Tenkara with Yvon

“The lesson we learn from fishing with a Tenkara rod is that we should not fear that a simpler life will be an impoverished life. Rather, simplicity leads to a richer and more satisfying way of fishing-and more importantly-living.”

- Yvon Chouinard -founder of Patagonia

The quote above is an excerpt from the book "Simple Fly Fishing" which Yvon co-authored along with Craig Mathews, and Mauro Mazzo. Chouinard is a very interesting fly fisherman and a huge advocate for the fly fishing "simple life". Tenkara is the modern Japanese version of the earliest form of fly fishing. It is touted as some of the simplest fly fishing around. Tenkara consists of a collapsible flyrod (longer than average) that uses only about 20 feet of line attached directly to the end of the rod. There is no fly reel used in Tenkara fishing, which relieves anglers (especially novice ones) from problems with striping, line management, and long distance casting. This simplified form of angling not only makes it easier for most anglers to grasp, but allows them to catch more fish (often more than they would with traditional fly fishing methods).

Yvon, at 80 years young, has another favorite quote. “If you are the oldest person in the room-you know you have had a good life.” He and his wife Melinda co-founded Patagonia in 1973. It has grown into one of the most innovative companies in the world with a mission dedicated to building and protecting a resilient planet. Patagonia's worldwide reach, and large consumer base, offers them leverage when it comes to environmental concerns. The entire mission of their company is dedicated to helping save the world as we know it today-doing everything within their power to reduce global warming, promote recycling, and being generally good stewards of the environment. All proceeds from the sale of "Simple Fly Fishing" are dedicated to various conversation and environmental organizations-including 1% for the Planet-Native Fish Society, Atlantic Salmon Federation, and World Trout Initiative. A revised second addition has been recently released. The first edition sold out at 40,000 copies...the second edition has been even more popular. But not only for the seasoned tenkara angler, though. Traditional fly anglers are also finding value in the simpler life.

We have the second edition of "Simple Fly Fishing" in stock in the Spearfish Creek Fly Shop right now. At $24.95, the copies we have are not going to last long. It makes a great coffee table book or gift for special holidays and celebrations. This book has many great fishing photos, entomology, and many tips and tricks for improving as an angler.

In the summer of 2017, Yvon and my friend Craig Mathews from Blue Ribbon Flies came to Spearfish and spent an afternoon fly fishing with us. Yvon used Tenkara on Whitewood Creek and out-fished the three of us combined. Yvon also spent one entire year fishing all around the world using only soft hackled patterned flies. Yvon ties his soft hackle flies a little differently than some traditional soft hackles. “I tie most of them with a thorax made of Hares ear ice dub. The sparkle in the dubbing looks like air bubbles of an emerging nymph and prevents the soft hackle from folding back on the body.

I've learned so much from Yvon and Craig over the years, and I'm proud to carry their book in our shop. Please stop in when you can and give it a read. It's a great way to spend several evenings, rainy days, or winter months when fishing is on the brain.