Category Archives: Kebari

A new kebari – the Chukar Kebari

Our first chukar

Last week Lira and I were out pheasant hunting when she went on point and a small bird flew up.  I figured it was a quail since she’d pointed a few quail this year and I knew there were quail in the area at times so I shot.  When she was carrying the bird back I realized she’d just pointed her first chukar and it was the first one I’d shot.   I plucked the bird to roast it for dinner, which was one of the best game birds we’ve eaten, I highly recommend them.   I stuck all the feathers in a ziploc and today finally got around to looking at them and decided to tie some flies and see how they looked.   Thus the birth of the Chukar Kebari.


I decided to go with burnt orange thread for the fly in honor of the chukar’s orange beak and legs.  For the body I used muskrat which has a gray to tan coloration exactly like the chukar.  The hackle is a chukar flank feather tied in traditional reverse hackle style.   I’m pretty happy with the fly, I think it will be a winner next season.    If I can get a few more chukar before the season ends I may make this my fly for next season and see how it goes.  If not,  I have plenty of pheasants for my usual GRHE Kebari.   I love being able to tie all my tenkara flies from birds that my dog has found and I have shot.



Tying with hunted materials this year


Four dozen GRHE Sakara Kebari


Our fall season came to an abrupt halt in the PNW this year as our year long drought was quickly replaced by flooding and far too much water.  What is a fisherman to do?  I’ve done a bit of steelhead fishing on lower water days but they seem to last about one day before the next flood hits so mostly I’ve been tying for next season.

Lots of kebari materials here

Lots of kebari materials here

This year I’m again sticking to my GRHE Sakasa Kebari but with a twist – I’m only using feathers from birds I have personally shot.   Luckily in Western Washington Pheasant Release areas one is able to kill hen pheasants as well as roosters.  The hen is my material of choice for this kebari.  I managed  4 hens this season along with about  a 16 roosters from Eastern Washington hunts so I have plenty of tying material as well as dinners.   There will be more hunting over the mountains before that season ends.   Now I need to find some rabbits so I can cover the body of the fly too.


My one fly for 2015

amano-step-7After last season’s successful One Fly experiment I’ve decided to simplify things even more in 2015.  I realized part way through the season that the fish were eating kebari that were totally munched and that the dubbed body and gold rib probably didn’t really matter as much to the fish as they did to me.  So this year I’m doing away with them.  Sticking to nothing  but a hook, thread and a soft hackle – my fly for 2015 is just going to be an Amano Sakasa Kebari.  One day soon  I need to get tying to fill a box with these for the season.

One Fly to Rule them All

grhe-step-9Last year when I started fishing tenkara I was soon hooked and decided to give up my Western fly rods for the season and just focus on tenkara.   I stuck to being pretty traditional and only fished kebari and pretty much only three or four patterns all season.   This season I’ve decided to go all in and do the One Fly approach.   I hadn’t really started out planning on doing this but found that I’d just been fishing only one fly for a few weeks.  Then I read Daniel’s post on Gink & Gasoline about the Single Fly Approach and decided to just go for it.   I’m only able to get out on the water an hour or so at a time at the moment so simplifying and taking one more decision out of the equation lets me just focus on making the most of my fishing time.

My one fly – my GRHE Sakasa Kebari.  This has been my goto fly since I started fishing tenkara and find it works in most any situation.  I know when fish are rising I’ll wish I had an Adams Ishigaki Kebari but I think the GRHE has more action when fished most ways and thus is a better all around pattern.   I get fish on it dead drifting, pulsing, swinging and even on the surface if I can keep it dry and floating.   So far I’ve caught rainbows, cutthroat and brook trout on it in four local rivers with fish ranging from 3-15″ so I figure it is working.   I tie the fly in #12 and #14 currently but will probably tie a few in #16 for the days when the fish are skittish and maybe a #10 for lakes or on the Yakima where I can get by with a bigger fly.

