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.

Jan 20, 2019

Fishing Fly Rod Spoons -
Some lessons learned

If you look around this website, you will see several references to me fishing fly rod spoons. I'll begin by saying, I'm still learning! Several folks

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Some lessons learned"

Jan 19, 2019

This Just In...

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

Varivas Heavy Fluorocarbon Tippet 2X and 3X for carp fishing or ultra-stealthy ultra-light tenkara line. Back in stock.

Flip Focal 2.5 Clip-on magnifiers for tying tiny flies to tiny tippets. Back in stock.

C&F 2-in-1 Retractor Handy alternative to cheap zingers. Holds two tools. Back in stock.

Jan 18, 2019

This Just In...

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

Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S This is the best spinning rod I have ever found for micro fishing, and will be a ton of fun with little trout in the headwaters. Back in stock.

Jan 17, 2019

This Just In...

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

Flies! Ishigaki Kebari, American Takami Special, Light Olive Small Stream Special, Kebari No.6. All back in stock, except for Kebari No.6, which is a new item.

Jan 13, 2019

Trip Report - 1-6-19

Last summer's Oni School was an eye opener for me. I had always thought that Tenkara no Oni fished with light lines, and the lighter the better. The weather was quite windy during the school, though, and he mostly fished size 4.5 lines.

This past Sunday I got another eye opener. I had known for a long time that the different colors of level fluorocarbon tenkara line were all quite visible in good light, but there were times when one color was more visible than the others. It had been a long time, though, since it really hit home.

The bottom of the stream I was fishing is rocky, and the rocks are primarily a brownish orange color. The woods in the background were carpeted in brown leaves. In the fading light it got very hard to see the orange Sunline. After thoroughly searching all the pockets in my vest I found one Yamatoyo line. The chartreuse was completely different from the background colors and was easily visible.

Continue reading "Trip Report - 1-6-19"

Jan 13, 2019

This Just In...

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

3 x 5 Photo Tank Large enough for multiple micros or a small sunfish or even a very small trout. Keep 'em wet and get a better photo ID. Back in stock.

Jan 09, 2019

One Fly? A Few Flies? Many Flies?

When I first started fishing tenkara a few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of one fly. Some anglers preferred to use only a single type of fly

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Jan 03, 2019

This Just In...

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

New Half Moon tanago hooks, snelled and loose Small hooks for small fish with small mouths. If you want to try micro fishing, these hooks have a more appropriate shape than small fly hooks. Back in stock.

Fuji PTC-10 rod cap Replacement rod cap for rods too narrow for the KTC-12 cap. Back in stock.

Sunline Tenjo Line Size 1.25 bright orange fluorocarbon. Will definitely work for a tenjo line for keiryu fishing, and might work as an ultralight tenkara line for fly fishing for micros. New item.

Dec 30, 2018

This Just In...

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

Ultralight Strike Indicator Extremely small (5 mm) extremely light (.004 oz) strike indicator. It floats, but it is not "a float." It will not support split shot or bead head nymphs. Use for unweighted wet flies or small baits on small hooks with no added weight. New item.

Dec 29, 2018

A Book Recommendation

May I offer a book recommendation for your fly-fishing library? For Christmas my wife gave me a paperback copy of Andrew Herd’s The Fly: Two Thousand Years

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Dec 25, 2018

Daiwa Master Tenkara L LL36

The Daiwa Master Tenkara rods are the latest in a line of truly great rods. The first rods I imported from Japan were Daiwa Enshou tenkara rods. I thought they were wonderful. The LL rods, designed for level lines, had smooth, full-flex actions.

The Enshou rods were replaced by the Expert series. The Expert L LL ("long" level line) rods, named for their longer collapsed length, were even smoother and had even better damping.

The Master series raises the bar another notch. They are just wonderful rods. They might be the most technologically advanced tenkara rods available anywhere. You do not have to be a master to cast this rod, but if you can master the cast, this rod is phenomenal.

Daiwa Master Tenkara L LL36

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Dec 24, 2018

A day with the Daiwa Seiryu X 35

Another many many day but this time with the Seiryu X 35. The rod is soft enough that the 12 inchers gave me all I could handle in the current. Tiny bobber

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Dec 22, 2018

float or no float?

I've been using my Suntech Kurenai HM63R for some still water trout lately and have been wondering what floats are best for it. I use the smallest thill

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Dec 21, 2018

This Just In...

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

Nissin Fine Mode Nagare 330 Seriously soft seiryu rod. Back in stock.

Daiwa Keiryu Damo V 25CM Tenkara-sized net. Fish-friendly mesh bag. Back in stock.

Owner Micro Fishing Floats Tiny floats that a micro can take under. Back in stock.

Lillian Two different widths. Lifetime supply. Back in stock.

