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Summer 2019 tenkaraangler.com


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Front Cover: Anthony Naples Back Cover: Lino Jubilado Logo Design: Nick Cobler




Photo: Chris Lynch


From The Editor Summer is in full swing...

Summer is pretty damn awesome. Longer days, warmer temperatures, pool parties, BBQ, family vacations, and flip flops 24-7. All of that is great and makes for fantastic memories that will surely last forever.


Summer is also an excellent time to break out the fixed-line techniques. Getting up early to get a jump on a largemouth bass, sneaking into position to cast to a huge carp, or just straight out blowing up panfish after panfish on topwater are all awesome summer fishing pursuits. Trout anglers, fear not. The dog days of summer do not necessarily mean the end of your fishing. While you may need to go a little more off the grid, it's impossible not to appreciate the escape to the cool water and shaded canopy that the many species of trout we chase with tenkara rods call home. It's worth the extra "hike-in," so get after it! In short, summer is a fantastic time to celebrate all types of fishing with tenkara rods, I hope you're going to be out doing your share. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everybody that participated in this issue's Cover Photo Contest. You've likely already seen Anthony


Naples' winning submission, but I encourage you to view the rest of the entrants throughout this issue, with a special grouping of photos starting on page 4. On the whole, this quarter's issue is a little leaner than usual, (I hope that means everybody is out fishing instead of writing), but that doesn't mean the content isn't interesting and top shelf. There are eight separate entries, highlighted by a trip to Japan and chance on-stream encounter with Masami Sakakibara by Chris Lynch. This issue also features two authors new to the Tenkara Angler family; Nathan Scott Camp and Kengo Shintaku. Welcome gentlemen! I hope you enjoy reviewing this issue, particularly paging through all of the additional photography, as it was very enjoyable to assemble. Keep cool & tight lines!

Michael Agneta Editor In Chief




Cover Contest Entry "My daughter using a TFO tenkara rod... (her first time)!" Photo: Shawn Augustson


Do you want to contribute to the next issue of Tenkara Angler?

Tenkara or conservation-themed articles, essays, fly tying recipes, gear reviews, tips, tricks, & photography are all fair game!

See www.tenkaraangler.com for more information



Tenkara Angler Cover Photo Contest In early June, we extended an invite for readers to submit photos for consideration for this issue's cover. The response was impressive, and the winner was selected based on quality, composition, as well as the ability to "fit" within the vertical space required for the magazine's cover. The winning front cover selection is a misty on-stream photo by Anthony Naples that reminds me of hitting the water right at first light. The back cover features a hefty LA River mirror carp submitted by Lino Jubilado. Congratulations! Each winner has won a small prize of their choice as a token of appreciation. However, everyone that entered the contest has also been included in the pages of this month's issue. You'll find examples on the inside covers, some of the buffer pages between articles, and in this section, the first of which was submitted by Mike Hepner. Keep an eye out for other angler submissions by looking for "Cover Contest Entry" in each photo's credits throughout the magazine.


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Nick Pavlovski

Cover Contest Entry Photo: William Burns


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Kathi Rothner


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Danièle Beaulieu

Cover Contest Entry Photo: Rob Lepczyk


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Nick DiNunzio

Cover Contest Entry Photo: John-Paul Povilaitis

Cover Contest Entry Photo: Kim Lambert


Cover Contest Entry "A saltwater estuary where fixed-line fly fishing takes place for a variety of toothy salt water critters, including sea-run Cutthroat trout like the one shown in the cameo pic." Photo: Rory E. Glennie


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Conrad Estrem


The Savage Adventure


by Mike Hepner

The OG and Gap Tiger had set their sights on the Savage River Forest for their annual spring 4-day camping and fishing trip, 2019 edition. An area that neither of them had been to and was spoken of by many others as unbelievable and a fishing paradise. We had heard enough from others and decided to put their theories and opinions to the test. Both of us came away with the same opinion... Unbelievable may have been an understatement...


The trip out was an easy two hours that only felt like twenty, with the OG growing tired of Gap Tiger’s constant “are we there yet” questioning. Finally getting off at our exit we stopped for firewood, ice, beer, and local hoagies to avoid needing to make the first night’s dinner and allow us to solely focus on the camp set up. In a small town it is important to remember that not all the “Sweet Old Ladies” working the store are "sweet old ladies.” After getting overcharged and made to feel

like unwanted tourists that needed to “GET OUT” we laughed our way through the last small segment of the trip. Rounding the last bend, The OGs face lit up like a kid seeing the presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning... “THE SITE I WANTED IS OPEN!!!” (these primitive backcountry camp sites are not reservable and are first come first served, so we didn’t know if it would be taken or not) Jumping out of Mini Tank, (the Toyota 4runner that survived Strong Mountain Road), we ran together to the beautiful Savage River tributary we were camping twenty feet from! Fighting off the urge to fish, we set up our tents and our “home base” just the way we wanted. Twenty minutes and a half dozen beers later we were loaded up with our fishing gear and headed up the campsite tributary with 3RT Confluence and Oni Type 3 in hands. In the few hours that evening we had both landed over 25 natives. The tributary was loaded. Heading down to the site we both decided that it wasn’t enough and wanted to at least explore the Savage River as it was only 100 yards below our camp. As we walked up to the river… HATCHES!!! Bugs everywhere!!! In the setting sun we started throwing our top water kebari and caught fish after fish... all off the top... all natives... all 9-13 inches!!! We literally caught brookies until it was too dark to see our kebari touch the water. We headed back to the tents to sit around the fire and celebrate our