Going deep in early season

Bead Head Pheasant Tail Kebar

Bead Head Pheasant Tail Kebar

The local rivers finally dropped into pretty good shape a few days ago.  My little stretch of the Raging is perfect if only it was open.  The S.Fork was fishable but started filling with snowmelt as soon as Chris Farhrenbruch & I hit the water yesterday and temps soared to near 90.   The S.Fork rose from 352 cfs to 490 cfs within 24 hours, needless to say fishing was tough and we both got skunked hitting quite a bit of water.  Skunking aside, I figured that I had to go deep to even have a chance so I was throwing a Bead Head Pheasant Tail Kebari all the time.

This is pretty much my Pheasant Tail Kebari but with a black bead in place of the peacock herl collar.  I tie these with both tungsten and regular beads to handle various depths in the early season when the fish still don’t want to move much.   I put the bead on the hook, then tie in the hackle first, push the bead up against the hackle and tie the body in behind the bead, finishing in back of the bead.


Hook:   #12-14
Thread: Brown 6/0
Hackle: Pheasant Rump
Collar: Black tungsten or regular bead
Body:   Pheasant Tail fibers
Rib:    Copper Wire


New Kebari Tying Section

kebari-300When winter hit I hunkered down and got ready for tying.   I decided to start photographing and videoing all the kebari I was tying.  I then assembled it all into an iOS app for iPad and iPhone which actually had turned out pretty cool.   Apple, however, did not agree and rejected the app on the grounds that it was just a book.   Oh well, now there is a new Kebari section on the site that contains all the materials, you just don’t get the cool icon on your phone.


Ready to Tie!

The kebari factory is open

The kebari factory is open

After getting my gear ready for winter I decided to clean up my fly tying desk.   This was a larger undertaking than I had anticipated.  I had the entire desk top covered with stuff to tie kebari, saltwater patterns, steelhead patterns and some miscellaneous bright stuff that my granddaughter likes to use.   I put everything away in its appropriate tupperware box, vacuumed and then set out everything I need for what will be more kebari than I will possibly use next season.   It actually isn’t much material wise since I only fish a few kebari.

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Tying the Adams Ishigaki Kebari

The kebari I use second to the GRHE Sakasa Kebari is the Adams Ishigaki Kebari, a fly that combines the ever popular Adams dry fly with the Ishigaki Kebari.   It is a very simple kebari to tie that uses very few materials.   The fly fishes great on the surface even without floatant but also is very effective as a damp swinging pattern.

Materials list is minimal, just like tenkara:

Hook:    Dry fly hook #14-16
Thread:  Gray 6/0
Hackle:  Grizzly dry fly hackle, one size larger than hook
Body:    Muskrat dubbing

Here is the video that I shot as  part of the Tenkara Tie-A-Thon for the Colorado flood victims:

Tying the GRHE Sakasa Kebari

The first in a series of fly tying videos showing how to tie the GRHE Sakasa Kebari.  This is my favorite fly and I usually start the day with it unless fish are actively rising.   It is  a simple reverse hackle fly that only uses a few materials.

Hook:   Umpqua C300BL  #12-14
Threat: Tan 6/0
Hackle: Pheasant Rump
Body:   Hare's Ear dubbing
Rib:    Fine Gold Oval Tinsel

Here are the video instructions on tying the kebari:

One Kebari, Two Kebari, Three Kebari (more?)

When I first learned about tenkara at the Fly Fishing Show I was intrigued by Daniel explaining the one-fly philosophy.   Coming from western fly fishing where my box is full of patterns to match the hatch it just seemed improbable that one fly could be used in most situations and catch fish.   I started tying some kebari for fishing and, like with western fly fishing, tied a few flies in about a dozen different patterns to start with.   As I read more though about tenkara philosophy and thought about it I realized that I had caught most of my small stream fish on a few patterns and decided to adapt these patterns to tenkara.   I scrapped the dozen or so different kebari I had tied originally and settled into two basic patterns which I have used 95% of the time with success.   For a few weeks I thought I might be able to get down to one of these then hit a situation where I absolutely needed a small fly to catch fish so instead of going from two to one pattern I now carry three patterns of kebari with me but have not felt the need for any more.   Right now I can live with three patterns and I have found these to be effective in every creek, river and lake that I have fished over this season.

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