the fly to do its own dance under water, but the larger line is kept out of view and out of trout splash range.
On days you’re lucky to witness a wonderful hatch and trout start to rise, you can actually go no line… well no line on the water that is, even no tippet. Holding the line and tippet fully off the water is a breeze with a long tenkara rod, and all that the trout will see is a juicy morsel for dinner!
Become the fly is what I learned this fine day in the Sierra Mountains of Northern California, and you too can create a similar journey, if you want that is. Who does not want a couple hours away, in your own little world, where you can become a kebari for the day? This is the most natural way of fly fishing I know, and I LOVE IT!
Thank you for spending a few minutes of your time today reading about this small little tenkara journey of mine. I hope you enjoy your tenkara too, no strings (or lines) attached.

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One simple way to finish tying a fly

On November 9, 2017 • Comments (0)

In 2012, I filmed tenkara angler Hiroto Sasaki tying a fly in Tokyo, Japan. And, as it always happens when watching someone tying a fly, I learned a cool trick to finish tying a fly. Since then I have been showing this way of finishing a fly without using a whip finish fly tying tool whenever I teach someone how to tie flies. And the feedback is always excellent. The line-twisting method is a quick, efficient and easy to learn way to finish off a fly you tie. Here’s how to do it:

If you are anywhere near Lancaster, PA this weekend, make sure to come visit us at the International Fly Tying Symposium to learn more about tenkara fly-tying.

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Video: Streamside Fly-Tying with Mr. Yuzo Sebata

On March 30, 2017 • Comments (0)

Every time I go back to Japan I bring a few cameras along to try to capture the experience of fishing with the masters. In the last several years I have shared quite a few videos through this blog and our YouTube Channel. Yet, I realized a few weeks ago while I was reviewing some of the photos and footage from those trips that I haven’t really done a great job at creating the longer-format videos I have once envisioned.
Now that tenkara – the book is mostly done, and available for sale! (the printers are placing the cover on the book today and will ship this weekend), I have decided to focus more of my attention on longer-format videos.
The first video I decided to put together is the 9-minute video below, of when I spent a few days backpacking in Japan with Mr. Yuzo Sebata and then, sitting by the stream, he showed me how he ties tenkara flies with very few and simple materials, and without a vise. I hope you enjoy it.

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series: Learn how to tie the Kurobe Kebari with Joe Egry

On February 12, 2015 • Comments (2)

This week Joe Egry shows us how to tie the tenkara fly from the Kurobe region of Japan. Unlike most other flies in the Tenkara Fly Tying Video Series, the Kurobe kebari doesn’t feature the typical reverse hackle. Enjoy it.

This video is part of our Tenkara Fly Tying Video Series, with a new video coming out every week to show you how to tie a tenkara fly.

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series with Aaron Tye

On January 27, 2015 • Comments (0)

Today Aaron Tye will show you how he ties a tenkara fly.

This video is part of the Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, with a new video released every week. Click here to watch all videos in the series.

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Tenkara Fly Tying Video Series: Dr. Ishigaki and Daniel Galhardo

On January 20, 2015 • Comments (3)

In today’s Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, we bring to you a quick video of Dr. Ishigaki and I sitting down to tie a couple of flies together and to talk a little bit about our approach to fly-tying.

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Tenkara Fly Tying Video: the Royal Conrad

On January 13, 2015 • Comments (0)

In 3 minutes tenkara guide, and McGuckin’s tenkara guru, Steve Conrad will show you how to tie a very effective tenkara fly, the Royal Conrad.
If you want to meet Steve, he will be at ISE in Denver this Friday.

This video is part of our Tenkara Fly Tying Video Series, with a new video coming out every week to show you how to tie a tenkara fly.

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video with Malcolm Daly

On January 6, 2015 • Comments (0)

In this week’s Tenkara Fly Tying Video we bring you renowned rock climber, and tenkara aficionado, Malcolm Daly. The lesson here, watch out for that super glue!