first night of fishing! Waking up the next morning at first light to the sounds of the water flowing in the tributary was like dropping a lit match onto gasoline and the two of us JUMPED from our tents and into our fishing gear preparing to revisit Slay City! Tributary 1 was one of the prettiest I had ever seen, and we immediately started tossing kebari at every pocket and pool we can find. Native after native hit the landing net in between taking breaks to sit on logs or boulders and drink beer. Some of the biggest pools I had ever laid my eyes on in a tributary littered this stream around every bend. We fished until we were greeted by no trespassing signs (that were truly a disappointing surprise) and decided it was time for lunch and to relocate. Heading back to Mini Tank we drive a short distance to Tributary 2 and find an old picnic table all but on the water. Sitting down at it we whipped out the Pocket Rocket stove and Gap Tiger made his famous Spicy Egg Drop Soup with a dessert of crunchy peanut butter Clif bar. During lunch, we were greeted by a large porcupine that meandered his way along the stream as if we weren’t even there. Rolling Rocks and a variety of Oskar Blues washed down the much-needed meal. After re-energizing and cleaning up we went absolutely Slay City on Tributary 2. We literally caught a fish in every pocket, eddy, or pool in which we landed a kebari. We fished this stream well into its headwaters before


turning around. Tributary 2 was lit!!! Just up the road from that spot was Tributary 3, again the epitome of Slay City. Every cast, all top water, all day long in every piece of water. The amount of brookies we caught in each tributary was unbelievable. The very places where most people fishing that area wouldn’t even look is a brookie heaven for the RatskinCanoe Crew. Fishing this tributary for about two hours we had already combined for well over 100 native brookies on the day, we decided to call it a day for those tributaries and headed back to home base for dinner and to re-load on some beer! Back at base camp Fireside Chef OG cooked up some BANGEN Beer Bratz with peppers and onions! The delicious cast iron pan prepared meal really hit the spot. Gap Tiger was in



BRATZ heaven! Several Sunshine Daydream, Keystones, and Pinners completed the dinner and left us just enough time to catch the hatches on the river just below the camp before sundown. As if we hadn’t caught enough that day, we loaded our rods up with top water soft hackle kebari and ripped natives! One after the other; even a stocked rainbow trout or two here or there were nabbed off the top of the waters surface... again catching fish until we couldn’t see anymore. We headed back to the campsite, only this time it was to celebrate the most epic day of all time! Pulling out the GKNIGHT and Can-O-Bliss heavy hitter IPAs the we conducted fireside interviews on one another (lord only knows what was said during those) and the evening of laughter and jokes


came to an end. With the fire dwindling down, we headed to the tents for the night. The next morning Gap Tiger popped out of his tent like a puppy that had been cooped up in a pen all day. “LET’S GO” he said to the OG at first light! The OG did not agree with this plan and sent Gap Tiger on his way to hit the river himself. Giving it an hour or two and going Slay City in that time he eagerly ran back to the camp to see if his Sensei was ready to go.

“YO, OG!” Gap Tiger yelled while approaching base camp, a head slowly pops up from Mini Tank’s driver side seat which was completely reclined. “YO” said the OG through a “stretching out after waking up” voice... There he was and ready to go. Heading to Tributary 4 we found it to be a little slower than the others, although by

“slow” I mean we fished in the sporadic rain and caught fish every ten minutes instead of every two. This tributary had the most beautiful and unique look to it that is hard to describe it in words. The smallest of the tributaries we had fished, and the slowest fishing water we had hit. Still, it held some BIG natives! Heading back to the camp for an early lunch The OG fired up some SPAM and whipped out the Sriracha - more Clif bars, and Ya Mammas Lil Yellow Pils rounded off the lunch. We decided to hit the tributary we had camped on from where we had left off fishing on our first night. This was the best idea of the day! With Zimmerbuilt packs loaded with beer and fishing supplies, we hiked beers in hand up an old logging road through the dense and vibrant green forest. The road followed along the base of a large ravine that





the tributary wound its way through and was surrounded by large ridges and cliffs for about two miles. At the end, we found the spot we had stopped fishing at the first evening. Jumping right back into Slay City the headwaters of the camp tributary were UNREAL. The farther up we got, the more the kebari got irresistible to the fish in the water. Top water kebari reigned supreme and tomezuri was deadly! Once again surpassing the 100 natives mark combined, we decided to call an end to this tributary and head back for dinner... but not before we decided to stop at one last pool. We chose to simultaneously cast into it


since it was our stopping point. Both kebari hit the water at the same time, Gap Tiger had a big native take, but it slipped off the hook at the exact time the OG hooked a beautiful brookie which he did not miss! Gap Tiger casted again while The OG landed the big native, and with that cast Gap Tiger landed a 12-inch rainbow! That was truly the culmination of the day! Back at camp, Gap Tiger made his famous cheese dogs from the Chambersburg farmers market. Of course, they were cooked tomezuristyle on fishing rod hot dog sticks that Gap Tiger is notorious for bringing along on camping trips. This quick bite left us just enough time to spend the final two hours of daylight on the river

fishing hatches all evening. The two ended the final full day of the trip standing on either side of the river in the same HUGE pool during the hatch catching native after native again!!! It was once again celebration time! After building a small bonfire out of the remaining wood, the beer chugs, fireside dancing to the 76ers theme song, storytelling, fireside interviews, and taunting of one another carried on long into the night. The next morning, we woke up to an unexpected, complete deluge of rain, but with both of us being so happy with the way the fishing had gone to that point in the trip we decided to call it a wrap. Plentiful sun and temperatures between 49-75 with NO WIND for the previous three days, and only fishing in rain for an hour or two,


we couldn’t have asked for better. We packed up our gear, tents, and campsite, and jumped into Mini Tank and started the long trek home. In two-and-a-half days we had covered nearly thirty miles of water between the tributaries and the Savage River itself catching natives in six different streams. It is crazy to think that we barely scratched the surface of fishable water there. The area was nothing shy of breathtaking from any and every viewpoint. A thick green landscape of rolling mountains, wildflowers, and valleys, a river carved out at the bottom of them, and every blue line loaded with natives practically begging for kebari to bite... it’s safe to say that this trip will be tough to top!

