What’s Your Code?

What’s Your Code?
by Dave Blackhurst

Lately, while I have been on the river I have been reflecting on why tenkara has been so refreshing to me. I know we all like to get out and land a few fish, but why has this style changed fly fishing forever for me?

I work as the art director for a local magazine and recently we did a photo shoot with two local fishermen about different styles of fishing. While I was taking photos of the fly fisherman, I asked him if he had ever heard of tenkara. He mentioned he had and went on to tell me that he owned a tenkara rod but it was just not his thing. However, he asked me a few more tenkara questions, which gave me the chance to share the reasons I put my reels on the shelf.

I went into detail about the style of tenkara that I have adopted (sometimes I feel like a politician on the stump). I let him know the basics about a fixed line, no weight or indicator on the line, perfect drifts and the same fly pattern used year round. When I share the simplified tenkara approach, it initially sounds appealing to fly fishermen tired of carrying gear and loading up for the river. However, as the conversation continues, I realize that for some the gear enhances the experience. I let my friend know that for the smaller streams and rivers I prefer, tenkara works great.

I gave him a few kebari, said goodbye and he went on his way. His approach to our conversation reminded me of where I was several years ago. I wanted a quicker and simpler method to fish mountain streams in Utah. I loved the lighter fly rods and was simplifying my fly box but I felt I could not simplify any more. Magically tenkara came into view. This was the ticket for me. It was everything I wanted.

Tenkara is not magic, but it can be magical if you let it.

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What I have learned after being a snooty, stuck-up fly fisherman — loaded with gear — for more than 20 years is that fishing is fishing. Fish don’t know how they are caught. There are as many ways to catch a fish as there are fish to catch. My respect for all fishing styles has increased. Many friends of mine think tenkara is cool, but don’t consider it fly fishing.

Wherever tenkara fits in the fishing world, I like it.

And my conversion does not mean it’s as simple as a hook and a stick. Recently I read a great article by Jason Klass on tenkaratalk.com that mentioned the general rule in tenkara of 12-12-12 (don’t get these confused with the code numbers from the TV show LOST 4 8 15 16 23 42), 12-foot rod, 12 feet of line and a size 12 kebari.

This is a great rule of thumb but I wanted to figure out what my secret tenkara code would be.

Two years ago I adopted the practice of fishing only one fly. I tinkered on the vise for a few months, trying different sizes, but still lacked the confidence to commit. Eventually, I realized that when my confidence was lacking on the river, I would always pull out a pheasant tail bead head for trout. I took this into consideration and began tying a size 12 pheasant tail with a reverse kebari hackle. I eventually simplified it even more with a size 14 hook, brown thread, green flash and one Hungarian partridge hackle.

Magically (and with a lot of hard work), my one fly appeared.

Next was my line. Many mountain streams in Utah are small. Sometimes I can step over them. The trout are beautiful but the foliage is frustrating. The 12-foot line and rod just would not work in these places. I needed to dial in my tiny creek tenkara code.

I picked up a Rhodo rod from Daniel Galhardo at Tenkara USA. This zoom rod would fish as small as 8 feet and keep me just under the branches. I had my small creek code now — 8-8-14.

Now I just had one final challenge. Find the code for medium-sized rivers that need a bit more line. The whole point of tenkara is to use the longest rod you can get away with. I absolutely love my Sato rod from Tenkara USA. The zoom ability is great for different lengths but at its longest reach (almost 13 feet) I get all I need. Add 13 feet of line and I’m there. Now I had the final piece to my tenkara puzzle. 13-13-14.

These are my setups. I wish I only had one code but two isn’t bad. They work for 90 percent of fishing situations I face in Utah. Figuring out a code does not take long, but it means more time on the river — don’t worry, your spouse will understand … maybe.

Fishing truly is about confidence. Find your code and be confident.

Now grab your tenkara rod and get figuring your code.
Simple right?

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This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

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Choosing Kebari for Newcomers

Choosing Kebari for Newcomers
By Jim Wright

This article was inspired by previous correspondence with new customers. I help a lot of new tenkara anglers, as well as those new to fly fishing in general. The single most numerous question is, “What kebari should I choose?”

“K” writes …

“Hi, I posted this question in a forum and I haven’t gotten an answer (and I suspect why now that I am reading your website)…but I’ll ask anyway.

