The Tenkara Roundup Vol. 1, Issue 3

The jungle drums are beating, With the tales from late last night, Cause stories bear repeating, For everyones delight. – from Jimmy Buffett’s Coconut Telegraph

Well the virtual coconut telegraph is certainly filled with tenkara tales and as the man says, “stories bear repeating…
2013SummitposterHere is what caught my eye recently:

  • The best news first! Mark your calendars! The 3rd Tenkara Summit will be in Harrisonburg, Va., May  11-12, 2013. Mossy Creek Fly Fishing will be co-sponsoring the event and everyone in the shop is excited about the chance to show off the great tenkara fishing opportunities here in the Shenandoah Valley! Day 1 will feature indoor clinics and presentations and a chance to socialize. In the morning on Day 2 there will be free outdoor demonstrations on a local river. There is a $25 registration fee for the event. Guided clinics with lunch the afternoon of Day 2 is available for a $75.
  • Those of you who have started to accumulate tenkara rods will be interested in this one. Troutrageous! has a great post on a DIY rod rack project that is tenkara worthy because it a) simple and b) customizable. Check out Tenkara Rod Rack on the Cheap.  Jason over at Tenkara Talk made one, check it out. You can bet that the Tenkara Guide will have one in the near future.
  • Don’t have enough rods? Need to know which rod works best for the type of fishing you do? Then check out  How to Choose the Right Tenkara Rod from the Tenkara USA Blog. Remember you can order Tenkara USA rods from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and there is no charge for shipping.
  • Winter is a slow fishing season around here. We get out, but is not the hectic pace of the other seasons. For me it is R & R time; reorganize and repair. He is a great post on cleaning those tenkara rods before they sit out the season in your new rack. Check out Winter Maintenance of my Tenkara Gear.
  • Tenkara Talk  hits the nail on the head when it comes to tactics in his recent post on tenkara tactics, Be a Heron! Jason notes, “One of the things tenkara anglers place a lot of emphasis on is the idea that skill matters more than gear. As Dr. Ishigaki says, “you can’t buy skill in a fly shop”. And to me, concentration is just another skill we need to hone if we want to be masterful tenkara anglers (or any type of angler for that matter).”

Couple of non tenkara items but worth your time and attention…

  • The always worth reading Erin Block has a book out, The View from Coal Creek. No it is not a tenkara book, but if you are into bamboo rods and great writing then you need to get a copy.  As the Whitefish Press noted;“The View from Coal Creek is a reflection on fly rods, fishing, and life seen from the vantage of a canyon in Colorado, but these are props in a larger story about life, love, and tradition. Erin Block is a young, powerful voice carrying the torch and passing on lessons, values, and history of this great, literary and vibrant sport.”
  • American Angler released an iPad App. I gave up all but a very few magazines subscriptions and was thrilled that American Angler made the jump to iPad. See The iPad App is Live in iTunes!  “We built this in house,” explains Morris Sporting Group general manager Steve Walburn, “so we started with the most recently available print edition, which at the time was the September/October issue. As soon as we catch up to our print schedule, we’ll begin offering subscriptions.”Among other rich-media elements, the first issue includes a classic audio recording of Norman Maclean, at age 82, reading selected passages from A River Runs Through It, digitized exclusively for American Angler iPad readers. “It’s just one example of how we can stretch the boundaries of content in this new medium,” says Walburn. The next available issue will be January/February 2013.

Fly Board at L.L.Bean

Chuck Willey the Shooting – Fishing – Archery Program Supervisor for L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools has been putting together a compilation of flies mounted in a shadow box and displayed in the main room at the Fogg House in Maine as part of our Outdoor Discovery Schools heritage.

Chuck asked past instructors of the L.L.Bean Fly Fishing Schools for a fly that is either a favorite or one that speaks to our personality. This will be a great display and I was delighted to contribute a fly. Recently Chuck sent an update that included a photo and a listing of who has sent flies in so far. [Read more...]

Single Fly Tenkara

A question recently posted in the Tenkara Anglers facebook group asked about the single fly tenkara technique. The author of the post was looking for advice, reassurance and information about the technique, especially around selective trout and it got me thinking about my own views of the single fly aspect of tenkara.

one fly to rule them all

I admit to a pretty strong addition to catching fish on the surface. So I have been both skeptical and practical when it comes to the single fly technique. Fishing dry flies with a tenkara rod was so effective and fun that I was hard pressed to try something different. In fact if I can’t entice a fish to take a dry or dry/dropper, I usually just call it a day, scout out the water or go for a hike.

When Daniel Galhardo, founder and owner of Tenkara USA was in town I had the chance to fish the single fly method with him. After three days with increasing success I can say with confidence that it works. As a guide who specializes in the tenkara method it was especially rewarding to get first-hand coaching on tenkara fishing.

