The Ugly Tenkara Fly

The Ugly Tenkara Fly
By Adam Rieger

I first heard of Ishimaru Shotaro through Daniel Galhardo’s Tenkara USA blog post…

http://www.tenkarausa.com/meeting-one-of-the-old-tenkara-masters-ishimaru-shotaro/

It is a great post. One of the things that struck me was the simplicity of the fly and the “ugliness” of the fly. My tenkara mentor, Adam Klagsbrun, instilled in me the idea that trout like ugly and buggy flies… many of his favorites are Fran Better’s ties like the Ausable bomber or the Usual… both hairy buggy flies… and another of his favorites is the Ausable Ugly tied by Rich Garfield – guide extraordinaire in the Adirondacks.

So having said that my leaning, especially as a new tier and new to the sport, was for ugly and simple flies…so off to work to try and figure out how to tie the Ugly Tenkara fly!

In my search, I noticed a post by the Discover Tenkara guys Paul and John about Shotaro and the fly and voila they had already done the research and had made a very good replica so I got in contact with John Pearson to learn his thoughts on the method…

Here is what I understood him saying to do 🙂

Recipe:

Hook: Eyeless or you can use your favorite wet fly/nymph standard hook
Eye: Red silk – I used beading silk
Thread: Black sewing thread – Coats and Clark black
Hackle: Grizzly rooster hackle

image2
Tie in a loop of red silk to form the eye. If you would like you can coat the loop with head cement, Hard as Nails or other adhesive to stiffen the loop.
image3
Use the tags of the silk to form a taper in the body and wrap your thread to the bend and then back to near the loop eye. Cut any excess red silk and cover with black thread.
image4
Select a grizzly rooster hackle and tie in the tip of the feather so it extends up and over the eye at a 45 degree angle. Bind down the hackle to the hook shank with open wraps to the bend.
image5
Twist the hackle around your thread and flair out the barbules. Wrap the feather and thread “rope” up the hook shank and tie off near the eye the feather and clip excess.
image6
Wind thread through hackle with zig-zagging motion (to not tie down barbules) if you want to build up the body more or further secure the feather. Alternatively you can skip that and just simply whip finish at that point or when you are satisfied with the body.

The fly on first casting or when blot dried will fish in the surface film like a low riding dry or Griffith Gnat… and then quickly sink as the thread absorbs water.

I oversize the hackle and keep it sparse… I also do not use top grade hackle which I think helps the fly as the feather is less “stiff” and has more action in the water.

Could be its mystical powers but my first cast with this fly yielded a very aggressive strike from a small stream brown!

image1.jpeg

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

Advertisements

Tailed Sakasa Kebari

Editor’s Note: Tenkara can be wonderfully simple – a rod, a line, and a fly – however, it doesn’t mean it has to be boring or spartan. In this article originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler, Robb Chunco of Creekside Kebari + Fly Co. puts a twist on what we might otherwise recognize as a “classic” sakasa kebari.

Tailed Sakasa Kebari
by Robb Chunco

Being a “modern” tenkara fisherman in America is kind of a funny paradox. Here is a fishing style with origins hundreds of years old from the other side of the planet.

Deeply rooted in tradition, but for the most part using technical, modern equipment like carbon fiber rods and fluorocarbon lines instead of the bamboo rods and horsehair lines of the style’s originators.

I don’t subscribe to the “One Fly” way of thinking. Sometimes you need a certain pattern to fish a particular stretch of water.

image1 (Copy)

I like to tie and fish tungsten nymphs, western dry flies, and the ubiquitous Sakasa Kebari. They all work, and they’re all fun to fish. To me, “fun” is a large part of why I fish.

Clear your head, test your skill and have some fun – we don’t need to make a living off of our catch the way the originators did. It’s purely recreational for us.

The ancient Sakasa Kebari patterns of the different regions of Japan were, for the most part, tied simply. Usually just hackle, hook (homemade from a sewing needle) and some thread. Quick to tie and highly effective. Still are.

But since we are a recreational bunch these days, why not branch out and have some fun with our fly tying? Why not (GASP!!!) put a TAIL on a Sakasa Kebari?

image2 (Copy)

Surely the purists may balk, but what have you really got to lose? Nothing at all, that’s what.

Mix it up a bit and have fun!

There are no recipes to be given for these flies. They’re very simple ties. Hen pheasant or grizzly hackle, a dubbed body and some type of tailing material.

image4 (Copy)

Just about anything can be used as a suitable tail. Saddle hackle in any color, golden pheasant tippets, wood duck, peacock sword, Antron – the list goes on.

Just remember to keep the proportions in check. A tail is usually no longer than the shank of your hook, but again – this is about having fun, so if it looks good to you then give it a shot!

And guess what? The best part is, that they will catch fish.

image1 (10) (Copy)

If you enjoyed this article by Robb, you can check out more of his flies at Creekside Kebari + Fly Co.

Teton Tenkara: San Ron Worm Variant

The San Ron Worm. What a lightning rod.

San Ron Worm, tungsten
Photo: Tom Davis

Anglers either seem to love the deadly effectiveness of this pattern – or despise it, on the basis that the only thing it seems to have in common with a typical fly is the hook.

Either way, it definitely catches fish, particularly trout, and Tom Davis shared a recipe and video of his variant of the controversial pattern over on his Teton Tenkara blog yesterday.

Click on over and check it out!