Popping in the DVD, the first thing you notice is the superior production quality. This wasn't filmed on a Flip Video camera. The video is sharp, the colors are rich, all it was missing was a killer soundtrack...and no, unfortunately none of the tiers break out a ukelele to add mood music.
Once in, the video is pretty much broken down into a few sections. The first section is the infamous Ishigaki Kebari, the signature fly of Dr. Hisao Ishagaki. Three tiers - Dr. Ishigaki, Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA, & Chris Stewart of TenkaraBum.com all take turns tying their variants of this easily identifiable tenkara fly. It was pretty interesting to see how the three each approached the tie just a little bit differently.
|Dr. Ishigaki giving the secret of kebari size|
|Daniel tying with jacket on...indoors...under camera lights...|
Then more or less the video is turned over to Chris Stewart, who ties up a ton of different "Western Variants," or flies most fly fishermen may be familiar with, just with a sakasa kebari-flair to them.
|MVP, MVP, MVP!|
This is actually the meat and potatoes of the DVD, and Chris takes home MVP honors. I really enjoyed the way Chris presented each tie, first going through the necessary materials (which is a bit repetitive when watched one after the other, but is important if taking a recipe on it's own), walking through the tie step by step, leaving nothing assumed, and finally describing when and how he would fish each fly. Chris does such a great job, quite honestly he should consider doing more tying videos.
A common thread between all flies was some really nice underwater video of how the fly behaves when wet...be it in a dead drift or when pulsed. This is something that is so commonsense, yet is often left out of many fly tying videos.
|Underwater view of the Takayama Sakasa Kebari|
Now the video isn't without faults, although complaining about them is kind of silly because the good so far outweighs the bad. That said, the first thing I would call out is that as good as Chris is, I would have liked to have seen a few more ties either from Dr. Ishigaki, Daniel, or perhaps someone else. Well I guess you could cross Dr. Ishigaki off that list since he only ties one fly. Actually there were a few surprise appearances from Dennis Galyardt (Partridge & Olive Sakasa Kebari), Rob Worthing (Utah Killer Bug), & Erik Ostrander (Utah Killer Kebari) to tie a fly each, but like I said, this was largely the Chris Stewart show.
The second thing worth noting is that all of the video is shot facing the tier. None of it is reversed, or really from the tier's point of view like it would be when you are tying. While this is easily overlooked, I think it's something for consideration in future volumes. (By the way, is it "tier" or "tyer"...beats the hell out of me...)
So I guess you're going to ask me if I actually made it through the video in one sitting...well, that answer would be no, although I did try. It was just that my sofa was so soft and comfy...the shades were drawn...and well...ummm...okay...I fell asleep about an hour and a half through the first time. But that wasn't really due so much to the video being boring, because it isn't, I was just tired and slightly jetlagged.
Anyway, in closing, if you're into tenkara and want to get a bunch of recipes and instruction in one place, this option is a heck of a lot easier than searching around forums, websites, and YouTube for random kebari tying videos. Like I mentioned above, the production value is very high, so it's a DVD that should retain it's value for quite some time. Or at least until DVDs are obsolete. Heck, it even inspired me to do some tying of my own...and that's a rarity!
|My Sakasa Krapola Kebaris|
The Tying Tenkara Flies DVD viewed in this product review was provided to me by the producers at no cost, but holds a retail value of $24.99 per the manufacturer's website. I currently hold no association with LearnTenkara whatsoever, other than shaking both producers' hands at the recent Tenkara Summit. I also fully disregard the fact that one of the producers (Ashley) sent my daughter Lilly a pink Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari, clearly as a token to sway my review in their favor. :)
As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time in doing so?