Long Live the RatskinCanoe!!!

If you want to see more about this story check out the video titled The Savage Adventure! on the Brookies and Beer YouTube channel…




Boulder Creek Scrambling by Rory E. Glennie

I’ll say, right from the outset, do not start looking for Boulder Creek on any map of Vancouver Island. The name of this creek is fictitious, to protect the innocent and confuse the hoards. Boulder Creek is an apt description of the physicality of this stream; it’s rugged, hard-rock scrambling for the most part. Pair that with sections where time seems to have chosen a fast track toward stream recovery, after suffering industrial strength


clearcutting of old growth forests in most watersheds. Subsequent to being laid bare and exposed to harsh solar glare for a few seasons, second-growth conifers are once again covering the hillsides. Alders, Maples, Willows, Red Ozier Dogwood and Black Cottonwoods crowd each other along some stretches of stream. There, amazingly, native-born trout still exist and hold their own in tiny crystalline pools,

shadowy runs and woody debris guarded potholes. Quite a few of these creeks have year ‘round snowpack in their headwaters and remain refreshingly cool during the hot summer months. With one named glacier and several permanent snowfields dotted along the spine of mountains known as the Vancouver Island Ranges, Boulder Creek may well represent a multiplicity of mountain streams here on the Island which have endured the onslaught of commercial deforestation in the early part of the 20th century. Trout that live in Boulder Creek are tough little buggers, survivors. In keeping with decidedly nutrient poor water quality and limited food supply, these trout are not large in size; but are huge in heart and firm of body. They are free risers to just about anything resembling something edible which happens to float past. A surface fly will bring a quick, splashy response; sometimes, even, a fish will be hooked. Where appropriate, tickling the currents with a downstream flick and dangle technique works. Other times, simply dapping the fly onto potholes between cross-stream logs will bring the desired response. This type of fishing could easily exemplify the “one fly only” is needed mantra; as a quick cast onto likely water will bring a response, or it won’t. Pounding the water with repeated casts is futile and unnecessary. Relocate to the next potential bit of holding water and cast to a fish


unaccustomed to your trickery. Move with stealth and purpose but do move. One will cover a lot of countryside in a day of tenkara angling on these mountain tarns. Remember to stay hydrated. A tenkara rod is the perfect tool to utilize in these varying locations. The fixed line is all that is needed to keep attached to a fish here. There is nowhere for them to take off in a line peeling run, even if they were of a size capable of doing that. They duke it out in close-quarters combat. The inherent softness of a long tenkara rod aids in subduing the wildness of these trout and helps keep the shock of the take from breaking a fine tippet. Often these fish can be quickly lifted into the landing net right after the take is witnessed and first dive back down is over. Then again, in some debris laden holes, getting one’s line snagged on a jagger of wood can lead to a fish prematurely coming off the hook. Them’s the breaks... the angler cannot win the contest every time.

Native Boulder Creek trout safely in the net


Boulder Falls during springtime runoff

Foot bridge over lower Boulder Creek


Boulder Creek spilling out of the forest


When Opportunity Knocks by Chris Lynch


I had a trip from Korea back to the United States planned for June and was shopping for tickets when I found that I could get a pretty good fare with Delta from Nagoya to Alabama. Seoul to Nagoya is dirt cheap, so I jumped on it. I figured while I was in Japan, I could detour a few days for fishing and adventure that my wife and son normally would not be very enthusiastic about! Sidebar: I've got five years of living in Japan (Okinawa) experience, along with several visits to Honshu and Kyushu. I have driven somewhat extensively around Japan and used the fantastic rail system a little as well. This trip was planned as a budget whirlwind fishing weekend. Originally, I was going to take a train up into Gifu Prefecture and just wander around from there, seeing what I could get into. But then I remembered I still had my international driver's permit from AAA, and it turned out to be good for exactly the days I needed in Japan. SCORE! I scoured my rental options, knowing that I wanted a kei (micro) van, since I could "camp" in the back, as opposed to relying on hotels or bringing a tent. I found that ORIX Rent-A-Car near Nagoya Station had vans, so I booked it for 3 nights, (June 1-4). With all the coverage possible (as I would be driving around solo in the mountains), it came to approximately 23,000JPY (Japanese Yen). Van secured; I ran over to Mont-Bell


for a backpack I'd had my eye on... an ultralight 30L roll-top that looked great for weekend fishing/ backpacking trips. After that, I jumped on the expressway and went north. Two hours and ~3400JPY later (toll fees), I was in Itoshiro. I did all my location scouting for this trip just like any other, pouring hours into Google Maps, Googletranslated searching, and talking to people who've been to the area - not the least of which was Paul Gaskell! I felt like I had a pretty good set of leads concentrated around the border of Hakusan National Park, all of which were relatively easy to get to from the road. I didn't want to be hiking into backcountry streams by myself, not worth the risk. Making my way up the narrow mountain road, streamside, I kept seeing amazing sections of water, but also other anglers' cars! It was already past 1pm, I was burning daylight. Getting impatient, and knowing I still had a good distance to go for the initial location I'd marked on the map, I pulled over at the first fishy-looking spot I came to that wasn't previously occupied. A nice big pool below a fast riffle, followed by a small set of falls. I tied on a small reddish kebari sent to me by Paul and made a few casts. Upon first contact with the water, I saw a reaction. Small trout were checking it out for sure. This was exciting! I'm five hours into Japan, the first minutes on the water, and already getting action! I think it was the fifth cast, I got