Dec 20, 2018

Trip Report - 12-2-18

Where have all the fallfish gone? Are they called fallfish because after the fall they disappear?

I played hooky last Friday to go fishing ahead of what was forecast to be a rained-out weekend. A number of Nissin Air Stage Hakubai medium rods had been delivered earlier in the week and I wanted to get out and try to catch some fish with them, try some different lines with them and do a back-to-back comparison of the Air Stage Hakubai 340 medium and the Nagare 330.

For a venue, I chose a stream where Coach and I almost always catch fallfish - most of which are about the size of the Japanese Dace and Pale Chubs for which the rods were designed. We have also caught common shiners and blacknose dace there. It is a wild trout stream, and in addition to the fallfish, we almost always catch some trout.

Wouldn't you know that on the only day I have ever fished that stream when I specifically wanted to catch fallfish or common shiners rather than trout, I caught only trout.

Nissin Air Stage Hakubai 340

Continue reading "Trip Report - 12-2-18"

Dec 16, 2018

a many many day in the land of enchantment

I haven't fished my Nissin Fine Mode 270 much this year so I took it along on a trip last week. Three different spots with three different sizes of stockers.

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Dec 16, 2018

This Just In...

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

Daiwa Vega .4g spoons Nightmare, Gold, Silver, Brown Pellet, Green Pellet. Back in stock.

Dec 12, 2018

Nissin Air Stage Hakubai

This is very nearly a complete rewrite of the Nissin Air Stage Seiryu Rods page.

The Nissin Air Stage Hakubai are wonderfully light, extremely sensitive seiryu rods, which are very well suited for tenkara fishing in smaller streams for smaller fish. Seiryu is generally translated as "clear stream" and these rods are about as nice as you'll find for fishing the crystal clear headwaters in the Catskills, the Smokies or the Sierras.

They are not limited to clear streams or to trout, though, and some of the most pleasant fishing is in nearby streams that no one else fishes because the fish that live there aren't trout and aren't large.

In recent years, fly fishing for micros has become more popular. Given the increased popularity, and given that the Air Stage Hakubai 硬中硬 rods are softer and have considerably less backbone than the Kurenai rods, I thought these rods might be a better choice for micros, while the Kurenai would be a better choice for trout.

Black nose dace caught on StewartSpider

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Dec 12, 2018

This Just In...

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

Ebira Guide Handy way to carry up to 4 rods, with two zippered pockets for gear. Back in stock.

Nikko Sashi Artificial maggots. Proven for microfishing, will probably work just as well for sunfish and trout. Back in stock.

Dec 12, 2018

Joy of Tenkara

What are you thankful for? Each person must make his own list; but at the top of mine would be God, family, and friends. My wife has now put up with me

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Dec 11, 2018

This Just In...

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

Nissin Air Stage Hakubai seiryu rods 240 stiff, plus 190, 240, 290 and 340 medium. The 240 stiff and 190 medium are back in stock. The longer medium rods are new items, intended primarily for fly fishing for micros.

Dec 09, 2018

Caffeinated Fly!

I must give credit to Chris Stewart for this fly. It has been years ago that I used a coffee bean to make a fly. This is a much better fly than the old

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Dec 07, 2018

Sculpin Fishing

Fixed line fishing is big in Japan. Sculpin fishing is one of the more esoteric of its many forms. I first came across sculpin fishing, or kajika tsuri, written カジカ釣り in Japanese, in a Youtube video that shows many different types of fishing in Japan. The video is very nearly 28 minutes long. Of that, 55 seconds are devoted to sculpin fishing.

When I first saw the video, I thought the sculpin fishing part was a little unusual and then quickly forgot it until a customer sent me an email asking about a kajika rod.

It turns out a kajika rod is very easy to make!

Sculpin rod components

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Dec 02, 2018

Trip Report - 12-2-18

Today's trip was a follow-up on my 10-20-18 trip report, in which I experimented with using the TenkaraBum Tactical Nymphing Sighter .013 as a tenkara line with the Daiwa Enshou LL36 and the TenkaraBum 36. For this trip, I wanted to see how light a line I could cast with a seiryu rod.

Seiryu rods are ideal for catching modest fish, and they are ideal for casting light lines. I already knew they would easily cast size 2.5 fluorocarbon line. I wanted to see how light a nylon line they would cast.

Fine Mode Nagare with bluegill

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Dec 01, 2018

This Just In...

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

Nissin Royal Stage Honryu 390 Extremely smooth casting mid-flex tenkara rod. Back in stock.

Daiichi 1110 sizes 20 and 26 Hooks for micro Killer Buggers. Surprisingly effective when fly fishing for micros. Back in stock.

Gear Keeper Zinger on steroids to hold your net or wading staff. Back in stock.

