January 26, 2016

Tenkara Angler Magazine - Spring 2016 Call For Submissions

In case you haven't noticed, I dig tenkara. I love fishing small streams, and over the past 6 and a half years, my preferred method has been using a tenkara rod. Fortunately, I'm not alone. And those that hate on tenkara, well, that's their problem.

Tenkara Angler magazine is an online (& print) publication that launched as a test last Fall, and with a successful Winter follow up it appears like there's enough interest to keep it around for a while. The magazine is completely “crowdsourced;” reader submissions shape the content, I only serve the role as curator and editor.


With that, thought I'd use today's Tenkara Tuesday as a call for submissions for the Spring 2016 issue. Articles, photography, art, essays, "how-tos," fly tying, destination travel, if it's tenkara related, it's all fair game.

You don't need to be a professional writer or photographer to participate, just willing to share. If you're interested, or even mildly curious, there's more information on the submission process HERE.

The Winter 2015-16 issue is embedded below. There were a lot of great contributions from across the tenkara community, yours could be next!

January 22, 2016

Bonefish Barrage

My inbox was barraged by bonefish emails yesterday...strange...perhaps with all the blizzard talk in the Northeast, the senders want to get their recipient's mind in a warmer climate...

Anyway, figured I'd consolidate & regurgitate. It makes for an easy blog post; enjoy...

First was Rod from DIY Bonefishing (an excellent site by the way) dropping a trip report of a friend chasing bones in (gasp) Cuba!


Then, almost on cue, Rio Products followed up with an email with "10 Interesting Bonefish Facts," and a slew of links to shop their specialized bonefish lines.



Oh, and a video...



All this bonefishing stuff makes me wonder why I'm sitting at my computer at work right now...right? I need to get back to the Cayman Islands, no bones to hand, but it was a blast!

January 18, 2016

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - The SipaBoards Fisherman SUP

Ok...they finally got me.

When I thought SUPs designed for fishing couldn't get any more rad, I get an email about this self-inflating, electric-propelled model from SipaBoards...


Yeah, you read that right.

So let's walk through what's going on here. It's an inflatable stand up paddleboard with a nice, large platform (almost 6 feet long by 3 feet wide) to paddle and fish from. Like most fishing-oriented SUPs, the Fisherman has a lot of D rings to tie and strap things down, be it fishing gear, dry bags, coolers, whatever. But that's where the "normal" comparables end.

At the core of this SUP is a "jet engine," basically a centrally located compressor that serves two functions. The first is that it inflates your board in a few short minutes (video below). The second is that it also plays the role of trolling motor, providing extra "paddle assist" that keeps you on the move for up to 3 hours.


Oh, and how do you control this electric jet engine? Through a Bluetooth control in your paddle, of course. How slick is that?

Here's a little bit more information provided by the manufacturer:
SipaBoards delivers all the advantages of inflatables, like easy storage and transport, at the same time boldly breaking new ground with self-inflation and several hours of paddle assist from the fully integrated electric motor. 
Founder Sebastjan Sitar was happy to answer the calls of those in the fishing community with a model that fits their every need: 
“Our fishing model is also a bit of a hint that SipaBoards is set to introduce some new things. We won’t be surprised if the Fisherman is next year’s hit, since we worked so closely with fishers and paddleboarders to give them exactly what they asked for.”


Now I'm not going to lie, all these bells and whistles don't come inexpensively, but damn if this board wouldn't be a ton of fun to take out on the water. Really hope some demos show up at some point here in the US. MSRP is $2790, but the SipaBoard Fisherman is currently being offered at an introductory-sale price of $1990.

January 17, 2016

The Otaki from Discover Tenkara & Tenkara Centre

Wow, quite a lot going on with new tenkara rods for 2016...

The latest addition appears the be the "Otaki," a collaboration between Tenkara Centre & Discover Tenkara. While I've never fished a Tenkara Centre rod before, if any of the prior content created by the guys at Discover Tenkara is an indication of how this rod may perform, anglers are likely going to be in for a treat.


