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.

GRHE Sakasa Kebari

kebari-2Even in western fishing I found I used two nymphs for the bulk of my mayfly imitations – a Pheasant Tail and a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE).   If I had to pick only one I’d go with the GRHE which can be tied in different sizes and different profiles to imitate pretty much any mayfly and even small stonefly nymphs.   Thus the GRHE Sakasa Kebari was born and is the kebari I use the most when fishing sub-surface.  It just looks buggy sitting in the vise and fishes well dead-drifting, swinging, lifting or pulsing in the current.   I have tied this fly with just a thread body and it works but the dubbing just makes it look buggier.

Hook:   #12 or #14 Umpqua Competition C300BL
Thread: Tan 6/0
Hackle: Pheasant rump, tied reverse
Body:   Hare's Mask dubbing
Rib:    Small gold oval tinsel

See the tying instructions for the GRHE Sakasa Kebari here

Adams Ishigaki Kebari

kebari-1My favorite small stream dry fly has always been an Adams, usually a #16 standard or parachute tie.   I was looking for a kebari to use dry and decided to blend together an Adams and an Ishigaki Kebari to produce the Adams Ishigaki Kebari.  This fly floats well on the surface even without being dressed yet is also very productive sub-surface and swinging across the current.   If there is any chance of getting fish to rise this is my fly of choice.



Hook:   #14-16 Daiichi 1190 or Tiemco 100-BL
Thread: Gray 6/0
Hackle: Grizzly dry fly hackle, 3 turns reverse
Body:   Muskrat dubbed thin

Takayama Sakasa Kebari

kebari-3This is the only specialty pattern I have in the box and it has saved the day a few times.   I purchased three of these from TenkaraUSA thinking maybe I’d use them on a spring creek but ran into a day on a mountain stream where the fish were keyed on midges and this fly worked when my other two failed.  Now I’ll keep a half dozen for those just in case moments.   Not sure if my tie is accurate to the original but it works.



Hook:   #16-18 Daiichi 1190 or Tiemco 100-BL
Thread: Black
Hackle: Grizzly, tied reverse
Body:   Black thread with one wrap of peacock herl behind the hackle