Daiwa Bright Marker - Yellow Extremely visible keiryu yarn marker. Back in stock.

Nov 30, 2018

Simple Blue Damselfly

In late October I was fishing the Blanco River and happened to spot a large damselfly that smacked the water. As the damselfly struggled to regain the

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Nov 27, 2018

Seiryu Rods

Seiryu rods bridge the gap between micro fishing and either tenkara or keiryu. They are ultralight telescopic rods, similar to tenkara or keiryu rods, but designed for small fish in placid streams. Most Japanese anglers use them to catch dace and chubs.

Most in the US use them in place of tenkara rods while fishing for trout, as do some Japanese anglers. They are very light and very sensitive, and they cast light tenkara lines very well. It is not surprising that they have developed a bit of a cult following here in the US.

Seiryu rod, creek chub

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Nov 26, 2018

Matching the Hatch(ery)

I had to run to the grocery store for my wife. I begged an hour of fishing as it was a wonderful afternoon. I have wanted to revisit the Fly Rod Spoons

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Nov 23, 2018

This Just In...

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

Kiwi's flies Killer Bugs, Black Killer Buggers, Royal Sakasa Kebari and Stewart Black Spiders. Back in stock.

Nov 23, 2018

Caffeinated Worms!

This is a report on my last Red Wiggler experiment. I think I am pretty much done playing with worms! Red Wigglers are so easy to raise. Just to recap

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Nov 22, 2018

Suntech GM TB

The Suntech GM TB rods are new this year and are unlike any keiryu rods I've seen before. The TB does not stand for TenkaraBum. It stands for Top Balance.

The rods are definitely tip action rods. It is always hard to decipher Google translations of Japanese rod descriptions, but I take the Top Balance name and Suntech's description to mean that the soft tip sections balance out the stiff middle and lower sections. For those familiar with the Suntech Genryu Sawanobori, this rod is like it - only more so.

I often get asked for a recommendation of a good rod for Euro nymphing. Hint: most tenkara rods are not very good for Euro nymphing - particularly when using one or more heavy nymphs, what used to be called Polish or Czech nymphing. Their midsections are too soft to get good hook sets when fishing heavy nymphs deep.

I am sure Suntech did not have Czech nymphing in mind when they designed the rod. It is clearly a bait rod, but the problem is common to both real nymphs and artificial nymphs. Trout will spit out either one if they feel tension on the line, but if you fish in deep, fast water, you need a firm midsection to get a good, quick hook set.

Suntech TB 63

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Nov 19, 2018

This Just In...

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

Flying Dragon 620 Carp rod that collapses to a convenient 22" length. Back in stock.

Owner "smallest" hooks Not recommended for carp, even though carp are technically "minnows." Back in stock.

Nov 18, 2018

This Just In...

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

ZimmerBuilt Guide Sling, Micro Pack, Water Bottle Pocket Well made, light weight gear to carry your gear. Back in stock.

Ddr. Slick Spring Creek Clamps Excellent clamps for removing hooks from fish with small mouths, whether little wild trout or micros. Back in stock.

Nov 08, 2018

This Just In...

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

Rod Cases - Medium, Large and Long Light weight, adjustable semi-rigid plastic rod cases. Back in stock.

Daiwa Figure 8 tool Very handy for tying knots and loops or holding small flies. Back in stock.

TenkaraBum Tactical Nymphing Sighter .011 Versatile, visible sighter to place between your line and tippet for enhanced strike detection. Back in stock.

Nakazima Ball Floats 3/8" Easily adjustable small floats for micro fishing. Back in stock.

Fujino 6.5X nylon tippet The maximum tippet recommended for Suntech Kurenai or Nissin Air Stage Hakubai rods. Back in stock.

Oct 30, 2018

Fishing Makes the Fish

I thought I’d share an experience I had on the river awhile back. With high water from September and October rains in Central Texas, it’s been hard to

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Oct 22, 2018

Trip Report - 10-20-18

Saturday was a very interesting day. I started the day fishing my Daiwa Enshou LL36SF, which I don't fish nearly often enough. For a little while now I have been experimenting with nylon lines, and I thought that perhaps the slow, full flex rod would cast them well. I also started with a line that years ago I had decided was absolutely too light to cast.

Saturday was the first time since then that I tried to cast that 10 lb line. Lo and behold, I could cast it. And not just cast it, I caught fish with it.

Although I started the day with a Daiwa Enshou LL36SF, after a couple fish I switched to a TenkaraBum 36. I was actually a little surprised that the tip-flex TenBum 36 cast the nylon line better than the full-flex Daiwa. The Daiwa worked, but I was able to get tighter loops with the TenkaraBum rod.

