Tenkara Angler is Now on YouTube

It’s a little bit overdue, but I finally got around to creating a YouTube channel exclusively for Tenkara Angler magazine.

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In the past, I’ve stored videos that accompanied magazine articles on my personal YouTube account, but figured now was a good time to finally split those out. Not only will it keep all the tenkara & fixed-line fly fishing content in one place, but perhaps it might become a vehicle for some additional unique content in the future, such as a VLOG (no promises).

So if you’re a YouTube streamer, please feel free to visit & subscribe to Tenkara Angler HERE.

(Oh, and if you have any comments for what you might like to see on the YouTube channel in the future, please feel free to speak up in the comments below!

Wool Bodied Flies

Wool Bodied Flies
by Tom Davis

Everybody has their favorite flies. Some are traditional patterns, some are new designs. Some use time tested materials, while others incorporate the newest in synthetic or UV offerings. Some catch a lot of fish; others catch more fishermen than fish! But whatever their characteristics, we all have our favorite flies.

The one fly style that seems to epitomize or is iconic to tenkara is the sakasa kebari. This reverse hackle pattern seems to fly in the face of western patterns that attempt to “match the hatch”. With its forward facing hackle, the sakasa kebari is more of an attractor or impressionistic pattern, and relies on movement to entice the fish into striking. While relatively easy to tie, there are some nuances that, if followed, can make the tying process a little easier.

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In my part of the western United States streams originating in the Rocky Mountains tend to be of moderate to high gradient and freestone in type. These streams and creeks all tend to hold trout species, whether introduced, like brook, rainbow and brown trout, or native, like cutthroat trout. Since the waters are fast moving, these fish have only a split second to decide if a fly pattern represents food or flotsam. Therefore, in these waters, the forward angled soft hackle adds life-like movement and seems to fool the fish more frequently than stiff, realistic fly patterns.

Some of my favorite sakasa kebari patterns involve wool. Wool helps build the body up, making the fly easy to see in turbulent mountain streams. Wool, once washed of its protective lanolin, absorbs water readily, making the fly sink quickly and thus getting it down into the pockets where the fish lie. Wool is also easy to work with and very robust.

When tying these flies, always start by tying the thread in at the eye and working backwards towards the bend of the hook. This is generally opposite of traditional fly tying, where you start near the hook bend and tie forward towards the eye. Tie the head first, then add the hackle. Make sure that the curve of the hackle faces forward towards the eye of the hook, then wrap the hackle two to three times around the shaft. Tie off the hackle on the body side of the fly and then wrap your thread back to the end of the hook shaft. Tie in the body material and ribbing. Wrap the body material forwards, tying it off just behind the hackle. Wrap the rib forwards, again tying it off just behind the hackle. Dub the thorax and wrap it from the hackle backwards over the first part of the body. Whip finish just behind the thorax. It’s that easy.

Here I present four of my favorite wool bodied flies.

1) Grave Digger

Grave Digger.JPG

The Grave Digger is a fly originated by the Tenkara Guides, LLC of Salt Lake City, Utah. This fly is a real producer for me and often is found on the end of my line. I made some substitutions in materials, since one of the original materials for this fly is fur from a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I don’t have this fur readily available. Also, I tend to make my fly body thicker and more prominent than the original.

  • Hook: Barbless competition curved pupa hook, size 10-12
  • Thread: 8/0 chartreuse
  • Hackle: partridge
  • Body: Shetland Spindrift, Purple Haze (1270)
  • Rib (my version): silver wire, small
  • Thorax: Hare-tron Seal, brown

2) Red-assed Monkey

Red-assed Monkey.JPG

This fly, like the Grave Digger, originated with Tenkara Guides, LLC and was originally tied as a jig fly. It works great when tied as such, but it also works very well as a more traditional sakasa kebari pattern. Once again, I’ve substituted material for the thorax as the original pattern also uses dog fur.

  • Hook: Barbless competition curved pupa hook, sizes 10-12
  • Thread: 8/0 black
  • Hackle: partridge
  • Body: Shetland Spindrift, Sunset (186)
  • Thorax: Hare-tron Seal, brown

3) Oxford wool kebari

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This is one of my patterns, as you can tell by the boring name. When the water is low and the sun bright, like on an autumn day, this pattern really produces.

