dimanche 25 mai 2014


I have been fishing for a while with this rod and I think that the time has come for an initial review of it, the new TENKARA TIMES "TRY 360 6:4".

Let's start with characteristics...The length is 366 cm and that is its exact theoretical length. The collapsed length is 57.5 cm for a weight of 62 grams. 
The rod comes in an extensible cloth sock and a plastic tube but Tenkara Times offers aluminium tube as an option. The tip cap is made of wood with a rubber insert and the butt cap is made of plastic with a rubber insert. This butt cap is not knurled but slotted. 

Like all Tenkara Times rods released to this day the blank is matt black with a purple touch and that makes these rods unique and easily recognizable. As usual with Tenkara Times rods the finish is very clean and without frills. 

I was a bit surprised by the shape of the handle whose diameter is strongly reduced in its half but once I fished with it I did realize that it was very comfortable and that the multiple possible positions of the hand were good even though I have a personal preference for the "butt grip".

I have almost fished with this rod in bad conditions wether it was gusty wind, thunderstorms or flooding streams but she did not disappoint me at all. It is perfectly balanced and that is, in my opinion, more important than its weight, its action is crisp fast and powerful and it gave me very good sensations when catching trouts with it. 
This rod works well with an angry trout at the end of the line that is determined not to visit your net!

I  fished a local stream with the TRY rod mainly in the fast parts and the rod did a great job. Give this rod a try with a size 3 level line and a soft hackle kebari and your enjoyment is assured!

That is a fact that TENKARA TIMES is going forward once again towards excellence. 

You can purchase this excellent rod by clicking here

Disclaimer: I was not able to include a video to this review because of my camera memory card crash so I will post some video footage with this rood as soon as possible. Thanks for your comprehension.

dimanche 18 mai 2014


I had been waiting for this new book by John Gierach for a long time but I also had this feeling with the next book by this great author. It is like something that I can never get enough!
I am used to read and re-read my favorite books while waiting for the new one by some of my favorite authors and John Gierach is one of them.
I did receive it at last!

The title itself says a lot about the Gierach state of mind and it is one of the things that made me like his books so much throughout the years; he is totally different of any fly fishing author I know. John Gierach does not seem to take himself seriously and that is perhaps what really makes the difference.
Having read all of his books I think that Gierach is really in another dimension, he does not only write about fishing but he has built a vision of life, of the world and of course of fishing that is very personal. I don't know if John Gierach is a "great" fly fisherman but he is without a doubt the author who does the best job to give its letters of nobility to this fishing technique. He succeeds because he avoids the technical language and the fake expertise. 
The writing style is admirable for its simplicity and minimalistic eloquence. It reads very well, there is no slump or boredom and that is rare enough to be mentioned because in this literary style there is nothing more boring than empty grandiloquence. There is only one Gierach!

This 211 pages book contains 22 chapters and one of them is titled "TENKARA" and even though this chapter is not revolutionary it is clear that John Gierach is a sincere Tenkara enthusiast. I think that we will find more about Tenkara in the next books.

I consider this new book as a success, I did find everything that in my opinion makes that John Gierach is the greatest author in the fishing community nowadays. 

If you are from a small country town, a place that no one ever heard about, if you are an angler or a hiker and you could not live without these simple and great pleasures that are offered by our little planet you will certainly love the books of John Gierach.
It is funny how one can easily identify with the characters of his universe, I often recognize some people I know or have known in his books. 

There is no doubt for me that I am going to read and re-read this book while waiting for the next one...
And not only once!

You can purchase this awesome book here

mardi 13 mai 2014


I continue my travel through the Japanese tackle catalogs and sometimes I digress...I received this morning some packs of hooks that are originally destined to be tied on spoons!
These are the MK2 from the Etanba company which was unknown to me before today.

These hooks are size 7 but the shaft is stronger and longer than for example the Owner Shinobi. The picture below gives a precise idea of the actual size of the MK2: 

As these hooks are made to be tied on spoons with a split ring they have a 2 millimeters wide eye and that can be an advantage for a late evening rise or for presbyopic anglers. 

These hooks are sold in packs of 16 for the price of 500 ¥ or 4.90 $.

Here are a few examples of kebari tied on these wide eye hooks: 

samedi 3 mai 2014


I am pleased to share with you this interview with Masami Sakakibara, one of the greatest Tenkara master. I decided to try Tenkara after watching one of his videos and Masami-san is for me, and many others worldwide I think, a great source of inspiration as while I would never pretend having any skills comparable to these of Masami-san I recognize that my ultimate goal is to reach this level.
I wish you will be interested by this interview as much as I am.

Thanks to Hiroyuki Von Langen Schlucht for his invaluable help as interpreter.

Christophe: Hello Masami-san. You are one of the most famous Tenkara angler in the world so I would like to thank you for giving some of your time to answer this interview. Having watched many of fishing videos and reading your articles on your blog that are great sources of informations and knowledge I was wondering how did you learn all these things? Did you learn Tenkara from someone?

