Fly tying and thinking and reminiscing !!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

Orange Kebari on an Amago hook

Orange Kebari on an Amago hook

I tied my first Takayama Sakasa Kebari today. I tied 5 from the "one fly" kit I ordered from Chris, and then I ventured a bit on my own with the fly in the first picture. I ordered some of the Gamakatsu Amago 7.5 eyeless hooks and tied this orange silk Kebari using 4.5 level tenkara line for the eye and a quail feather from one that I harvested this year. I began thinking about how my fishing has drastically changed since reading "Fly Fishing Idaho's Secret Waters" by Chris Hunt early this summer. This was the first time I had heard about Tenkara. August 30th was the first time I caught a fish with a Tenkara rod and a Kebari fly. I was fishing Stanley Creek and had a very similar experience that Tom Davis shows on his videos over at Teton Tenkara. I was catching fish too big for the holes they were in! When I got home I began researching Tenkara, and it opened this whole crazy world to me. I watched a lot of YouTube, and read what I could from the retailers. Chris' philosophy resonated with me, and I sent him an email about the kind of fishing I was doing. He suggested a Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63. Wow, what a rod! I went from a "Ford Pinto" to a "Porsche." I have caught well over a hundred fish on my 6 meter rod.

I have learned that it is a different animal than the 300-450 centimeter rods. I really think that there are many avenues to this type of fishing. My last great day fishing smallmouth bass in the Boise River was with the wiggler imitation (picture 2) and 5 meters of 2 pound gold Stren Crappie mono with 18 inches of 7x tippet. It was an over 20 fish day with that fly! I have learned, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SPECIALIZE. There was a guy spin rod fishing for the 1st hour I was fishing and he caught nothing. He came to see what I was doing and walked off shaking his head. I was able to target the seams with the light line and the tungsten bead head getting the wiggler down to the fish. With the light line and no slack the fish taking the fly had an incredible feel to it. Six meters of rod allowed for some amazing fights with those bass! The larger ones were well over 2 pounds. Without the landing net, I would have broken off.

The last fly is a beadhead Utah Killer bug inspired by Tom Davis. I'll be fishing these in the South Fork of the Boise soon. The main reason I have the Sawanobori 63 is to go after trout in the South Fork. I have several other rods as well for other fishing thanks to Chris.

As I have thought about my fishing over the last months, I really believe I was introduced to Tenkara fishing by an old mentor of mine, Clive Stevenson in the early 1990's. Clive was a famous guide on the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers in Southern Oregon. He was Zane Grey, the famous Western writer's, personal guide for several years. Clive lived in Japan from 1920-1932. He shared that this is where he learned to trout fish. Clive was originally from England. He married a Japanese girl and lived in the mountains for several years. His unique insights into presentation verses "matching the hatch" changed my fly fishing. Clive was in his late 80's when I got to know him. He has a fly in Joseph D. Bates, Jr.'s book, "Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing." Clive would always say, "If they aren't taking flies try a streamer." That has saved many a fishless day for me.

So, Chris thanks for improving my fishing over the last 3 months, and I hope everyone has an awesome year of fishing in 2017.

Return to Your Tenkara Stories.

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

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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