Enough 'Tenkara Is A Fad' Already...

Okay, this "Tenkara Is A Fad" thing has gotten a little out of control.  Daniel Galhardo, (aka Mr. Tenkara USA) tweeted - and then later wrote a blog post - about a recent run in with Lefty Kreh and bloggers start writing up a storm, both pro & con.  We got this guy, this guy, this guy, and this guy just as examples.  There are a lot more, but I choose not to bore you by piling on.  Just Google "Tenkara is a fad" and you'll get more reading than you could possibly handle on such a meaningless topic.

Is tenkara a fad?  Other than Daniel, who has a business interest in tenkara, who really cares?  It might be a fad, but then again "authorities" on particular subjects have been wrong in the past...

Babe Ruth - He'll never become a good hitter, right?

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
-- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"Taking the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and converting him into a right fielder is one of the dumbest things I ever heard."
-- Tris Speaker, baseball expert, talking about Babe Ruth, 1919

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
-- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
-- Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

"You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck."
-- Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, in firing Elvis Presley after a performance, 1954

"Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished."
-- Dick Rowe, Decca Recording Company executive, 1962 (turning down The Beatles)

"With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market."
-- Business Week, August 2, 1968.


Is it a big leap to put tenkara in the class of television, Elvis Presley, & Babe Ruth?   Probably, but I'm sure you can also see my point.  Experts know a lot about their particular field, that's how they become experts, and their views are right a lot of the time.  However, sometimes experts are wrong.  It happens.

Lefty might be right.  Who knows.  Who cares.  He is but one voice in a sea of fisherfolk.  Is it really even worthy of debate?

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Did I delete this comment by mistake? Anyway...Erin, I fully agree with you "who cares, let's go fishing" sentiment!

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  2. THANK YOU. My Google reader feed has been choked with various unnecessary overreactions to Lefty's comments, beginning with Daniel's hissy fit. We've all met crusty old bastards before, right? Well, Lefty Kreh is a crusty old bastard, his comments about a non-mainstream form of fly fishing that he undoubtedly has only a cartoonish understanding of are totally irrelevant, and the LAST people who should be jumping down his virtual throat about this are the ones who are best placed to know how well Tenkara is doing in the West, beginning with the guy who owns the company and ending a bunch of people who live and breathe Tenkara. It's unseemly. Who cares. Let it die.

    Thank you though for your amusing reaction - it's the only writing on the subject that I didn't immediately regret reading.

    Also for what it's worth Daniel is acting like he's scared of TCO. I don't think he should be. His company seems to be doing just fine, although I'm sure they won't have a total monopoly forever.

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    1. Thank YOU Alex, for joining the common sense parade.

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  3. Love it Big T! I agree- who cares. I don't get Tenkara, but then again I've never done it. I loved cane pole fishing as a kid. One of my blog buddies says he's going to let me borrow a rod so I can try it. I think what turns people off is the notion put forth by some that Tenkara is somehow more "pure" than other forms of fishing. We're all just bothering fish. Live and let live I say. I discovered carp fishing last year and was an instant convert, yet there are perhaps even more people out there who have decried carp fishing on the fly as a fad. From what I can see it grows every year.

    There is no purity in fishing- it is just a fun recreational activity. The building cultishness found in the various "schools" in angling, whether Tenkara, traditional gear, bamboo, dries only or what have you will be the sports undoing. Great post man.

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    1. FR, your last paragraph sums it up neatly. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. You forgot to add this post to your tally. :) (Hey, tenkara may not be a fad, but we'll be beating this horse long, long, long after it's dead. Why? Because it's more interesting than hearing about how we're all stuck inside all winter?! :) )

    I thought mine was pretty amusing. #dern.

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    1. Owl, I enjoyed your post, cults are fun to tweak, and you know I share much of the same opinion. BTW, screw this cold weather, is it Spring yet?!?

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  5. My two cents: using a long rod with a length of line (now somehow accredited to the Japanese?)IS fly fishing in my opinion. And I hesitate to call a practice so ancient a fad. After all...did we not all start out fishing this way? As humans, and as individuals? Daniel Galhardo has gone to some amusing lengths to distance his style of fishing from dappling, and I am not sure why. Credibility, maybe? Marketing, probably. However...even if Lefty Kreh is a crusty old bastard, he is one of--if not THE--most important ambassadors of this sport of fly fishing alive today and to immediately discredit his opinions is rash. You would think someone who apparently appreciates Eastern culture so much would want to know the opinions of his elders. It makes Daniel look silly. Lefty has seen many things in fly fishing come and go (and come again)in his lifetime. For me? I think I can learn a thing or two to improve my own fly fishing from "tenkara" just as I have from competition or Euro nymphing and carp fishing. The problem, and main reason for the blow-back has all been in the way this form of fly fishing has been presented; as better and more pure than what we all have grown up with. It is not different, so it can not be better. Besides, when I go broke and have to sell off all my fly reels I will hang onto my longest 4-weight and have a blast. But, until then...

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    1. Good points across the board Jay. There has definitely been some backlash to tenkara due to its marketing, and perhaps some words or phrases used within to describe it, especially in the beginning. However, that's a topic for another time...remember, this post is about not caring, right?

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  6. Not the first time Daniel has looked "silly." However, it's really not "dappling." I can sometimes see his (and other tenkara users) frustrations when that comes to the surface somewhere - but you're right, Jay - it's nothing to go all nutty about. I also agree that alot of the blow-back and backlash over tenkara is because of the way it's been presented by TenkaraUSA. I don't miss my tenkara rod, but I didn't hate it either. It's just another way to do what we all love - fool the fish, get 'em on the line and release(or eat) 'em. :)

    Can't we all just get along? Even you too, cult members. :) lol

    PS - Mike's gonna get alot more traffic out of this post than the rest of us combined, I'm guessing. But then, I mean...this is Troutrageous!

