Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

February 9, 2021

Keepin' It Squatchy

Cryptozoology is Cool

My affinity for "Bigfooting" and Sasquatch is not much of a secret. I've always been fascinated by cryptids, and in this day and age finding interesting content on the topic is not particularly difficult. Sure, a ton of the "evidence" is suspect at best, but every now and then you read or see something that really resonates and just makes you, or at least me, believe...

I'm pretty psyched that the crew from Finding Bigfoot reunited to stream a new special on Discovery+. It's the first new installment in a little over two years, and I couldn't help but smile watching it last night. It was good catching up with the gang - (from left) James "Bobo" Fay, Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, and of course, Ranae Holland. 

Did they find Bigfoot in this episode? Spoiler alert... no, but that's not really the point. It was just fun to watch, at least for me.

Recently, cryptozoololgy and my fishing intersected. Unfortunately, not on a stream, but online.

Japanese Cryptids

I'm fairly certain I've documented Tsuchinoko before, a sort of snake-like, (and alcoholic) wrongdoer that is a part of Japanese folklore. I first learned about the creature at the 2012 Tenkara Summit, when visiting Japanese anglers spoke about how their fishing club (the No-Tarin Club), inspired by famed author/angler Soseki Yamamoto, seek out the legendary creature. There was also a mention of a wolf in the presentation, one I never really paid much attention to... until now.

Well, fast forward to today, and the moderator of the Japanese fishing group I'm a part of on Facebook started posting liberally about the quest for proof of the Japanese wolf, which is a legitimate historical animal, but was believed to have gone extinct in the early 1900s.

Much like the also extinct Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylacine), there are evidently frequent sightings of what people believe to be the Japanese wolf, and there's even an organization formed whose primary objective is to find a living specimen of the animal.

That organization is seeking the aid of local outdoorsfolk, including anglers, to relay stories, report sightings, or provide evidence of the wolf. If only I lived in Japan, I'd be spending every weekend fly fishing and searching for Tsuchinoko and the Japanese wolf! I mean Lilly & I tried our own "Finding Bigfoot" while in central New York back in the day, but alas, we never found him.

There are just so many layers to this I find intriguing. Language barriers and joking aside, I'm finding myself looking more and more into cryptids each and every day. However I purposely stay away from the Michigan Dogman. That thing is just scary.

And yeah, I know I'm weird.


If you're into Bigfoot as well, I highly recommend Cliff & Bobo's Bigfoot & Beyond podcast. The episodes aren't too long and it's really entertaining. Plus, you just learn a lot of new things about the natural world. Some day I'd like to visit Cliff's museum, the North American Bigfoot Center located in Oregon. I support it on Patreon and the perks they provide to members are amazing. 

I do plan on hitting up Expedition: Bigfoot! in North Georgia the next time I'm up there chasing trout. There have been many sightings in the area, not by me (yet), but you never know what the future holds...

November 11, 2019

Countdown to Oni Tenkara School 2020

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough... I'm in.

While recent blog posts and photographs may indicate that I'll be doing more fly fishing (with a reel) in 2020, I'm still really into learning more and taking a "next step" in my skill level when it comes to fishing with my tenkara rods. I've dedicated a lot of time to them, but I feel as if I've hit a wall in terms of how I fish them and the techniques I apply on the water.

Unfortunately, opportunities to grow one's tenkara knowledge base can be few and far between, at least here in the United States. Most of us "tenkara anglers" are either learning from print or (more likely) online resources, making things up as we go along, or applying regular fly fishing tactics to tenkara rods. While effective in catching fish, they're likely not maximizing the tools in hand, similar to the way those with decades of experience in Japan have.

With that said, after a few years of saying, "oh, I'll do it next year," I finally signed up for the 2020 Oni Tenkara School, run by the Tenkara Guides in Utah, and led by the ever-skilled Masami Sakakibara. So I'm headed out to Utah next August, tenkara rods and horrible casting stroke in tow, looking forward to getting schooled. 

And as of last night I'm also paid in full, so there's no going back now I suppose. Bring it on "Tenkara no Oni"... We've got ten years of questionable technique to fix!

Interested in attending too? Check out the details HERE.

June 17, 2019

Gyotaku - The Traditional Japanese Method of Printing Fish


You may not know it by name, but I guarantee you've seen it before. In brief, it's a traditional Japanese method of printing fish... like actually taking a dead fish, applying ink, and using it like a rubber stamp to make an impression on paper. Sure, that sounds a little crude, but stick with me for a few more paragraphs...

