Tenkara Flies From the Summit

On August 3, 2012
Comments (5)

written by Jason

The flies were flying at this year’s summit with anglers generously opening their fly boxes to share some of their favorite patterns with other attendees. On Friday, I was lucky enough to fish with Dr. Ishigaki and the other Japanese tenkara anglers that flew in for the event.  Everyone marveled at my fly box made by Rick Setina. They were especially impressed with the wooden hinges.  We passed our fly boxes around and traded a few flies before hitting the river.

Swapping Tenkara Flies

Dr. Ishigaki and the other Japanese tenkara anglers passing around my fly box and taking souvenirs

Dr. Ishigaki’s fly box needs no introduction. It’s undoubtedly the most famous fly box in the tenkaraverse and seeing it in person was a real thrill.  To me, looking though someone else’s fly box is tantamount to peering into their soul.

Dr. Ishigaki's Fly Box

Dr. Ishigaki’s Fly Box

He gave me two flies.  I was expecting the standard Ishigaki kebari with a black thread body and brown hackle.  Instead, I was surprised to get two peacock body flies; one with a cream colored hackle and one with olive hackle.

Peacock Ishigaki Kebari with Dark Hackle

Peacock Ishigaki Kebari with Dark Hackle


Peacock Ishigaki Kebari with light Hackle

Peacock Ishigaki Kebari with light Hackle

Since these flies are unusual Ishigaki kebari, I think I will get them framed.

Another interesting fly I snagged was from Eiji Yamakawa (known on the Tenkara USA forums as “Eddie”). He likes bright flies on eyeless hooks and uses high visibility 20 lb. Dacron backing for the loop.  His flies are beautifully colorful and his fly box looks like an artist’s palette.

Eiji Yamakawa's Kebari

Eiji Yamakawa’s Kebari

There’s been a fair amount of buzz lately about snake skin kebari (mamushi kebari) and I was fortunate enough to bump into Matt Donovan (statikpunk on the forum) who shared one of his snakeskin body flies with me.

Snake Skin Kebari

Snake Skin Kebari tied by Matt Donovan

Matt actually sent me some skin from a bull snake a while back but I haven’t had much time to experiment with it.  But seeing his fly in person makes me want to run to the vise and start.  The skin makes for a very buggy looking fly with lots of variegation that provide good contrast.  He also told me that it’s the most durable material he’s ever used for a fly body.  Don’t be surprised if I post my version of the snake skin kebari soon.

Kebari were the currency of the Summit–happily traded to network, and form new, lasting relationships.  Flies are easier to make than money.  And unlike in real life, at the summit, I enjoyed walking around with a fat wallet (my fly box).  I wish it worked that way in the “real” world.

Did you snag any interesting flies from the Summit?

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5 Responses to Tenkara Flies From the Summit

  1. David says:

    Dr Ishigaki has been tying similar kebari as far back as 2004, perhaps longer, from a web page dated 2004.

    I’ve been experimenting with Jamieson yarn, Cornfield color, tying kebari similar to Eiji’s kebari. Playing with red or rusty brown thread. Good to see my experiment is something close to what he uses.

    Out of curiosity – did any of the Pelican feathers transform into kebari?

  2. Brian Flemming says:

    That’s also the fly that Dr. Ishigaki tied during his demo on Day 1 of the Summit. I’ll be posting some video of it soon.

  3. Matt "statikpunk" Donovan says:

    boy I never get tired of seeing Dr. Ishigaki’s fly box. that thing is a real work of art.

  4. After reading this post, you need to do a new “Shit Tenkara Anglers say.. There are just so many things you could add that are summit related!
    I didn’t get any flies from the good doctor, but it was great to watch him tie a fly so quickly. I did get a a couple of flies from the other Japanese guests as well as a few of the other participants, Ashley, Karel and Anthony to name three that I recall.

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