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video with Graham Moran

On December 31, 2014 • Comments (1)

In this week’s Tenkara Fly-Tying Video, we feature Graham Moran, the blogger behind The Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series features a new video of a tenkara fly being tied every week. Watch all videos here.
Happy New Year everyone!

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video: Allison Marriott ties a tenkara fly

On December 23, 2014 • Comments (1)

Allison Marriott is a fly-fishing guide and fly-tying instructor in the Boulder, Colorado area, working for Rocky Mountain Anglers fly shop. As part of our Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, where every week we show you a new video on tenkara fly tying patterns, today Allie shows you how to tie a tenkara fly. In a couple of weeks she will also be participating at Women’s Showcase in the Denver Fly-Fishing show talking about tenkara.

Meet Allie in Denver on January 10th, 2015 at the Women’s Fly Fishing Showcase
Women's Fly Fishing Showcase Denver

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series: John Geer fly tying without a vise

On December 16, 2014 • Comments (0)

In today’s weekly video for our Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, John Geer shows some fly tying without a vise. This video goes very well with our newly released “No tools Tenkara Fly-Tying kits” which have been incredibly popular.


If you like the video above, you may also want to check out the video of Mr. Amano tying flies without a vise.

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series (2)

On December 9, 2014 • Comments (0)

Tenkara Guide Allen Seagraves, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, shows us how to tie a simple tenkara fly pattern in today’s video.

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Tenkara Fly-Tying kit now available

On December 8, 2014 • Comments (0)

It’s been a long-time coming and with many requests from our customers. We have been working for a while on putting together a tenkara fly-tying kit that has everything you need to tie a variety of tenkara flies, and nothing you don’t need. The Tenkara Fly-Tying kit is our way of showing you that fly-tying is actually pretty simple.
Both kit options feature a booklet we created to teach you how to tie tenkara flies as well as a vise (two options available), a set of tools, soft-hackle, dry rooster hackle, peacock herl, two spools of thread and 50 hooks in two sizes. There are also a lot of resources we’re putting together to help you get into fly-tying, such as our weekly Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series, with one video released every week. Both kits feature enough hooks to tie 50 flies, and materials for more, so it would pay for itself pretty quickly compared to buying flies.Kits will start shipping on December 16th but order now to make sure you get one.

tenkara fly-tying kit, basic
The Basic Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a spring-action vise by Terra. This vise is great for beginners as it requires no adjustments, all you do is press the lever to open the jaws and put whatever size hook you are using. This is a clamp-style vise, which you will clamp onto a table/desk. All materials are the same as in the Upgraded kit. Ships December 16th.

$95, Basic kit

Fly Tying kit, upgraded
The Upgraded Tenkara Fly-tying kit features a high-end vise made by Peak Fishing in Loveland, Colorado. It’s a pedestal-style vise, which can be used on any surface. It is a beautifully crafted vise made in the USA. All other materials are the same as in the Basic kit. Ships December 16th.

$145, Upgraded kit

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Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series (1)

On December 2, 2014 • Comments (0)

Today we launch the Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series. The Tenkara Fly-Tying Video Series will be an on-going series of videos released weekly, every Tuesday. The intent of the series is to show a variety of tenkara flies being tied, inspire you to take up fly-tying and showing you that fly-tying is actually simple. Each video will feature a different person showing their favorite tenkara fly.

In the first video of the series, tenkara angler Mark Bolson shows us how to tie a tenkara fly (kebari) he calls the Chartreuse Black Kebari. It uses only two materials and is a beautiful looking fly.

Stay tuned for a weekly video released every Tuesday. We already have 9 videos in the lineup.
Also, in the next couple of weeks we will be releasing a tenkara fly-tying kit. Stay tuned for that. Sign up for our newsletter if you want to be notified when they become available.

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Tenkara Fly Tying Video Series, coming soon

On November 18, 2014 • Comments (0)

This winter we will give you plenty of fly-tying related stuff to do. Right now we are finalizing a great series of fly-tying videos, which will be released weekly starting on December 2nd. Stay tuned.

Tenkara Fly-tying video series

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