a solid bite! Beautiful little native iwana, in just an incredible location. I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe‌ haha. I gave that pool a little more work, but nothing panned out, so it was time to move upstream. I approached a small calm spot between boulders that looked perfect for a dry fly (I know, I know), so I swapped out and made the cast. Boom! Instant reaction, first cast. Second iwana of the day. I caught two or three more that afternoon before it got dark. Just before dusk I saw the most unbelievable hatch of my life, a mix of large mayflies (two or three different species I think), some stoneflies, and


caddis. The stream was literally exploding with life. That evening I drove down to Shiratori, a larger town than Itoshiro, but still very small. They have actual grocery and convenience stores, so this would be my home-base for both nights of van camping. After buying some supplies at Lawson (the grocery store), I cooked dinner with my backpacking stove, had some beers, and passed out in the back. Early to rise in the morning, I gathered myself and drove back over the mountain to Itoshiro. I would go higher up today. Initially I drove way up high, and honestly this water felt more pressured. I saw the occasional trout

but couldn't fool any. I didn't see any other anglers, but I saw footprints, some still wet on rocks, so somebody had been there recently. Also, this stream was very rugged. I had a climbing helmet on for precaution, along with felt soles, but didn't want to risk a nasty fall and subsequent injury. So, I took my leave and went back down the mountain. I decided I'd try fishing in Itoshiro itself, as I was told I could possibly get an amago or two there. While I was exploring the small town, I saw a small group of anglers, and one of them looked familiar‌ It turned out to be Masami Sakakibara, aka Tenkara no Oni! While I was watching their group for a minute, Oni noticed me and came over to introduce himself. We talked in broken English/Japanese for a minute, and he called his wife so that she could invite me over for lunch. This was too cool; I couldn't believe it! I thought I knew where their pension (guesthouse) was, as the town is very small, but I did not! It took me a bit to find it, as it's tucked away. Everybody was having Sri Lanka style curry, and it was delicious! After eating, Masami showed us some old-style Wazao rods, where the tip section was stored inside the bottom - so it's a 3-piece rod, which packs down to what looks like 2-piece. They were works of art and felt just as nice. Masami's wife, Coco, asked me if I would like to go fish with the group as they were about to head back out, and I very appreciably replied yes! We all


geared back up in our wading gear, I hopped in my van, and Masami told me to wait, so he could ride with me. He directed me to the section of river we'd be on for the afternoon session, and on the way, he expressed annoyance at all the other anglers on the river that day, ha-ha! For this afternoon lesson, we were on a large river, and Oni was fishing his 3.4m Itoshiro Special, as opposed to the the Oni 395 he had earlier on smaller water! He rigged it with approximately 3-4m of #4 level line, and another 1-2m of #3 level line. Here, he was demonstrating downstream casting, and pulsing the kebari back towards, to entice a fish. On the second cast, he had a fish nearly leave the water missing his fly; but didn't get one to take after that. Oni’s wading was impressive, as we ventured into some deep and fast water and he made it look easy. His casting broke down the river and he covered so much water with efficiency and precision, it was amazing to see. After this demo, he told us to spread out along the bank and practice. He came over and laid into me on my casting, taking my hand and slowing my casting stroke down. "Ichi-Ni", showing me how it should be slower, more deliberate, and gentle as well. I'm still working on it, as this is a new rod to me, and honestly, I'd kind of gotten away from tenkara for a bit. He spent time with each angler, giving pointers where needed. Nobody caught anything, and he said something about the fish being very careful today. I had




a strike and a miss with a large kebari just before we were finishing up. After we got back to the pension, I exchanged kebari with one of the other anglers, who I'd met earlier up on the mountain when he was having car problems. They were impressed this goofy American had tied his own kebari. I offered one to Masami, and he very quickly mentioned the Gamakatsu Retainer Bend hook I'd used, and told the other anglers something about it I didn't understand... A few minutes later, he came out with some of his own kebari for me. A welcome swap, I'll take that any day! Masami suggested a section not far from town, just above the fishingrestricted zone near one of the



entrances to Hakusan. I drove up there and was focused on using my Bait Finesse System (BFS) lure setup just as I had first thing that morning. I'd caught trout on the fly in Japan, now to accomplish the same with lures. I had several nice fish chase my lures, while I dialed in my casting, twitching, and retrieve. I changed lures several times as well until I found one that seemed to get lots of attention. This is what got my largest fish of the trip, a nice iwana. On day three I drove down to GujoHachiman, the water city. I was planning on just relaxing and not really fishing here, just food and photos! Paul convinced me to squeeze in a quick afternoon excursion to a stream, so I suppose I had to! I drove


seven minutes up the road from the city center to a small feeder stream that dumped into the main river. Less than 5 minutes after leaving the van, I had my first amago! I was getting lots of reactions with my own kebari pattern, tied on the Gamakatsu hook. These hooks are heavy, so they sink a little faster, and the retainer bend works magic! I Caught two fishing downstream, then one as I moved up. Another great day of fishing in Japan! After this small victory, I went back to town to freshen up at my hotel and figure out dinner. Dinner turned out to be just around the corner, at one of the few places still open near 9pm, since I

crashed out for like two hours in an unplanned nap. I had Ayu Shioyaki, or salt-grilled ayu. You eat the whole fish, bones and innards, as it's cooked completely intact. The flavor was so rich and so good! They were served with various local sides of vegetables, white rice, and a delicious red miso soup. This night would mark the end of the brief trip, as I flew out of Nagoya the following day. As I left, I was filled both with fond memories of my whirlwind fishing adventure in Japan, and with the anticipation of returning to Alabama to spend three weeks with my family.