In the course of three days we had a lot of time to talk about our evolution as tenkara anglers. We shared similar paths to where we are as tenkara anglers today. So when I read Daniel’s response to the facebook question, I was struck by what a well worded insight into the single fly technique it was.

“Main thing to keep in mind is that you should know (or maybe believe) that it can be about technique as opposed to the fly choice. I have been in a few rivers where people told me I had to match the hatch at particular times, but I have also been stubborn in my pursuit of catching fish without paying much attention to the fly and have done well (and have started doing progressively better as I have gained confidence).

I have come to believe I can fish anywhere, including highly pressured waters, without paying attention to my fly. It is refreshing and liberating (this is my favorite part of it). Now, it is possible that I could have caught more fish if I had changed flies…will never know.

I think it mainly comes down to one thing: what do you want most? To think about the flies you’re using and trying to possibly catch more fish? Or, to have the freedom to not catch as many fish now, instead just keep casting that one fly to the water, and perhaps in a year, or two, or ten, feel that you have mastered techniques that allow you to fish one fly effectively?

There is NO right or wrong here. Absolutely not. It is all about what you desire. I really enjoy not having to think about my fly, and I now feel liberated to fly anywhere in the country and fish with my one box of flies. I like that.”

I won’t be abandoning my dry flies for just sakasa kebari, but I will be trying the single fly technique more often.

Fishing Tenkara With Daniel Galhardo

When Tenkara USA founder, Daniel Galhardo was in town we had a chance to hang out, fish and talk tenkara.

Meeting up with sensei Galhardo

Daniel was at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing on Saturday October 20th giving a presentation and casting demonstration.

Daniel starts his presentation

That afternoon we took a group of avid tenkara anglers to Mossy Creek for a hands-on clinic.

Starting the tenkara demonstration on Mossy Creek

Daniel demonstrates the downstream presentation

Daniel scouts a bend on Mossy Creek

Folks had a chance to get some fishing time with Daniel as well

Fred was the first to land a fish

A rainbow is landed

This fine Mossy Creek ‘bow sports a black sakasa kebari

Mossy Creek Fly Fishing co-owner Brian Trow, shot some great video of the tenkara action.

In the video, Daniel and Brian see a fish rise and start stalking it. Just as Daniel is set to cast, another fish rises and he turns his attention to that fish. He uses the “pause and drift” method to catch the fish. You will also see how he handles landing a large fish. Daniel fished a T-USA Ito, about 15ft of 3.5 level line, 4ft of 5x tippet and a Ishigaki Kebari.

Brian and I wanted to learn more about the “one fly” practice that Daniel and the tenkara anglers in Japan embrace so after our guests left, Daniel, Brian and I did some fishing on our own. Brian and I had committed to Daniel that we would only fish this way when we fished together. We took the opportunity of Daniel’s coaching to become more skilled in the tenkara style of fly-fishing.

At one point, while doing a downstream “pause and drift”, a fish bit the lilian on my tenkara rod. I was so shocked I jumped back screaming and fell down laughing like a fool. After breaking off a 20″ rainbow because I was to slow to move despite Brian and Daniel telling me to…

I at least found redemption with a nice brown a few casts later.

a nice Mossy Creek brown

After a day on the Valley spring creeks we headed up to the George Washington National Forest to fish for brook. We fished only tenkara flies on level lines using tenkara techniques.

I will confess to being somewhat skeptical of the “one-fly” method but after three days with increasing success I can say with confidence that it works. As a guide who specializes in the tenkara method it was especially rewarding to get first-hand coaching on tenkara fishing.

tenkara, it’s unreel!!!

Streamside Tenkara Seminar

Mossy Creek Fly Shop owner Colby Trow with a nice ‘bow using a Tenkara USA Ito

Are you interested in tenkara fishing on spring creeks? Then join us for the Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Streamside Tenkara Seminars. The first one is this Friday, July 27th, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. We will have another one on Wednesday, August 22nd, from 6:00-8:00PM. Colby, Brian and I will be giving presentations and demonstrations on using a tenkara outfit for fishing on spring creeks.

As a guide for Mossy Creek Fly Fishing I know that experience and knowledge is as important to our customers as the products we sell. It is as much a reason for our success as the high quality gear and accessories we offer. We are always looking for fun and innovative ways to share that knowledge with our customers both new and old. This year, tenkara has exploded in our region. Tenkara outfits are the hottest selling items in the store. Not a day goes by when we don’t get asked about it.

During the summer our local spring creeks are a spectacular fishing option. On the water we manage, big bugs and big fish are the rule. Using a tenkara outfit has proven to be an exciting and highly effective way to catch big browns and ‘bows.