Masami: Nobody taught me Tenkara. There was no Tenkara angler around me. Although I did grow up near the river where there were some much Ayu and Amago, everybody enjoyed bait fishing or the casting net fishing. My father just taught me that there were a fishing technique called Tenkara. However my father like bait fishing. I studied various techniques totally by myself at the beginning, using furled line for saltwater among others. I tried so much anyway, that the fishes gave me the answer on the river: "That line is no good, sounds big when you cast on the river. We beware of it."

Christophe: Your tenkara style is famous and admired for its very high technical level and especially for the use of very long lines, can you please explain to us what was your skills evolution through out the years and what is in your opinion the best way for a Tenkara angler to reach a high level of casting skills?

Masami: Just only the passion for Tenkara is what made my technique evolve. I practiced the casting everyday to reach the casting technique I have now. I practiced day after day, before and after my job with a debarbed kebari for safety.
It is the same as for any kind of athlete. Practice, watch the casting of others, advise each other with friends.

Christophe: You are also known with the nickname "Tenkara-no-Oni", what is the story of this nickname? I did read in one of your blog's article that you considered concentration as one of the main quality of a good Tenkara angler and I also noticed your sense of stream and fish approach that is very particular and seems to be an important aspect of your Tenkara style? What is according to you the best way to approach a stream and be successful? 

Masami: My fellows gave me the nickname "Tenkara-no-Oni" as a joke because my face was scary when I was fishing. There is a word "鬼の形相になる" in Japan that means "becoming the evil face".
Then I told them seriously that I was playing.
About the approach I think that I can say that it is "everything" in fishing. I have a lot of experience and I still watch to understand the river conditions, if fishes are hungry or scared and then I decide of the best possible approach.

Christophe: You have recently published several articles about technical issues and one of them was about "Sasoi", I have tried to apply this technique to my fishing and I must say that it is very effective, even on spooky fishes. What is your concept of fish enticing? How do you decide to fish with dead drifts or "Sasoi'?

Masami: Sasoi is a technique to interest fishes when  they are not hungry, a technique that excites their curiosity with moving a kebari in front of their eyes. I can not say that it is effective every time as fishes seem to have lost their curiosity sometimes. I do not have a favorite technique in this field.
I use Sasoi first in big pools or deep spots and I do not use that first on normal streams. Fishes do not rise to the surface in big pools or deep spots so I use Sasoi first and I do it slowly. I like natural drift and that is a natural drift technique. I decide if I fish dead drift or Sasoi after watching the river conditions, if fishes are not scared and when they can be enticed.

Christophe: You run your own school of Tenkara and I was wondering how is a typical day at the Oni Tenkara school? It seems that today young anglers are more individualists than the elders and that anglers clubs have difficulties to find new members; do you think that this is because of the technological progress allows to share informations and knowledge without meeting or because of a deep change in the state of mind of anglers? 

Masami: Oni-juku (Oni school) deals with casting, reading the conditions of the river, where kebari should be casted and then how to fish! It is a school with actual fishing. A particularity of Oni-juku is that every pupil will inevitably catch one fish and it is hard to find Tenkara schools that can make every pupil catch some in Japan. We also talk about Tenkara and memories of the river, we tie kebari and enjoy BBQ. There are no concerns of age or jobs, the school stands on the only hobby.
Compared with my generation young people seem to have lost the passion for fishing. in the past anglers were more skillful and searched to improve themselves. Till my generation it was out of question to use split shots or heavy hooks for Tenkara fishing. Tenkara was done with a line and a fly and making the kebari sink was only done by using the stream flow, that was the only technique. Young anglers use split shots or heavy hooks for fly fishing with ease. They say calmly that there was Tenkara anglers using split shots in the old days, there were some because professional anglers wanted to catch fishes anyway. However the people who stick to this beautiful technique called Tenkara which is a Japanese tradition will try to fish with the technique only, they will not rely on the gear, split shots or heavy hooks, because Tenkara is wonderful.
If you just want more fish, bait and split shots will give more catch.

Christophe: How do you see the evolution of Tenkara now that it is spreading worldwide? Do you think that it is on a good way? Do you think that western anglers are respectful enough of the Japanese fishing tradition and culture? What is your opinion about the controversies in the west about what is true or false Tenkara? It seems to me that Japanese anglers are more interested in finding their own style than having an opinion about what others anglers do...

Masami: It is nice that it is spreading worldwide and that more people know this wonderful fishing technique. Do not rely on gear, release as many fishes as possible because their population are diminishing. I think that Tenkara is an aspect of the Japanese culture like Judo or Kendo. Every country has its own situation about rivers and fishes, rods have to be thicker and stronger for countries where there are big fishes (over 40 cm). Some people may need to fish "harder". It is the same in Japan where there are some people who enjoy bead headed sinking kebari. I think that it can be named "nymphing kebari".
The simple fly fishing made by Patagonia in the U.S.A is not Tenkara, that is a method of simple western fly. I love Tenkara targeting Japanese stream fish and I want to study and find my Tenkara.
Fish finder, heavy hooks, easy casting lines...The gear is evolving more and more but we do not need it. Level line is the ultimate line. Only technique matters.

Christophe: You have just released a new range of Tenkara rods that are considered by Tenkara connoisseurs as truly one of a kind rods, can you tell us more about the conception of these rods? There are new brands of rods popping up from everywhere nowadays so what in your opinion makes the identity of the Oni rods? What is your personal favorite of the three Oni rods?

Masami: I made the Oni-zao castable for everyone, a rod one can cast all day long. And these are the kind of rods that make you enjoy the fight with a fish you have hooked. For the people who want a lot of fishes like in tournament fishing it is better to use harder rods that can land the fish easier.
I like the idea that Oni-zao are used by people who can sincerely enjoy landing any fish they catch.
Type I (4m) was praised by an American blogger as N°1 rod in the world. That is a delicate yet precise rod.
Type II (4m) is made a bit thicker from the bottom to the tip but there is no difference about lightness. I made this rod for the people who are not to handle a Tenkara rod.
Type III (3.4m) is a shorter Type II. I made this rod for the people who want to fish small streams so it is extremely light and can cast precisely.
Anglers who bought Type I buy Type III for small streams. Be loved by Japanese orthodox anglers, that is Oni-zao.

Christophe: You are famous for the use of very long lines and I think that many anglers would like to be able to handle such long lines but it is not easy so would you like to give us advices to improve our casting skills? 

Masami: I began using long lines for river because I often went to a river that wide and torrential and I wanted to catch the fishes that were on the other side. I needed 12 meters! People who fish small streams do not need long lines, it is a technique that emerged from necessity. If you want to cast long lines, you only have to practice anyway. Use a thick level line (size 4) and you master 5 meters, change for 5.50 meters and so on. Doing like this you will be able to cast long lines.

Christophe: What are your plans for the future? I would like to ask you if you have ever planned to write a book about your Tenkara? 

Masami: A book about my Tenkara technique will be published in the middle of June so I am busy with the last details now. The book is written in Japanese but I intend to make translate it in English.
Oni-juku will move to Italy (July) and to the U.S.A (November). Why don't you come in Italy, Christophe? It's near you.

Christophe: Thanks for this invitation Masami-san. I will certainly not be lucky enough to have days off in July. Thanks a lot Masami-san for giving some of your time to answer these questions that I hope were interesting for you. Please, conclude as it pleases you.

Masami: Thanks to everyone for your curiosity about Tenkara. There are many fishing techniques in Japan and Tenkara is a minority and every angler has his own technique. So it is more logical to think about your own style than judging what is right or wrong.
It is a game with nature so please be careful and enjoy Tenkara. I wish to each of you to enjoy Tenkara in your streams. I thank you Christophe for giving this opportunity. Thanks!

jeudi 1 mai 2014


I have been fishing for the last two months since the season opening with the same rod and it is now time to review it. Here is the Kawashi Professional 320 7:3 by NISSIN.

Like all (I think) Japanese Tenkara rods it is sold in a plastic box where the rod is in a cloth bag. It is easy to find rod tubes or to make one by yourself and in my opinion this system is good because you pay only what you want to buy: a tenkara rod.

The general appearance of this rod is quite flattering thanks to dark purple accents on eash of the 7 pieces, the cork is not the best quality on the market but to me it is not so important as I prefer a rod with good conception and realization than exceptional cork quality for the handle. 
The theoretical length is 320 but the real length 315. The closed length is 1'9". This rod is clearly designed for the tight and bushy creeks. 
The theoretical weight is 2.01 oz and the rod I am reviewing today, with its tip plug included, has the exact weight of 2.00 oz. 
The tip plus is made of supple rubber, its diameter necessitates that you screw it in the collapsed rod but this makes you sure that the plus can not move away by itself; the butt cap is made of metal, is knurled and features a rubber insert and a drain hole.

Like any other rod made by NISSIN this one features a perfect assembly, you can check any detail as many times as you want you will not find any defect. 

The best world to describe the rod action is "crisp". I have fished a lot with this rod since the season opening and most of the time in bad conditions because of gusty winds that are so common in my area and I have to say that this rod has a fast and powerful action that can face these winds. 
I did only cast level lines with this rod and I think, after two months of use, that the most fitted line size is 3. This makes false casting useless, to reduce to almost zero the line impact on the water and to keep good casting precision through wind. 

This excellent rod is sold at the reasonable price of 170 USD and I can tell you that once you have caught several trouts on this little beauty it is hard to put it back to the rack!