Tenkara Diaries, April 28th 2013

On April 29, 2013 • Comments (3)

*Once you click play, click on the gear icon and select the 1080p for best quality!

I went fishing with Steve Schweitzer, author of Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park (an excellent guide book that now includes a section on tenkara). The fishing turned out to be quite tough due to cold snowmelt. Yet, this tenkara experience was great nonetheless, and we even ran across a tenkara angler on the water.

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Tenkara Diaries – April 26th, 2013

On April 27, 2013 • Comments (9)

A frying pan and a tenkara Grand Slam in Colorado… Armed with a tenkara rod (I was using the Tenkara USA Ito), tenkara line and tenkara flies I went fishing near Aspen, Colorado yesterday. Caught some pretty good fish, a couple in the 20 inch range. You’ll see a tweak I did to my tenkara fly, the Amano kebari during the video, which seemed to produce results.

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Tenkara Diaries, April 20 2013

On April 22, 2013 • Comments (1)

John Geer and I went to Missoula, Montana to attend the Orvis Guide Rendezvous over the last couple of days. We were invited to share tenkara with the Orvis network of guides, since they will likely be getting a lot of inquiries about tenkara rods and the tenkara method of fishing now that we are being featured on a full page of the Orvis catalog. We had 2 hours yesterday to sneak out and fish the nearby rivers. You have to watch the video to see the enormous fish John is holding at the end, he says it felt like a kayaker was pulling him.


Tenkara rod: Tenkara USA Amago
Tenkara line: 4.5 level line
Tenkara fly: Oki Sakasa Kebari
Tenkara net: hands and teeth!

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Tenkara Diaries 4 – April 14, 2013

On April 16, 2013 • Comments (2)

Tenkara Diaries 4 – April 14, 2013

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“A Boy, a Bus, Tenkara” by TJ Ferreira

On April 15, 2013 • Comments (15)

TJ, the man in charge of customer service here at Tenkara USA, is a Volkswagen Bus aficionado. He put together this neat video of him going to visit a pond in his area with his VW bus, in search of some panfish. Even with the VW bus sound it is a very peaceful video. I love how fitting tenkara seemed to the whole thing. The quick setup was fun to watch: drive, stop, setup and fish, pack and go home. Enjoy it.

Here’s the article he wrote for the 2013 Tenkara MagazineI head down a backcountry road in my 1967 VW Westfalia bus and my mind drifts as I gaze out the window. My destination is simplicity and all the beauty of nature that surrounds it. All I need is a nice ride to get me there, and what better than an old Volkswagen.

This gorgeous place that I call home is Grass Valley, a small gold rush city in the California foothills. Today my old VW bus and I are on an adventure, and as we drive down these old winding back roads I have tenkara on my mind. My mission this day in the summer of 2013 is to catch some fish. I’m off to a secret pond a few miles away to do some tenkara panfishing. Normally I prefer the harder-to-catch trout but I’ll tell you, having a bluegill or bass slam my kebari (fly in Japanese) sure is a hoot.
TJ tenkara vw bus
Maybe I am waxing nostalgic as I grow in years but there are a few things in this life that make my ticker beat like nothing else. One of those things is my passion for everything old. Another is the simple way things used to be done. I find beauty in that old stuff and in that old-fashioned simplicity. These old air-cooled VW’s are a simple, effective and fun way to get from point A to point B. Tenkara is a simple, effective and fun way to catch fish. A perfect match. And so Yeti, my Westy VW bus, and I head off to the pond for a couple hours of tenkara.

This pond has many bluegill and bass, and they are a blast to catch on a stick, string and fly. Well to be fair, tenkara gear is a bit more advanced than simply a stick, string and fly. But really other than the updated materials, the concept and its simple nature has not changed much in the centuries since it first evolved in its home country of Japan.

The tenkara rod is a simple yet elegant device, much like the simple beauty of an air-cooled VW engine. The modern tenkara rod is made of carbon fiber and telescopic in design. In the olden days of Japan it would have been an un-split hollow bamboo rod, and its segments could be stored inside the handle when done fishing. Today we just remove the plug from the tip of this 20” cork and carbon fiber handle and like magic out telescopes 11 to 15 feet of carbon fiber beauty that we can tie a line to.

So compact! So light! So effective! So simple!

Line, meet lilian. The lilian is a short cord that is attached to the end of a tenkara rod and it makes for the most quick and easy method to connect a line to a rod. No reels or guides to run the line through or around. Just a simple slipknot or girth-hitch and I can change out lines in a snap—from a super-short 10 foot line to a super-long 20-foot line, they are all quickly at my disposal.
It is a direct connection to the fish. And when a fish takes the fly and the line tightens, the tenkara rod sings to you. Imagine if you will a super-long one-string guitar. The tenkara line vibrates with a fish on the end of it and it actually sings. This harmonic noise not only stirs my emotions, but also heightens my experience when catching and landing a fish. I have never experienced this song with any other form of fishing. My old VW has an AM radio, and although the sound is not high-definition quality, the AM stations do come in from a long way off. AM was an effective way to transmit music long distances years ago and still is today. Like that classic AM radio, my tenkara rod sings to me. These tenkara songs too come from a long way off, and from long ago, from a place I have never visited and yet they seem so familiar. The song is the Song of Simplicity.

TJ VW bus 3My little VW Bus and my tenkara rod served me well on my fishing adventure this day. Within seconds I threw my gear into the back of my bus (my gear equaled one rod, one line, and one vial of 3 flies), and headed to my little pond in the foothills. Within seconds of arriving at the pond I began to catch gill after gill and even one of those more stubborn bass. But too quickly the day was ending and darkness was coming in to take over the light, so I packed up and headed back to my little homestead. As I drove Yeti home I was already starting to daydream of my next trip—farther away next time, to a remote place at a river in the California foothills—with visions of going after a rainbow, a rainbow that is 12 inches long and makes my tenkara rod sing a simple song.

