Kebari & Fly Tying Tenkara

The Dokeshi Kebari

Fly overview by Jon Carver

The “‘dokeshi (clown) kebari” was named by my brother for the bright, clashing colors of the original designs. I’ve begun to gravitate back towards more naturalistic colors like these for no reason. 

This is my favorite kebari at the moment. It is a futsu kebari with an embroidery thread body and epoxy finish. It is not as simple to tie as other tenkara patterns. However, each part has a functional purpose. I feel that this concept is central to tenkara, not just simplicity for simplicity’s sake. There is nothing in tenkara that doesn’t need to be there; but if something needs to be there, then it should be. This fly has a few extra parts because of what I need it to do.

Dokeshi Kebari - Jon Carver - Tenkara Angler

In the first place, I need it to look nice. I value the aesthetics of flies, and I like the way these look. I imagine the trout could care less, but I can also imagine we share the same artistic sensibilities. The latter idea is more fun.

Second, I think that adding additional colors might increase the odds that at least one of the colors is visible and attractive. I have no idea if this is true, but I like to think so. Probably most any color combination is effective. I like to tie in the colors in such a way as to make a tapered body and head, and from lightest to darkest.

Third, the epoxy coating adds enough weight to sink the fly faster when desirable, but not so much as a bead, which is sometimes too much. It also gives the fly an exoskeleton-like appearance and makes the fly very durable.

Material List:

  • Hook: Firehole Sticks 718 #14. (A note about these hooks. These are sold as #14 hooks with a “2x gape.” This means they have the same gape as a standard #12 hook. So if you want a ‘true’ size #12, buy a #14, if you want a true #14 buy a #16, and so on.)
  • Thread: 6/0, black
  • Body: Embroidery thread, but only 1 strand from a 4 ply cord. Green, brown, dark red
  • Rib (body): Embroidery thread, 2 strands twisted together. Yellow
  • Rib (head): Embroidery thread, 2 strands twisted together. Red
  • Hackle: Grizzly dyed brown. Size 12

[Editor’s note, 12/23/2021]

A few weeks after this article was published, the author sent in some photos of these beautiful Gila trout with a few Dokeshi kebari in tow. Looks like these flies are as effective as they are beautiful!

Dokeshi Kebari - Tenkara Angler - Gila Trout
Dokeshi Kebari - Tenkara Angler - Gila Trout

Jon Carver lives in the Southwest. 

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  1. These look great. Looking up embroidery yarn it looks like one could get several lifetimes worth in dozens of colors for cheap. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great looking fly pattern. I’m definitely going to look into using the embroidery thread as well.

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