Backcountry Tenkara: Pools, Pockets, and Edges
A fifth-generation native Coloradan, Paul grew up in the shadow of the Mt. Evans Wilderness, in Colorado’s Front Range. From an early age, he started exploring remote backcountry and chasing trout. Paul has been fly fishing for over twenty-five years, and a few years ago he embraced tenkara, the traditional Japanese method of fly fishing. He has extensive experience in lightweight backpacking and backcountry angling on remote streams and high lakes. In 2012, Paul became one of only a handful of professional tenkara guides in the state of Colorado, and is employed by RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service as their lead tenkara guide. His writing and photographs have appeared online on his personal blog, Tenkara Tracks, with guest articles in Tenkara USA, in Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, in Backcountry Journal, and most recently in the book, Tenkara Fly Fishing: Insights and Strategies as a contributing writer/angler, published in April 2013. He has also provided tenkara presentations and demos for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers’ national rendezvous and at the Fly Fishing Show in Denver. Paul is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Trout Unlimited, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Cañon City, Colorado.
Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT magazine and an editor-at-large for Field & Stream. He is coeditor of Field & Stream's "Fly Talk" blog at fieldandstream.com, "Fly Fishing Jazz" columnist for MidCurrent.com, and editor-in-chief of Angling Trade magazine. Kirk is the author of five books, including the Little Red Book of Fly Fishing (coauthored with the late Denver Post outdoors editor Charlie Meyers).
Deeter has won numerous Excellence in Craft honors for magazine feature writing from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and his essay "Carp Crazy" (illustrated by Ralph Steadman) was listed in America's Best Sports Writing. He is know for his offbeat story angles: chasing mako sharks from kayaks...teaching Eskimos to be fly-fishing guides...fishing for arapaima and tarpon in the jungles of Guyana...the fishing-golf connection in Ireland...and scuba diving (aka "Going Deep") with northern pike, bass and trout. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Garden & Gun, The Drake, Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel, Big Sky Journal, Salt Water Sportsman, London's Daily Telegraph, The Denver Post, and elsewhere. He lives near Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Sarah, and son, Paul.
Long Rods, Short Line
I grew up a few miles down the road in Longmont, CO and learned to fly fish on the St. Vrain. That was long before it became nationally known. Back then, I'm sure people two counties over never fished it and people two states over never heard of it. The North, Middle and South St. Vrain are great streams for tenkara but I moved away long before I had become a tenkara bum. After leaving Colorado and before coming to New York, I lived in the Midwest, and to be honest I didn’t fish. I was young and stupid and didn’t know that bluegills got bigger than 4” long and could be a ton of fun. And smallies? Well, I just didn’t know. After moving to New York I started fishing again and it’s been downhill ever since. Now I live in New York City, and like most New Yorkers I don't have a car. I mostly fish the streams that run between the New York City water supply reservoirs. The streams are small, the fishing is good, and most fishermen drive right past them to get to the more famous rivers in the Catskills. Suits me just fine. I first heard of tenkara in 2007 and got my first tenkara rod in January 2008. I started TenkaraBum.com in the spring of 2010, initially selling tenkara lines and flies and reviewing all the tenkara rods that were then available. I bought a Shimano tenkara rod in 2011 on my first trip to Japan, and a couple Daiwas later in the year. After fishing the Daiwas I knew I had to import them. I started selling Japanese tenkara rods in January of 2012 and have since added keiryu, seiryu and tanago rods, plus hundreds of related items.
Kevin Fricke Photography
Kevin is a Colorado native and has always loved the outdoors and sports. He got into hiking and backpacking in the late 90's and traveled all over the Western United States. Around that same time Kevin started getting into photography after realizing he was traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the world. Over the next decade and a half, Kevin refined his photography skills and started selling landscape prints to friends and others interested and moved by his work.
