About Tenkara Fly Shop
Tenkara Fly Shop TM
Working in the Shop
Different because of the Quality, Time & Effort that I put into construction. And, I'm competitively priced.
Scroll down to see customer feedback.
I consider myself a craftsman, not a profit production shop. I tie these flies to last as long as possible, and to be highly visible to the fish. In the spirit of the fly-tying masters, I use the finest mottled hackle, Shetland wool, fur, and genuine silk & wax securely tied to high-quality hooks. A natural and durable tool that hangs tough, fish after fish.
With a Minimum Order of $20 you get FREE USA Shipping!
I've been tying trout flies for 49 years and developed a tying style that builds on field research in Aquatic Entomology, stream, lake & pond fishing. I have learned certain important facts acquired along the way that I incorporate into my flies.
- I hate it when a fly unravels after a couple of fish, so I build upon the "Old Master's" methods of construction that results in an extremely long lasting fly.
- There are certain aspects to material selection and use that guarantee superior fish-attraction and performance in the water, like ultraviolet sensitivity which allows fish to quickly spot your fly.
- Hackle thickness is tied to water flow; Fast, still or somewhere in between? Carrying a couple of variations will help you on the stream.
- Or, have you considered the depth in the water column that you should be fishing?
These are just a few examples of the thought given to your fly order.
My flies are built using "Old School" Silk and Wax methods rooted in the Old Tradition, plus my own additional twists, that allows them to last a long time and catch a great many fish.
Fly Tying Materials Too
Compare my low-minimum FREE shipping and the FREE wooden boxes to a competitor's final cost, then make your choice
My Fly Fishing Story
My name is Jim Wright and I have been in business as Tenkara Fly Shop and communicating it's growth in https://www.facebook.com/TenkaraFlyShop for four years. I love fishing my steep gradient streams and tying trout flies for the occasion. I have been doing this since 1967. At that time, I was the only person in my community who fished this way.
I recall a cheap, glass Berkley dry fly rod purchased at the local department store, and the snapping of every fly that I purchased, right off of my simple level leader on every back cast. Christmas of that year I was gifted with a simple fly tying kit and an instruction book by Art Flick, who became my mentor from a distance. Those first trout flies were awful! But, it wasn't long before I could turn out a decent fly. I still use that old Thompson tying vice daily.
My Signature Fly Boxes - Photo courtesy of Jason Klass http://www.tenkaratalk.com/
I live on one of the tributaries of the Great Lakes in Western New York where steelhead is king, but I don't fish for them. My love is and has always been, to head up into the gorge to fish the small, steep head-water streams no wider than my driveway, for fish in the 6 to 10 inch class. And that's how I discovered Tenkara.
Rick Munday gave me a nice review on Facebook/Tenkara and Western Fly Fishing
As I grew older, I put together several fly fishing outfits which were subsequently abandoned in my never-ending search for one that would fit the style of fishing that I practiced. I disliked constant line-mending, desired more precise control and never was one for long fly casts on my brushy headwaters. Back then I used the longest Western rod that I could fit under the trees, and paired it with the lightest fly line that I could find. So when I discovered it five years ago, Tenkara was a revelation for me.
Putting to use many years of experience nationwide and in Canada, studies in aquatic entomology, fly-tying, working with wood, bamboo and metals, acquired as a wood carver, cabinetmaker and in antiques repair (and of course thanks to my customers) this business has blossomed.
In-season it's hard to keep flies in stock. Still, I insist on a certain level of craftsmanship which sometimes makes the completed product take a little longer. It sounds cliché to say that I am not in this for the money, but it's a fact. You will see that for yourself if you buy from me. I am small & intend to stay that way. And, I want your purchase to be worth your wait.
My goal is just to tie the best, most durable flies that work well in catching fish. Not a match the hatch game, Tenkara is all about learning fishing technique with do-it-all patterns. Try these out and let me know what you think.