Some info additional information from the Discover Tenkara website:

...Through our investigations and the kind teachings of many top Japanese anglers, we realised that the early western-produced tenkara rods tended to suffer from poor “recovery” of the rod tip. In other words, they would wobble a lot at the end of a casting stroke. Even now, many Japanese and non-Japanese tenkara rods either have poor recovery – or they go to the other extreme and “over-recover”... 
We use the term “Over-recovery” to describe when the rod returns smartly to a straight position when it “unloads” at the end of a casting stroke – but then does an extra “rebound” before settling to a straight position...With the Otaki, the recovery is just right. It neither continues wobbling uncontrollably – nor does it rebound and move your hand when you give it a firm “stop”... 
...we took all of our existing favourite handle dimensions and shapes and combined them into what we felt was the optimum in terms of comfort and versatility. The handle is also relatively long (so that you can alter the “fishing length” of the rod just by moving your hand to different parts of the grip). It is also made of very firm EVA – with a durable cork/resin composite at the front end (which stands up to wear and tear – as well as taking the hook point of a fly/kebari very well with minimal ill effects!)

There's a lot going on here, but as silly as this may sound, the foam pommel at the butt end of the rod was the first thing that caught my attention. When I fish with tenkara rods, I tend to hold them as far down the grip as possible, cradling the butt end in my palm. I never thought the flat ends of most tenkara rods were incredibly ergonomic, so I'm "all in" when it comes to this minor improvement.


As far as full specs, pricing, & a release date, well they are still to come, but based on the fact that the Discover Tenkara team is behind the development of this rod, it's definitely one that I can't wait to learn more about.

January 11, 2016

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - The Kaku Wahoo Kayak

I haven't really been hunting down the latest and greatest in fishing kayaks as of late, however while paging through the free Coastal Angler Magazine I picked up a few weeks ago, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the new Wahoo from Kaku Kayaks.


This kayak appears to have all the features and specs that a top notch fly fishing kayak needs. They compare well to most competitors and even have a few that right now are somewhat unique, although I'm certain will be emulated by others.

Here's the skinny from the manufacturer website:

The new Wahoo boasts a 12.5′ long by 33″ wide incredibly stable design. With a roomy open cockpit design, including adjustable foot pegs and aluminum top load gear tracks, you’ll have full control guide this highly versatile yak to your local fishing hole. The lightweight aluminum frame seat will keep you comfortable while you fish and the rear tie down system will keep your gear secure for that “Big One!” The new Wahoo is rudder and micro power pole ready (not included), so feel free to customize after purchase.
  • Length: 12.5 Feet
  • Width: 33" across
  • Weight: 74 pounds
  • Capacity: 400 pounds
  • MSRP: $1099 (although available with a pre-order price of $999)

There's clearly a lot going for for the Wahoo. I love that it's got a generally large cockpit/deck to allow for stand-up fishing and appreciate that it's designed to accommodate a Power Pole Micro, as that really seems to be an accessory that is becoming more and more popular for shallow water anglers. I've certainly had my eye on one for a little while now.

Here are a few more photos lifted from their website, to better show off some of the features since you won't be able to see this kayak in person until February...



January 10, 2016

Beer Me...And Bring The Fishing Rod Too!

Back in October, I was introduced to an interesting product via my Cairn subscription. (If you're not familiar, Cairn is a "box of the month" club, where you get random outdoors products and foodstuffs...like THESE...which are so tasty it isn't even funny).


The Mountainsmith Cooler Tube Sling arrived at my front door and I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. It's essentially a tube with an insulated, padded liner designed to hold a 6 pack of beer (or soda) vertically. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap so you can wear your beverages; I suppose it's a way to show off your drink cooling prowess in style without dropping $250 on one of those tiny YETIs.


As I was saying, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but last night I came to the epiphany that it makes a pretty slick rod sling, especially when you consider rod slings (with slightly more pockets) retail for at least double of the $25 MSRP of this tube, and don't come with the added benefit of keeping, at least, one can of something cold.


