Wandering Back To The Driftless - Part TwoAfter yesterday's preamble, it's time to get into the meat & potatoes (or perhaps brats & cheese) of my trip to Wisconsin, the 2016 Midwest Tenkara Fest.
The second annual Fest was (in my opinion) quite the success. It's rare when you can hold a fishing event/seminar in a modern, indoor setting that's literally a stone's throw away from a well-managed trout stream. Pretty sweet set up.
The event was hosted by Matt & Mike from Badger Tenkara and spanned two days. Saturday was the more robust schedule, while Sunday was an abbreviated session that allowed folks time to get out and take all of their new tenkara knowledge (& gear) to the area streams.
In this post, I'll highlight the vendors and presentations, in a mostly captioned, pictorial form.
Presentations: "Tenkara 101" & "All Tenkara Is Local"
|The Fest kicked off with some opening words from Mike & Matt. |
They gave a quick overview of tenkara for the people that are new to the method...
|...and then took to the stream for a rigging and casting demonstration!|
Heck, Matt even caught a fish during his demo...
|...if that won't sell tenkara rods on the spot, I don't know what will!|
Badger also had a table displaying all of their rods, lines, and accessories.
|Mike & Kathie had a wide assortment of furled & floating tenkara lines for sale. |
I picked up a floating furled line called the "Nano-Dragon" that I'm looking forward to getting wet.
|And when I said wide assortment, I wasn't kidding...tenkara lines for miles!!!|
|Speaking of wide assortment, nobody had more gear on display than "TenkaraBum" Chris Stewart.|
His tables were buzzing with activity all weekend...I had my eye on the two red Tenryu rods.
|...and even more. Notice the difference in size between |
the pocket minis in the foreground and the larger rods in the back
Zen Fly Fishing Gear
Presentation: "Pools, Pockets, & Edges"
Paul Vertrees made the trip from Colorado to show off Zen Tenkara's wares.He also made a fantastic presentation on how to read and fish the best spots in a trout stream.
I applied many of his pointers with success in the following days.
Three Rivers Tenkara
Presentation: "Building Your Tenkara Tool Box: Techniques & Tips"
|Anthony's presentation on developing your own personal tenkara style was quite entertaining.|
I was hoping it would involve a ukelele or some free verse poetry, but I was let down in that regard.
|Chris Zimmer had his full line of ultralight tenkara packs on display. |
The slings seemed to be everyone's favorite, however, I left the show with a
roomy Tailwater pack that I've been obsessed with for quite a while.
I Dream of Flies
|This was a new one to me, but what a pleasant surprise!|
The artwork of Ken Jacobs, primarily watercolor of popular fly patterns, was phenomenal.
|It kills me that these photos don't truly represent the vibrancy of Ken's work.|
Presentation: "The One Fly Philosophy & The Wide Variety of Kebari"
|I know what you're thinking...what does this have to do with tenkara? |
Well did you know that Farmers sells boat & RV insurance?
Maybe...but I bet you didn't know that Laura behind the table is a tenkara angler.
Now you do.
There were also two special video presentations made especially for the Fest from overseas.
Isaac from Fallfish Tenkara took us all on a wonderfully visual tour of Japan. He's actually since made the video public, so you can watch it below.
Additionally, Paul & John from Discover Tenkara put together a wonderful video of some of the footage they filmed from Japan that concentrates on advanced tenkara technique featuring "Tenkara Masters" such as Masami Sakakibara. My photo of their video didn't turn out great, so I'll spare you the blurry shot.
Last but not least, representatives from Project Healing Waters were in attendance. The Badger guys committed that proceeds from the Fest would go to Project Healing Waters, and a silent auction and bucket raffle was held to help stimulate donations.
I had heard that over $1000 was raised for Project Healing Waters over the course of the weekend. Not sure if that figure is confirmed, but regardless, by the turnout you could tell it was going to be a nice figure.
|The silent auction featured these wonderful Japanese kebari displays tied by "Tenkara Gandalf" Zoan Kulinski.|
|Oh, and then tons of bucket raffle items...|
|I won this one!!!!|
There was even a bit of local news coverage on Sunday; the short video below will give you a little more feel for the event. Check out the handsome guy talking to Paul Vertrees at about 0:15.
It's a shame the video is titled "Dozens" as it makes it sound like a weak turnout. There had to be at least 100 people there on Saturday. The hall was packed with a constant flow of interested anglers flowing in and out of the venue. I guess it's technically not inaccurate, though.
So that was pretty much the event part of the Midwest Tenkara Fest in a nutshell. It was a highly fun gathering, one I'd recommend attending to anyone who had never been to the Driftless, or perhaps lives in the Midwest and is tenkara-curious. A giant thanks go to the Badger Tenkara guys (& gals), as well as all of the vendors and presenters; it was extremely well organized and a pleasure to attend.
Don't worry, I did go fishing too... but more on that part of the trip tomorrow...