It’s been a week since the Midwest Tenkara Fest (MWTF) wrapped up, so I wanted to take the opportunity to do a brief write up of the event for the benefit of those that could not attend.
Once again, the MWTF was held at the American Legion in Coon Valley, Wisconsin. The facility itself is great, with ample room for vendors, presentations, and refreshments, plus it’s no more than 50 yards from a trout stream. Unfortunately, the area was hit pretty hard by rain the week leading into the fest, and Coon Creek was rather high and muddy the two days of the event. That said, the beauty of the Driftless Area is that there are plenty of fishable streams no more than a 10-minute drive from the event, so fish did not go uncaught!
Saturday morning began with a brief “Tenkara 101” class streamside by Matt Sment & Mike Lutes. The basics of rigging and casting a tenkara rod were covered, with several rods passed around for hands-on learning.
After a brief intermission to allow everybody some time to go fishing, the event re-convened around 3 PM, with vendors opening their tables up for browsing.
Chris Stewart (TenkaraBum) brought many Japanese rods, lines, and accessories for eager anglers to purchase. I even think he brought some lures, for those that stray to the dark side of fixed line fly fishing. 🙂
Rick Munday was representing Dragontail/Nirvana on the Fly. While his almost full line of products were not for sale to be taken away at the event, Rick had quite a slick computer set up where customers could order whatever they wanted from the Dragontail website and have it shipped to their home.
The Tenkara USA table was manned by Jeremy Shellhorn. The newest rod, the Hane, seemed to be the talk of the event. So many interested anglers stopped by to pick the white rod up and give it a flex or two.
Streamside Leaders was also in attendance. Michael Moline had his full line of furled lines & leaders, tenkara rods, and flies available for sale. His display was quite extensive, you could almost spend an entire afternoon reviewing his wares.
The aforementioned Matt & Mike were also happy to walk you through their Badger Tenkara product offering. During the casting demonstration, I heard quite a few people really acting positively toward their Scout model. Wouldn’t be surprised if some referrals came of it.
The “Tenkara Grasshopper“ Graham Moran pulled double duty, setting up a table to showcase his fly tying operation, 303 Flyworks…
…but also showcasing (and selling quite a few) wooden line spools from Tenkara Path.
Finally, Tenkara Angler magazine was there too, with a small table with back-copies of print issues and signing new people up for digital subscriptions. I had a great time talking to readers both new and old.
After ample time for fishing, shopping, and a barbeque dinner, the Saturday presentation schedule went well into the night, perhaps to 8:30 PM local time. The presentations were as follows:
- Graham Moran – Tenkara and Backpacking: Chasing the Thin Blue Line
- Paul Vertrees (Video) – Tenkara Rod Nymphing
- Matt Sment – Small Stream Tactics for Fixed Line Rods
- Graham Moran (again!) – Kebari tying demo and Q&A
The Sunday program was really quite informal. No additional presentations, simply time spent to allow attendees more time with vendors, learn & organize groups for some local fishing spots to hit that afternoon, and some tenkara-themed giveaways, initially to be decided via spool card toss, but eventually decided on by the luck of the draw. 🙂 Virtually everybody still there at the end walked out with some sort of tenkara swag.
And with that said, the event was over. Everybody was eager to take all they learned out to the water, and from what I hear, most did. Successfully, I might add.
Tenkara Angler magazine would like to thank everybody who made it out to Coon Valley for the fest. The tenkara community is small in relative size, but it’s great to see it grow with each and every event. Also, huge congratulations for Matt & Mike of Badger Tenkara for organizing another successful Midwest Tenkara Fest. You both did an awesome job making everybody feel at home in the Driftless.