Published Aug 22. 2012 - 8 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 13. 2015

Video review: Tying Tenkara Flies

Volume 1

A very nice and easy to understand introduction to tying the super simple tenkara flies used for this ever more popular type of fishing. You get 17 patterns and 2.5 hours of video on fly-tying only with very little on the fishing itself.

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I'm so glad this video hasn't been dubbed in English!
The start with Dr. Hisao Ishigaki lecturing on fly selection in Japanese is simply the perfect introduction. It's captivating and fascinating in tone and language, with the characteristic Japanese intonation, which at least to me seems very mild and almost spellbinding. I know that lots of viewers have problems with subtitles and original languages, but as I said: I'm so happy this was left in Japanese.

Ishigaki explains in simple terms the concept of tenkara flies, which is the theme of the DVD and surely engages very well with the viewer. He leads us through the first fly, which is a super simple and actually quite crude Kebari style fly.
After this the tyers Chris Stewart and Daniel Galhardo take turns in introducing and tying flies, and we get led through 17 different Tenkara flies by different tyers, each tying in turn. The flies might be Tenkara, but as far as can see they could probably be fished as you would soft hackles on a normal line and leader.

I have to admit, though, that after more than two hours of tying very similar flies I kinda get it. The flies are all essentially a small front (head), a forward curved hackle and a slightly larger back (body), sometimes using a body material and even some kind of ribbing but oftentimes just using the tying thread for a body.
Don't get me wrong. The instructions are excellent, thorough and very much to the point.
This is a fly-tying DVD as fine as they come!
But the material is stretched far beyond what I find necessary to convey the concept of the flies and the general methods. The tips that can be given on tying are naturally limited when the flies are just two to four materials of which the tying thread is one.

This is a fly-tying DVD as fine as they come!

During the course of the DVD we see a few clips of the flies working in the water, which immediately stirs my interest and is very fascinating and technically well done. I'd love to see more of that.
In the same manner there are a few clips showing some fishing, and although it's not within the scope of this fly-tying DVD, I would also love to have seen more such scenes.
These clips do provide small oases in what sometimes is a walk in the desert of fly-tying. That might be unfair, but unless you are a very slow learner you will get the concept within a couple of flies, and most likely be able to tie the rest by just seeing a materials list and looking at a picture of the fly.

Tenkara-folks may differ and find the in-depth coverage of the subtle differences in the flies very important, but honestly: the underlying concept of tenkara is simplicity, and there's no reason to make it anything but simple.
Mind you, all the tyers do an excellent job, and the tying instructions are on par with the best.
But there's no doubt that Dr. Ishigaki outperforms the others by orders of a magnitude when it comes to entertainment value! His Japanese, his whole tying style and not least his sounds accompanying the steps. Marvelous!

His flies are a true mess! Compared to the extremely neat an meticulous flies tied by for instance Chris Stewart they look like child's play with sewing thread and crude feathers. But the process!
You get great words like "hack'rew pry'ah" (hackle pliers) and a sound like "Ku'rut, ku'rut! Ku'ru-ku'ru-ku'ru-ku'ru" is the sound of winding thread. And he applauds himself and laughs out loud at his Japanese joke in the end as the most natural thing. And it is!
Woot! A lot of tyers could learn something here.

As already said: the quality is excellent, the content very thoroughly covered and for people wanting to get the ultimate intro to tying Tenkara flies need not look further. This is it.


oh oh this is grea...

oh oh this is great i like this


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