The Benefits of Tenkara and Friends

As time moves ever onwards for all of us we find times to ruminate about our pasts and presents to come. I have come to  a conclusion about my life which will ultimately make a complete circle but at this time is still in the range of one hundred and forty degrees. Ultimately it will become a full circle but hopefully not until the time is right.

We all live in a world where everything is circular in nature. Our fishing rods, our fishing lines, the wire that makes up a hook, and a thread that ties the materials that make a fly to the hook.  All of the above items to me have become a metaphor for my life. OK, not literally a metaphor for my whole life but a very large part of it. So, hopefully I can explain myself and bring you to that point that I feel.

I have been thinking about what Tenkara and fishing in general has done for me. (Bear with me if this gets to personal for you for a bit.) Tenkara has opened many new doors for me since I started. Some of those things have been a new sense of confidence in social situations and confidence in my writing skills i.e. writing posts for my blog and putting up status updates on Twitter and Facebook. Those are some of the smaller changes that have come from Tenkara. But by and large the greatest improvement has been in my circle of friends.

You need to understand why the greatest improvement has been in my circle of friends. I recently got married to my wife, Elizabeth, who is one hell of a catch by the way. Before Elizabeth I was married for 11 years to another woman. During that time my personal life dwindled dramatically during our relationship due to the fact that she had some major health issues. After her untimely passing, I was messing around on the Internet and flipping through of my fly fishing magazines and came across an advertisement for TenkaraUSA.  Reading the advertisement quickly peaked my interest in Tenkara and I went to the TenkaraUSA website.

After perusing the rods and other items Daniel had listed I found the TenkaraUSA forum.  That is when the changes started to come down that have changed my outlook on life.  Registering and entering the forum for the first time and introducing myself to the members I was quickly welcomed as a member of this apparently thriving community.  Not knowing anything about Tenkara other than what I read in the advertisement I scanned the different forum threads and began to understand what was making all the forum members so excited.

Suffice to say, it was not long after getting on the forum that I picked the brains of a number of members and purchased my first Tenkara kit which included a TenkaraUSA Iwana, a 10’6” Generation One furled line, some TenkaraUSA tippet in both 5x and 6x, and a jar of Ishigaki Kebari. I was extremely excited after having placed my order and waited for the next few days for my box to arrive.

When the box finally arrived I wasted no time in tearing the box open and taking everything out so that I could start playing with it. The more I tested and experimented with all the new stuff I had more questions so I jumped onto the TenkaraUSA forum again. Wow, was I in for a surprise when I asked my first of many questions some serious and some not so serious. The responses came fast and heavy but all of them were answered so succinctly and in such an understandable that I had no need to ask any more questions.

It was once I had gotten my questions answered and decided that I need to find a person to guide me down the path of Tenkara in person that I found my temporary (and in many ways) my current Sensei, Mr. Karel Lansky, of fame.  Being that Karel lives in a suburb of Denver as do I we started chatting through the forum and then agreed to meet for a day of fishing.  It was a great experience meeting Karel on a small river out side of Denver.  We spent a great day on the water and I finally started to get comfortable with Tenkara by the end of the day.  I will admit that I did not catch a single fish that first day but I was still instantly hooked on Tenkara as a viable form of fly fishing.

Over a number of weekends, Karel and I continued fishing together and developing an awesome relationship that we have still to this day.  We became such good friends that we introduced each other to our significant others, Rachel and his gorgeous daughter on his side and Elizabeth on my side.  Karel was even nice enough to invite us for dinner one night at his home and introduced me to Jason Klass of fame, and Jason’s lovely wife Guadi.  It was a great night to be had by all and not a night that will be forgotten anytime soon.

The year wore on and Karel and I got out on the water a few more times before the next winter set in.  The great part of the experience was meeting many other Tenkara anglers who lived here in Colorado as well as a number of individuals from other states. There are a couple that really stick out due to the fact that there were at the local dive bar, The Cherry Cricket, here in Denver when I asked Elizabeth to marry me.  Erik Ostrander, Peter Sustr, Cooper Callier went to dinner after a day of fishing the same creek that Karel started teaching me on. By the way guys, I owe you all a great debt of thanks for dealing with my insanity of asking Elizabeth to marry me in front of you all.

After having met these great individuals who all had a common interest in Tenkara for a time our lives went many separate ways but yet we have all stayed in contact to this day. Sometimes I am better at staying in contact with everyone but sometimes I wonder if people think if I am still alive. And sadly sometimes my blog seems to prove that fact as well.

As time has worn on (or worn me down in my case) I have met even more cool people. One who stands out   recently has been Ray Rivera. Ray is one of those guys who has a huge passion for fly fishing that I feel is kind of hard to find these days. Ray is so impassioned in his love for fly fishing that I think if someone told him he could no longer fish he just might curl up and die. The knowledge that Ray has is immense and he is one of those guys who shares all he can with you. As a Tenkara fisherman Ray has done some experimenting with different styles of lines and flies which has taught me to look outside the box. Also, Ray was kind enough to give me a few books that I currently reading that directly correlate to Tenkara without being Tenkara specific.

Facebook has also been a boon for bringing the Tenkara community together. With all the groups that are Tenkara related I find it amazing to see how many connections are made here in the United States but also abroad.  The amount if information that is shared is monumental in scope. With the international excitement about Tenkara people are proving that Tenkara is not going to be a fad and it is not dapping.

I guess what I am trying to say is that without Tenkara I would not be as rich in friends as I am now. Having the number of friends that have come based on Tenkara has increased my social confidence as well as my life. And my lovely wife Elizabeth enjoys the fact that I have so many friends who are in the Tenkara community since she can kick me out of the house and make me go fishing.

So in conclusion, Tenkara has made many friends for me and I am sure for many of you who are reading this. May you survive the doldrums of not fishing but always remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and many fish on the end of your line.

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