The Tenkara Fishing Blog is a mini journal about tenkara. It will let you know whenever any new pages on TenkaraBum are uploaded or if there are significant changes in existing pages. It will also help keep you up to date with what's new in tenkara fishing in the US.
I had a chance to fish a small lake at a local park. The lake features bluegill, crappie, largemouth and dozens of enormous (average > 36) carp. Between
Tried a little experiment last Saturday and used my Tenkara rod to bait fish. I used my Fountainhead Caddis Rod 330 with 4# test line and a # 8 Tru Turn
Just started tying flies last weekend and really wanted to try the eyeless hooks for tenkara so ordered a few different ones. Great day on the water catching
Close up of what is quickly becoming my favorite summer fly
Blue Craft Foam doubled over to make a large popping head. The Large Mouth Bass and Bull Bluegill couldn't resist this one!
On Bear Creek late this afternoon, caught this brown trout on a Bronco Scud. Blue Body, Orange D-Rib for shellback, and blue wire ribbing. Lost all but
My friend Alan (Coach) tells me that I always underestimate the capability of the rods I sell. I generally allow that he might be right, but then I go along with the same estimates and recommendations.
Well, on this trip for smallies in Maine I got an eye opener. I had brought up a number of rods to play with, and one of them was the Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24, which is the rod I include with the Kids Kit. I had hoped to catch a nice 8 inch smallmouth bass, which I figured would put a good bend in the rod.
I was fishing the small rod with the big kebari (nymph yarn and partridge hackle). I cast to a likely looking spot beside a dock and up from the bottom comes a very large fish that just inhaled the big kebari. I set the hook and the battle was joined.
I guess Coach was right again, because I never would have believed that the Kids Kit rod could land a 20 1/2" smallmouth, which by the way is my largest fish caught while tenkara fishing.
I actually started fishing with some of my own blue yarn creations before this contest started, so of course I was quite interested when Chris announced
After posting the step-by-step for the big kebari I realized that most people don't have pheasant skins, and at this point I can't even get hen pheasant skins. The same fly can be tied with partridge if you use the larger feathers on the flank.
Instead of black thread and Little Dark Kebari (Oxford) yarn, I would use brown thread and Nymph (Moorit-Shaela) yarn.
The resulting fly looks like this dry:
and looks like this wet:
I don't have a photo of the fly dry, but this is how it looks wet:
What has been most surprising for me is how confidently the fish take the big kebari. Of the ones who came up for it, I think only one refused to take it. For the popper and deceiver, a fair percentage would come up and look, but then go back down, or come up and just bump it or nip the tail, almost as if they were smelling or tasting it. For the big kebari, they just took it. I will definitely try one next time I go trout fishing
This post was originally entitled "Ooki Kebari" which is Japanese for big fly. I have sinced learned that Tenkara USA has claimed "Oki Kebari" as a trademark. Not wanting to get sued for trademark violation, I have renamed the post "Big Kebari".
Although I started the week fishing poppers and then deceivers, some very good fish have come on big kebari.
I tied a few this evening to use tomorrow and decided to do a step-by-step..
|1. Start the thread at the eye, and do about ten wraps back toward the bend. To make the head a bit thicker, do about four layers of wraps.|
|2. Strip a hen pheasant breast feather so that the length of what is left is about the same length as the hook shank (the hook shown is a Daiichi 1560 size 6).|
|3. Tie in the feaher by the tip, with the concave side of the feather facing toward you. Clip off the excess. Wrap the thread to the eye and back to the feather. Do three wraps on the hook shank beyond the feather, which helps the feather stand up and helps to get the thread out of the way.|
|4. Wrap the feather with the concave side facing the hook eye, each successive rap behind the previous wrap, stroking the barbs out of the way for each wrap. If you stripped the feather to the right length, you should get to bare stem in four wraps. Getting the length of the stripped feather right allows you to tie off cleanly without tying down any barbs that would then need to be trimmed off. Tie off the stem, and cut the excess.|
|5. Start the yarn as you would thread, behind the hackle. Wrap to the bend, clipping the tag end when you are 1/3 to 1/2 way back. The yarn shown is The Little Dark Kebari yarn.|
|6.This will also move the thread to the bend. Then wrap the yarn back to the hackle and once again back to the bend. The body taper is formed by differing tension on the yarn, less toward the hackle and more towards the bend.|
|7. Tie off the yarn at the bend, clip the excess and cover the cut with enough wraps to make a tag, then do a whip finish as a second layer of the tag, each wrap in front of the previous one. I always lose flies before they come apart so I almost never use cement on the whip finish.|
I am a rank beginner at fly fishing. Looked online and found rods from $65 to $350 in various lengths and flex points (I now learn). I decided I needed
I had gotten a question about what fly I used to catch the Soyokaze Smallie.