Surprisingly, this tube sling will actually hold up six 12' rods comfortably, plus a beverage at one of the ends. 

Not sure if I'm going to use this on the water, but as a way to transport a handful of rods (think airplane carry-on to the Tenkara Summit), perhaps this will strike your fancy. Heck, even if you're not looking for a fancy Mountainsmith "Hemp" fabric version, there are evidently many other tube coolers on the market, just make sure they accommodate six 12 ounce cans.

(For what it's worth, a smaller 4 piece standard fly rod will also fit in the rod tube, but not with the canned beverage, so in my opinion, what's the point?)


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DISCLAIMER:
Although this isn't really a review, I wanted to note that none of the manufacturers or retailers mentioned in the post above paid or supplied me free product for inclusion. It's simply a by-product of writing a blog post far too late on a Saturday night when all common sense & coherency is lost. That said, should any of them see this post and have the sudden desire to shower me with swag, they can certainly feel free to contact me HERE.

January 9, 2016

Fishing Haturday - Dead Drift Fly

The West is calling...

That's the mantra of the gang at Dead Drift Fly. Their passion for the mountains and waters of the West are displayed in their apparel and headwear line, and I happen to be particularly fond of the "bucking trout" graphic. As such, today's featured hat is...

The Bucking Trout Snapback Fishing Hat from Dead Drift Fly


Pretty rad, eh?

Even if the snapback trucker is not your personal style, there are so many well-designed hats & tees on the Dead Drift Fly website, I'm certain one will catch your attention.

Hats start at $25, tees at $30.

January 7, 2016

Opinion: New Rod Development Podcast

I really enjoyed this podcast during my drive home from work last night.


While not particularly long, if you don't want to listen to it, Daniel struggles with question of whether it's really worth it for him to develop new rod models each and every year like most other fishing rod companies do. The cycle takes place to satisfy the demand that consumers (and in turn, retailers) have for what is percieved to be the latest & greatest in gear.

He claims keeping his product line short & streamlined aligns nicely with his tenkara philosophy of simplicity. Why try to develop additional rods when the five models he currently offers each serve a purpose, fit pretty much every tenkara fishing scenario, and fish well? Sort of a battle of novelty vs. function.

As an entrepreneur, it must be difficult to see others garnering attention and market share with their new rod launches. Several rods from Tanuki, TenkaraBum, Tenkara Rod Co.Oni, Badger, and Dragontail, (just to name a few), have premiered since Tenkara USA last released a pair of new rods in late 2013.


Now I don't really have a quick fix for Daniel. In the end, he might not really need to do anything. However since he was asking for opinions, perhaps these are a few ideas that might help him generate some buzz around his rod line without reinventing the reel wheel.

What's Old Is New Again
While Tenkara USA has 5 rods in its line at the moment, it has sold many more models that it has retired over the years. Perhaps rather designing a new rod, a limited release of an old favorite might be in store. One of the retired Tenkara USA rods with a somewhat cult following is the wooden-handled Ebisu.

Tenkara USA Ebisu

An "Ebisu Classic," possibly with a minor tweak or two based on the learnings since it was first on the market, seems like it would be a home run. Oldies can be goodies.

Pimp My Rod
Is there a way to make all of those tenkara rods you have sold into the market "better"?  One idea I've always thought would be interesting (although perhaps not cost effective) would be to offer replacement handle "upgrades" for the most popular models. A Sato handle segment upgrade to a bamboo handle, or a wood like the Ebisu mentioned above. Others may be drawn toward some of the synthetics on the market, such as the camo patterned foam handles found on the Oni rods or the Winn grips found on fly rods such as the Redington Vapen Red.

