Daniel Galhardo, founder of TenkaraUSA, poses an interesting question on his blog. How many tenkara anglers do you estimate there are at present? Difficult to put a firm number to it, but judging from the publication of the first issue of Tenkara Magazine, the “fad” that is tenkara has reached a certain critical mass.
If you haven’t gotten your copy of the magazine yet from the TenkaraUSA website, I urge you to do so. Yes, the nine-dollar price tag is a bit steep and may be hard to maintain, but the graphics and production values of this publication are first class. The matte finish to the pages and photos is very appealing. The typeset is elegantly simple and easy to read, and the quality of the writing, art, and photography is generally good to excellent. The articles are a nice mix of tenkara technique, fly tying, history, philosophy, photography and art, and trip reports. There is something in Tenkara Magazine for both the novice tenkara (or fly) angler and the more experienced practitioner of the sport. A few articles deserves special mention.
Jason Klass’ article “Ten Techniques for Tenkara” is a wonderfully concise and understandable primer on presenting the tenkara fly to trout. The text and accompanying diagrams complement each other very well. This article makes a good point, I think: tenkara may be simple in some respects, but the ability to manipulate the fly in so many ways is a powerful tool for fooling trout. Personally, I really like being able to arrest the downstream progress of my fly by raising the rod tip until my line is taut and then skittering the fly at likely holding places.
“TENKARA, Me and the Past,” by Gordon M. Wickstrom is a poignant, philolophical essay on one life-long western flyfisher’s transition to tenkara.
“ARTIC GRAYLING, Ultralight Tenkara Backpacking in Utah’s High Country,” by Rob Worthing, will strike a chord with anyone who hikes, camps, and fishes with a good friend. As he says in the article, many of us will never have the opportunity to angle for these unique fish, iridescent like the blues and purples of the glaciers from which they sprang eons ago.
In “Tenkara Brothers,” John Vetterei’s point is well taken. Already our sport is rampant across the social media, but we still need to make an effort to connect physically, on the water, sharing our passion, techniques, and camaraderie.
“From the Heavens to the Peak District,” and “Under the Ruins of Nero’s Villa introduce the reader to a couple of European fishing destinations and remind us that extraordinary mountain streams are to be found the world over. This is further amplified under the “Destinations”rubric.
Well, I could go one, but I think you now have an inkling of the talented folks who fish, write, photograph, and make art tenkara.
The challenge, as with any publication devoted to a relatively narrow topic, will be to keep the content fresh. Those of us who read the conventional fly fishing magazines realize how repetitive those have become. Fortunately, I believe there is a growing number of tenkara fishers with solid writing, photography, or art skills to keep this thing going. Perhaps offering Tenkara Magazine on an online subscription basis would be more practical and less expensive.
I certainly hope Daniel can keep this effort going. I am eagerly anticipating the next issue.