As a new Tenkara fisherman (and a somewhat new fly fisherman), I’ve always been told to match the hatch. Apparently that’s not necessarily the same in Tenkara, and I guess that you don’t necessarily advocate that. I’m looking for a “starter kit” of Tenkara flies but I thought I’d need to get them more regionally in order to keep them similar to the local hatches. Is not matching the hatch a hard and fast rule?”

Thanks in advance, K”

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Hi K. Thanks for your query. That is a very interesting question and I hope that I have some interesting ideas in response. I do not consider myself any kind of expert, but a student of trout. A laying on your belly in the mud kind of student. With that in mind, here goes.

A lot of folks find choosing flies a subjective topic with hundreds of different opinions, but I do not. Once you spend time studying fish behavior including stream trout, as well as “on stream sampling” and examining of aquatic creatures and understanding their role in the aqua-scape, we can clearly see the reason for the approach that I am going to suggest. While it’s true that tenkara equipment and techniques offer a big advantage for close-in (as opposed to distant) fly fishing on streams or ponds and lakes, it’s a well established fact that a few well-chosen patterns will up your game considerably. Fish see a lot of the same food items day after day, which vary among watersheds. Offering a kebari or Western pattern of a similar size and coloration of these local “commodity flies,” will prove the worth of a bit of stream-side sampling.

1. Generally speaking, when fish are feeding upon a specific size and coloration of insect, they may not find interest in anything else for the duration of what is called a hatch. A hatch is the culmination of the life-cycle of many aquatic insects, of breeding and depositing eggs for the continuation of the species. This is what you would call a “Match the Hatch” situation. I say may not find interest, because I have successfully tempted trout with flies other than the ones that are on the menu during a hatch.

Something to remember: There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing lures for fishing. There are numerous reasons why a fish might choose to take one of our patterns, and some of them are only understood by the fish. But understanding your quarry is the key to successful angling.

2. However, unless you have a very productive stream, most of the time when you go out, you will not be fishing over an insect hatch. Unless you are lucky or have kept close track of the hatch cycles on your specific stream, it might seem that you are looking at unproductive water. “Where are the fish?” In a decent stream, they will be there somewhere, you just need to know where to look.

Check out this site for more information of reading water to determine where fish might hold: http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/video-lessons/chapter-eight-reading-water

3. So here we have another variable. Where are you fishing. In the mountains? Lowlands, ponds, giant lakes? And, when do you hit the stream? Early morning? Middle of the day or at dusk? Once we know the answer to a few questions like this, we can really zero in on your fly kit needs. Initially however, you don’t need to worry much about that. Over time, anglers have found that a few basic coloration’s and sizes which present at several depths and/or speed of current will suffice quite nicely for many occasions. Your deeper involvement in angling will likely spur your interest in a deeper examination of your quarry. Then you can begin to discover the finer details which will lead to opening the door to mastery of your favorite stream.

The short story… 3 or 4 patterns in a couple of sizes will get you by quite well.

4. So again, generally you will do fine with 4 types of flies:

  • First, a floating one (actually I prefer one that fishes sitting down in the surface film, as opposed to right on the top of the water).
  • Second, something that fishes on the bottom sometimes hitting the rocks or silt.
  • Third, a fly that imitates an insect that is either swimming up to the surface or diving to the bottom during hatching and egg laying behavior. Or more often, just being carried along with the current.
  • And finally, a larger fly that imitates a bait-fish, worm, sculpin or large insect.

Now if you wish to simplify even further, in my humble opinion you can easily get along just fine with one type of fly. One that does most of the work in 3, above. And that fly type is a traditional Japanese style sakasa kebari (subsurface soft hackle pattern).

Because most larger fish will be found most of the time near bottom, actively pursuing dinner or hiding under obstacles, I prefer a heavy quick sinking kebari most of the time. On a heavy, size #12 Klinkhammer hook, I would give it a wool body. This combination provides a better to sink rate when soaking wet. A hackle, preferably from the body or neck feathers of a game bird like a partridge or pheasant. Or, a grizzly domestic hen chicken. And finally, for the pièce de résistance, a Peacock herl collar right behind the hackle. And please… use barb-less hooks!