Hook: Gamakatsu wide gap worm hook, size 4
Thread: UNI-Thread 6/0 Royal Blue
Wing: Kingfisher blue bucktail over kingfisher blue saddle hackle over white bucktail
No blue yarn, but if I had been eligible for the Blue Fly Challenge, there would have been a turn or two of the blue yarn where the hook bends down just behind the head.
Total length of the fly is about 4" but it is very light and not very wind resistant. Not too hard to cast with a size 4 line.
I have used a number of flies on this trip, but several of the nicer fish have been caught on this fly. In most cases, they took it confidently, with no hesitation. The water here is clear enough that you can see the fish come up to the fly. Some will come up, take a close look and go back down, others will come up and just bump the tip, but with this fly most just came up and engulfed it.
Edited to add: this fly is remarkably weedless. I have thrown it in the thick of lily pads and reeds and it almost never gets snagged. It swims hook up, like a clouser minnow, but without lead or even bead chain eyes it casts remarkably well even with soft rods.
The rod was a Nissin 2-Way 450 ZX (medium), of which as of now I only have two in stock. The fly was an big kebari tied with Purple Haze yarn (out of stock) for the body and hen pheasant (out of stock) for the hackle. The only thing I have a good supply of is the size 4 Yamatoyo line.
I am very impressed with the rod. Fully extended it is a bit much to cast one handed. It is certainly possible, but it is more comfortable to cast two handed. When not fully extended there is a lot less inertia to overcome and it is fine for one-handed casting. If you extend the rod after hooking a nice fish, you get lots of backbone and lots of leverage. I was able to keep the 15" smallmouth out of a downed tree without a problem.
It is a nice bass rod, but according to Eric Ostrander of the Tenkara Giudes, it is not a carp rod. For that you would want the Nissin. 2-Way 450 ZX (stiff), which is out of stock.
The good news is that I should have more of the Daiwa Kiyose 43MF later this month. It is a softer rod than the 450 ZX (medium), but is easier to cast one handed when fully extended and it will still stand up to good sized bass and trout (and I am pretty sure John Vetterli has caught carp on his).
Both rods will cast a big kebari on a size 4 line with no trouble.
It's been awhile, but I got the bug to tie up more flies. This one's got a brass bead head. I tied it up using a size 12 hook - up from the 14's I usually
Last time I was up here (quite a few years ago, now) I did pretty well with deer hair bass bugs.
When looking through the Hareline catalog while placing my last order, I saw some blue foam cylinders that looked like they would make good bass bugs when combined with a couple blue saddle hackles, a blue dyed silver pheasant feather and a bit of the Blue Fly Yarn for front legs.
The smallies seem to approve.
And, you know, that fish would be in the lead for "largest fish" if I were in the Blue Fly Challenge myself. Let's have some more entries!
Home for the coming week. The photo is of the main building. Tonight I'm in a small cabin across the street and from tomorrow through the rest of the week in a slightly larger cabin off to the left of the photo. Nice cabins, good food, great smallmouth bass fishing. What more could you want?
I, for one, want a new throttle for our boat. You know, one of those things that worked before dinner when we drove the boat from the launch to the island, but wouldn't work after dinner when we wanted to go fishing. An evening of fishing was not to be.
The frogs are peeping, the loons are calling and the black flies actually aren't too bad. It could be a good week (if we get that throttle fixed).
Is this where I enter my submission for first fish of the season on a blue fly when camera battery is dead? How about most fish per hour with dead camera
Next week I am going to be on vacation. It will be the first "real" vacation (not a tying demo or a Summit or a fishing show) that I've had since starting TenkaraBum in 2010. I will be largely out of touch. Nothing will get shipped Saturday June 1 through Sunday June 9.
You can still place orders, though. After I return, I will process the orders on a first in, first out basis.
If you are planning on getting a gift for Fathers Day (June 16) please, please order early. Orders that come in June 1st will get shipped June 10th. In order for someone on the West Coast to receive a package in time for Father's day, I will have to mail it on the 11th. That pretty much means ordering by June 2nd or possibly the 3rd at the latest. People on the East Coast would have another day leeway, and in New England maybe even a couple more days leeway, but I wouldn't push it.
