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A while back I visited Japan for a few weeks of fishing with several recognized tenkara experts.

tapered nylon monofilament lines, western fluorocarbon tapered leaders as tenkara lines, and of course fluorocarbon level line.

When I arrived in Japan, I thought I had a pretty solid grasp of how tenkara was practiced in the land of its origin. Man, I was completely off about that.

All rods from Japanese companies are manufactured in Japan.

Here is the short list of tenkara myths that many westerners have about tenkara in Japan.

One Fly is the way Japanese tenkara anglers fish. Well, I hate to break this to you but the One Fly thing is for the most part an American interpretation of Japanese tenkara.

There are a few tenkara anglers in Japan that do use one fly pattern, very few. And within that one fly pattern there are variations of size, color, and hackle size/stiffness.

Most people I fished with used a pretty wide variety of fly and kebari patterns. These included Masami Sakakibara and Hiromichi Fuji, two of the most respected tenkara anglers in Japan.

There are some tenkara anglers in Japan who do use only one fly pattern. Dr. Ishigaki is perhaps the most widely known One Fly Guy. These anglers are using the one fly method as a personal challenge to add a level of self-imposed difficulty. It is a game they play with themselves.

Level Line Tenkara is what most anglers do in Japan. Well, not exactly. There is a lot of personal line choice exercised in Japan. I fished with people who use tapered furled fluorocarbon lines, PVC fly line, nylon monofilament level lines,

There are some rod companies in Japan that make and source every component of their rods in Japan. Nissin, Gamakatsu, Tenryu, and Sakura. Other companies like Daiwa and Shimano outsource many models that are made all over Asia in places like Vietnam, China, etc. The biggest difference in outsourced rods from a Japanese company is how they manage quality control. Most of these companies send a quality control team to the out of country manufacturing facility to directly manage the production run of the rods. Every piece of the rod from raw materials to final product has direct oversight of the Japanese quality control team.

Tenkara is very popular in Japan. Not exactly. Modern tenkara’s heyday was most likely in the 1980s when guys like Hiromichi Fuji and Mr. Soseki were resurrecting tenkara from historical oblivion by introducing modern materials like carbon fiber and fluorocarbon to the rods and lines. These two men really brought tenkara back from the dead.

Here’s the real deal on mountain stream fishing in Japan. Fixed line bait fishing is #1 there is no contest, period. Followed by western fly-fishing and spin casting with artificial lures.

On the fly-casting side, western fly-fishing is extremely popular in Japan. You are more likely to see someone who looks like they just

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Profile for Tenkara Angler

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2016  

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

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2016  

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

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