Art Kebari & Fly Tying Tenkara

Autumn Leaves on the Fly

Like so many others, I love this time of year. The temperature cools off and the flannel comes out. The sandals make room at the door for hiking boots. That fire pit gets cleaned out and Friday nights get new life. It also has a tone of chores around my yard. The mighty oak tree in the front yard that drops a bazillion leaves every year. The poplar, pine, maple, magnolia and basswood take care of their business in the backyard. It makes for a giant pile of leaves for me to mulch down and distribute this month.

If it were not for the chore aspect of raking leaves… we would all love them that much more. The colors are vibrant and fantastic. Seeing a photograph of them can transport you to someplace in your life. Maybe you escape in your mind to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, an Aspen grove in Colorado and the White Mountains of New England. We all have that place in our mind.

Hmmm, an idea.

Here is an idea to incorporate that natural beauty into fly tying. Could it be done? I spent time touching and feeling many leaves for a tactile sense of what the material might present at the vice. I made some predictions and came up with a plan. After first efforts at the vise, I revised the plan. Next, I gathered more leaves and took another shot at it.

The idea was to keep it simple. I used a long shaft hook, flat 3/0 waxed thread, softer flexible leaves and miscellaneous feathers for hackle. To seal it up to protect the fragile leaf I chose off-the-shelf Sally Hard as Nails clear polish. Here are some examples of the flies I produced.

What do you think?

You might take up the challenge to do this yourself. If you do, please share your results.

Jason Sparks - Autumn Leaves Kebari 1
Jason Sparks - Autumn Leaves Kebari 2
Jason Sparks - Autumn Leaves Kebari 3
Jason Sparks - Autumn Leaves Kebari 4

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    1. Valentin, Thank you. Give it a shot and share some of your local leaf art flies back with us. You can easily post them into the TA facebook thread of this article.

  1. I tie a series of “trash” Tenkara flies from found objects as a proof-of-concept/art design. I LOVE this idea of yours. Very innovative. Will absolutely try this with my falling fire maple. 😉

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