I will be in Maine fishing for smallmouth bass. I guess I'll still be working to some extent, in that I will be trying a number of tenkara and keiryu rods for smallie fishing from a boat in a large lake. I think the Kiyose 43MF (and possibly the 53MF), Enshou LT39SF and LT44SF, Kozuka 39NT and 2-Way 450ZX are going to get a workout. Should be fun.
This past weekend I went up the Catskills to participate in the second Flymph Forum Roscoe Rendezvous. Roscoe, NY is where the Beaver Kill and Willowemoc, two of the most storied rivers in the history of American fly fishing, come together in the famous Junction Pool.
On Saturday, we held a tying demonstration at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, where Dr. Ishigaki gave his first US talk on tenkara back in the spring of 2009. As is usually the case when I participate in a tying demonstration, I end up doing a lot of talking and not a lot of tying.
Of the people who sat down at my tying table, a few stood out, including the guys from the Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited chapter (with whom I booked a presentation to their chapter next fall).
The most thought provoking, though, was one of my first customers after I started TenkaraBum.com. He is a Spey casting instructor and we had a very interesting discussion on two handed rods and two handed casting.
Most keiryu rods are long enough that out of necessity they are two handed rods. To date, I have gotten in only one rod, the Daiwa Kiyose 53MF, that is too long to be cast one-handed. While fishing that morning before the tying demo, though, I wished for the first time that I had a much longer rod.
I was fishing the Beaver Kill with a Nissin 2-Way 450ZX - extended to its full 14.5' length. There were no overhead tree limbs, and there was a cobble "beach" reminiscent of the stream banks you see in the Japanese tenkara videos. Snagging trees would not have been a problem. There were bank eddies on the far shore that looked very "fishy." The water was too deep and the current was too strong to wade far enough out to reach them. One option would have been "long line tenkara" another would have been long rod keiryu. I'm not really a fan of long line tenkara, and would rather play a fish on the rod rather than trying to hand line a good sized fish that is not ready to come in. Sure, you can do it, but why would you want to?
A longer rod would have had to be a two handed rod, otherwise it would be too tip heavy. Holding a rod with both hands greatly reduces the feeling of tip heaviness and thus allows you to fish a much longer rod. When fishing bigger water, to get the advantages that tenkara provides with respect to drag free drifts and keeping your line off the water you need to lengthen your rod.
I have ordered some longer rods and when they come in will get together with the Spey instructor to see what two handed techniques may be applicable to keiryu/tenkara fishing. Should be fun and could open up a lot of big water to tenkara anglers.
Went to tenkara fish a city pond before the softball game. Been having a blast pulling out sunfish an crappie this spring after work. Caught this really
So after much research and input from this forum, heres my custom Tenkara license frame, thanks guys! (I own a Jeep Liberty SUV)
This is just an introduction to a topic I will be spending some time on in the future. I have previously written a bit on Seiryu and Keiryu rods in the Seiryu-Tenkara-Keiryu Continuum Part I and Part II . Those essays were about rods rather than techniques. I have mentioned several times that if you want to fish heavy nymphs deep in the water column you would be better off to use a keiryu rod than a tenkara rod because the stiffer keiryu rod will produce better hooksets.
I am beginning to think that you would also be better off using keiryu fishing techniques. Tenkara rods and techniques have been developed to fish unweighted wet flies in the top few inches of the water column. There are techniques to fish a bit deeper, but if there is no convenient plunge pool, there's a limit to how deep you can fish an unweighted fly.
If you want to fish deep (with no "plunge") you will need weight on the fly or the line. Keiryu (mountain stream bait fishing) is all about fishing with weight on the line to get the bait down to where the fish are.
One of the most commonly used baits is a live nymph (either mayfly or caddis). That the nymph is real rather than artificial is not the point to this essay, that there is weight on the line to get the nymph down to the fish is.
A lot has been written, by just about everyone who's written anything about tenkara, about the great drifts you can get with your line off the water. People who buy a tenkara rod and the "traditional" line or size 4.5 level line that is recommended to go with it wonder why they can't actually do that. That is especially true if they are persuaded that they should emulate masters in Japan and experienced anglers here who fish "long line" tenkara.
The heavier the line (and both "traditional" and size 4.5 level lines are heavy lines), and the longer the line, the harder it is to keep off the surface.
The keiryu approach is to use a longer rod and shorter line, often with the line plus tippet no longer than the rod. The line, in addition to being shorter, is also lighter - even much lighter than the typical tenkara line.
A short, light line, with a bit of weight to keep it tight very definitely keeps an absolute minimum amount of line in the water. What is in the water is also much closer to straight down so it is hardly affected by conflicting currents. I had written about a similar approach in my Long Rod Short Line essay. That essay was about dries and lightly weighted wets, but it would be even more appropriate for heavily weighted nymphs.