Keep 'em wet brown trout

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Oct 17, 2018

Arkansas catfish

5.4 m 7:3 Hera rod. 6 lb level line. 4 lb leader. Size 12 hook. Homemade Avon float 2.51g. Small worms.

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Oct 17, 2018

A Case for Soft, Full-Flex Rods

There are many instances in tenkara and keiryu fishing where a robust, firm rod is the right choice. I would lose all credibility if I suggested otherwise.

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Oct 13, 2018

A micro bass!

For the first time, I went to my local lake to try to catch bass on my tenkara rod. I soon gave up on the big fish and to my delight, noticed tons of tiny

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Oct 10, 2018

This Just In...

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

Suntech Grayce II NP52 Very beautiful, very capable keiryu rod. Back in stock.

Daiwa Keiryu Damo V 30cm Well made rigid net with 30 cm diameter hoop and wooden handle. Back in stock.

Ebira Rod Quiver Very light quiver to carry a tenkara rod, fly box, line and tippet. Back in stock.

Nissin Oni Line, size 4.5 Even the master uses heavy line when the wind blows. New items.

Nissin PALS SP Pro, 4.5m Tapered multifilament twisted fluorocarbon line - casts like a furled line. Back in stock.

Owner Keiryu Rigs Two pre-rigged keiryu lines, with spare hooks. Back in stock.

Owner Pro Markers Pre-cut multicolored keiryu yarn markers. Back in stock.

Owner Microfishing Tippet Connectors Dead-simple way to attach a snelled tanago hook to your line. Back in stock.

Microfishing (or keiryu) bamboo line winders Small, light weight winder for microfishing or keiryu line. Back in stock.

TenkaraBum Rod Socks Stretchy nylon rod sock. Back in stock.

Oct 08, 2018

This Just In...

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

Utah Killer Bugs Frank Sawyer's classic with the Tenkara Guides' choice of wool yarn. Back in stock.

Oct 07, 2018

High Water Tenkara

The month of August was extremely dry in San Antonio, TX. Then came the wettest September on record — 19” of rain at my house. Let’s just say the fishing

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Oct 05, 2018

Trip Report - 9-30-18

Sunday was a day of surprises. I had expected to have a somewhat disappointing day on a stream that was once my favorite stream but is now just a pale shadow of what it once was.

I chose it only because every other stream within a three hour drive was running about 10 times normal flow. This particular stream was running low and reasonably clear. It is a 2.5 mile tailwater running between two NYC water supply reservoirs, and its flow is steady as a rock.

Actually that steady flow is one reason why it was my favorite but no longer is. When I first started fishing it, it was steady as a rock at 31 or 32 CFS. Now it runs at 7-9 CFS, consistently.

Two other factors have dramatically reduced its allure. A couple hurricanes over the last 10 years have dropped multiple trees into the stream. Much of it now is unfishable. Finally, it now has didymo, which makes it unpleasant to fish.

The last few times I fished there were disappointing and I kept thinking I might never go back.

Well, after fishing there Sunday, I'll definitely go back!

TenkaraBum 33

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Oct 02, 2018

Oni School 2018 - 1st Session

Chris, You pretty much explained what happened in the first session of this years Oni School as well. This was my second Oni School and I learned even

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Oct 01, 2018

My Kurenai Review

I've absolutely worn out the Brook Trout in the Smoky Mountains on two different occasions with my Kurenai HM30R. This little rod is an absolute thrill

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Oct 01, 2018

Oni School - 2018

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

Nissin Air Stage Hakubai 450 Very nice, light 4.5m seiryu rod. A bit firmer than other seiryu rods (comparable to level line tenkara rod). One rod, back in stock.

Oct 01, 2018

Oni School - 2018

This year's Oni School was the best yet - or at least the best I've been to and I've been to three out of the four they've held.

The biggest surprise for me was the realization that Oni does not ALWAYS fish with ultra light lines. Two out of the three days were very windy, and Oni fished with a size 4.5 line.

Three very valuable lessons I learned this year were how to fish on a windy day (gusts to 40 mph on Day 3), how to fish an unweighted kebari at different depths even when there's no plunge pool, and a very effective way to fish the head of a pool below a riffle that I never before would even have considered. Plus, of course, the one-on-one casting instruction from the master himself.

Oni School on the ProvoOni on the Provo

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Sep 29, 2018

Pisgah National Forest, NC

My wife and I spent this past week in Asheville, NC. There was no way I was going to the WNC mountains without getting some fishing in. The first step

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Sep 29, 2018

TB36 vs UL spin

I hiked up Avalanche creek to Avalanche Lake, Colorado a few weeks ago. It's a 10 mile (15km) hike up to 10,500 ft which I did over a leisurely 4 days.

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

"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653

"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.

Beware of the Dogma