This “hands-on” seminar will give you a chance to:

* Cast the full range of Tenkara USA rods and learn which rod is best for different fishing conditions.

* Learn about the different types and lengths of line and which one is best to use for various fishing conditions.

* Learn about setting up your tenkara outfit for spring creeks.

* Learn the “go-to” flies for the various summer spring creek hatches.

* Learn tips, tactics and techniques for successfully fishing spring creeks.

To sign up, call the store at 540-434-2444. The cost is $35 person at time of sign up with Visa or Mastercard, first come – first served.

Space is limited to 15 participants so register early!

 

 

Guest Post – Are You Ten-kurious?

Tenkara fishing on a Montana spring creek

Editor’s Note: My friend Ben Bulis, who is running the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, wrote about his recent adventure with a tenkara rod. I asked if he would let me use it as a guest post on Dispatches. He agreed. Enjoy.

Are You Ten-kurious? I was, and I tried it! Tenkara… What is it? Tenkara (translated: “from the skies” or “from the heavens”) is the traditional method (no reel) of Japanese fly-fishing used by commercial fishermen in the mountains of Japan to catch Yamame, Iwana and Yamago. Tenkara originated in Japan more than 200 years ago, the rods, originally were made of long bamboo/cane poles.

Tenkara has been making it’s emergence in the U.S. market since 2009, thanks to Daniel Galhardo, owner of San Francisco based Tenkara U.S.A. Temple Fork Outfitters recently announced they too would be manufacturing a Tenkara rod and RIO now offers a Tenkara line.

I’ll be totally honest; I was more than a little skeptical about fishing without a reel! I have to say, I really have been enjoying the simple approach to fishing, and its effectiveness has made me a believer, Tenkara is here to stay. Learning a new method of fishing and pushing the limits on the size of fish I can catch, is what I like about it! With that being said, Tenkara, will never be able to replace my assortment of rods and reels, it’s just another tool in my quiver.

Tenkara, with its simple approach and ease will in my mind, be a gateway to introduce non-anglers children and adults, to the sport of fly-fishing. Anyone can cast a Tenkara rod effectively in less than 10 minutes! Both of my young children have picked up my Tenkara rod and have caught fish within 15 minutes on the river.

If you have the Tenkara itch, go ahead and scratch it!

Spring Creek Tenkara

I am an inveterate mountain trout stream angler, always was, always will be. I love the intimacy of a small pool and run watercourse. And the brook trout that inhabit them are nature’s living jewels. Mountain streams are custom made for tenkara.

On the other hand…Big fish taking big flies on spring creeks is pretty hard to beat!

Tenkara and spring creeks are made for each other

Mossy Creek, south of Bridgewater, VA.

Tenkara USA Ito

 Our preferred rod is Tenkara USA’s Ito. The ability to zoom it out for added reach is big advantage.

A Mossy Creek brown fell to a size 8 PMX

Another Mossy brown at twilight

Another Mossy brown learns a tenkara lesson…

Mossy Creek Fly Shop owner Colby Trow with a nice ‘bow.

Want to join the fun?

If you want to give spring creek tenkara a try, book a guided tenkara trip at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.

We will be fishing big drys and terrestrials all summer.

Don’t miss out, give us a call at 540.434.2444 or drop us a line at store@mossycreekflyfishing.com and book a trip!

Wise Ass Fish

If you have not had the pleasure of reading the snark-fest that is Roderick Hawg-Brown than stop reading and click RH-B. I’ll wait.

Nice guy huh?

Well, I enjoy his humor, ill or otherwise and when the chance came to order a sticker to jazz up the beloved Subaru I couldn’t resist.

Of course RH-B never misses an chance to belittle us anglers so he included a little advice…

Wise ass. Wait till he meets up with Chris Hunt and his Lake Trout tenkara prowess. Bet he won’t be so quick to tell the tenkara boys what to do…

Tenkara Rod Caps Are EZ To Lose

Tenkara anglers know that the most likely thing to lose when you go fishing is the end cap on your tenkara rod. The end cap protects the rod when it is housed and keeps things from falling out or getting in.

Dang handy little item.

But there in lies the challenge. Little. Like easily misplaced little.

So having spent some time thinking about ways to keep the little rascal from disappearing I came up with this idea.

Since I have a lot of old fly line lying around I decided it could be put to good use.

I grabbed my power drill and a 1/32 drill bit and made a slight modification to the end caps of my collection of Tenkara USA rods. Then I slipped a short length of old fly line through the hole and tied a figure-eight knot at the end.

Here is how it turned out.

Tenkara USA end cap MK 1 Mod 1

Since I wear a Fly Vines lanyard, I will just stash it there. If I drop it, the bright green line will be much easier to find as well.

Hopefully this will keep the rod caps from wandering off…