毛鉤巻き ( ( Kebari Tying) ) by Kengo Shintaku

It was in late 2017 that I decided to tie my own kebari. Until then I had only bought kebari and been mostly ボウズ (caught no fish). I knew that I should buy a vise, but I have a habit that is not obedient, so instead I bought tenkara books published over 40 years ago. I tied kebari by hand without a vise, I took my jack to the chair and started to tie something similar to a kebari. At that time, I posted to Instagram and had some fun, but my kebari were not so good. So, I was searching photos by "#tenkara (テンカラ テンカラ)" or "#毛鉤 (Kebari)" on Instagram. Wow! There were a lot of beautiful flies listed there! Like Like Like! I also found that there are people who broadcast their tying online by live streaming.


I watched one person who every day for a month who was broadcasting his tying. I have decided that Aaron Heusinkveld, a fly fisher in Minnesota, is my MASTER. (By the way my English is Janglish, or Japanglish: as you're reading now). I couldn't understand what my master said... instead, I looked at and zoomed in on his hands. After I watched his streaming, I tried to tie his flies with my only substitutes (I don't know much about fly fishing or foreign fish, but I tied and tied). I realized that just by looking at the videos, I could learn to some extent the techniques of fly tying, including basic tips such as starting to tie threads, how to tie in other materials, wind ribbing counterclockwise, and so much more.

One day my wife and son (seeing me tying on a chair... ) surprised me with a vise for my birthday! Oh, what a useful tool! After, I prepared many kinds of threads and bought various types of hooks, as you can imagine. I knew that my master also had a YouTube channel. I watched them. Seeking flies that beginner might be tie, I tried to imitate them immediately. I re-wound the video a lot of times and tied and re-tied. In that respect, it was very convenient to be able to rewind just 15 seconds with the smartphone YouTube app! Using subtitle mode, I could also read what they were explaining! I like the style of my master fly fisher's tying videos. The reasons I like them are as follows:

-The camera angle is almost the view from the tyer (looked over, it felt as if I was tying) -The speed he speaks is easy to hear (use of onomatopoeia too ) -Narration is interesting and curious (repeating the explanations is also helpful ), etc, etc.

Therefore, my kebari are getting little by little getting nice form. Sometimes I give good-looking kebari to my fishing pals (my Ambassadors). After a bit of time, my results fishing tenkara have also gradually increased. I know that tenkara was born in Japan, and is a unique fishing method, but I didn't know that so many people in so many countries are doing it. To me, kebari tying is a way to recognize the world.


Brookies and (Probably) Beer by John-Paul Povilaitis





Tank River


by Nathan Scott Camp

There is a river not far from my front door. It’s not wide, it isn’t deep. There are no swimming holes, unless you are a dog and I was about to round the bend to fish that spot. There is a heavy ceiling of branches and the massive trunks make it a narrow corridor along the banks. More often than not the best-looking water has the worst looking surroundings. The bow cast is a constant first move, on only few occasions there is space enough for full casts, follow ups, or even a smooth retrieve. The foot traffic is steady, and


the path is very close to the water, some days leaving me with little opportunity to focus solely on the kebari and the current. Even so, it has become one of my favorite spots. I would say there is a certain balance to the area. It’s enough of a hike to build the anticipation for trout on the way in. I can reach the best spots from most positions along the bank and hit all the spots wet wading. Thick branches overhead mean that I fish in the shade on even the sunniest of

days. There are plenty of overhangs, sheltered by those giants that form the corridor that the river flows through. The diversity of the structures and undergrowth make that perfect cast, and the tug of the take, all the more satisfying. The best part is the wild population of brown trout that lurk and linger in the depths. Any inconvenient structure on this trip may yield the headliner of the day on the next trip or even on the way back downriver. This summer could be shaping up to be a good one for fishing if I can find the time to get out and stalk trout. Last September, I got away for a few hours just hoping for a few small trout. Instead, I was rewarded with twentyeight browns in a period of three hours. Most of them were between 6”8”, but three of them were over 12” and a few that were close. I caught these wild fish on a single fly, a kebari-ish version of the “House & Lot”. That day was a blessing and a curse. It was joyous to experience and a pleasure to remember, but now, whenever I fish less than a handful of trout out of the cold water, I am disappointed that my performance can be so poor on a river so rich.


picture of the quarry. Our first encounter with the river was the wide, lazily flowing mill pond whose dam creates a formidable fish barrier to the lower river. Typically, this silty body holds no sign of life, its barren shallow expanse is clear to see even on an overcast day. Not so on our hike; we could count at least four large brown trout actively feeding from the bottom and there were more that were smaller, doing the same thing, all of them just out of reach.