My Fishing Basket & Line Holders
Whether I am tying tenkara flies, working with wood, bamboo or metal, I feel that I am imbued with the spirit of a traditional Japanese kebari craftsman in simple meditation. Zen Fly Tying ... Chopping wood, carrying water.
Here is an example of a highly visible fly displaying in the UV band
My Glass Ant is a great all purpose mid depth fishing pattern as are all of the Glass Series of Mayfly and Caddis imitations. Killer Buggers are the most evolved flies in my shop. The addition of bright red silk, a bit of flashabou and a tapered marabou tail result in a fly that demands to be noticed. By trout of course, but also great for bass & panfish.
I tie by permission, the creations of the Utah Tenkara Guides, the Utah Killer Bug being the biggest selling bug that I have ever tied. There are many small worms, scuds and all manner of insect life that this fly imitates, including caddis flies. It is possibly the greatest simple Tenkara guide fly of all time.
The Eastern Killer Bug, invented by Frank Sawyer holds a special soft spot in me. It was the first nymph pattern that I ever used, and it was successful, oh man was it a good fly. Fished right of course. That was in my spinning rod days only a couple of months before I was able to save enough to buy my first fly rod. We fished them right on bottom with a split shot or two ahead of it. Not much different than worm fishing actually.
It's come a long way since then with a red under-body of red copper wire, a Patton's #229 wool body, and a red silk-tied tag tail that allows it to be used as a tiny minnow. Sorry Frank...
Oh, and some kind of worm fly is a great idea. There are many situations where this fly, properly fished will save the day. Especially with rising water or tail-water rivers. I would like to make an unapologetic pitch for my Killer Worm. It does indeed push all of a fish's buttons, whether in aggressive or feeding behavior.
In memory of Skye
She was my very dear friend and co-pilot of 13 years. We spent every day together; in the woods and on the streams. Having snacks, playing with her squeaky toys, tying flies & going to the post office. She was gentle, except with cats. Well, even then sometimes, as long as they didn't enter her yard (had to watch her around skunks), then she would kick up a fuss. Along with Fergus and Dawson, these sheepdogs have the greatest hair for tying the Kebari, creamy-tan and buggy.
Dawson's fur is blue dun, perfect for the "Grave Digger". Fergus has a tan-gray which nicely compliments the color of the "Red Ass Monkey". These guys have such great fur, that they have developed the Shetland Series of caddis-imitating kebari in favorite Jamieson's Shetland wool yarn colors using their under-fur for a collar behind the hackle. Smart Scottish folk!
Fergus & Dawson
Comments from Customers:
Thank you for your customer service my friend. I always know that I will receive the very best in flies and gear from you. I'm afraid your flies are going to be so beautiful that I will frame them and not fish with them. Your work is that good! You have a loyal customer in me Jim. Take care and just the best for you this summer. William in Colorado.
Jim. I am extremely pleased with my entire 1st order.........especially the Killer Buggers which are by far the absolute GOLD STANDARD of any I've seen anywhere. Accordingly I have just placed a rather large order for more Killer Buggers so I don't run out soon. John in Pennsylvania
Outstanding Jim. Sincere thanks for going above and beyond. You can be certain that we'll make public mention of the great service you are providing. Catch you soon, best regards. Matt in WI
Dude, you rock! Thanks for the quick service and the e-mails. I expect to buy more from you in the future. Jim in SC
Jim, just wanted to express my gratitude for your excellent customer service. I received the package today and I am impressed. The quality of your merchandise is amazing. You just got yourself a customer for life. Carlos in California
Hi Jim. You may consider this order a little strange since it is for one fly each of 12 different patterns. I intend to photograph each fly and submit the photos to my magazine editor for inclusion in an article that I am writing for Colorado Outdoors magazine for next year. I am fully capable of tying each of the patterns (and have tied some already), but looking at your photos, I realize that you do a much better job. I would also like to cite you as the fly tyer and list your company as a source of Tenkara flies, if that is okay with you. I have attached a copy (photo below) of a previous article that I did for Colorado Outdoors on soft hackle flies as an example of my writing. I tied all of the flies photographed in the article, but I guess I am getting a little lazy with the Tenkara patterns. Also, I'd like to spend more of the short Colorado summer fishing with my Tenkara rod than sitting at a vise trying to tie the perfect fly. Thanks, Ron Belak
Hi, Jim. About 2 or 3 months ago I ordered some Tenkara flies. You filled the order with exquisitely tied flies (and gave me some extras) when I explained that I am going to use them to illustrate an article that I am writing for "Colorado Outdoors" magazine. The article is for May and I am just starting to write it. I could not identify 2 of the extra flies that you gave me and have attached pictures of them. Could you please identify them? I will credit your flies to "firstname.lastname@example.org". Thanks again, Ron Belak.
