September 20, 2011

Tenkara Tuesday - American Tenkara Enthusiast

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

For today's installment, it's my pleasure to present a guest post by Adam Trahan. Truthfully, Adam was one of the few I approached to write for this series, as he has gone to great lengths to research and share his findings on the origins and techniques of tenkara. More importantly, he's also one of those guys that doesn't waste words when writing. His words are all chosen to have have a purpose, ultimately to make the reader think...even if it is not always the most popular viewpoint.  The world needs more folks like that. 

Please enjoy!


Adam Trahan

Troutrageous! (Michael Agneta) asked me to write a little on being an "American Tenkara" enthusiast. I am honored to write for his blog.

As of now, late summer of 2011, I am completing my second full year of practicing tenkara. During that time, I have not used a Western fly rod with a reel. I consider myself an new person to tenkara and at the same time I am very experienced with it considering my angling experience. As a fly fisherman, I am well advanced, tenured in many schools but really just starting to understand what it is to be a fly angler.

Forty years ago, I caught my first Brook Trout on a mountain stream in Utah when I was just ten. I practice fly-fishing in streams, rivers, lake and sea. I also build bamboo fly rods from raw materials and have produced the oldest small stream fly fishing web site found on the Internet.
(Wayback Machine Grab).

As an American angler, I have not forgotten who I am or where I came from.

Tenkara is from Japan.

I practice it in America.

I research the history of tenkara and I understand where it came from and the position it stands at in Japan and in America past and present.

With the assistance of a Japanese fly fisher living in Japan, I have researched and have shared my findings to Americans (and anyone that cared to read) the Japanese books on tenkara that predate the Internet and the business of marketing tenkara to America.

My philosophy is that I consider myself a global citizen and I believe we are all created equal, no matter religion or race, men women and children are all created equal.

As an American, I follow American traditions.

I am considerate and respectful to other forms of angling. I learned to fish with a cane pole as a child and that is the allure of tenkara, the youthful feeling, the return to a more simple time in my fishing.

In my past, I also have used a spinning rod as well. I am far from being a tenkara purist even though I have been fishing the last two years only with tenkara rods.

I consider fly-fishing a more challenging skill and a better choice for an overall fishing experience than tenkara for obvious reasons however I consider tenkara the best choice for mountain stream fishing.

I believe fly fishing skills pertain to tenkara and a tenkara rod can be substituted for a fly rod in order to learn fly-fishing. I believe tenkara is the best way to learn fly fishing but one should not stop with tenkara, it is far too limiting unless you choose to only fish small mountain streams the rest of your life.

Not a bad choice…

I have been making small stream fly fishing specific Internet web sites since 1996. Since that time, I have shown people how rewarding mountain stream fishing is, how easy it can be with a simple method of a small fly box in your pocket, a nipper on a piece of fly line around your neck and a light line fly rod. I’ve shown that using this simple method, other forms of fly fishing can be simplified.

I enjoy the aesthetic of the Japanese and their stylish interpretation of fly fishing their own mountain streams. For as long as the tenkara enthusiast, Yoshikazu Fujioka has made his web site (since 1997), I have admired and complimented his style, sending Internet fly fishers his way. But Mr. Fujioka does not represent all of Japan yet I consider Mr. Fujioka, Japan’s leading fly fisherman from my own American perspective reviewing his presentation of fly fishing the mountain streams in Japan.

In order to learn tenkara, I chose a Japanese tenkara rod, made in Japan by Japanese craftsmen sold by an 110+ year old Japanese rod shop. This Japanese rod company chose me to represent their tenkara products much in the way that Loop Fly Reels did in the 1990's. I have helped and continue to help others purchase tenkara equipment from Japan no matter what company they decide to purchase from because I believe in supporting the companies from the country of origin. They have many years developing tenkara rods and I enjoy equipment that stands the test of time.

Michael, thank you for asking me to submit my thoughts on being an American tenkara angler. I wish you many years of enjoyment and satisfaction in writing your thoughts and reflecting on angling.


About the Author:

Around 1994, my mother gave me her Macintosh computer. A work friend that understood HTML and also had a Mac taught me how to make web sites. I have been creating online communities since 1994 and started in 1996 and most recently. Since I was a child, I have been pursuing solo sports in the mountains, pioneering snow surfing, all forms of skateboarding, surfing, hang and paragliding. My best work is done alone and under pressure. My career as a cardiovascular technician allows me to be free from marketing and helps me to report independently of advertisement and marketing. I enjoy researching my interests online and have created those online communities to gather together the best people at a particular discipline. www.slalomskateboarder and are two more examples that have become successful and continue to this day. At 50 years old, Adam Trahan is the father of three boys and the husband of SWMBO.


Are you a Western tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, Troutrageous! wants to hear from you for a future Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, or check out this previous post for more information.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the Tenkara rig a few weeks back and had a blast...little different but not too bad!