I believe it was used in the past in lieu of a fish mount to commemorate exceptional catches. Today, it is more commonly viewed in the context of art, and some splendid art it is. If you've seen the latest printing of Yvon Chouinard's Simple Fly Fishing, you'll find a gyotaku print of a leaping trout on the cover.

Coincidentally, (and the reason for this entry), I was fortunate enough to add an American gyotaku to my fishing themed art collection recently and I couldn't be happier.

I was gifted this cool little piece by Alan Lueke, a fixed-line angler out of Kansas City, Missouri. He was attending the 2019 Tenkara Wisconsin Driftless Campout, and passed along this print one evening after a day of fishing, which I've since framed.

It's actually a print of a Florida fish. See, Alan isn't a trout or tenkara purist, actually he'll use his tenkara and fixed-line rods to chase anything with fins, large or small. He commented, "The fish is a Gulf killifish caught in a mangrove flat in Fort DeSoto State Park just south of St. Pete Beach."

No matter the species, I think it's pretty rad and fits in well in it's new surroundings above my tying bench.

If you'd like to learn more about gyotaku, there are endless references out there to be had. Being Japanese in nature, it's been a fairly popular subject in tenkara-circles over the past few years, with some exceptional write-ups and examples found HERE, HERE, & HERE.

Additionally, if you're interested in acquiring your own gyotaku print, there are many artists out there, (particulary on Etsy), where you can find them for sale. Modern Gyotaku, Fishing for Gyotaku, The Mighty Bluegill, & Fresh Catch Gyotaku stand out as a few that immediately come to mind.

In any event, thank you Alan, I not only appreciate the print, but also the thoughtfulness of the gift!

February 21, 2019

This is Fly: Wild In Japan

While it doesn't appear that he went Shaku Hunting, check out the pretty slick article titled "Wild In Japan" by Dave Fason that was featured in the current issue (#71) of This is Fly.

Not only is this trip recap and essay a great read, but This is Fly has surfaced over 150 pages of superb content once again for all flavors of fly anglers. Make sure to subscribe to receive future issues.

February 5, 2019

Video: The Great Shaku Hunter

This video has been making the rounds on social media over the last week, but I thought it would be an absolute shame if I didn't share it here as well.

The Great Shaku Hunter, a 20 minute watch from Rolf Nylinder is absolutely stellar. (And if you can stream it to a full-sized screen, do yourself a favor and enjoy it in that fashion).

Forget the fact that I enjoy tenkara which is of Japanese origin, this video has zero tenkara in it, rather focuses on a small group of Japanese fly anglers who target native trout, the iwana & yamame, in excess of 30.3cm... or "shaku" sized.

It's much more than that though, I'd highly recommend you carve out some time and give it a watch. Superior storytelling is so rare in the world of fly fishing films these days, and this video combines a compelling narrative with beautiful camerawork extremely well.

In addition, there's much more to be learned about Shaku Hunters HERE.


July 17, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: Quick Hits From Social Media

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

Going to try and make this a more regular Tuesday thing again, some weeks it will be extended "features"... other weeks it'll probably be some quick hits. This is one of those weeks.

Tanuki Golden Trout Rod

So if you follow Luong Tam and his Tanuki rod company on Facebook at all, you might have noticed that he's been all about golden trout recently, and he's developed a rod to go chase them. Check out the paint job on this thing...

Photo: Luong Tam

My only hope is that it's more suited for chasing golden trout than the "Appalachian Brook Trout" rod was for chasing brookies a few years back. Looks good so far...

Yonah Tenkara Fanny Pack

Ok, not gonna lie, I totally feel like I'm cheating on Zimmerbuilt by writing this, but a new tenkara/fly fishing fanny/sling pack from Yonah Packs was released recently.

Photo: Yonah Packs

I did purchase the original Yonah "simple" pack a while back just to check out the build quality and materials, and I will say that if that was any indication, anglers should be very pleased with this new edition. (Use coupon code YONAH5OFF for a $5 discount & free shipping)

Discover Tenkara Hirata-San Bundle

John & Paul at Discover Tenkara... half the time I can't keep straight whether they're asking me to sign up for free stuff, buy downloads, watch YouTube videos, or support through Patreon. Whatever. It's probably my fault, their informational content is so good, I tend to oversubscribe to their offerings.

Right now they've got a new bundle of content consisting of videos, e-books, and audiobooks on sale featuring tenkara master Hisanobu Hirata. I downloaded it the other night and have gone through the audiobooks in my drives in the car - they're excellent. And for a few more days the bundle is available for $45, rather than the regular price of $109. I think that price is good until the 19th, so don't sleep on it if you've got any interest.

