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Fridays on the Fly: Check out the 2016 Tenkara Jam

Those cooler mornings and Autumn leaves are just around the corner in the Appalachian Range.  The last few weeks of comfortable wet-wading is upon us, and the fly fishing scenery is changing.  In fact, it’s changing in more ways than one. The tenkara activity in our Southern region is increasing every week.  Have you seen it on the river yet?

The online social media group, Appalachian Tenkara Anglers, is still leading the movement in sharing everything there is to know about these ancient Japanese fly fishing rods. What started with the original four has grown into a very interactive community of thirteen hundred members.  This Facebook group is more like a dynamic blog with one hundred different authors. The deep knowledge base of experience here is tapped into daily, constantly challenging existing fly-fishing paradigms. This is a great resource to start or widen your tenkara experience. 

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Legendary fly fisherman Lefty Kreh attends last year’s Tenkara Jam

More anglers are getting their hands on the fixed line fly rods and associated information, but how are they doing it?  Some are listening keenly to their friends that have already joined the sensation and then borrowing their rod for an outing.

Others have attended the free five hour “Tenkara 101” class that I present for North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission six times a Summer at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.  In that offering I will put a half dozen different rods in your hands for you to experience the balance and flex that these nine to fourteen foot rods provide. 

You also can dive headfirst into a thousand hours of streaming video and a thousand more blog post on tactics and gear reviews. There is always the online resources from these rod companies. You will find close to a dozen reputable brands at company websites where you can purchase your gear straight from the source.  They offer great value in product pricing and you are afforded a single point of contact with tenkara smarts.  Tenkara Bum”, “Badger Tenkara” and “Dragontail Tenkara” will come up pretty quickly in your favorite search engine.  Let’s not leave our Riverworks Tenkara that is crafting high end rods in Eastern Tennessee.

There is a growing number of fly fishing shops and outfitters across our region that are authorized dealers for some of the leading brands of these telescopic rods. 

Wouldn’t it be cool to have all this fixed line madness in one location?  I’ve been there before and let me tell you, it is pretty darn cool indeed.  This is the third year for the exposition that brings all this together into one place.  Let me tell you about the Tenkara Jam.  It is all things tenkara and then some.

There will be over one hundred different models of rods that cover an entire spectrum of fixed line angling.

This year the two-day Tenkara Jam will take place on the Eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains in Cherokee, North Carolina. This will be the largest gathering on tenkara vendors in the United States this year. In this building will be the owners and operators of nearly all the established brands here in the US.  There will be over one hundred different models of rods that cover an entire spectrum of fixed line angling. 

The event will also feature a line-up of presentations from some of the leading tenkara anglers in the United States?  This is a top-shelf list of friends that will be sharing lessons learned, tactical advice and advanced presentation techniques sure to help any fisher-person, regardless of your tool of choice.  This class room will be buzzing for two full days. To this let’s add all the attendees and the centuries of combined experience in fixed line angling they will possess. 

Who should consider coming to the “Tenkara Jam”? Everybody.  I could spend another ten paragraphs delivering my position in detail on these but I’ll keep it short for this blog post.

  1. New anglers.  What a great way to dive into fly fishing with a simple low cost method.
  2. Guides.  This long rod could help you get more cast in the water on your trips.
  3. Clubs. A great way to introduce fly fishing to large groups in minutes.
  4. Project Healing Waters.  A simple way to engage Vets and bring them into the program.
  5. Trout Unlimited.  A fantastic tool to increase interest and membership across all ages.
  6. Families.  A great way to get the entire family on the water.
  7. Outfitters.  This is an excellent product series to grow business in.
  8. Experienced Anglers.  This is a tool that will challenge your skill and enable incredible development in your “tackle box of tricks”.


I continue to share these words often: “Tenkara gets Around”.  In a bit more than a half dozen years we have witnessed tenkara launch from grassroots efforts with the start on Tenkara USA to the branding efforts of Patagonia to bring tenkara and fixed line fly fishing to more and more people. Tenkara does get around.  How about you come join us and see what drives our passion with such a simple and effective fishing tool?  Come see us at The JAM !!


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