With this fly in 4 colors; let’s say a Black, Medium Brown, Olive and a Yellow or Cream and making it even more versatile by adding a second size, a number 16, I could fish these flies very effectively by varying my technique of presentation. In the surface film by applying a floatant, as a hatching insect or an insect being washed down stream, or as a tiny minnow trying to escape the jaws of death. I could fish it upstream, down, in fast water, or I could even fish it as a nymph in deeper water.

Why can we get along with just a few patterns? The fact is that most fish are largely opportunists and don’t routinely limit themselves to just one food source. Unless that food source is so abundant that they loose interest in almost anything else (except of course by a big ‘ol killer bugger fished at the right depth… as they say, killer!).

Also understand that fish that live in still water, or low and clear water require a whole different approach (and skill) than those in faster water. The later have little time to examine their breakfast than does the slow pool dweller. The slow water trout have plenty of time to shut the door in your face, while the fast water swimmer only has seconds while braving the full, energy robbing force of the main current lane.

Now you can go either specific with your fly colors and sizes, or more general. However, if you are new to this, I would go with a mixed selection of my cheap-but-good imported flies, since you are going to loose them while you learn, by throwing them into trees and brush piles, but you are also going to catch fish in those environments. If you find that you like the multipurpose rooster hackle style flies, like the Dr. Ishigaki types, or instead prefer the soft hackles, you can then be more selective in your choices.

The final, most important piece of information that I can give you, is to plan on fishing for Bass or Sunfish in a pond or lake in advance of your trip. Then when you head for the mountain trout, you will have some tactical experience under your belt.

I hope that this information helps you. Feel free to write back with any more questions. All the best to you, Jim

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This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016-17 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

Reader’s Corner: What Trout Want & Simple Flies

Reader’s Corner:
What Trout Want and Simple Flies
By Anthony Naples

Winter is coming. Well it’s a little while off still. But a guy can dream. I happen to love winter. Autumn is nice too. Who doesn’t love the smell of fallen leaves crunching underfoot and the crisp mornings warming to comfy afternoons? And of course the splendid dress of the brookies trying to impress their ladies. But fall can make me a little frantic as I know that prime fishing weather is slipping away. Every trip feels as though it may be the last of the season. Spring has that hopeful feeling of a fishing season just coming into its own. Summer can be just fantastic salad days of easy fishing, and then when the trout streams get low and slow I can usually switch over to some local warm water smallmouth streams. But autumn, though the fishing can be the best since early summer, has that nagging feeling of something slipping away.

Winter for me has no fishing expectations. I get out from time to time when the weather and schedule permits— but those trips are a gift. I can still look back on the fall fishing with good memories, still mull them over and think on them and enjoy them. But the winter is a time of comfort and relaxation. I don’t like the heat. The dog days of summer are my least favorite time of the year. Winter makes me feel alive again— the bracing air, the crunch of fresh snow underfoot, no yard work to do.

And then there’s the reading. Sitting inside, frosty windowpanes, hot cup of coffee and a good book. Most likely the book is science fiction, non-fiction science, nature or fishing. Winter is a good time for woodshedding, preparing, planning and thinking about the next season. It’s a good time to rethink things, to look back on the fishing season and think about what went right and what went wrong and what you might want to try next time around. And of course a good time to fill those fly boxes.

With all that in mind I have a few recommendations for your upcoming winter reading list – of course you don’t have to wait to winter. You could get started early and maybe even have time to implement some of what you learn and use some of the flies that you tie this fall.

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What Trout Want: The Educated Trout and Other Myths by Bob Wyatt

Reading this book is a little like being Neo in The Matrix. So part of the speech that Morpheus delivers to Neo before making him choose whether he wants to really learn about the Matrix might be in order…

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember… all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more…. follow me.”

-Morpheus, The Matrix

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I hope that you choose the red pill…

The first part of this book is dedicated to what Mr. Wyatt calls “A Beautiful Fiction”, wherein he systematically picks apart much of what the previous few hundred years of fly fishing literature has taught us about trout and more specifically the idea of “educated trout” and “finicky trout” and “fly refusal”. And he does a pretty thorough job of it. He points to trout behavior that has led the fly fishing world to attribute much more intelligence, decision making ability and learning capacity to trout than he thinks they ought to be given, and provides alternative and simpler explanations based on experience and science. He then gives us his thoughts on what is really important to the trout and and some basic fly patterns that will cover most situations that the trout fisher will need to imitate the insects (and stages).