Hi Ron. Congratulations on your upcoming article. Also, I appreciate the exposure for Tenkara Fly Shop. These flies are my own creations. At the left is my "Bead Bunny Kebari". I like to use glass beads on wet fly types for use in slower water. It breaks the film easily and sinks in a more natural manner than does a metal bead, especially tungsten. Another benefit is the light play through the bead as an attraction element. Each bead is separated by a fine layer of "Antron" dubbing and the hackle is rabbit fur. The fly on the bottom is a pale "Woven-body Sakasa Kebari" with gold rib, bead head, hen hackle and peacock herl collar. Again, thank you for your interest in my flies and I wish you great success with your article. Keep me posted. Yours, Jim
I just got your package today, excellent craftsmanship, simply stunning - JK in Colorado
All of your flies are great, but the #14 olive with peacock collar that you tied for me recently were awesome today. I caught the most fish I ever have today thanks to that fly. I haven't had luck with it in bigger rivers but today (small stream in Utah) it was the perfect fly. My top three that I always use are the new olive one, grizzly Ishigaki, and the killer bugs (both kinds). The killer bugs always catch fish in the deep pools. The grizzly is awesome as a dry surface fly. Thanks again for your great flies. I have gotten better at not losing them but will still need more soon. KH in Utah
You sent me an ant fly and I love it, need to order more. Totally killed it! Joseph in Virginia
I appreciate that you also offer some low cost imports. For both my wife and I, having decent low cost flies to work with when we practice casting or try areas where we have a high chance to snag is great. And being able to get those when also getting the nice flies you tie yourself makes it a convenient way to cover the bases. David in New Mexico
Hi, Jim. Just wanted to let you know I received my fly order today. I have to say, for "cheap" flies they look pretty nice! Once I get a little more Tenkara experience under my belt, I'll invest in some of your custom flies. Thanks for such great service! Harry in Georgia
Hi Jim, Glad I found your shop; it's just what a beginner needs! I just purchased my tenkara rod, and I have no experience fly fishing. Now I know I can practice my casts and remain solvent (Cheap fly customer). Thank you! Dennis in the BronxThanks for the quick turnaround - CF in Washington
Your flies are Beautiful! Hate to get them wet, thanks again for beautiful workmanship - JJ in Minnesota
Thanks again for the beautiful bamboo line holder - KL in Colorado
Just got the order, thanks for the extras! I definitely know where I will be coming back for my flies! DD in California
The tamo arrived safe and sound. It looks great! JV in Utah
Thanks for the fast service the, flies are spectacular and seem to be better than pictured on your site. The box is a nice touch too. SD in Minnesota
Received the order, I thank you. The flies are wonderful and the little box so cute :) JCG in Quebec
Received my order and your flies are great. Good job. PB in Pennsylvania
Flies arrived and they look fantastic. I am sure you will hear from me again. Thanks for the fast service and great communication. JT in Kansas
Thanks for the quick order processing. LJ in Oregon
Just received my order and want to report that I'm quite impressed with the craftsmanship. ED in New Hampshire
Thanks for keeping me updated. Your customer service made a lifetime customer! AP in Wisconsin
Thank you again for the flies. They worked wonderfully. I wore 3 of them out! I bet I caught 25-30 fish on just 2 of your flies. They held up great and seemed to present when fished in the film superbly. The 2 patterns I used were the Dr. Ishigaki brown/black and the Dr. Ishigaki Grizzly. Just thought you would like to hear of the fun that your product has brought me. There is nothing like hooking a trout when no one else around is having any luck, then being asked, "what are you using?" You are running a first class business, and I really appreciate finding such quality on the net. Your customer service is only surpassed only by the quality of your products. MB in Colorado
