Tying the Ishigaki Kebari is a rite of passage for a tenkara fly tier. Named for its inventor, legendary Japanese tenkara angler Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, the fly captures the spirit of simplicity that is intrinsic to tenkara. This pattern is quite easy to tie and requires only a hook, thread and hackle. If you are new to tenkara fly tying, learning the Ishigaki Kebari will give you a solid grasp of the basic structure underlying almost all fly patterns in the sakasa kebari style.
The original, tied by Dr. Ishigaki himself, uses common sewing thread and values speed over detail. Dr. Ishigaki can easily tie a kebari in 90 seconds.
In contrast, in the video above Chris Stewart of TenkaraBum.com employs careful, touching turns and an attention to detail that would probably try the patience of Dr. Ishigaki. Chris Stewart’s version of the fly is streamlined and neat, although he notes that he doesn’t think the fish will actually care.
Here’s a comparison of the Ishigaki Kebari as tied by Dr. Ishigaki, Daniel Galhardo and Chris Stewart:
Materials to tie Chris Stewart’s version of the Ishigaki Kebari:
So, is the Ishigaki Kebari the only fly you’ll ever fish? Almost certainly not. But is it the only fly you need? Well, let me just say that Dr. Ishigaki, who knows more about tenkara than we do, thinks it’s the only one he needs.
You can get an Ishigaki Tying Kit from TenkaraBum.
And here is TenkaraUSA’s famous video of Dr. Ishigaki tying his fly in the Catskills, back when tenkara wasn’t a thing yet in the U.S.
Have you tied and/or used the Ishigaki kebari? Share your experience in the comments…