Life can be simple but many ignore this for far too long. An old VW Bus and a tenkara rod have taken my soul back and have made my life beautiful again.

Come share today’s tenkara journey in an old VW Bus and watch a Boy, a Bus, Tenkara!

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Tenkara Diaries 3 – April 13, 2013

On April 14, 2013 • Comments (3)

Had a fun day of fishing yesterday on the Big Thompson, outside of Estes Park. One of the highlights of the day was a group of rams butting heads on the side of the road.

All we needed was a tenkara rod, tenkara line, and tenkara fly.

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Tenkara Diaries 2 – April 11, 2013

On April 12, 2013 • Comments (10)

Headed out for a phenomenal afternoon of tenkara fishing. Carried a prototype tenkara rod I’m working on, tenkara line and two tenkara flies I tied before heading out. Shot entirely with an iPhone. There are a couple of tips in this short movie too. This video is 5 minutes long, with a song by Takenobu. Make sure to watch it in HD (click on the gear icon, and then 720 or 1080). Hope you enjoy it.

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Tenkara Diaries – April 10, 2013

On April 10, 2013 • Comments (4)

Now that I’m nearer streams, I decided to record more of the experiences I’m having out there. Some may be just a quick recap of what I experienced, others may hold insights. I figured this would be a good way to get better at editing videos, and hopefully you’ll enjoy them.

Here’s the first one. It was a super short outing, I headed out at 4:30 and was back home at 6pm. COLD! Brrrrr!

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My new “One Knot”: Double-loop slip knot Tippet to fly = tippet to level line

On April 8, 2013 • Comments (29)

After 2 decades of using an improved clinch to tie my fly to tippet, I decided to give a new knot a real try. This knot was taught to me by Dr. Ishigaki a couple of years ago, but being so used to tying the improved clinch it was difficult to change. Then, while doing some instructional filming for an upcoming DVD and trying to find ways to simplify tenkara instructions , I was inspired to use this knot. It seems to be a slight variation of the Scaffold Knot, with two loops rather than 3, I will call it a “double-loop slip knot”. It is the exact same knot as tippet to level line, and very similar to the level line to rod tip knot. It is very quick to tie, and as I have found out it is a super strong knot. I have not yet lost a single fly to poor knots (that includes fishing with one fly and not replacing tippet at all for 2 1/2 days of fishing on a backpacking trip where I caught over 40 fish on it, and a subsequent trip with multiple 18-22″ fish).

If you’re looking into a new knot, or are new to fly-fishing and want a simpler set of knots, give this one a try. It has become my “one tenkara knot”.

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In Search of Tenkara, part 3 [VIDEO]

On April 6, 2013 • Comments (15)

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.
Continue reading

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In Search of Tenkara, 2 [VIDEO]

On April 2, 2013 • Comments (3)

Our search for tenkara continues in this video, which documents a 3-day backpacking trip in the backcountry of Colorado with 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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Tenkara Video Contest Submission

On March 26, 2013 • Comments (4)

Ashton Chatelain of “Hints of Emergence Tenkara has submitted a good entry to the Tenkara Summit Video Contest. Sure, it is taking a slight jab at the pointless “what is tenkara?” discussions, and perhaps even a light-hearted jab at us, but as I once read somewhere, “those who don’t laugh at themselves leave the job to others.”

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“Dream Homework”

On March 22, 2013 • Comments (2)

Yesterday I took 10-year old Sofi tenkara fishing for her first time. She emailed me last week to ask if I could teach her tenkara for her “Dream Homework” assignment. On Monday she attended a presentation I gave at the Boulder REI. It was real cool to see how interested and engaged she was.

While fishing, what impressed me the most was how intuitive she was. I gave her a rod and just told her to get her tenkara fly “out there”, pointing to the calm water near some currents. She did in less than a minute with no instruction. A few minutes later, she spontaneously started manipulating the fly – and she did it perfectly too. It was quite astounding. The fishing was pretty slow, I believe because of pressure changes, but she did manage to land a nice brown within 15 minutes of us picking up the rod for the first time.

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Reducing twisting on a line holder

On March 20, 2013 • Comments (9)

Over the last several days we have held a company retreat here in Boulder. We decided to get our team together in person to discuss future strategy and product development. One of the goals of his time here was to create better line management solutions. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing options and how things worked and what things we wanted to solve. As we observed very closely how line holders are used, we came across some interesting insights. One of these insights was how one user was getting horrible line twisting, yet I (Daniel) never experienced line twisting problems at all when using the tenkara line holder. We asked ourselves why and started observing what was happening at every level of detail we could. Then it hit me that while the other user held the line between two fingers, I had been using my entire hand while winding the line. That was the only difference we could notice. And, it seemed that switching to using a whole hand actually helped with the line twisting problems some people may have.
I would like to hear your experiences with line holders and other line management systems. And, especially, I would really like to hear if you had problems with line twisting and were able to get rid of that by using the whole hand as I show in the video below.

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Tenkara Summit Video Contest Submission (by Troutrageous)

On March 20, 2013 • Comments (0)

Mike Agneta, the cool blogger at troutrageous.com, has submitted his entry for a free trip to the Tenkara Summit 2013.


Please remember, the sooner you submit your video the better the chance of accumulating more views. AND, we recommend uploading your video to one video source and encouraging friends to visit that one video (rather than splitting your video views). We will not add view counts from multiple videos, and will only consider the one with highest number of views.

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