The Suntech GMR Special 36NP is a rod that blurs the boundaries. It is very light and very sensitive, like a seiryu rod, while having lots of backbone, like a keiryu rod.
The first fish I caught with the rod caught me by surprise. You may have seen this photo before on my Killer Bugger page. It is also the first fish I caught with a black Killer Bugger. Where I fish, I catch a fish this size about once a year, so it is always a surprise. What was most surprising, though, was the way the rod handled the fish.
The Suntech GMR Special 36NP is a seiryu rod. What I like most about seiryu rods is that they are very light weight and very sensitive. The downside of that light weight and extreme sensitivity is that they tend to be pretty soft rods. Not the Suntech GMR Special. It not only managed the 18 incher pictured above, it controlled it. The fish started to head downstream, and the rod stopped it - easily.
This is not a great story, but a first-time-out story with my Tenkarabum Starter kit equipment which might be of interest to people thinking of making
I've been fishing black flies lately, but when the strikes died down, I figured it was time to get back in the blue fly game. This bass was from the last
55 and raining. I was not having a good morning, but decided to push it and go back to a creek I had fished 2-3 weeks before in southern Vt. Then I had
I had first heard of titanium lines years ago and was impressed by the ability of their main proponent, Tatsurou Okaniwa, to keep his fly in an extremely small eddy on the far side of a rushing current. I tried one and found it to be absolutely invisible against any background. I hated it and never tried it again until very recently.
I tried a titanium line again a little while ago to determine if it would work well as a wind line and also to determine how the line casts. I have to say, the line was extremely easy to cast - even into a breeze.
I haven't yet decided whether I like the line, but I have decided to carry the line for those who want to experiment with it.
Here we are, the first posting of Japanese keiryu fishing methods in the USA. I have spent the past 8 months learning about Japanese keiryu fishing methods
I had initially labelled the Daiwa Soyokaze as a tanago rod, because tanago is one of the types of fish that the packaging suggested the rod could be used for. The Soyokaze and Kiyotaki are general purpose rods that can be used for tanago fishing. The tanago rods I carry now clearly are not general purpose rods.
The brookie shown above is about a 7 incher, hooked in quiet water. The rod bent more than I had thought it could bend without breaking. I would not want to hook a 9 inch brookie with this rod, and fully expect that a 10" largemouth would be way too much for it.
These are delightful little rods for dace, darters, shiners and minnows, but they are little rods for little fish.
It was a beautiful day here in Northern Kentucky so I decided to pick my not so little, little brother up and take him fishing. Dustin had never fly fished
If the guy who is taking you fishing for the day takes one look at you and asks "Can you get around OK?" take that as a warning that you are not going to fish a meadow stream, and instead are about to find out what "high gradient" really means.
Brandon R. fishing a pool and blending into the scenery
I don't have any high gradient photos, as I was using both hands to hold on to rocks, roots and saplings. Plus, I probably needed a helping hand a half dozen times. What I didn't need, unfortunately, was my net. I got my aerobic execise for the year, but I didn't get any fish.
After we climbed out of the gorge, we went to a different stream. The second stream was a lot closer to what I had been expecting, while still being higher gradient than I am used to.
I also got my next two lessons: (1) If you are going to want to take a photo of a fish, get everything ready ahead of time - camera, photo box, everything, and (2) If you absolutely need a picture of that particular fish (a) don't remove the hook before taking the photo, and (b) take at least one photo of the fish while it is still safely in the net. Some fish are remarkably camera shy, and those fish seem to be particularly slick and squirmy.
In the second creek, I did manage to catch a fish but I have nothing to show for it.
John Geer demonstrating the use of the "Tenkara Travel Vise"
Close-up of John's Amano Kebari tied in hand.
John believes the sakasa style may have been developed because the flies are easy to tie without a vise.
Because tenkara flies tend to be simple, and can be tied fairly easily "in-hand", a tenkara angler's travel fly tying kit could consist of no more than a few hooks, some thread, a pair of scissors and some feathers, all of which could fit in an Altoids tin. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
I thought of this fly as soon as the yarn arrived. It's a blue Clouser/Mayfly tied on a size 8 salmon hook. I stopped at Deer Creek on my way to the Tenkara
Chris - I never did get you feedback on the Nissin Fine Mode 2-Way Nagare 440 rod I bought earlier this year. I could say this is the best rod ever made
Received my order today and enclosed was some Blue Fly Yarn. Couldn't help myself; went directly to vice and made two different size Blue Midges. One
Spring 2013 saw the formation of a 'Tenkara Only Syndicate' to fish several small, previously unfitted, moorland streams near Sheffield in the north of
The shipping department has gone fishing. If you have not already received confirmation that your order has been shipped, it will be shipped Tuesday, May 14 (or later).