Tenkara Cast 2.0

Daniel Galhardo is back from Japan and changing things up a bit with his popular "Tenkara Cast" podcast. Per his latest entry:

"I'm doing a soft "relaunch" of the Tenkara Cast, where I will be focusing on sharing more practical advice for your next outing. In addition, every episode will now feature a conversation with a different Trout Unlimited chapter around the US to find out more about their projects and how you can get involved." 

Sounds good to me... well not literally, I haven't listened to it yet. But if you'd like to, check out the embed below, or punch it up on your favorite podcast app.

Instagram: @tenkara.babaa

While not necessarily a new IG account (over 1,000 followers at the time of writing this), this really has to be one of my favorite Instagrams to just scroll down and get lost traveling through all the photos. Aside from the fact that the photography is great... the settings are absolutely phenomenal! This is real mountain fishing (and on-stream eating). Have to be careful though, too much of this account will get you stir crazy, wishing you were on the water!

Photo: tenkara.babaa Instagram

So I guess that's about it for today. I'm headed out on vacation this week so maybe I'll be doing some blogging from the road... or airport... or if wi-fi allows... boat. We'll see.

In the meantime (and in closing)... here's a random video from a Vimeo "tenkara" search for no good reason except FUN. Enjoy!


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! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.

January 9, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: Tenkara In Focus Go Ishii Interview

The guys over at Discover Tenkara just uploaded Episode 5 of their second season of Tenkara In Focus on Monday. It's a really exceptional interview with tenkara angler Go Ishii. At just under twenty minutes, it's really worth the watch if you have the time to take it all in.

Go's contributions to furthering Japanese tenkara knowledge in the West have been invaluable, and this in-depth "sit down" really adds great context to the man behind the translations. There's also a nice accompanying blog post over on the Discover Tenkara website.

In a somewhat related side-note, I have to further compliment and recommend Discover Tenkara's new print book, "How To Fool Fish With Simple Flies." I received my copy in the mail over the holidays and have had the opportunity to read it almost from cover to cover.

Not only is there some great photography of over 70 different examples of simple flies / kebari, but the book really shines with its extremely detailed instruction on how to effectively fish them. While a lot of folks consider tenkara "basic," this book can definitely take your fly presentation and manipulation to the "next level."

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.  :)

March 5, 2015

Anybody Read Japanese?

Ok, I'm pretty sure that I've finally gone too far with this tenkara thing.

I recently ordered what one might call a "tenkara magazine" from Japan that I can't read.
Let me repeat that, 162 English.
I was curious to see how different it might be from an American fishing magazine (language aside).
It came in the mail yesterday...

Headwater Spring 2015

Try explaining that concept to your wife when she asks you what you ordered via registered mail...that she also had to go pick up at the post office...because the USPS wouldn't leave it at our door while I was at work.

At least the pictures are nice.


And there are some interesting gear diagrams that I can somewhat make out.


In some ways, it's kind of like getting a Playboy magazine.
Pages and pages of words that go totally unread.

No centerfold though.

Where's my rod and reel?

June 11, 2013

Tenkara Fest 2013 - Yukata & Sugegasa Optional?

I wonder if the Japanese wear "traditional" American Cowboy hats & Wrangler blue jeans (or whatever the heck Brits wear) when they teach Fly Fishing...  Something tells me no.

Courtesy the TFO Blog.

May 2, 2013

Air Brownliner?

Hey all you dirty carpers...time to step up your footwear game...

"To coincide with 'Koinobori' (Children's Day) this weekend, Reebok are releasing a carp-inspired Insta Pump Fury. The Japanese national day of celebration happens on May 5 each year when families celebrate the health and happiness of their sons by flying carp-shaped streamers from their houses. The silhouette comes strewn with references to the day, including scales printed across the silky mesh underlays, carp fish printed on the insoles and swing charms of black and red fish hanging from the heels. The Reebok Insta Pump Fury 'Carp' will release this Saturday the 4th at select retailers including Tokyo's atmos."  
(h/t Sneaker Freaker)

...or at least your kids' footwear game...

August 3, 2012

Tenkara Summit 2012 - Day One

With a Friday Wyoming adventure in the rear view, Saturday brought the reason why I was out in Utah, to attend the 2012 Tenkara Summit.