Go Premium
I don't know much about rod materials, but I know there are a ton of different grades of components such as carbon fiber and cork. Ways to make rods lighter, higher performance, or even just more attractive. Tenkara USA's rods are very nice and extremely premium in function. I love mine and fish them about 90% of the time, but I don't think there is a true "premium," spare no expense, rod in their line. The cork grips alone tell me that. Who said simplicity needs to be spartan?


I don't drive fancy cars, so I might not be the target customer of a Sato+ Lexus Edition, but it would probably appeal to some. I've never fished a Tanuki, but damn if that rod isn't pretty.

What Else Can You Simplify?
I know Daniel preaches the concept that tenkara is about simplicity, and it can't get more simple than a rod, line, and fly. However, tenkara fishermen still bring other "stuff" to the stream, be it as part of their fishing gear, or simply to enhance the experience. Quick drying apparel, streamlined waders, adapting sawanobori shoes to the American market, even a line of bento boxes for streamside meals (that's sort of a joke), I don't really know... I don't think one would need to go crazy, but there has got to be other ways to streamline fly fishing outside of eliminating the reel.

Oh, and in a related aside, why don't you have Jeremy Shellhorn create a few new t-shirt designs? I've been wearing the same Tenkara USA shirt for a few years, I'd have a drawer full of tenkara shirts if I had more options. Let us be your billboards, ha!

End of day, it's all just food for thought, hope it doesn't create any indigestion.

January 6, 2016

1000% Off Topic...

...but this is my favorite commercial on TV right now.


"...now they're makin' chickenbuggahs..."

I laugh every single time.

Some creative fly tyer would be wise to make a "woollybuggahs" parody.
Comedic gold served on a platter. You're welcome.

January 5, 2016

Tenkara Tuesday - New Year, New News...

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

With the turn of the new year, there's been a flurry of interesting news in tenkara circles. Figured I'd recap a little bit of it here today.

Tenkara - The Book?

Leading off, Tenkara USA teased a new tenkara book on Facebook yesterday. Knowing nothing more than what this video displays, it appears that there's quite a bit of eye candy to be had. Looking forward to adding this to my fly fishing library.

This has been a project in the making for the last few years and it is now getting closer to reality. Stay tuned to hear more about "Tenkara - the book" by Daniel Galhardo
Posted by Tenkara USA on Monday, January 4, 2016

And speaking of books, don't forget the e-book that the guys from Discover Tenkara have coming out as well. Sign up for their newsletter HERE for more updates, but it looks like we've all got a lot of reading in front of us!



2016 Tenkara Winter Series

Next, the details of the Tenkara Winter Series were announced (and accompanying website updated). Slated for March 12th in Golden, CO, there will be presentations by Bob Younger, Dennis Coppock, Jason Klass, & Robert Worthing, as well as a 2016 new product unveil by Zen Fly Fishing Gear, hosts of the event. If only I lived closer...



Tenkara Times TRY300

Finally, the popular Tenkara Times TRY330 rod has been reimagined for 2016. Per the release:


"The new TRY300 rod is an update to the TRY330 and it retains the best qualities of its predecessor. Much thought and design consideration went into the original TRY330 and that continues with the TRY300. 
The TRY300 is very light, weighing only 56 grams and with a center of gravity of 55cm and rotational moment of 3.08 it feels extremely light in the hand. 
The rod blank is painted matte grey without accents. Since small stream tenkara fishing typically happens at very short distances this muted color is stealthy and spooks fish much less than a bright and glossy rod can. The rod’s light weight allows you to comfortably grip the rod by the butt and is the reason we use a short handle with only the single profile bump. 
The true rod length is 3.06 meters so the new model name of TRY300 now more accurately indicates the rod’s actual length."

The TRY300 is available now at the Tenkara Times website, and will also be available domestically at Three Rivers Tenkara in the not too distant future.

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ATTENTION TENKARA FISHERFOLK
Are you a 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, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post or Tenkara Angler magazine! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.

January 4, 2016

Wanderlust - North To Maine

Ugh, my little winter vacation is over. It was nice while it lasted, but it's time to get back after it today.