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Bob Wyatt’s Deer Hair Sedge

I don’t want to give it all away.

But let’s say it’s something to do with what many tenkara anglers have been suspicious of— presentation….

Mr. Wyatt is not a “one-fly” proponent in the way that some tenkara anglers may be. He’s not afraid to admit that trout get selective at times. And that a different fly may be needed, but the key feature of the fly is likely not what we’ve been taught by mainstream fly fishing. He’s in the school that says fly size is probably the most important factor (assuming adequate presentation too of course) not body color, wing material, tails, ribbing and/or other anatomical details.

I have not always been in this camp. But after taking up tenkara, my views have shifted. Though up till now I still hadn’t gone so far over to all of what Wyatt discusses in this book. I may be converted now – though I need to do some field testing.

If you’re coming to tenkara from a fly fishing background this book may really help you to clear away all of the excesses that you’ve picked up along your journey and give you a nice grounding in why you should reconsider the “common knowledge”. If you’re new to fly fishing, and tenkara is your entry point, this book will give you a solid foundation on which to build.

Some readers may think Mr. Wyatt goes too far – some may think not far enough – and like all fly fishing books I’m sure there are things in it that you just won’t be able to agree with completely based on your own experiences. After all the author is not immune to the biases that affect all of us, such as confirmation bias and availability bias. But I do get the feeling that he’d be happy to discuss things with you and keep an open mind.

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Bob Wyatt’s Deer Hair Emerger

In the end, for me this book provided a slightly different perspective on the trout and it’s brain that I hadn’t really quite grasped previously, and I’m willing to open my mind up to the idea that I’ve been wrong about a few things. Next trout season will be the time for some serious investigation of the ideas in What Trout Want.

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Simple Flies: 52 Easy-to-Tie Patterns that Catch Trout by Morgan Lyle

I’m not going to go on too long about this book. I’ve written about it previously when I presented an interview with Morgan Lyle on my Three Rivers Tenkara blog and in a previous issue of Tenkara Angler. But I think it’s well worth mentioning it here again in the context of having just read Bob Wyatt’s book, because I first heard about What Trout Want in Morgan Lyle’s book and in the interview that I did with him.

What Trout Want lays down a great technical and theoretical background – but it is not a fly tying book. It presents only a few basic patterns – which considering the author’s entire thesis is probably quite appropriate. If you want to take what you’ve learned in Bob Wyatt’s book but also learn to tie some additional patterns for other species and situations, then Simple Flies is the book you want.

Morgan presents some great, easy to tie patterns and step by step instructions to go with them – along with additional background on the ideas behind using simple flies – it is more than just a tying manual.

Armed with these two books you’ll have a very productive off-season of reading and tying in preparation for your most successful trout season yet. Also it doesn’t hurt that Morgan Lyle is a member of our tenkara brotherhood and tenkara gets it’s due in his book.

Good reading!

This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

Northeast Brookies: Where the Streams Have No Names, Leave the 12-Footer at Home

Northeast Brookies:
Where the Streams Have No Names, Leave the 12-Footer at Home
Words by George Roberts
Photos by Brad Clark

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My first tenkara rod was a 13-footer, which I used on the trout streams of North Georgia—the Chattahoochee and the Tallulah River among them. This purchase was quickly followed by that of an 11-foot rod. The 2-foot subtraction helped me stay out of the rhododendrons, but if a shorter rod had been available then, I would have bought that as well. Unfortunately, there wasn’t.

When I moved back to Massachusetts a couple of years later, I knew these rods would be unworkable on many of the small streams in northern New England that are home to wild native brook trout. These waters, heavily canopied, often unnamed, faint blue lines on the Gazetteer, do not allow for 9-foot rods, let alone 13-footers.

When the Tenkara Bum, Chris Stewart, began touting the Daiwa Soyokaze as a micro rod that could be fished tenkara-style, some tenkara traditionalists (who’d been at the game for all of three years) balked. For those of us who fish for brookies in New England, however, the short sticks seemed tailor-made for the game. For me, whose initial attraction to tenkara was its minimalism, the Soyokaze further simplified things. Here was a fly rod stripped to its essence: a carbon stick and little else. The Soyokaze cast both furled and level lines well—and it caught fish. When Daiwa ceased production, I regretted not having bought a few more of them.