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  7. PS - just for the sake of full disclosure, I've looked rather "silly" quite a few times myself. Today. (and more often the further you go back...) :)

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  8. Well put, Owl. If I am wrong about the "dappling" then please educate me and anyone else stumbling onto this thread. (I do love an education!) What is the difference between what I did when I was eight with a long stick, leader and fly----and what I do now with an 11-foot 4-weight and 20-foot leader---and "tenkara"?

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    1. I don't really know much about dapping, but the Google Machine told me it's when you use a long rod combined with either the wind or subtle motion to skate a fly on the surface? If that's right, then tenkara isn't dapping, it's more subsurface wet fly fishing. Maybe you're right, I'm no expert, I only started fly fishing a little over 2 years ago... Heck, most of the time I don't even use the wet kebari flies, I use bead head nymphs. A tenkara rod makes a heck of a small stream nymph rod.

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    2. Well, I'm not sure about anyone else's definition of "dapping" or dabbling" or whatever people are calling it - but here in GA/NC/TN people take their fly rods, wind up all the line except a foot or two - poke the rod up into the next hole (under the rhododendrons and mtn. laural and what not) and "light" the fly on the water. 9 ft rod. 1 ft line. Or 2.

      That is not tenkara because the tenkara line is as long as the rod (11 ft. or more) so you can't "poke it" into a small space.

      If you want to know what tenkara is, take a long leader equal to the distance to your fly rod and tie it to the tip-top guide. boom. You now have a tenkara rod of whatever length your rod is.

      In the South, for our small trout and tight streams, we could use a 6 ft tenkara - but don't let that get out. It's not "pure" and some of the more fanatical will nut up. ( "Go crazy" for you Yankees out there. :) )

      I think the literal translation for "Tenkara" is "Can't Mend." ( OK, no it's not....but that's funny right there, IDK who you are. :) )

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  9. As you get older, you don't care what other people think. If you want to fish Tenkara, do it. Oh, one thing you forgot with your list, DVD's are going to put the movie theaters out of business.

    Mark

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    1. That one was just a little off the mark. Replace "movie theaters" with "video stores." :)

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  10. OK... OK... I've been sufficiently admonished... No more Lefty Kreh from me....

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  11. As has been said many times by many people...give it a rest. The thought that fly fishing is "better" or more "pure" than bait fishing or lure fishing or that not fishing Tenkara is a sin and slap in the face to ancient custom is BS. Anyone's opinion and $4.00 will buy them a Starbucks! Fishing is fishing is fishing...it just doesn't matter to me. All that matters is, "didja have any luck today"?

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  12. By the way T!, way to pump up those stats today! Does it matter? My guess is probably not to you and shouldn't to anyone else either. You're going to keep writing whether it makes me upset or not, or whether you have 100 readers or 12. I say, suck it up Galhardo...it just doesn't matter.

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    1. Thanks Howard. I think the "my way is better than yours" debate is the thing that needs to be a fad...

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  13. I always buy stuff when they're no longer popular, it's cheaper that way...so I'm hoping for a fade.

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    1. I had to look that up, but no thanks. I'm saving my money for Reebok Pumps.

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  14. I need to see for myself. I think I'm going to buy a Tenkara rod this weekend and make you take me fishing at Valley.

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    1. You don't have to buy one to fish tenkara with me...I've got 3, certainly welcome to borrow one anytime.

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  15. well said. we fly fishers can be so damn dramatic :)

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  16. I reckon the proof is in the pudding. Is it a fad? I guess we'll find out. It's kind of funny, saying "it's just a fad" seems to guarantee that it's not a fad. WORDS ARE WIND. I know this; that tenkara will make you a better angler by forcing the angler to focus on the crucial, but often undervalued components of reading the water, evaluating the approach and presenting the fly. Remember it's all about the "angle of the dangle".

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    1. ...and robots will continue to fish tenkara for years after we are all gone... #tenkararobotdomination

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    2. Oh now. Wait a minute here. You think fishing a regular fly rod means you aren't focused on reading the water and presenting the fly? If so, you're doing it wrong, man! :) lol

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    3. Owl - exactly! But I think you know what I mean - tenkara can help to force those good habits on you, by eliminating the extras and reducing the temptation to cast willy nilly over fish. Of course there are no guarantees either way. I suppose there could be plenty of bad anglers fishing any style (maybe I'm one - who knows?). I think we're in complete agreement on this.

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    4. and yes, the robo-apocalypse will see an increase in tenkara (it is their preferred method).

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  17. This is simple!!! What is a fad you ask? A Temporary Fashion... Temporary to whom?... Thats where Lefty is RIGHT! Temporary to him, temporary to me, and temporary to anyone else who "TRIES" it. Similar to say... men wearing pink, or saggin yer pants like a gangsta... It either stays or goes as any other "fad"
    So... If tenkara is something that you DO, then it is yours!
    And... If tenkara is something that you tried... then its a fad!..

    Not to bust Leftys balls but... (correct me if im wrong) If you call something a "fad" wouldn't that mean that you want it to stick around long enough to prove that its temporary? He did't say it was a fad...

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  18. tenkarausa.com was registered in 2008. four years old still ranks it in fad. novelty still works, but somehow seems more insulting.

    whatever. its not kitten burning, so there's no harm in it, right? so do whatever you want...unless it involves kitten burning..? is this like free masonry? if you're a 33rd degree tenkaranrd do you have to burn kittens? i knew it.

    actually, that makes no sense. its japanese. 33rd degree probably involves octopi tentacles and panty vending machines. man, i knew there was something off about it.

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