Tenkara Fishing Blog

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.

Dec 02, 2016

Daiwa Keiryu-X Rods

The Daiwa Keiryu-X replaces the discontinued Kiyose SF series of rods. The Keiryu-X appears to be more of a makeover than a completely new model.

The grip section is noticeably different, with graphite tape wound in a distinctive "X" pattern for the length of the section. Daiwa says the X braiding reduces twisting, which can reduce power. I suspect it also adds to the stiffness of the grip section. The grip section of an SF rod is pretty stiff to begin with, but the longer Keiryu-X rods have higher penny ratings than their SF counterparts. You can feel the tape under the nonskid finish on the grip itself, so it also adds a bit more texture for a better grip with wet hands.

The stats show little change from the SF rods - which is good. The Daiwa Kiyose SF rods have been a top choice for backpackers and fixed line Czech Nymphers since 2012.

Daiwa Keiryu-X

Continue reading "Daiwa Keiryu-X Rods"

Dec 01, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Killer Bug, Olive Killer Bugger and March Brown yarns Creating "buggy" flies with yarn is much easier than dubbing. Back in stock.

Keiryu Starter Kit What you need to start keiryu fishing. Back in stock.

Nov 30, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Small Stream Tenkara Starter Kit Small stream kit built around new Suntech Keiryu Special 27. New item

Nov 29, 2016

Central Oregon Thanksgiving

I just got back from a post-Thanksgiving fishing trip with my brother David. The bulk of our time was spent on the Crooked River: a great stream for anglers

Continue reading "Central Oregon Thanksgiving"

Nov 29, 2016

Suntech Keiryu Special 27

The Suntech Keiryu Special 27 is a new rod intended for tenkara fishing in small overgrown streams. You could use it for keiryu fishing in extremely small streams, or for micro fishing, but the basic idea from the very beginning was to create the best possible rod for small stream tenkara.

This rod has been a long time coming. Ever since Daiwa discontinued the Soyokaze years ago, I have looked for a 270-length rod that would be a good replacement.

My goal was a rod that was light weight, could cast a very light line, and would be well suited to the size fish people are going to catch in small streams. That might mean 7" brookies in the Appalachians or Adirondacks, but fish twice that size in the small streams Tom Davis fishes in the northern Rockies.

Suntech Keiryu Special 27

Continue reading "Suntech Keiryu Special 27"

Nov 25, 2016

TenkaraBum Black Friday Sale

TenkaraBum only has one sale a year, so I'll try to make it a good one!

Quantities are limited. No rain checks. When they're gone, they're gone.

International shipping requires additional postage. Add the required postage at the bottom of the page. International orders without the necessary postage will be cancelled.

Daiwa Kiyose

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Nov 23, 2016

First Impressions of the Suntech GM Suikei Keiryu 44

I went down to the Snake River this afternoon to give my first zoom rod a workout. The Snake where I fished isn't a mountain stream, it is a half mile

Continue reading "First Impressions of the Suntech GM Suikei Keiryu 44"

Nov 22, 2016

Wooden Bait Boxes

Japanese wooden bait boxes (esa bako) are as beautiful as they are functional.

I suppose all endeavors have their share of paraphernalia - the bits and pieces of gear you need to do what you are doing. In tenkara, we are told you only need a rod, a line and a fly. In keiryu fishing (at least in the Japanese style, fishing with bait) you also need a bait box.

A customer, Les Albjerg, got interested (and then excited) about keiryu fishing - to the point that he started a worm farm (worm fishing for trout is extremely effective). About the same time, Jared K stated on his "Your Keiryu Stories" submission that he wanted one of the wooden Japanese bait boxes. Les asked about the boxes so I sent him a photo. He got excited again. As it happens, he is a woodworker who has learned the Japanese method of wood turning. He currently makes duck and goose calls, and tampers for espresso machines (to make it right you have to have one). He contacted me and offered to make traditional Japanese wooden bait boxes. It did not take me long to say "yes."