If you’re interested in playing the small-stream tenkara game, the rod is your primary consideration. There are several seiryu and micro-rods on the market of fewer than 9 feet that will fit the bill, including the Nissin Air Stage 190 (which comes in several flex profiles) and the Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24, 21, and 18 (just under 8 feet, 7 feet, and 6 feet, respectively). Although the Kiyotaki 18 has become my go-to rod for small-stream brookies (simply due to its length), it’s a bit stiffer than I would like.

Fast-forward 7 or 8 years after tenkara first hit the U.S. and we now have several homegrown companies producing rods for the American market, 3 of which offer a dedicated tenkara rod of fewer than 9 feet.

At 8’6” extended and 18 inches collapsed, Badger Tenkara’s U.N.C. (which stands for “unnamed creek”) is spartan, a matte drab olive blank (presumably for stealth). Writes Matt Sment: “We founded Badger with the goal of making tenkara accessible to the broadest possible audience … focusing on the angler’s preferred experience rather than trying to clone Japanese products and culture. The vast majority of our customers are Americans fishing American water and terrain, and our products are shaped by our experiences on the same.”

The company describes the rod as a 6:4 action with a medium flex. Frankly, I don’t pay too much attention to technical specifications. I fished the rod and it cast well and hooked fish. And at $90 retail you really can’t argue with the price. (I didn’t get a chance to take the U.N.C. down to the pond, but I’m sure it’s an awesome little bluegill rod.)

Zen Fly Fishing Gear’s Suzume (“sparrow”) is one of the neatest tenkara rods I’ve fished with yet—a downsized triple-zoom (10’8”, 9’3”, and 7’7”) that Zen owner Karin Miller designed specifically for Rocky Mountain National Park. “Those are our home waters,” she writes, “and what we fish every day. It’s small streams, tight places, lots of trees and overhanging canopy, and pools and pockets. We wanted something that could handle these places without a lot of acrobatics and maneuvering and could also reach the other side of that wider pool or beaver dam when you finally get to that place where you can see the sky and the water opens up for a bit. The range that the Suzume has is something we’re pretty proud of. You can cover a lot of situations with a single rod—and still feel pretty balanced and not tip heavy in any of its three positions (which is very hard to do on a zoom rod and especially a tri-zoom). It’s a sweet rod that offers some really nice options.”

Zen describes the rod as a medium-fast action with a 6:4 flex. I was afraid the rod would feel a bit stiff at its shortest length—but it didn’t. At $229, the Suzume is more than twice the price of the U.N.C., but if you think of it as buying three rods, the price gets a lot nicer. As an added bonus, Zen includes an extra tip with each of its rods. Says Miller, “It just makes life that much sweeter if you should experience a break.”

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A roster of short sticks. From the top, Zen Fly Fishing Gear’s Suzume; Badger Tenkara’s U.N.C.; Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24; Shimotsuke Kosasa, 6’10”; Nissin Air Stage 190; Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 18

Once you’ve procured your rod, your next consideration is the line. Although most tenkara anglers today prefer to fish with level fluorocarbon lines, I still prefer furled lines, which feel and handle more like conventional fly lines. In the tightest spots, however, you’re bound to end up in the trees occasionally. Pulling on the line to break the tippet is almost sure to cause the line to tangle. Tangle a furled line and you could spend the next five minutes trying to untangle it. Furled lines for very short tenkara rods are not the norm. You may have to substitute a furled leader made for a Western-style fly line. Otherwise, Mike Moline at Streamside Furled Leaders is willing to do custom work at a small additional charge. Whatever line you choose, 3 or so feet of 5X or 6X tippet will suffice.

Life in the headwaters is a hardscrabble existence. Competition for food is keen, so the fish aren’t fussy. Forget about matching the hatch—just throw a few flies into a glass vial and go. I do most of my small-stream fishing with only two patterns—an Elk Hair Caddis and a Yellow Soft Hackle, size 14 or smaller. Plan to do a lot of walking when you play this game. If you don’t get a rise after a cast or two into the same water, move to the next likely-looking spot. If you rise a fish but don’t hook it, don’t spend a lot of time working over him, as it’s unlikely you’ll rise the same fish again.