This past Memorial Day I brought my wife and young daughter out for a family hike and decided to sneak in a few casts along the way; “I wonder where we shall go?” The weather was warm and pleasant, the smell of pine and damp earth was strong and comforting, the sun was bright, and that allowed a clear-sight


While I was happy to see them getting a meal to grow big and strong; disappointed would be the word to describe the inability to reach out and present a kebari to them. Later there was an opportunity to try for a fish I could reach, during my little one’s water break. I caught a small brown from the middle of a boisterous riffle after a couple short drifts with a lazy pulse in the rough water. My wife and daughter were fascinated with the tiny predator from the shallow river. Before long, it was time to head out, naptime was calling one of our company and we were ‘briskly’ making our way towards the car.



On the way out, though, dad needed to make a pit stop. There is one spot that bugs me. It’s next to a large embankment; the top where the trail passes is about nine feet above the surface of the water. The pool is, by my estimation, six to eight feet deep and there aren’t many ways to approach it unseen by any of its occupants. If you happened to hook up from the high bank here, the move to a shallow, flatter area to retrieve would require you to pass your rod around a couple of tree trunks while standing on a steep angle fighting a fish under branches. To hook up from the low bank you would need to be near prone

in the stream or belly crawl through mud and vegetation. Are there even trout here in this swift moving bend in the river? Twice now I have crept to the edge and peered into the abyss to find myself staring at the back of a very large trout. My reaction the first time was pleasant surprise. It wasn’t until I dropped a beaded kebari in the clear water to tempt it and watched it go down, down, down and disappear against the bottom did I realize the potential size of this riverbend’s resident. That cold first day, everything I tried casting was shunned until a black and gold woolly bugger was mouthed and summarily spit out before I could draw back to set.


But now, with a sleepy toddler clutched tight, the second sighting was a chance for me to stand back and marvel without the mental exercise of placement, current and an exit strategy. We were rewarded for our slow approach and cautious peek. Not one large trout, but a pair of them side by side and gliding in the current. Then in my peripheral vision; more trout, all lined up large to small. I got my phone out and took a quick video for review later. Phone held against the lens of my polarized sunglasses, I recorded a short clip that I assure you has been reviewed many times to analyze what their movement tells me about the current, how the lineup was arranged and where they ‘dipped’ into the current to eat. Of course, the most reviewed, paused, re-winded and scrutinized portion is when the

dappled sunlight shone through the cover above and outlined the largest in the pool. That fish may have been the biggest I have seen in this river, otherwise, I’m more hopeful than is good for me.


More Than Tenkara Fishing! by Danièle Beaulieu


English River

I decided to begin my 2019 tenkara fly fishing season exploring rivers that I fished before with a traditional rod & reel but had not revisited with a tenkara rod. I took my camper and drove down into beautiful Region 5 of the Adirondacks, New York. For many years now, this section of mountains has been my playground to fish. (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/ 28244.html)


As the season started with high water levels and cold temperatures, I knew that the fish would be very hard to catch. So, for many weeks I concentrated my effort on four little rivers not too far from my home in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Crystal Creek

These rivers are preferred for fishing in early spring because the water level drops very fast. Here are the four rivers I decided to do some tenkara fly fishing: - English River - Crystal Creek - King Brook - Great Chazy River Once I arrived at those rivers, I put on my fishing gear and hiked into the forest determined to fish the water of the past. Arriving at the limits of my recollection, I told myself now is the time to go further on the river to see what is hiding over there. English River is the closest river from my home in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


This river has a nice flow even if the water is high. The fishing can be hard because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) doesn’t stock this stream. You will find wild little brookies, and it is a blast to catch them.


As the temperature gets higher, fishing gets more difficult. You will need to fish in pocket water. As soon as the water is too hot, please go fish other species and let the trout take a break until you return in the beginning of fall. (This advice should be followed for all trout rivers).

King Brook


Crystal Creek is only fishable on one side due to too many overhanging branches on the creek. But on the fishable side it is a very nice little river even if the name says creek! There are brown trout that are stocked by the DEC, not a lot, but enough to have fun. If you are patient or perseverate this is your kind of creek. King Brook… simply WOW! This stream is made for tenkara fly fishing in having the perfect size for all ‘’Tenkaraisme’’. It can be large at some places, and very narrow at others for more challenging fishing. There is a little trail that runs alongside, but it is

private. There are no signs posted, but please don’t use if it not for an emergency.


The Great Chazy River is one long, beautiful river. You have riffles, runs, pools, and flats, features in which you catch nice trout, bass, and walleye. There is a lot of good access, so much that you can find places to fish without being around other people. The Chazy runs through nature and sometimes within little towns. A few words of advice: Go and explore the rivers near your

hometown, and you might be very surprised with what you may find in the quality of fishing. It could open up opportunities you never expected. Challenge yourself on a new body of water that is not stocked by the state. It may be harder, but also so much more rewarding when you catch those wild fish. Finally, respect the places in which you fish. Always carry in and carry out. We have the privilege to have so many places to fish freely, so take care of the resources not only for yourself, but others as well.

Great Chazy River



Tenkara and Smallmouth Bass:

Stuff I Wanted To Know When Starting Out by Bob Long, Jr.

When I first chose to try tenkara, I had little intention of fishing for trout. The closet trout water is 100 miles away from me in Michigan, or 180 miles away in Wisconsin. Heck, I would be driving over miles of marvelous smallmouth bass water to get to “ok” trout water. No interest. So smallmouth on tenkara rods it was. Except how to get there? I kinda’ knew (kinda’ thought, kinda’ wondered, kinda’ guessed) that tenkara was going to be quite different that my


western fly style of fishing. But I wasn’t sure how much or how little. There was barely any info on tenkara period; even less on tenkara for smallmouth bass. Where to start, how to start? I ran into lots of dead ends and misinformation, as well as a great deal of inaccurate information and people, frankly, just making stuff up as if it were true. (Thank goodness I’d been fly fishing – for trout, smallmouth, steelhead, salmon, bluegills, bass – for 50+ years and had some background, and a decent b.s. detector.)