The Summit was held at the University Guest House, a hotel/conference facility on the campus of the University of Utah.  I also happened to be staying at the Guest House, so I got to sleep in nice and late and was able to essentially roll out of bed and to the event.

This year's summit was being co-hosted by Tenkara USA & the Tenkara Guides.  Let me get the pleasantries out of the way up front...both did a great job as co-hosts.  The event was very well organized and everyone was extremely accommodating and helpful.  I honestly don't think they could have done a better job making us tenkara enthusiasts feel any more welcome.

On to the event itself.  The day was more or less split up into two sessions with a lunch break in-between.  

The morning session presented a little bit of free time to walk around and meet & greet many of the folks that I've befriended online over the past few years, but hadn't yet met face-to-face.  A few names you might be familiar from their blogs are Karel from Tenkara on the Fly, Anthony from CastingAround, Jason from Tenkara Talk, Brian the "Holga Master," Chris the TenkaraBum, and BC from Tenkara Elevated.

Brian Schiele, "Holga Master" meeting (& shooting) Dr. Ishigaki, "Tenkara Master"

There were quite a few vendors with booths set up displaying (& selling) their wares.  Tenkara USA, ZimmerBuilt, Learn Tenkara, Dr. Kevin Kelleher co-author of Tenkara, Radically Simple Ultralight Fly Fishing, the Tenkara Guides, and I'm probably forgetting one or two more.  All were very friendly, and it was nice to spend some time and chat with each.  (As a bag junkie, one of my regrets is not buying one of the ZimmerBuilt slings).

Once the schedule of speakers was about to start, we were moved into a large room with chairs set out in an auditorium style setting.  Some gremilins must have came over from Japan with the guest speakers, as there were some early AV issues, but once those were fixed it was a quite informative program.

Daniel Galhardo from Tenkara USA started with a brief welcome and was followed immediately by keynote speaker Dr. Hisao Ishigaki.  Dr. Ishigaki gave a general overview of tenkara to everyone, and spoke about the history as well as his efforts to spread the word of this niche form of fishing.

Opening remarks from Dr. Ishigaki

Once Dr. Ishigaki finished, Mr. Kiyoshi Ishihara followed with a presentation on Yamamoto Soseki, the author/angler who is generally credited with shaping and popularizing modern tenkara, as well as the No-tarin club, a fishing club that was started by Soseki and still exists today.  Without getting into too much detail, Soseki was evidently quite the character in his time, which made Mr. Ishihara's presentation quite entertaining.  In my opinion, this was the highlight of the morning session. 

Soseki Yamamoto presentation

Morning presentations over, there were several breakouts that included fly tying...

...silent auctions...

...line making...


(who has time to take pictures when there's food on your plate?)

...and lawn casting.

The knothead trout game was pretty fun and gave me an opportunity to cast rods with pre-rigged level lines (I typically fish furled tenkara lines on my rods).  Lots of prizes were won by "catching" the fish...heck, even a terrible caster like me figured out how to cheat win something.

Daniel Galhardo, the Knothead Trout, & yours truly
Photo Credit: Tenkara USA

After the break, the afternoon program started and a few more speakers took the stage.  Brian Flemming (and his hilariously dry sense of humor) treated us to a preview of both the new Tying Tenkara Flies DVD as well as an update on the Tenkara documentary he's been filming for the last two years.

Tim Hawkes from Trout Unlimited gave a spirited speech on the actions the organization is taking in Utah to restore and conserve watersheds and native species.  Not being a resident of Utah, it was a pretty interesting to learn the initiatives and issues currently on the table in the state.

Finally, Erik Ostrander from Tenkara Guides gave an overview of tenkara in Utah, a background on the Tenkara Guides, their TROutreach program, and a preview of what we'd be expecting on Sunday, Day Two of the Summit out on the Provo River.

Erik addressing the crowd
Photo Credit: Tenkara USA

Before you knew it, it was close to 4PM and day one of the Summit had come to a close.  Auctions closed (without me winning anything, damn you Jason Klass for outbidding me on everything), some more flies were tied, and booths were packed up.

It was crazy how quickly the day went...but I guess that's always the case when you're enjoying yourself...or at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

To read about Day Two's fun, click HERE

June 21, 2012

Alpha Tackle Tenkara Rods?

Have noticed a lot of searches for "Alpha Tackle Tenkara Rods" in the good old Google Analytics lately.  Like almost as many as "hot stripper", "you suck", and "YUUUUP"...