As I said previously, the thing that attracted me to tenkara initially was its minimalism. I like to travel light. I can fit everything I need for a day of fishing into a small fanny pack. If I can get away with wet-wading in a pair of shorts and Vibram FiveFingers, I leave the waders at home (I find the Vibrams made for trail running offer better grip on wet stones).

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To enjoy this game requires a shift in attitude that some will never manage—which may be why I rarely see another soul. You have to accept there will be no rods doubled over, no singing reels, no trophies as such—none of the usual rewards of the five-star experience. (The first time I showed my wife a wild brook trout she said, “We came all the way up here for that…?) If you’re after those things you’ll be elsewhere—wading the ranch’s private water, or standing at the bow of a flats boat.

But if you’re here, bare ankles numb, dancing your CDC Caddis across a pool no larger than your bathtub, you’re after something else.

Needle Shop Brookie

This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

2018 Instagram Tenkara Rod Popularity Contest

Earlier in the week, I thought it might be fun to throw up a quick little poll on the Tenkara Angler Instagram account, asking viewers a fairly straightforward question:

“What tenkara rod are you using? List your favorite in the comments”

Well, the community took that challenge and ran with it. Some people were very specific with their feedback, citing several different “favorite” rod models depending on the situation, while others just vaguely mentioned a brand, with no reference to rod model, size, etc…

So I gathered that information and made this infographic recapping the results.

InformalTenkaraRod Poll

While I’m no statistician, there are a few interesting things I noticed in summarizing the data. First, and not surprisingly, Tenkara USA was the runaway winner, not only in overall brand affinity (26%) but also rod models, with five of the top seven! The Sato was the overall winner with 10% of the vote, but the newcomer Hane came in second with 7%. Curious if the Hane’s strong showing is more a result of people just getting the new rods in their hands now, and that’s literally what they’re fishing… because remember, the survey wasn’t “what’s the best tenkara rod” it was “what tenkara rod are you using?”

I also took note of Tenkara Rod Co.‘s impressive showing. I’ve always recognized they sold a lot of rods, however, I never really noticed them being used or mentioned much in my personal tenkara circles. That said, the audience surveyed was from Instagram, where Tenkara Rod Co. has a huge following. Five of their rods were mentioned, with the Teton being the preferred model.

Finally, it was nice to see the community is exploring a bit, with various Japanese makers littering the results. Oni, Nissin, Suntech, Shimano, Daiwa, & Tenryu all seemed to split a highly representative “Japanese” vote, with Nissin scoring the top Japanese brand honors, but the Oni Type III the overwhelming favorite model. (#savethecamohandle)

In the end, this was nothing more than an exercise in entertainment. Almost 70 individual results were tallied over the course of a few days, so while it’s a sample size of some corner of our tenkara community, it’s certainly not a definitive one.

If you’re interested in the full results in raw data form, see below. Thanks to everybody that participated, maybe we’ll try a few more of these in the future. If you’re not following Tenkara Angler on Instagram, check us out HERE.

BRAND AFFINITY VOTES % TOTAL
Tenkara USA 17 26%
Tenkara Rod Co. 8 12%
Nissin 6 9%
Oni 5 8%
Badger 4 6%
Generic 3 5%
Suntech/Tbum 3 5%
Tanuki 3 5%
Dragontail 3 5%
Tenkara Times 3 5%
Daiwa 2 3%
Shimano 2 3%
Tenryu 2 3%
Three Rivers 1 2%
Patagonia/TFO 1 2%
Esoteric 1 2%
Zen Tenkara 1 2%
65 100%
ROD PREFERENCE VOTES % TOTAL
Tenkara USA Sato 7 10%
Tenkara USA Hane 5 7%
Tenkara Rod Co Teton 4 6%
Oni Type III 4 6%
Tenkara USA Rhodo 3 4%
Tenkara USA Ito 3 4%
Oni Type I 3 4%
Suntech TenkaraBum TB40 2 3%
Nissin ZeroSum 320 2 3%
Tenkara USA Amago 2 3%
Tenkara Tanuki 325 2 3%
Tenkara Rod Co Cascade 2 3%
Dragontail Komodo 2 3%
Tenryu TF39TA 2 3%
Nissin Royal Stage 360 2 3%
Oni Honryu 395 2 3%
Nissin Pro Spec 320 1 1%
$10 Broomstick 1 1%
Daiwa Enshou LT39S 1 1%
Three Rivers Confluence 1 1%
Garbolino (?) 10K 360 1 1%
Badger UNC 1 1%
Tenkara Times TRY 300 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Mini Sawtooth 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Sierra 1 1%
Dragontail Hydra 1 1%
Badger BadAxe 1 1%
Tenkara USA Iwana 1 1%
Shimano Pack Tenkara 1 1%
Badger Scout 1 1%
Patagonia Soft Hackle 10’6″ 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Grand Teton 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Owyhee 1 1%
Suntech Kurenai 1 1%
Tenkara Times TRY 360 1 1%
Tenkara Times Watershed 330 1 1%
Nissin Pro Spec 2-Way 360 1 1%
68 100%