Thank you very much. You went above and beyond. PS in Washington
Just wandered back in to pick up my new flies...all very pleasing & now not sure I want to get them wet...also: wow, that darling box. Thanks so much! ES in California
The flies are great looking! Got them placed in my little fly box and now I just need my rod to get here and I will be putting them to use! That was very quick! Thank you very much and I will be directing my friends to you once I get them into Tenkara fishing. AM in California
Thank you for giving me those pointers. I am excited to start Tenkara fishing asap! AV in Texas
Your flies worked great this summer, I took them backcountry with my Tenkara Rod and caught a lot of fish. We let them all go to see if we could catch them again next year. Everyone of your flies worked great, although I lost a few in a couple of overhead trees. I'm thinking of the next round of flies from you and will place an order once I figure out what I want. Thanks again, you really helped me have a great experience out there. WC in California
Just got the stuff! Wow! Nicely done! I'll be ordering more soon. RO in Washington
Hello Jim! I received my fly order today. I'm new to this sport but they sure are beautiful! Just wanted to say thanks once again and to let you know how excited I was to gently tuck each one into its perch in my fly box. I have made mention of your kindness and shared pictures of my order and your website on my Facebook group site for my upcoming trip. Thanks again for the order!!! JU in Pennsylvania
Fishing on the Batten Kill River
The flies just arrived and look great; many thanks! JM in New York
Got the flies. They look great and I really liked your flybox too! BW in Nebraska
The flies I ordered arrived today and they are beautiful. Thank you for the excellent craftsmanship. JW in Pennsylvania
I got the flies yesterday...they are amazing!!! I love them and can't wait to get to Colorado next week. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again for all your help! Thanks too for the extra flies and cool box!! I am passing your name as the best place to get flies! MC in Oklahoma
Thanks so much, Jim. I love your flies and I can't wait to try them all. I appreciate the extra fly too. Next time I'm in need of more flies, I'll be sure to contact you. JH in Michigan
The flies worked out awesomely for me, but none did as well as the purple bodied Ishigaki. Unfortunately it was sacrificed to the tree gods. I caught 2 - 10inch brooks, and an 18 inch rainbow on it! The others all worked quite well, and I was happy with all of them. I rotated them in and out experimenting with different patterns. I'm going to be putting an order in for more flies, with a few of those in there. Can you tie on barbless hooks? I was pressing down all the barbs, but it would be nice to not have to worry about that. Overall, I loved fishing tenkara, and outfished everyone else who was using spin rods on the lake! They just couldn't get the same presentation I could with their clear bobbers. Thanks again, DM in California
Dear Jim: I received the order of the killer buggers. They are terrific, and I really am looking forward to trying them out. I appreciate the special fly you included. Your work is great, your responsiveness and helpfulness exceptional. I look forward to doing business with you for many years to come. Kind regards, Paul in Maryland
I received the package of beautiful flies and boxes. WOW. That is so generous, and will be appreciated. THANK you. I can't wait to gift these and play on the stream! Colorado trout should be afraid! Thank you for your prompt service and your kindness. KM in Colorado
Jim, the flies have been incredible. Just got back from a 3 day fishing trip and caught over 50 rainbows and browns, with many of them between 12-18". SH in California
Thnx Jim - Been an absolute pleasure working with you. Really appreciate your time and interest. Best, Chris in New Mexico
Received the flies yesterday and already hooked one! Fantastic work. Will definitely be recommending you to others and will absolutely be ordering again. Thank you so much. Jason in Connecticut