In 2011 Kevin’s brother, Derron, who had recently learned how to fly fish, told Kevin about a method of fishing called Tenkara. After doing some research he bought a rod, thinking that this type of fishing would fit in perfect with backpacking and outdoor adventures. With the guidance of Derron and a friend, Mark Weber, Kevin picked up the basics of fly fishing and applied them to the Tenkara method. His love for the outdoors is more passionate that ever and Kevin has been Tenkara fishing as much as possible ever since. The first year Kevin got out to do sixty plus days of fishing. That snowballed to over seventy plus days of fishing the second year and over eighty plus days of fishing the third year. This year Kevin has fished more than ninety days already. Kevin quickly realized he could combined his two passions of photography and fishing into an incredible documentation of his time on the water
About my Photography:
I have been taking landscape photos for fifteen years spanning most of the Western United States and a three week trip to Iceland. With the help of my oldest brother Scott, who is also a photographer, I learned how to take better shots and refine my talent. After picking up Tenkara, I quickly decided I wanted to try my hand at nature photography and have been honing my abilities over the last four years. I also enjoy experimenting with digital art and my fish photography. Several pieces of my work are displayed and for sale at the Denver Fly Shop and many others are available for purchase privately.
Anthony Naples Photography
Anthony was converted to fly fishing about 22 years ago while attending Penn State University which was bicycling distance from one of Pennsylvania's best wild trout streams. For the last five years, he has been exploring the "unreel" possibilities of tenkara. Like many, when Anthony started with tenkara, he figured it would be a novel way to fish now and then. Inevitably, it quickly took over all of his trout fishing. In the early days of tenkara here in the United States, there wasn't much information available in English. Anglers were just kind of making it up as they went along. Like Ted Leeson says in The Habit of Rivers, "There are a lot of advantages to being self-taught. Quality of instruction is not one of them." One of those many advantages though, according to Anthony, is that when you figure things out for yourself by trial and error, you uncover things that you can't get secondhand. Or at least, you learn what works best for you in your particular fishing situation rather than just trying to shoehorn off-the-shelf ideas. In addition to Anthony's photography, he also has a blog, Casting Around and an online tenkara shop, Three Rivers Tenkara.
About my Photography
Ever since I can remember I have been interested in the overlooked corners of the world. Where I come from, Pittsburgh, PA - there aren't many nearby options for river and big stream trout fishing. The closest wild trout to me are in small, or even tiny streams, streams that you could jump across or walk across in many spots and not have water go over your hiking boots. These streams usually travel in narrow valleys with tight, sometimes nearly impenetrable cover. They are home to brook trout. Many of these trout are small but some can get surprisingly big for the stream. Still a 12-incher would be a trophy. These streams are often overlooked and full of cobwebs. I can fish all year and never come across another angler. They reflect me and I reflect them. The folded origami of southwestern Pennsylvania mountain topography is a landscape of small places. It doesn't have the grandeur of the Rocky Mountain west - but for the observant it is brimming with riches. It is that small and ordinary, but perhaps undervalued world, that I like to highlight in my work.
Mark Boname Photography
Capt. Mark Boname is an accomplished worldwide angler and has been fly fishing for 44 years. He owns the Platte River Fly Shop and has appeared on many outdoor programs like ESPN, PBS and Columbia Country. He has hosted many saltwater trips to destinations like Canada, Belize, Baja and Costa Rica. Mark is an innovative fly tyer and many of his patterns are produced and distributed by Stone Creek Ltd. throughout the United States. His flies have appeared in both books and articles and are well known throughout the Rocky Mountains for both trout and carp.
Mark grew up mainly on the east coast both in the New England area and east coast of Florida fishing for stripers, blues, sea trout, redfish, snook, tarpon and large mouth bass. His passion of fishing as young boy influenced his decision to obtain a B.S. degree in fisheries biology which he completed at the University Of Wyoming in 1981. After graduating, he worked in the range department for the U.S. Forest Service for seven years until 1988. He eventually migrated to Casper, Wyoming and started guiding on the North Platte River in his spare time. In 1994, Mark re-opened the Platte River Fly Shop. He guided for almost 20 years on the Gray Reef section of the North Platte River and is one of the most knowledgeable authorities on that tail water.
About his Photography
Mark's passion for photography started back in college shooting mostly black and white. He recently jumped into the digital camera game about 4 years ago and is an up and coming landscape photographer.