In Search of Tenkara [VIDEO]

On March 9, 2013
Comments (13)

About this video:
Yesterday, March 8th, I decided I had spent enough time looking at my computer. It was time to go fishing.

In order not to feel guilty about stopping my work in the middle of the day, I decided to film the moments that make up the act of going fishing and hopefully I’d also be able to catch a fish for the camera too. The entire video was shot and edited yesterday. And, it was entirely impromptu; no planning and no scripting (including no scripting of the narration). Just fishing.
My wife Margaret was free and decided to come out with me and our dog Yuki. We drove to Eldorado Canyon, just south of Boulder, to fish South Boulder creek with tenkara.
For filming I used a combination of three cameras, my iPhone, a GoPro, and my Canon 7D DSLR on a tripod. I wanted to get as many points of view as I could given I had limited time out there. The fishing had been very slow and I only spent about 2 1/2 hours fishing.
Upon getting home, I started editing the video. I couldn’t wait to see how the shots turned out. Filming yourself without help with 3 cameras is quite tricky, but I liked what I saw.
As I watched the footage, a story started forming in my head. Preparing to go fishing shouldn’t take too long, grab your stuff, drive, dress up and fish. I wanted to show the process of heading out. My dog jumping in the car, grabbing my waders and rod, dressing up and hiking to the stream.
A while ago I wrote an essay for the Fly Fish Journal which I titled “In Search of Tenkara” (renamed in print). I realized, as I watched the footage, that indeed I was again searching for tenkara. Tenkara is one of those things that can be easy to describe, but it turns out it is harder to explain than I had anticipated. In the end, however, it is just fishing. And, the best way to understand it, is to fish.
As I started putting the first few images together, I decided to narrate it and explain a bit of my philosophy on tenkara, as well as where it comes from. I put those shots together and started playing with the music.
At one point Margaret heard one of the songs I was playing and came into my office to check out the video. I was playing Nick Ogawa (Takenobu)’s music with the footage. The songs in his album Momotaro really seemed to be the right fit for the mood I was trying to set. Margaret heard one song in particular that she liked.
Then, I showed her a shot in which our dog had run away from her and came running toward me down in the water. I had no idea if any of this was captured (after Yuki came to me, I went to get the camera and it was turned off, the battery had died). I absolutely love the last shot of the film with Yuki running down the snow, finding her way around some boulders to get to me and then wagging her tail in happiness.

Margaret asked me what song that was and I told her it was Takenobu’s. We went to see the name, and it was called “The Dog”. Wow! Not sure what’s up with coincidences I find with his music, but not only did the music go super well with the video, but the title was extremely appropriate.

I think we can finally put to rest what tenkara means; it really just means “From Heaven”. Perhaps not because of the story I share in the video, but because that’s how you can feel when you head out to a stream. Fishing in a canyon with no cell phone coverage, no internet, close to home, not much to worry about and enjoying the company of my wife and our dog – that is indeed a gift from heaven.


Ps. As a side note, I hope this short film may serve as an inspiration for you to enter the Video Contest where we’re giving away a trip to the 2013 Tenkara Summit in Virginia.

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13 Responses to In Search of Tenkara [VIDEO]

  1. Awesome video and message Daniel!

  2. TJ Ferreira says:

    Was looking forward to this last night when you mentioned it on twitter. I had to hit the sack at midnight as my eyes were drooping but was happy to see it posted this morning. Nice video! tj

  3. craig q says:


    I have been to Eldorado hundreds of times and I have never seen wild turkeys on the road. That is really cool!

  4. Dale H. says:

    Nice. I like it.


  5. Ralph King says:

    Very well done! I am expecting my first Tenkara Monday. I ordered my rod from Orvis Atlanta.

  6. Tom Davis says:


    Really nicely done. I too am starting to experiment with different POV cameras while fishing. My first attempt did not turn out as well!

    Wild turkeys–we have them all over near my house. It is sort of funny watching my cat size them up!

    Thanks again. Great video and message.


  7. mike w. says:

    good stuff.

  8. serge says:

    Very cool video. Any day with dogs, trout, and gobblers is a really good one.

  9. Daniel,
    You sure set the bar high for the summit contest with this video! It was well said and produced.
    If you need anyone to help judge the videos, I’d be happy to help.

  10. I’d love to come again, but video just isn’t my thing. Now if you had a photography contest!
    Of course you can always have it again in Salt Lake!

  11. Corbin Haugen says:

    great video. It doesn’t matter what other people think Tenkara is, it matters what it means to you.

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