About Me

1005080_10151611131992530_46942622_nI began fly fishing at age 10 for panfish with a cheap overly flexible fly rod with a level line.   I couldn’t cast more than about 10-12′ of line at the time but managed to catch fish.  Little did I know that now that more than 40 years later I’d be fishing with a long, very flexible rod and only 10-13′ of line.

My fly fishing adventures took me from the panfish of my youth to bass and trout in my teens and early adulthood.  In 1990 I moved to Seattle where I fished big rivers for salmon and steelhead as well as trout fishing in eastern Washington rivers and lakes.  I began saltwater fishing in the early 2000s fishing SoCal beaches for surfperch and corbina, the bays for bass and croaker and offshore for makos.  This soon progressed to bonefish, tarpon and permit in the Florida Keys, Bahamas and Caribbean as well as chasing roosters and other tough fish in Baja.   At home in the Seattle area my attention went from trout fishing to pursuing searun cutthroat and salmon off the beaches of Puget Sound.   By 2010 the vast majority of my fishing was either in the salt or swinging flies for steelhead with a spey rod.

In the winter of 2013 I was at the Fly Fishing Show in Seattle and happened upon the TenkaraUSA booth.  I’d never heard of tenkara before but was intrigued by the concept of a very minimal form of fly fishing.   My passions other than fly fishing include trail running and hiking and for me both of these went through a transition to minimal.  While I used to hike in hiking boots with a pack I now hike in Luna Sandals or Merrell Barefoot shoes and use a runners fastpack vest system.    With running I went from doing half marathons in traditional running shoes to running marathons and ultra-marathons in Luna Sandals or Inov-8 minimal shoes.   So the concept of tenkara appealed to me from a minimalist viewpoint.

Tenkara also appealed to me from my general love of things Japanese.  Off and on over my adult life I’ve studied Soto Zen and the works of 13th century Zen Master Dogen.    When I became a vegetarian I got way into the arts of tofu and miso making and using them in traditional Japanese foods.  Even my dog was Japanese – a Shiba Inu.    So, tenkara also appealed to the Japanophile in me.

Until I discovered tenkara I fished small streams a half dozen times a year when hiking using a 7′ 4-weight bamboo pack rod or a 6′ 3-weight bamboo.  These rods seemed to do the job, were a joy to cast and made even small trout fight like a bigger fish.   The one thing I didn’t like was how long it took to get ready to fish.  Often while hiking we’d stop for lunch and I’d fish for a half hour or so.  Getting the gear together – piecing together the rod, attaching the reel, lining the rod, … – took some time and ate into fishing time.   Watching a tenkara rod be ready to fish in about 30 seconds was pretty impressive and the ultra light weight of the gear was also very appealing.

So, I bought tenkara rod and planned to use it while hiking that year.   At about the same time I managed to tear my right hamstring running and was unable to even drive far let alone hike or run.  Luckily I could get out of town into the foothills or Cascades  with a short drive and had many easy access spots to the Forks of the Snoqualmie.  I started catching fish on my tenkara rod as soon as the rivers were fishable and quickly noticed that I was not only catching fish but actually catching more fish than ever before.   I was hooked and there was no looking back.   As the summer progressed I never touched my western fly rods and acquired a few more tenkara rods for bigger fish and bigger waters.   Tenkara re-kindled my love affair with trout fishing and 2013 became the year when days trout fishing overtook days in the salt.    I have used the year to explore local waters fishing places I’d never considered fly fishing before but found that I could indeed catch trout in with the tenkara rod.

This site is dedicated to my personal tenkara journey in Northwest waters.

Tim