Ah, c’est la vie. So, this article is about: Stuff I wanted to know when starting out. Stuff I needed to know when starting out. If I were teaching a class these would be my starting points and suggestions (not commands or directions). Rods: Don’t look for rods created specifically for smallmouth in flowing waters. I’ve not found any. However, I suggest rods 12- to 14-feet in length. Zoom rods can and do work, but I like one length rods first, (and I end up using zoom rods at their maximum length all the time, anyway). They should be rated as 7:3 and 8:2 in action as well. You can get away with 6:4 in the short term, (for smaller smallmouth – 12- to 16-inches in length in slower waters) but over the long haul, the size of smallmouth I encounter (up to 20-inches), in 1200 to 4000 cubic feet/second (CFS) current, really calls for rods rated 7:3 and 8:2.


6:4, 7:3, and 8:2 are flex ratings for tenkara rods. Essentially, they mean where the rod bends or flexes. If a rod has ten sections, the flex on a 6:4 rod is 4 sections down from the tip (commonly, this also means it is a softer action rod – small fish, flies, lines and lighter tippets). A 7:3 rod flexes three sections down from the tip; 8:2 two sections down from the tip. Typically, longer rods (as previously mentioned) in the 7:3 to 8:2 range can better handle larger fish, bigger waters, stronger currents, larger flies/ lures, and stronger lines and tippets.

Again, these are all starting points and suggestions. In my opinion tenkara is still quite new, and there is little uniformity in rod design, manufacturing, rating and quality. For the most part, not always of course, but enough of the time it seems ratings are part guess, part science, part marketing, part field feedback, part manufacturing costs. But you’ve got to start somewhere. Flies & Lures: I recommend flies and small lures up to 3.5-inches in length and 1/12ounces in weight (dry or wet). These are smallmouth bass, not trout; bigger is better. Under certain conditions, I will go with 2-inch flies and lures, but I usually get smaller fish. Even with larger flies and fly lures up to 3.5inches and 1/12-ounces in weight I still get smaller fish (smallies are aggressive), but I get the bigger fish too. You will need the heavier rods to cast these, work them in the water (current and depth), and land larger fish. Lines: Forget the level lines (trout stuff). Try furled lines from 10- to 16-feet in length. You can also try using 0weight- to 2-weight, level fly lines cut to length for tenkara rods. Smallmouth are not line shy, so these work too. Either way, you’ll need something to get those larger flies and lures out, to feel the flies and lures in the water, as well as the takes and to fight the fish. These furled lines and fly lines can take the pressure, and they clean well. They come in easy to see colors too:


John Miao tenkara smallmouth, 13-foot rod, furled line Tenkara setup for smallmouth bass


Furled line, 4-pound tippet, larger fish, larger flies Bob with Fox River smallmouth bass


chartreuse, fluorescent green, fluorescent red, bright orange. Costs run from $15 - $20 for the furled lines, up to $30 for the fly lines. Get three or four different ones (Stop complaining! All of this is still WAY cheaper than what you’d spend on traditional fly gear). Fish them all in one season to see which works for YOU in the waters you regularly fish – not on trips to exotic locales you seldom visit. Get leaders from differing stores, not all from the same one. Shop. Compare.


Tippets: You can use designated fly fishing tippet material, regular mono fishing line, or fluorocarbon lines. They are all fine. Just avoid going larger than sixpound-test or so (.009 inch) at first. I prefer four-pound-test (.007). Better the tippet break than the first two- to four-sections of your rod. It will take some time for you to learn how to handle your particular rod on larger fish, in current, using larger flies/lures and lines, and tippets are the most easily adjusted part of this equation. Also, it will take time to learn how and when to break off snags, bushes and trees instead of jerking on the rod to free your flies. Less tippet strength is more here. Err at first on the side of caution. You can change as your experience and skills progress. Line/Tippet Length: The reality is that tenkara rods mean shorter casts – say for example, 30-feet maximum with a 14-foot rod, 14-foot


leader and 2- to 3-feet of tippet. (You DON’T need long tippets with smallmouth. They are not line shy. You DO need to be in control of the depth and feel of your fly/lure and shorter tippets give you that). My advice is: “Don’t cast farther, learn to read water and wade closer.” You want long casts, go back to regular fly rods, reels, and 70- to 90-feet of fly line. Now, how to cast all of this, drift/fish it, set hooks and fight fish is the stuff of other articles, not for here. Plus, it is my firm belief that we learn little through articles, books, magazines, videos. We learn best – and have for thousands of years – by working with others (coaches, mentors, teachers, guides, facilitators, instructors). But finding those isn’t always easy, and words – such as here – are, at least, a start. Another thought or suggestion. When talking to people and seeking advice or thoughts about their experiences, beware when getting answers that are not direct, clear cut responses to your questions.

“I don’t know, but I can look into that for you, or pass you along to someone else who may be able to help,” is a marvelous, conscientious answer we hear all too infrequently. Example: “Bob, what tippet do you use for smallmouth with your tenkara rods?”

Bob: “4-pound-test (listed .007) fluorocarbon from P-Line or Cabela’s.”