 

The Tenkara USA Hane “Adventure” Rod

On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, Tenkara USA made their first new rod in several years, the Hane, available for sale.

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Image: Tenkara USA

You may recall seeing the distinctively white Hane before, as it was initially sold in prototype form at the 2017 Tenkara Summit. Well, after being in the wild for a few months in the hands of “testers” it appears that Tenkara USA had reaped enough user feedback to make a few changes and go into production.

From the Tenkara USA release:

“The Hane (pronounced like “huh – nay”) is a super compact all-around tenkara rod that will quickly become your favorite adventure rod. Measuring just under 15 inches when collapsed, but extending to 10ft 10in (330cm), the Hane fits nicely inside a small daypack, making this a superb tenkara rod for backpacking, bikefishing and other adventures. Whether you are targeting trout or bass, the Hane was designed to work well in your mountain streams as well as your urban fishing outings. It’s a rod that can tag along in a variety of conditions without compromising durability.

We decided to make this rod white, a unique color among our lineup. Part of the reason for that is the idea of having a rod that will blend in well with open skies above. Whereas a black rod does a good job blending in with canopy, its movement tends to stand out when fishing ponds and open meadow streams. The tip of the rod is black.”

Here are the Hane’s specs:

Weight: 3.5 oz (100 g);
Closed length: 15″ (38cm)
Open lengths: 10’10” (330cm)*
Handle length: 8″ (20.5cm)
Segments: 12

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Image: Tenkara USA

Personally, I only had the opportunity to dry cast the Hane prototype at the Tenkara Summit and noted the rod to be very cosmetically pleasing but a bit stiffer than I’d prefer. However, the comments left on initial Facebook posts from Tenkara USA representatives indicated some small changes were made based on tester feedback to give the Hane a little bit more flex, while still maintaining the “backbone” and ruggedness needed to make this rod a true multi-purpose (& species) tool.

So is the Hane your next “adventure rod?” I guess only time will tell. If you’re interested in giving the Hane a try, they’re now available on Tenkara USA’s website with an MSRP of $150; however, several Tenkara USA dealers (should you happen to live near one) have also been mentioning on social media that they are currently in stock as well.

Do You Even Tomezuri Bro?

Couldn’t help but laugh when combing the internet for the latest in tenkara news and notes. Came across this clever t-shirt, that pokes a little bit of fun at the “seriousness” that can, unfortunately, run rampant in our larger tenkara community.

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I reached out to Team Ratskin Canoe (see Fall 2016 issue of for an explanation) to see if they needed a webpage to “host” the sale of these tees… hence this post & redirect.

“Ok Gang, so we are going to finally get moving on something that some of us have been wanting to do for a while… we are starting a fund to help bring some Japanese guys to the US to hang out and fish Tenkara with us.

We are going to kick it off with a long-sleeved, non-cotton athletic shirt that’s designed for fishing on stream, hiking and wearing around town.

Brought to you by Ratskin Canoe & Friends, we offer to everyone the “Do You Even Tomezuri, Bro?” tenkara shirt. The price will be $35 plus shipping. All proceeds will go to the Ratskin Canoe Tenkara Education Fund, or RCTEF, which aims to educate Americans about Japanese Tenkara, and promote real-life social interactions and meet-ups between Tenkara enthusiasts from different countries.

You can place an order using the PayPal button below. $35 plus $3 shipping.”

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

For those that don’t understand the joke, “Tomezuri” is one of many fly manipulation techniques used in tenkara fishing. This particular technique actually anchors the fly in the current and can be seen in action below in this video from Akai Kitsune: