jeudi 29 janvier 2015

A rod, a line, a fly

Since I have been editing this blog my vision of fly fishing has radically evolved and I am glad today to type that I do not feel concerned at all by what is happening in the decaying world of "western fly fishing".
But just as a reminder, none shall forget that without the traditional techniques such as Tenkara, called "volante" in France or "valsesiana" in Italy, western fly fishing would probably not even exist.
To me tenkara is not a fly fishing technique among others it is the quintessential fly fishing technique, the perfect expression of fly fishing devoid of any unneccesary piece of gear.

Now I have got rid of the dirty rags of "fly fishing" I am staring at the path and I know there will be no way back. At least for me!
Since I have been fishing tenkara, I have not touched a western "fly rod" anymore, I am not addicted anymore because I have realized that I am a better angler thanks to tenkara which is a fly fishing technique that improves my technique and effectiveness due to the fact that I did not import in my tenkara the useless accessories and gadgets from my western fly fishing experience. All this garbage only makes fly fishing even more difficult than it actually is. 

A rod, a line, a fly. 

lundi 19 janvier 2015

Tenkara Winter

For those of us who do not live in places where all round year trout fishing is illegal winter is generally very long. Hopefully some people who have the opportunity to fish for trout during winter time share some of their videos on the web!

samedi 17 janvier 2015


Tenkara is spreading worldwide more and more as more and more anglers get interested in this simple and very effective fly fishing technique originating from Japan. It is always good to see anglers trying to experience something else than western fly fishing.
Today I share what is, I think, the first tenkara fishing video from the Pyrenean mountains in Spain.

Tenkareando por el Pirineo from Pirineos Flyfishing on Vimeo.

I think that in a close future we will watch tenkara fishing videos from countries we would even put on the map of fly fishing.

jeudi 15 janvier 2015


I did finish the review of the first issue writing that I was eager to have the second one in my hands.

And now I have just finished reading the second issue I can type that it was really worth waiting.

The contents are rich and varied like they were in the first issue. I may be wrong but I think this magazine is influenced by Japanese fishing magazines such as Headwater and I am not going to complain about as Japanese fishing magazines are definitely better than any of those printed over here. In this second issue of the Tenkara Magazine you will read very good and interesting articles about topics such catch & release, Daniel Galhardo's encounter with Yuzo Sebata, saltawater tenkara,
tenkara technique, Dave Southall's travels, Japanese salmonids...And much more!

The highlight of this issue is, to me, the excellent interview of Yuzo Sebata by Adam Trahan, the founder of Tenkara Fisher forum  and this is done in the image of anything he does in the tenkara community. With heart and sincerity in a spirit of share. 
I greet the idea of expanding the circle of contributors to this issue which avoids the trap of articles turning in circles around always the same topics and the same viewpoints. The font size has been slightly increased and blackened so the reading is very easy and absolutely not tiring. 

This is the only paper magazine I would invite anyone interested by tenkara to read because it is a collective work managed by a handful of tenkara passionates who teamed up to offer the world a very high quality magazine. 

I am already waiting for vol. 3!

mercredi 7 janvier 2015


For a few months now some readers have asked me if I could post some articles about tenkara books and I think that this can be interesting so I have decided to do some.
This first post about tenkara books is about one that I think is very interesting as the author is a very important character in the history of contemporary tenkara: Hiromichi Fuji.

He has been of the first to use this fishing technique in a sports perspective after the disappearance of commercial tenkara anglers in Japan who had never worried about transmitting their knowledge.
In that time very few people were interested by tenkara besides a handful of passionates such as Yuzo Sebata and the journalist Soseki Yamamoto. The "Modern tenkara" book was published in 1990 and is the fruit of a long tenkara experience. 
This books consists in five parts and begins by a generous chapter about tenkara gear and the least I can state is that this chapter has been written by a man who has played a key role in the design and development of contemporary tenkara rods for the Nissin company. Fuji Sensei is also a famous furled taper lines maker. These lines were designed by Fuji Sensei to perfectly fit his own tenkara technique named "sutebari".

The goal is clear: enticing the fish by suggesting a starting hatch. This technique is effective and I often use it when I go fishing in the less productive hours. I have really better results while following the techniques of the tenkara masters than with the easy resort of weighted nymphs. 
Like any good about tenkara there is a chapter about fly tying and in this book it is generously illustrated with very explicit drawings that can be understood even by someone who has never tied any kebari before. I note that at the time when the book was published Fuji Sensei seemed to have a preference for classic tenkara patterns such as the Asahi kebari, the Takayama sakasa kebari and the Gujo kebari. 
The fundamental difference,  in my opinon, between Japanese and French books about fishing is that Japanese authors have heart to share their experience and knowledge while the French ones are more interested by flattering their ego. 

The third part deals with casting and the analysis of streams. This chapter is very well done and its content can be very useful to people who are new to fishing because Fuji Sensei had the great idea to make very clear illustrations. 

This chapter also contains illustrated explanations about the kebari presentation techniques called "sasoi" and I highly recommend tenkara newbies to seriously study these techniques because they can help one to seriously improve his technique and make one realize that in the tenkara world technique is more important than gear. 

The fourth part of the book deals with several topics but one of them especially caught my attention: the vision of salmonids. One can easily find in books, the internet and fishing magazines a huge number of theories about the salmonids vision but I personally never saw anything I could consider as relevant because I have always seen or read about the salmonids field of vision as a perfectly smooth cone. As far as I know a stream is not a perfectly ordered laboratory, trouts prefer living in places nearby an easy access shelter. This sole example, to me, shows that Fuji Sensei wrote his book basing its content on his personal experience and observations with the goal of sharing his ideas, concepts and discoveries.


John Vetterli  of Tenkara Guides LLC was kind enough to write the final part of this post and share his experience with Fuji Sensei with us and I am grateful to him for having accepted my request. 

In June 2014, my business and fishing partner Erik Ostrander and myself had just finished several days of fishing in Itoshiro village with Dr. Ishigaki when our good friend Eiji Yamakawa's van pulled up early in the morning to start a 4 hour road trip to a remote mountain fishing hut outside of Kiyoto that belongs to Horimichi Fuji. Author of several books on tenkara, innovator if NISSIN PALS fluorocarbon furled taper lines, commercial fly tier for Nissin, and designer of the Nissin Airstage Fujiryu line of tenkara rods. 

All the gang. We all slept in two tiny rooms in the hut together. 

When we finally arrived at Fuji Sensei's hut, we were greeted by several members his fishing club and after brief introductions, we were in the river fishing under the watchful eyes of one of the living tenkara masters of Japan.

Fuji Sensei, Eiji Yamakawa, John Vetterli

Fuji Sensei's style or Ryu of tenkara is unique. He likes softer full flex rods and uses his Nissin Pals furled lines. His casting stroke is slower in tempo than most tenkara anglers. He lets the rod completely load on the backstroke before he launches the line forward. He likes the kebari to land very soft, controlled, and fly only on the water. 

Fuji Sensei teaching John the finer points of Fujiryu Tenkara

His teaching is a mix of sternness and easy going fun. He is quick to spot glitches in your cast or presentation and approachable to discussion about how to fix things. 
He is a very warm, generous, good humored man with deep and sincere love of his streams, mountains, fishing culture, and teaching. He is a perfectionist when it comes to casting and presentation. He will push you to achieve and reach your potential. 


Fuji Sensei after a long day of fishing

We spent 3 days days living together in his tiny hut. Eating traditional Japanese food, sitting around the charcoal fire every night tying kebari, sharing stories, laughing a lot, and having a hell of a lot of fun. 

Kebari tying and joke telling night

After our last day of fishing we traveled to Fuji Sensei's home in Kiyoto to tour his workshop where he hand ties all the kebari that Nissin sells and the giant machine he designed to build the Nissin Pals furled lines. His workshop is an inspiring place to visit and learn about his line making process and learn about his methods for tying kebari patterns. 

Learning about line making in Fuji Sensei's workshop

Hiromichi Fuji is a living treasure for tenkara anglers all over the world. I am truly humbled and honored to have spent a few days living, fishing, and learning from him. I will always cherish my memories of hanging out with Fuji Sensei.

John Vetterli