Don't know (and don't really care) what that's all about, but I did go and goof around the Alpha Tackle website for a good 10 or so minutes last night.  Being a Japanese website, and despite the assistance of Google Translate, I didn't find any tenkara rods, but did uncover a pretty sweet online catalog with all kinds of craziness going on inside.

If only the Bass Pro catalog had spreads like below, squid fishing (?) would probably be HUGE in the States...

March 27, 2012

Tenkara Tuesday - "Tenkara Japan"

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

I was recently invited to join a Facebook group called "Tenkara Japan" by Tatsurou Okaniwa, an experienced tenkara angler, and founder of and the "Tenkaraman" videos on YouTube.

(Check out the "Release Net" used in this video, there's no bag, it's more like a platform)

While we're all just a bunch of folks chasing fish, I have a feeling that this is going to become a pretty neat place to visit from time to time (much like the Tenkara-Fisher forum, which I'll admit I've been shamefully silent on as of late).

The language barrier has already created some interesting conversations...but despite that, the sharing has been pretty special.  I mean check out this fly, it's got a pretty unique tube body, something I'm not sure I've seen replicated on a tenkara fly in the States yet, even with all of the talented tiers out there.

What's next?  Beats me, but as the group grows, it'll sure be fun using Google Translate to try and figure out...


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.

June 25, 2011

Need Me Some (Gee)Crack

I'm a manpurse junkie.  I admit it.  I enjoy fishing with shoulder bags rather than fishing vests, chest packs, backpacks, or (gasp) fanny/hip packs.  One of the most popular posts on this blog right now (see list to right), is a review for a "$20 Tenkara Bag" I bought at Eddie Bauer a year or so ago.

Anyway, scouring the internet (as I do) I came across what would probably supplant the Eddie Bauer model, should I ever get my grubby hands on one.  It's the Geecrack Shoulder Bag Mini.  Geecrack?  Yeah, Geecrack.

This little bag appears to be pretty darn sweet...kinda like the Orvis Safe Passage sling...but much cooler.  I mean it comes in a rainbow of obnoxious colors such as orange, pink, neon green, purple, and what I'll call fashion camo in addition to the ho-hum standards like black, khaki, etc...
Your manliness is no match for the Geecrack Pink fishing bag

I've always appreciated how the Japanese aren't afraid to interject some fashion forward thinking into their fishing gear.  Here's another example different manufacturer, but may make this a little more clear...Daiwa's U.S. line is pretty slick, but their Japanese line goes to the next level.  Want proof - THIS is what Daiwa's U.S. travel rod looks like.  THIS is what it looks like in Japan.  Ever here of A Fishing Ape?  You think THIS would fly in the U.S.?  (They make a pretty pimp lookin' tenkara rod too). back to the Geecrack bag...It's got all kinds of compartments, pockets, pouches, you name it.  Check the video.  Yeah, it ain't in English, and the music sounds like something from a 70's blaxploitation movie, but who cares.  Me thinks there's plenty of room for fly boxes, tippet spools, cameras, pretty much anything you'd need, including most importantly, lunch.

MSRP is 4,410 Yen which is about $55 U.S.  I've found some on eBay, but with outrageous shipping costs.  Oh well...for now...

December 30, 2010

The Tenkara New Product Laboratory

As you all know, I'm a big fan of tenkara.  I will forever be indebted to Tenkara USA for their introduction of this streamlined method of fishing to the US.  That said, I pretty much gobble up anything new they bring to market, but the recent introduction of a new product to their offering kinda had me scratching my head.

Ready?  *Cue the drum roll*  Introducing...Tenkara USA Tea!
Huh?  Yeah, I said tea.  Like the drink.

Complete with bamboo stirry thing

Now I know...tenkara is Japanese...and the Japanese have an affection for tea.  I get that in a totally non-stereotypical kind of way.  However I always took tenkara as a Four Loko kind of fishing discipline myself.

But that also got me thinking.  What other things do the Japanese enjoy that would make perfect product line extensions for Tenkara USA?  Here's a few I thought of, but I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments section (don't be scared).  Heck if you want to get imaginative, do your own bad photoshop and email it to me at troutrageous1(at) and I'll post it.

Daniel, I hope you're taking notes...

Hello Kebari
Baseball Equipment - Searching for a new Ichiro
A game for Nintendo Wii. No wires (or reels) necessary!
Performance headwear for competititve eaters 
Vending Machine Novelties. Yeah, I went there.

On a serious note, Tenkara USA does a great job with the content on their blog.  You can check it out HERE.  I'm also a big fan of their videos, such as this newly posted fly tying short.