During my stay in Japan I was lucky thanks to the intervention of my friend Kazumi Saigo of Dr. Hisao Ishigaki meet with whom I did fish an afternoon on the legendary Itosihro. It was of course a very good experience and a joy to meet one of the most notable ambassadors of tenkara.
Ishigaki-sensei and I exchanged some of our kebari after fishing.
We all know the Ishigaki sakasa kebari and most of us have tied this pattern in their tenkara beginnings but the original tied by Ishigaki Sensei are very different from western versions which in most cases show excessive attention to details.
The tenkara technique of Dr Hisao Ishigaki is based on a rational observation of salmonid behavior, especially their sense of vision.
If the details in the pattern may be important for the fisherman they have none for fish which, because of the quasi-spherical and rigid lens of their eyes are myopic.
Made of tying thread and a cock hackle feather a tenkara angler who considers his technique more important to meet success than the choice of a particular pattern will use this kebari as a dry, an emergent or a wet fly. When Ishigaki sensei opened his box to give me some of his kebari he took two other models that have no name.
Both kebari are tied on Varivas barbless hooks, they are of great simplicity and flawlessly efficient in fishing. The movements of their hackle on and under the water surface is certainly no stranger to their efficiency.
Ishigaki Sensei has developed a downstream wet fly fishing technique called "Tomezuri". This technique is very effective and allows successful downstream fishing at short distance. I was initiated by Ishigaki sensei himself and I can state that these kebari tied with long supple hackles perfectly work. Not only in Japanese mountain streams but on any stream.
As the masters of tenkara Ishigaki sensei has demonstrated during his career that while remaining faithful to the principle of simplicity of tenkara he was able to develop a range of effective techniques based on rational observation of salmonids.
John and Paul of Discover Tenkara have released an excellent video starring Ishigaki sensei that you can watch by clicking here.
Learn more about Ishigaki sensei and his tenkara experience in the very interesting interview he did with Adam and that was published on the Tenkara Fisher forum.