Bob: “It’s strong enough. I can pull many flies free when they snag up. I don’t break off on larger fish. But when stressed enough, the tippet breaks before the rod does. They have little stretch and I can feel my fly and lure moving. I’m not saying these lines, or this pound-test is the best, but those two work for me.” Most answers in this new area of tenkara are, I believe, feelings, interpretations and opinions. Nothing wrong there – we all have them. Some just sound like they have a bit more gravitas and depth behind them than

others – even if the person being asked is selling things. Follow your gut and instincts when listening. Finally, seek to know your seller. Talk to them. As much as possible. Listen carefully. Ask questions – don’t act like you know stuff when you don’t. They know if you don’t. But, if you don’t trust what they are telling you, don’t go with them. Once again, suggestions, starting points, considerations all. There are no directions or commands here. I am now in year six or seven pursuing smallmouth bass with my tenkara rods. Have questions? (and you should have – for me and for others.) Email me or the magazine (and they can forward emails to me, I think). I’ll be glad to help.



Cover Contest Entry "River Erlauf / Austria" Photo: Nina Niedermair 55

Friends of Tenkara Angler











Contributors & Credits This issue of Tenkara Angler Magazine was made possible by the extremely generous contributions of the following members of the tenkara community. Nathan Scott Camp

Kengo Shintaku

Father, bushcrafter, chef and USMC veteran, Nate was hooked on Tenkara after spending a month with a loaned Rhodo. His free time is usually spent chasing thin blue lines and the fish that live in them. IG: camp_made

Editor, DTP designer and thinking man. Sometimes a volunteer of woodworker. Not Tenkara local shop owner yet. IG: lankuage

Chris Lynch

John-Paul Povilaitis

Father and husband, active duty US Air Force. The AF has sent me all over the world, from Okinawa and South Korea, to West TX and Alabama. I’ve fallen in love with fishing and hope that my son will pick that up one day, LOL.

Resides in South Central Pennsylvania where he enjoys spending time with family and friends & sharing beers and stories around a campfire. If he’s not at a local spring creek, he’s probably in the woods snagging trees.

Danièle Beaulieu

Bob Long, Jr.

Started fly fishing in 2000 and tenkara in 2014. She fishes rivers all across Canada & New England, and started a business selling tenkara rods and accessories called TenkaraCanada.net.

Bob is in charge of Chicago’s Fish’N Kids Program which takes kids ages 8-12, teens, adults, seniors and people with disabilities of all types fishing. He also teaches many tenkara and fly tying.

Mike Hepner

Rory E. Glennie

(a.k.a) “The Tenkara Kid” or “Gap Tiger.” Husband to 1, Father of 4. Die hard Penn State wrestling fan with a love for tenkara fishing, kebari tying, native brookies, Belgian beers, Pittsburgh sports, and lessons on the water or vise from OG.

A resident of Vancouver Island, British Columbia who has been fly fishing the mountain streams for wild, native-born trout since 1970. The only Canadian member of Tenkara USA Guide Network. Staff writer for Island Fisherman Magazine since 2009.

Cover Contest Entrants

Andrew Wayment, Anthony Naples, Ari Tonteri, Conrad Estrem, Daniele Beaulieu, John-Paul Povilaitis, Kathi Rothner, Lino Jubilado, Mike Hepner, Nick DiNunzio, Nick Pavlovski, Nina Niedermair, Rob Lepczyk, Rory Glennie, Shaun O'Keefe, Shawn Augustson, Tyler Gray, William Burns


Cover Contest Entry "Caught on a tenkara rod in Utah. We had to jump into the river as I couldn't stop it from running down river." Photo: Tyler Gray


Cover Contest Entry Photo: Ari Tonteri



TenkaraCalendar.com is a simple community-driven resource to organize, keep track, and promote tenkara-based events, get-togethers, "takeovers," meet ups, and seminars. The current events through September 2019 are listed below, however please feel free to visit the website to submit and publicize your upcoming tenkara or conservation-themed initiatives, or simply to learn more.

Oregon: Tenkara Bug Out 2019 Friday July 12th - Sunday July 14th, 2019 Oakridge, OR

Colorado: 2019 Tenkara Summit - 10th Anniversary Saturday July 27th, 2019 Millennium Harvest House Hotel, Boulder, CO Utah: Oni Tenkara School (Second Session) Monday August 5th - Wednesday August 7th, 2019 Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, UT

Austria: Tenkara Treffen 2019 Friday September 13th - Sunday September 15th, 2019 Hotel Mozart, Bad Gastein, Austria

California: Tenkara Tanuki Boot Camp Friday September 27th - Sunday September 29th, 2019 Cardinal Village Resort, Bishop, CA


Cover Contest Entry "My wife's first fish ever and on tenkara!" Photo: Shaun O'Keefe



News & Notes From Around Social Media For those of you who like to fish off the grid, SPOT is running a 50% off sale this summer...

Interested in Honryu tenkara? Discover Tenkara recently published the definitive reference guide... Paul Vertrees has jumped into the streaming game by launching the Tenkara Tracks Podcast...

If you're not subscribed to the YouTube videos by Fisherman's Spoon, you need to change that... Welcome back to Badger Tenkara (Expeditions)! Follow Matt Sment on his #vanlife tenkara adventures...

Less than a month until the Tenkara Summit in Boulder, Colorado. Will I see you there...?


Photo: Andrew Wayment

Summer 2019

Profile for Tenkara Angler

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2019  

Tenkara Angler Magazine chronicles the tenkara lifestyle through entries about community, destination, tactics, gear, and creative essays. A...

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2019  

Tenkara Angler Magazine chronicles the tenkara lifestyle through entries about community, destination, tactics, gear, and creative essays. A...