You may continue to place orders, and I would suggest not waiting for me to come back before placing an order. Some items are in short supply and waiting only increases the chance they they will be sold out. Besides, after I get back, shipments will be on a first in - first out system. Orders placed May 8 will be shipped on May 14. Orders placed on May 14 will get shipped when I can get to them.
Q: Are you going to the Tenkara USA Summit?
Q: Are you going to complain about it afterwards?
Q: Are you going to have rods?
A: Yes - I'm going fishing and as always, will have more rods than I need.
Q: Are you going to sell rods?
A: I am not an approved vendor. If there is a rod you would like to see, chances are I was planning to fish with it anyway, but send me an email just in case. Use the "contact us" page.
Q: Can I order stuff and have you bring it to the summit?
A: I will have a space limitation. I do not plan on delivering orders. Send me an email just in case.
Q: If I order something now can you ship it before the summit?
A: I have a speaking engagement Wednesday, and am leaving for Virginia Thursday morning. The window is closing fast. I'll be back home Monday evening and will start shipping again on Tuesday.
This was a day for lots of bluegills, a few bass, one blue fly and a revelation. The last few reports have been full of bass, bluegills and blue flies, so straight on to the revelation.
For years - maybe decades, actually - my spinning rod of choice has been a 6 1/2' ultralight rod. For all those years, it never even crossed my mind that the "collapsed length" of the rod was too long. It has truly never been a problem. I've fished with it out of boats and canoes, taken it in cars and cabs and subways. Didn't even think of it.
It struck me while sitting on the train this morning that the Nissin Honryu must be about the same length as my trusty 6 1/2' ultralight when broken down. And sure enough, it is. The 3.8 meter Honryu 3808, pictured below, is just a few inches longer. The 4.5 meter Honryu 4505 is precisely one half inch longer when collapsed than my spinning rod, which in decades of use has never once caused me to think it is too long or unwieldy.
I think I have just taken as a given that tenkara rods should collapse to roughly 22", and that those used by backpackers should collapse to about 15". I think it's time to do a little out of the box thinking.
I've just bought the Pro Spec 2 Way 7:3 rod to fish small, well wooded streams for wild brown trout & grayling up to 16 inches. The zoom facility is great
I like my Nissin Airstage Honryu 4505. I have tried 2-3 different lines and it has worked well with all. I used 15' of #4, 1' of #2 and a leader of 2'
I'm not sure what the SP stands for in the Nissin SP 390 and SP 450. What it ought to stand for is Special Panfish. These are really sweet panfish rods. They are for people who like long, soft, smooth-casting rods.
When I first wrote about tenkara fishing for bluegills two or three years ago, I had recommended a relatively beefy rod, thinking that the next cast could always yield a 3 or 4 pound largemouth instead of a bluegill. I've since changed my mind. Bluegills are just so much more fun on light tackle and I'd much rather enjoy the fish I was catching than gear up with heavier tackle for the fish I might catch - but never did.
The fly is an overhand knot on a tanago hook. This is my first intentional micro, first blue fly challange entry, and first fish on my new Kiotaki 27!
We are having a stretch of good weather here in the north east .The smaller streams that I like fishing are running at summer levels ,but with good cool
Tenkara Midi is a new hi-vis tapered tenkara line made for Yoshida Kebari by Fujino line company in Japan. It is nylon, so it isn't as dense as you might want, but it casts well on a windless day. And boy, is it hi-vis!
Takashi Yoshida, the man behind Yoshida Kebari, has to be one of the most creative tenkara anglers in Japan. He clearly does not feel bound by tradition to do things they way they've always been done. This is best known in his flies, which run the gamut from very traditional kebari tied with zenmai and a pheasant alula feather to bead head flies to bug-eyed creations (or maybe bug-eyed creatures). He is less well known for the rods he uses - perhaps because the bloggers and tweeters who call attention to his interesting flies are strangely mum about his use of corkless keiryu rods for tenkara fishing.
Yoshida san has come full circle now, and has added a thinking-out-of-the-box tenkara line to his rods and flies. His new line is called Tenkara Midi, and is essentially a knotless tapered leader adapted for tenkara fishing.
When I arrived a young boy was fishing with spinning gear. I asked him if he got anything. He said no. I was thinking to myself. The only way to fish