At the end of the summer, my thoughts wandered west to Yosemite. While few places can even attempt to be as picturesque, recently I've been thinking quite a bit about Maine, let's take a few moments to visit, if only from afar...

Photo: MCTU

Photo: Maine Woods Tourism

Photo: Weatherby's

Photo: Mainely Flyfishing

Photo: Captain Kimo

I don't recall ever being in Maine, although it could be possible as I visited New Hampshire once as a kid. I tend to block out that trip as I was scarred by my first Moxie exposure.

Jokes aside, I'd really like to get back to that area of the country again as an adult to soak in the whole experience. Not just for the fly fishing (& tenkara opportunities), but the local flavor, the beautiful nature and wildlife, and all of the maritime history that makes that part of New England unique.

Anybody have any suggestions regarding vacationing and/or fly fishing in Maine? I'd love to learn more about your experience in the comments below. I think this could be an ideal Summer or Fall family getaway, quite a bit different than Florida at the very least.

January 3, 2016

Video: Exciting Tenkara テンカラヒットシーン

This video made the social rounds a few days ago, but I thought I'd share it here too.

When you stumble upon the "typical" tenkara video on YouTube, the soundtrack is very, umm...Japanese. And by that I mean peaceful, serene, basically the exact opposite of what Jun Yossy put together here:


1:30 to about 2:00 in the video is great, I'd love to fish that water. Also, the kid at 3:42 is awesome, displaying the quickest way to bring a fish to hand.  :)

January 2, 2016

Fishing Haturday - Reel Local

Tactical-inspired gear seems to be creeping more and more into the outdoor segment, you can see it with the popularity of companies such as 5.11 Tactical. If you haven't noticed the trend yet, I'm sure you will soon.

A more fishy spin on tactical headwear is being brought to us from Reel Local, a Florida-based company that caters to fly fishermen who like to spend their time inshore chasing reds, trout, and the like. With that, today's featured hat is...

The Redfish "Mangrove Camo" Operator Tactical Patch Hat from Reel Local


If this particular color isn't for you, there are a ton of other tactical-inspired patch hats available on the site featuring different styles of camo, as well as flat brimmed versions. Regularly $29.99, many hats are currently on sale (with free shipping) for $24.99.

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

My Last Fish of 2015

I'm not going to write a "New Year's Resolutions" post this year, as my goals are simple...fish more & write more. I'm certain with a little bit of effort, I will achieve both.


As for you...well...right after you all start the year right by running off to renew your fishing license(s) and make a donation to your preferred conservation group, please be sure to check out the 2015 year-end recaps or 2016 resolution posts from some of my blogging friends in the slider below, just click on the image to jump to the post.

There is really a lot of great content out there right now, would be a shame to miss it. Plus, they'll take the edge off your New Year's hangover...I promise.



Oh, and if the little slider thingy doesn't work on your preferred method of reading the blog, please let me know in the comments below...this is the first time I've used it and it works on all of my screens, desktop & mobile, so I hope it does for you too.  

If not, here are the links to the various posts, old-fashioned style, which is sooo last year...

CARF Outdoors: 2015 Year End Review #1
CARF Outdoors: 2015 Year End Review #2
Teton Tenkara: It Was A Good Year
TFM: 2015 - A Whirlwind of Fun and Firsts
True North Trout: 2015 Great - Look Forward to 2016
Northern California Trout: That's A Wrap 2015 Is In The Books
The Trout Zone: 2015 Year In Review
Pile Cast: 2015 Year In Review
Bonefish On The Brain: Five Goals For 2016
Tenkara Grasshopper: A Happy 2016 Tenkara New Year
Waterdog Journal: New Year Resolution
Fisherous: Journal: My Outlook for 2016
Windknots & Tangles Lines: Windknots in the rearview mirror...
One Bug Is Fake: OBIF's Favorite Things
Looknfishy: 2015 Out...
Small Stream Reflections: Bookends...2015 in closing
Mike's Gone Fishin'...Again: Place