  • Hook: Barbless competition curved pupa hook, sizes 10-12
  • Thread: 8/0 red
  • Hackle: partridge
  • Body: Shetland Spindrift Oxford (123)
  • Rib: red wire, BR or medium
  • Thorax: Hare-tron, black

4) Soft Hackle Grey kebari

Soft Hackle Grey 3.JPG

This is my variation on the classic soft hackle wet fly that has been around for decades. It is a top producer, particularly when caddis are active. I tie this pattern in two variations, one with grey thread and the other with red. I’m a believer in hot spots on sub-surface flies and the red head seems to induce takes when other flies will not.

  • Hook: Barbless competition curved pupa hook, size 10-14
  • Thread: 8/0 grey or red
  • Hackle: partridge
  • Body: Shetland Spindrift, Sholmit/Mooskit (119)
  • Rib: gold or copper wire, BR or medium
  • Thorax: Hare-tron, grey

So there you have it, four of my most favorite wool bodied flies. I tend to use these from spring to autumn; I don’t find them to be as effective in winter, except in jig form with tungsten beads. I hope you also find them to be useful and that they find a place in your fly box!

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

Do you have a story to tell, a photo to share, or a fly recipe that’s too good to keep secret? If you would like to contribute content to our next issue, click HERE for more details.

Tenkara Fishing in an Inflatable Craft

Tenkara Fishing in an Inflatable Craft
By Daniele Beaulieu

I am a river fly fisher, that means 95% of the time my feet are in a creek, stream, or river, but this Summer 2016 was awful as the temperature and humidity made the water super hot and very low. It was so bad that the rivers that I fished in were almost empty and the fish were not at the rendezvous, so I decided to take my float tube and my inflatable pontoon out and explore ponds in the Northeastern NY, more precisely, the Adirondacks, that big giant playground where you can have access to many ponds.

The thing about an inflatable craft is that there are a lot of pockets where you can put things, like your water, raincoat, something to eat and much, much more. They are also easy to transport; you don’t need to have a big truck or a carrier on top of your car.

I learned to love fishing that way.

Bass

Tips to Fish in an Inflatable Craft:

You can fish the standard way, that means you cast where you want the line to go. Or, you can fish just by letting the line out in the water and paddle away allowing the line to troll behind you. (Don’t forget to put your rod at an angle if you are fishing for big fish, see article in Tenkara Angler Summer 2016).

Since you will have your oar in your hands in an inflatable pontoon you can fish by placing your rod end underneath one of your legs and the rod tip on the top of one of the inflatable keels.

Don’t forget to always keep tension in the line, that means if the fish is coming to you, step back by paddling away from the fish. Don’t let the fish go behind the float tube or pontoon!

Security Measures to Take While Fishing in an Inflatable Craft:

  • Remember that tenkara rods are an electrical hazard, so be careful if you are in the middle of the pond. If you don’t have time, just throw away your rod in the water, they float.
  • Always wear a life jacket!
  • Have a rope in case somebody has to tow you
  • Have a patch kit in case you develop a hole and you are far from home
  • Do not over inflate in warm weather because hot air expands. Check out your air pressure from time to time

The Float Tube:

Float Tube

  • They are small and lightweight so if you hike trails to reach a pond like many of them in the Adirondacks, it is the perfect choice
  • They are slower in bigger ponds; they should go in ponds about 20 acres maximum
  • You’re seated in the water, so beware of leeches if you are fishing in shorts

The Inflatable Pontoon:

Camo Pontoon

  • They are faster than the float tube
  • You can go in bigger ponds
  • You sit outside of the water so if you are going through a bunch of lily pads it will be easier
  • You can paddle in both directions so it will cause less fatigue
  • You can take them in rivers
  • They are heavy, bigger, and take longer to assemble.

Video Resources:

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

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:

Video: Landing Big Fish on Tenkara with Rob Worthing

At last weekend’s Tenkara Jam, we were able to grab some video footage of Rob Worthing’s (Tenkara Guides) presentation – specifically, the portion on how to land big fish with your tenkara rod.  Rob was gracious enough to allow the video to be published for public consumption, which Tenkara Angler is presenting today.

If you enjoyed this video, please visit www.tenkaraguides.com, where Rob and his partners Erik & John have been operating the first fixed-line fly fishing-only guide service in the Western Hemisphere since 2011.