Wooden Bait Box

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Nov 15, 2016

My First Experience Making and Using Horsehair Line

My First Experience Making and Using Horsehair Line Recently I ordered a couple of horsehair line kits from Chris Stewart at TenkaraBum, figuring I’d

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Nov 15, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Nissin 2-Way 540ZX stiff Beefy rod for big fish (just about anything short of steelhead). Back in stock.

Suntech Genryu Sawanobori 54 Stiff rod ideal for Czech nymphing in slightly bigger water (or lantern fishing, as it is used in Japan). Back in stock.

Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 18 Six foot rod for micro fishing or extremely tight and overgrown headwaters streams. Back in stock.

Gamakatsu Zero Yamame eyeless hooks Small light wire hook that is ideal for zero tension keiryu fishing. Perfect size for a single salmon egg. Back in stock.

Nov 13, 2016

Suntech TenkaraBum 33 Pre-Orders

The Suntech TenkaraBum 33 is scheduled for release in mid-December. I should receive the first shipment in time for Christmas deliveries, but the timing will be tight. Please understand that at this time I cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas, but it looks like it will be possible. International shipments will not arrive by Chistmas.

I normally don't accept orders for items that are not actually in stock, but in this case I will make an exception. Timing may be tight enough that pre-ordering could be the difference between the rod being under the tree or being after the tree.

Suntech TenkaraBum 33 and rainbow

Continue reading "Suntech TenkaraBum 33 Pre-Orders"

Nov 12, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock (as of a couple days ago).

Small Stream Keiryu Starter Kit Every thing you need (except for the rod) Back in stock.

HMH SX Vise Simple, extremely well made vise. Back in stock.

Killer Bugs Kiwi's take on Frank Sawyer's excellent fly. Back in stock.

Woolly Bugger Marabou (black) Necessary ingredient for Black Killer Buggers. Back in stock.

Nov 10, 2016

Another Great day

Hello good folks, We've had a very late winter here in New Mexico. It's just starting to freeze overnight around the state. I took advantage of this

Continue reading "Another Great day"

Nov 09, 2016

Trip Report - 11-5-16

Saturday I fished with a couple friends from the New York City Tenkara Anglers club. It turned out that we went to one of the streams that Coach and I had fished the previous weekend. On that trip, Coach and I had fished a pool where he had seen a pod of at least 8 good sized trout. We each caught three, all but one on egg patterns.

On Saturday, we started at a different spot on the stream but gradually made our way up to that pool. On the way up I managed to catch a couple modest wild browns. I know they were wild because they were too small to be holdovers and New Jersey did not stock any brown trout this year.

Partridge & Orange Widebody

Both were caught on an egg pattern that I had tied to tease Jason Sparks (the dynamo behind the Tenkara Jam), who had mentioned on Facebook that he didn't mind fishing worm patterns but he drew the line at eggs. The fly I tied was a Partridge and Orange, which is a classic that has been fished for hundreds of years, but I made the body a bit wider than normal. OK, quite a bit wider. Round in fact. It only looks like an egg. It has hackle so it must be a fly, right?

Continue reading "Trip Report - 11-5-16"

Nov 07, 2016


The Upper Beaverhead River is where I caught my first fish on a fly; about a year and a half ago. Since then, I've wanted to float that section again.

Continue reading "Beaverhead"

Nov 07, 2016

Post-Apocalyptic Fishin' Kit

As Will Rogers would have said if he'd lived to be 137, I only know what I read on Facebook. Everything I know tells me the World As We Know It is going to end tomorrow.

All the polls show (do the really only poll Herefords?) that it's too close to call. From what I read, though, it doesn't matter. The clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right both say the same thing: The World Will End. Perhaps Chicken Little was right all along. Oh, wait, that may be seen as code-word partisanship. Perhaps CL was correct all along.

Thomas McGuane wrote "If the trout are lost, smash the state," but what if the state is lost? What are we to do? I'll tell you what you should do - Prepare! A while ago, there was a commercial on TV that said "You may not be a prepper now, but you will be." I think it was hawking freeze dried foods with a 25 year shelf life. I don't know about you, but if all I had to look forward to for the next 25 years was freeze dried foods I'd give in and let the zombies get me.

Daiwa Kiyose 30SF

I have something better to offer: The Post-Apocalyptic Fishin' Kit!

Continue reading "Post-Apocalyptic Fishin' Kit"

Nov 04, 2016

Humble Pie

Ever since I was little I always looked down on the worm fishers. As I grew up, I continued to buy the latest and greatest artificials that promised the

Continue reading "Humble Pie"

Nov 04, 2016

The Chub and I

This was inspired by Chris’s excellent blog, “Fallfish!” One of the best features of Tenkarabum is the appreciation of all the fascinating fish species.

Continue reading "The Chub and I "

Nov 04, 2016

Big Brookie on
Air Stage 290 硬中硬

My son and I went on our first father-son camping trip last weekend, up to Smokemont in GSMNP. Fall colors were awesome, temps were PERFECT, it was a

Continue reading "Big Brookie on
Air Stage 290 硬中硬"

Nov 04, 2016


Regular readers know that I often post photos of fallfish. A stream that Coach and I fish fairly often has quite a few fallfish, and I've never been disappointed if the wiggle on the end of the line turns out to be a fallfish instead of a trout.

I just learned of an article on fallfish in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries blog. I heartily support their effort to raise awareness of a fish that is a lot of fun to catch despite not being a game fish.

I know there'll never be a Fallfish Unlimited chapter near me, but I do wish more people were concerned with the native fish that are there and are all wild rather than only the trout, which are often straight out of the hatchery.

Air Stage and Fallfish

The largest fallfish I've ever caught was probably only about 9", but they get up to 20" and a couple pounds. On a rod like the Nissin Air Stage shown or the Suntech Kurenai, they are a lot of fun!

Here's the article: Fallfish: Little Tarpon of the Commonwealth.

I don't think I've ever had one jump, though.

Nov 03, 2016

Field Master 44 - Count me impressed!

Today, I received my Field Master 44. I will tell you that I debated long and hard over whether to go 39 or the 44. With my recent purchase of a Fine

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Nov 03, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock (as of a couple days ago).

Suntech FMX Keiryu stiff 62 Big water rod capable of handling very nice fish, whether tenkara or keiryu style. Back in stock.

Rod Cases - Medium, Large and Long Light weight, adjustable and inexpensive. Back in stock.

Wide Eyed Hooks Barbless hooks that hold well, look good and can be tied on your tippet in low light, with unsteady hands and without Flip Focals. Back in stock.

Micro Fishing Kit Since the NPR story on micro fishing, these are getting a lot of interest. Back in stock.

Owner New Half Moon snelled tanago hooks If you are going to go micro fishing, you need micro hooks. Back in stock.

Varivas 2300 Midge Hooks #28, #30 Smaller hooks for bigger fish. They hook and hold surprisingly well. Back in stock.

Fuji KTC-12 Rod Caps Not universal, but they do fit a lot of rods and they are harder to lose than tip plugs. Back in stock.

Shimano Net Leash More reliable than a magnetic release and the unique girth hitch attachment works well with tenkara nets. Back in stock.

Owner Pro Markers Markers of several colors in the package for increased visability. Back in stock.

Nov 01, 2016

TenkaraBum Prototypes

It's been a long time since Coach and I have fished together. The streams we usually fish have been so low that we didn't even bother going. They've gotten some rain recently, making a trip worthwhile (and got a lot more rain just after we called it quits for the day on Sunday).

Another factor prompting our trip was that I had a couple new rods to fish. I'd received two new prototype tenkara rods just in time to take them to the Tenkara Jam that was held a couple weeks ago in Cherokee, NC. I had code-named them Sample 33 and Sample 40 for the Jam, but after a little time on the water there and after a few people at the Jam gave pretty enthusiastic thumbs up, I can proudly say they will be the TenkaraBum 33 and TenkaraBum 40.

The TenkaraBum 33 is scheduled for release in December, but possibly not in time for Christmas. My experience is that promises for delivery in a certain month have usually meant the last few days of the month, meaning I might not be able to mail them out until early January. The TenkaraBum 40 will be released in the spring.

TenkaraBum 33 Brown Trout

Continue reading "TenkaraBum Prototypes"

Nov 01, 2016

TenkaraBum Streamer Challenge Winners

The TenkaraBum Streamer Challenge is over. Congratulations to the two winners: Michel Terheggen for the largest fish, a 30" pike, and Alan Luecke for most species, with 33.

A total of 51 species of fish were caught on streamers or bucktails, which I think proves pretty conclusively that you can indeed fish a streamer on a tenkara rod!

A hearty thank you to all participants.

Nov 01, 2016

Sunfish, Bass and Coots

I just had to try out my new Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24 today. I am behind on many projects, but I have learned from Tom Davis that it is OK to go out and

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Oct 29, 2016

Micro Fishing Going Mainstream!

3x5 Photo Tank

Micros caught by Ben Cantrell, as shown on NPR website.

It is kind of surprising how a single article can touch off an explosion of interest. NPR (National Public Radio) carried a segment on micro fishing in their October 27 Morning Edition and on their website. Lots of people heard about micro fishing for the first time.

Not only that, bloggers and other media outlets (always searching for an interesting new story) picked up the NPR article - reaching even more people.

Continue reading "Micro Fishing Going Mainstream!"

Oct 25, 2016

3x5 Photo Tank

The 3x5 Photo Tank will hold larger fish than the Micro Photo Tank, and will also hold several micros at once, allowing easier comparisons to aid identification.

The 3x5 Photo Tank is almost 3.5" deep and almost 5.5" long (inside measurements). It is about 3" front to back. Small sunfish, which do not fit in the Micro Photo Tank, and which are notoriously difficult to identify, fit in the 3x5 Photo Tank easily.

3x5 Photo Tank

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Oct 24, 2016

Nissin fine mode 270

I guess it doesn't matter how you come to Tenkara as long as you come to it. I got interested in Tenkara from youtube videos I found while learning to

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Oct 21, 2016

Fujino White Soft Tenkara Line

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Tenkara Jam in Cherokee NC and fish the local streams. While in the area, I wanted to fish small

Continue reading "Fujino White Soft Tenkara Line "

Oct 19, 2016

A New Stream

I feel that I've been neglecting my tenkara rods a bit as of late. I recently finished a build on my first Western-style rod, a beautiful little 4wt, and

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Oct 16, 2016

Fixed line white bass

A little after work fun with the white bass at the local Ohio river dam. The bass were hitting top water in a fast current. I used a Suntech fieldmaster

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Oct 11, 2016

Keiryu Trip

This weekend was my first attempt at keiryu fishing. At first, I was throwing the nymphs off every few casts because I was trying to cast the keiryu rig

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Oct 10, 2016

Appalachian Tenkara Jam - Replacement Parts

Before every show or Jam, I request that if there is something in particular that you would like to see or purchase at the event, please tell me ahead of time. At every show, someone comes up to the booth and asks me if I have a certain replacement part.

Please, if you will want a replacement part, let me know now. There are hundreds and hundreds of parts and I can't bring them all. If you want a part, ask in advance and I will bring it.

Oct 07, 2016

Appalachian Tenkara Jam

This year's Appalachian Tenkara Jam will be this coming weekend, October 15-16, in Cherokee, NC. I will be driving down and back, and will be away for an entire week (two days down, a day to fish a bit and set up the booth, two days of jammin' and two days back.

I will try to get all orders shipped on Saturday the 8th and Tuesday the 11th (Monday is a postal holiday). Any order that doesn't get shipped on the 11th will get shipped after I return.

Orders will be processed in the sequence in which they are received, so it will not pay to wait until I get back to place an order - you'll have a week's worth of orders in line before yours.

I will have very little time to answer emails. If you place an order, and if you get a PayPal receipt, then rest assured, I got your order. No need to send an email asking if I got your order.

If you are going to the Jam and would like to see a particular rod or anything else from the TenkaraBum shop, let me know by Tuesday the 11th. I can't bring everything but if you ask for it you'll probably get it. If you wait until the 12th to ask, you'll have waited too long because I'll already be on the road.

Oct 07, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Nissin 2-Way 540ZX Medium Nice starter rod for keiryu fishing or big water tenkara fishing. Back in stock.

Killer Bug and Black Killer Bugger Two deadly flies. Back in stock.

Oct 06, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Suntech Kurenai HM30R and HM33R Almost unbelievably light rods for smaller streams and smaller fish (anything you can catch with 7X tippet). Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Back in stock.

Suntech FMX Keiryu extra stiff 63 The polar opposite of the HM30R. Big beefy 20'7" rod. It's a trout rod but it feels like a carp rod. New Item.

Oct 05, 2016

Trip Report - 10-2-16

The trip was intended to be a tenkara trip. Following discussions with Adam K last week about his trip to Japan, I had intended to spend the day concentrating on tenkara as practiced in Japan (although without the camaraderie, foraging, drinking and blue tarps which seem to be more central to tenkara as practiced in Japan than anyone realized). The goal was to entice the fish to strike with careful water reading, accurate casting and subtle manipulation.

Well, after having fished a generally productive section of the stream and having gotten not so much as a tap, I rigged up the Syunki with a light keiryu rig (7X main line, 9X tippet, yarn markers, a #6 split shot, a Varivas 2300 #28 hook and a red wiggler).

Keiryu Rainbow

I fished the exact same 20 yards of the stream that I had just thoroughly worked. I missed a fish on my first drift and caught the rainbow above on the second. That first rainbow was quickly followed by a second, and a little while later by a third - all in a short stretch of water I had already thoroughly fished.

Continue reading "Trip Report - 10-2-16"

Oct 05, 2016

Another Shoreline

I know a lot of places to fish in the metro area, but it's always exciting to find a good one. I didn't think Hillsdale Reservoir was a good one. Hillsdale

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Oct 04, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Kids Tenkara Kit A tenkara kit just for kids, with a kid sized rod, line, tippet, Fuji EZ Keepers, three flies and a fly box. Everything a kid needs (other than parental supervision). Back in stock.

Small Stream Starter Kit - better Nothing fancy but a very functional rod that works very nicely in small brushy streams. Rod, line and EZ Keepers. Back in stock.

Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270 Ideal rod for small streams or small anglers. Back in stock.

Daiwa Expert Tenkara Rods No, the rod won't make you and expert, but if you are an expert you will definitely recognize and appreciate the build quality and bend profile. If you aren't an expert but want to be, this rod won't hold you back. Back in stock.

Fujino Tenkara Tippet - 6.5X Japanese line size .5, equivalent to 6.5X, is the maximum recommended for the Suntech Kurenai, Nissin Pocket Mini and Nissin Air Stage Hakubai. Back in stock.

C&F Design 2 in 1 Retractor Secure system for holding two streamside tools. Out of the way but always at hand. Back in stock.

Oct 01, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

TrailLite Titanium Tenkara Net The "Ti Net" is a very light, very modern, very strong adaptation of the traditional tenkara net. Back in stock.

ZimmerBuilt Tenkara Guide Sling Designed by the Tenkara Guides in Salt Lake City, this sling holds multiple rods and has space for your gear, lunch, water, rain jacket and the other little essentials that you know you need on the river. Back in stock.

Black Killer Bugger Yarn This yarn, not quite black, makes the Black Killer Bugger, which you probably want in your box if you're not a one-fly angler (or even if you are). Back in stock.

Sep 30, 2016

Trip Report 9-25-16

Adam - 8
Chris - 1

I am not a competitive person by nature. I do not feel any need whatsoever to catch more fish than the next guy. I don't mind a bit if the next guy catches more fish than I do - as long as it's only a few more, that is. Last Sunday it was not just a few more.

I was not a happy camper, but not because Adam was catching more fish. It was because the fish were there and they were hitting - or rather Adam was able to get them to hit and I couldn't. So it wasn't that he was "beating" me, it was that there was obviously a method that worked but I couldn't figure it out.

On that particular day on that particular stream, Adam was catching fish by manipulating his fly and I hadn't gotten even a single hit with dead drifts. After lunch, I started manipulating a sakasa kebari, casting into little plunges, waiting a few beats for the fly to sink and then starting to gently pulse the fly.

Trout and TenkaraBum 36

Continue reading "Trip Report 9-25-16"

Sep 30, 2016

Big Fish VA - Daiwa Kiyose 43M

Have been fishing and catching trout in the 10 to 15in and was itching to catch bigger fish to see what the rod could handle and make one last trip before

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Sep 27, 2016

Tenkara Angler Fall 2016

The Fall 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler is out!

Tenkara Angler Fall 2016

Tenkara Angler Fall 2016 contents

Full of articles, artwork and insights. It's free!
You can access it here: Tenkara Angler.

Please read my article on tenkara fishing for micros "A Niche Within a Niche Within Niche."

Sep 26, 2016

Trip Report: Sand Creek, Co.

If you’re a fan of small streams with big fish and also hiking, I highly recommend the tenkara friendly Sand creek on the western slopes of the Sangre

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Sep 26, 2016

The Advantages of a Long Rod and Ball Float

The video below was shot by Glenn L, a customer from Ohio who recently took a trip to Colorado. He was fishing with a Nissin 540ZX medium. His brother, who was using a fly rod and reel, was unable to keep his fly in a large eddy on the far side of heavy current. The extra length of the 540ZX kept the line off the surface and out of the current - and kept the fly in the "honey hole."

The video also shows an advantage of a ball float. A sakasa kebari acts like a parachute under water, resisting the pull caused by line sag and allowing you to keep line off the water. Glenn's size 20 zebra midge has no resistance. What helped Glenn keep his line off the surface and his fly in the eddy? His floating indicator, which also resists the pull of the line.

The video pretty clearly shows the advantages you could get with a 540ZX rod and Nakazima Ball Float.

Update: Apparently not everyone can view the video. If it won't play for you, cut and paste this URL into your browser


Sep 26, 2016

Chasing cutthroats in the Valle Vidal

Finally was able to go to this area of New Mexico and fish for Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout in this high elevation meadow. I focused my efforts on Comanche

Continue reading "Chasing cutthroats in the Valle Vidal "

Sep 24, 2016

This Just In...

New items and out-of-stocks that are back in stock.

Utah Killer Bug Yarn This is the yarn for Utah Killer Bugs. They're very easy to tie and effective. Back in stock.

Black Killer Bugger Yarn If there is a fly more effective than a Utah Killer Bug, it's probably the Black Killer Bugger. Back in stock.

"One Fly" Tying Kit™ Killer Bugger All the materials you need to tie Killer Buggers. Choose the Black Killer Bugger Kit or White Killer Bugger Kit. Back in stock.

"One Fly" Tying Kit™ Ishigaki All the materials you need to tie a soft hackled version of Dr. Ishigaki's famous fly. Back in stock.

Sep 23, 2016

Fishing For Buffalo

Now that carp rods are being listed on TenkaraBum I thought perhaps the following book might be of some interest to carp anglers and life-listers (definitely

Continue reading "Fishing For Buffalo"

Sep 22, 2016


Show Cancelled

I am sorry to inform you that the TenkaraBum Catskill Tenkara Weekend scheduled for June 3-4, 2017 has been cancelled. Upon serious reflection, I decided that the tenkara community did not need another Tenkara Jam type event. We already have the Jam in the east, the Midwest Tenkara Fest in the midwest and the Oni School in the west.

It might be nice to have a more informal "fish in" some weekend, with people getting together to fish, camp, drink beer and tell lies, but it will not an "event" with speakers, presentations, publicity, tickets, etc.

I had told you to save the date. The date is now free.

Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)

Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

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