Monday, August 2, 2010

"Typical Tenkara" & Okumino Itoshiro Kebari

I've taken a lot of inspiration from Yoshikazu Fujioka's tenkara site, especially his fly tying pages. These pages are invaluable for anyone interested in tenkara flies as they really demonstrate the diversity of regional patterns. For the fly tyer, Fujioka-san's site is a great source of information, and a good place for anyone looking to get started tying tenkara flies. His simple directions for the sakasa kebari (kebari = fly) and "typical tenkara" kebari provide a solid foundation upon which you can build your own variations.

In appreciation of Fujioka-san's work, here are a few of my recent efforts:

"Typical Tenkara"
Hook: Mustad S82-3906B, size 12
Body: yellow Lureflash Superbug Yarn & gold wire
Hackle: pheasant downy feather

This is my interpretation of what Fujioka-san calls a "typical tenkara" kebari. Traditionally one would use zenmai (aka "fern fuzz," and something I really should get around to devoting an entire post too!), but to conserve my supply I've used a synthetic yellow yarn which makes for a decent stand in. I've substituted a few other materials as well. From what I can tell the ones on Fujioka-san's site are lightly dubbed over gold tinsel, I used an over-wrap of gold wire instead. I also substituted a downy under feather for the "pheasant's alula" he calls for, only because I haven't been able to figure out exactly which feathers those are on the bird just yet. It still makes for a very nice nymph-like fly though.

Okumino Itoshiro Kebari
Hook: Mustad C49S, size 14
Body: peacock herl
Hackle: pheasant downy feather

This is another regional pattern, and uses a rare material - those annoying under feathers you're constantly throwing in the trash! The use of which inspired my take on Fujioka-san's "typical tenkara" kebari described above. This is a really interesting and unique fly, hence why I wanted to give it a shot. To tie it, I found that wrapping the under feather around the thread, then wrapping the two together around the hook works best. The stems of the under feathers are extremely fragile, and initially very frustrating to work with. Once you get the hang of them they aren't too bad though.

I'm excited to fish these flies, I'll let you know how they work! I'm curious how the hackle will behave in the water...


  1. Very informative, and nicely done.

    That second fly could represent lots of different land born streamside dwellers.

    A good small stream fly.

    Brk Trt

  2. Thanks Brk Trt!

    The second fly certainly does look a little like a beatle...