The Denver Post Outdoors section has an article on Daniel Galhardo and tenkara today:
The fact that Daniel Galhardo has fly-fished for more than four years now without a reel, weighted fly line, leader, split shot or strike indicator is intriguing. The fact he has used only one fly to catch trout for the majority of that time is astonishing.
To devotees of the discipline known as tenkara, however, the notion falls far short of extraordinary. The traditional form of Japanese fly-fishing holds simplicity sacred, so it stands to reason that one basic fly pattern — albeit in four sizes and two colors — is all that’s really necessary to fool a fish into biting.
“It’s not really about being stubborn,” said Galhardo, the founder and CEO of Boulder-based Tenkara USA. “I think you can catch a lot more fish by not changing flies. It is one of the most difficult concepts of tenkara to understand and to embrace, that you can use just one fly pattern. But it is by far the most liberating and most effective part of tenkara.
“My philosophy with fishing, and I solidified it after discovering tenkara, is that technique is much more important than gear.”
This comes on the heels of Daniel’s blog entry yesterday titled “One Tenkara Fly – A Personal Choice”:
If you’re like most fly anglers, you like flies. Small and large, dull and shiny, reversed or “normal”. As we have introduced tenkara outside of Japan, we have focused on telling the story of tenkara, on sharing the fascinating layers of a method that has been practiced in Japan for centuries. I have gone to Japan numerous times and have spent a lot of time with multiple tenkara masters to learn the method as a whole. I did that to learn things that I couldn’t have learned otherwise, and to share the story with anyone who is interested.
Through tenkara, we have learned that we can make nets out of one branch of a tree. We have learned about flies made from snake skin, and flies made with dubbing from a plant. And, we have learned that most Japanese tenkara anglers of nowadays, perhaps largely influenced by their commercial angler predecessors, use only one fly pattern and focus on learning and refining technique rather than second-guessing fly choice. These are things I have shared on this blog for no purpose other than tell the true story of a method of fishing that I find fascinating, and perhaps to inspire folks to realize how simple fly-fishing can be. It’s never to tell people to simplify their fishing, simply to say it is possible to simplify it.
And (coincidentally?) Chris Stewart at TenkaraBum recently weighed in with his thoughts on the “One Fly” philosophy:
I know, all the marketing seems to be centered on tenkara not matching the hatch, about using only one fly to the exclusion of all others. Well, here’s the TenkaraBum approach to tenkara: Fish any flies you want. If you want to match the hatch, do so. If you want to fish size 26 midges in February and size 6 woolly buggers in June, do so.
There are those who believe tenkara should be pure, that it should be done only as it is done in Japan. Some even liken it to an art form. I’m not them. Don’t get me wrong. I love tenkara. I haven’t used a fly rod and reel since I picked up my first-attempt-to-simulate-tenkara-with-a-crappie rod back in 2007. If anyone is counting, that’s almost two years before tenkara was “introduced” to the US.
I agree with Chris. It’s just fine to use a Size 26 Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari during a midge hatch, and a Size 6 Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari as a “streamer” in the summer. So long as you’re using a Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari, you’re doing tenkara the right way.
What are your thoughts on the “One Fly” (sometimes called “Any Fly”) philosophy?