Jim the flies arrived today, Thx a lot , the wooden box is very nice !!!! You have a Great service for sure, I Will order again. Everth in Mexico
Hi Jim. Got your flies today. Thanks for your perfect work. The trout season here in the mountains of Switzerland are slowing down. But with your flies I’m ready for next year and i still have some days to try your flies in the big holes. Will give you some feedback. Wish you a good time! Joannes in Switzerland
Jim, Thank you the quick handling and keeping in touch. Great customer service! Greg in Texas
Good morning Jim, I would like to say that I got my shipment on Tuesday and the flies look great. When I need more of them or to give them as a gift I will make sure to order more from you. I noticed that you threw in an extra one, thanks a lot. Frank L in Quebec
Hi Jim, Sorry it's taken a while to get back to you after returning from Algonquin. We had a great trip with great weather and wildlife, including beavers dragging branches through our camp and moose right around us. We only got out fishing a couple of times, with no luck in the lake. We did fish the Tim River one afternoon. Your flies were great and I did catch a couple of nice native brookies on one of the killer buggers. And they were deadly on chubs! I couldn't cast without hooking one, anywhere from 2" up to 14". Not my fish of choice but great fun. And thanks, too for the beautiful wooden fly box! It was a great surprise and my first Tenkara style box. Thanks again for adding to a memorable trip. I'll certainly be ordering again. Next time you're in the area with some time, give me a call and we'll get that coffee. I'll do the same next time I'm down your way. Jeff in Eden New York
Hey Jim, That Killer Worm did the trick on the river. Thanks, I like it. Stephen in Connecticut
Jim, I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful flies you sent me for my son's birthday. They will be perfect for our fishing trip early April. They arrived exactly when needed and the small wooden boxes were a unique addition. Thank you. I'm sure I'll be looking your way for future business. Keith in VirginiaJim has far exceeded any known standard of excellence. His insight was much more valuable than what I've invested in his beautiful flies. I have a son and grandson who I have just introduced to Tenkara. There is only one place that they will be getting their flies!" Bob S in Utah (Below Right)
My first day out fishing Tenkara with your beautiful flies I hooked about 8 big trout and landed about 5. Here's a photo (below left) of a gorgeous 13" went crazy for your Amano kebari. GG in New York Below Left)
A few words about my tenkara fly tying & fishing style:
Many Tenkara anglers will say that almost any fly will suffice, and it is the technique that is most important. It is true, tenkara techniques provide a decided advantage. But that is only part of the story.
After (nearly) a lifetime of chasing trout, I would add; "Using tenkara flies of the rough coloration and size of the largest, abundant, most recognizable food, at the level that the fish are feeding, all things being equal, will increase your performance dramatically!"
And there is a lot to be said for simplicity. You don't need every tenkara fly pattern in the shop. But, a small group of flies selected for your specific watershed certainly makes a great deal of sense.
Years ago professional fly tyers would say that "you have to catch a fisherman before he can catch a fish". What they meant was, trout flies tied full and bushy were more attractive and sold better than sparsely tied flies which actually caught fish. Flies always gave better performance once they were old and well-chewed. Those of us in the know would trim three quarters of the feathers from any flies we purchased so that they would perform.
But now, anglers are better educated. So, you will certainly understand when I say; "I don't care about catching your attention, or to produce a pretty fly, I tie so that you can catch the fish's attention".
You can certainly find cheap tenkara flies, and I think that you should buy them. Especially if you are a beginner. I stock decent imports in my store. They are handy for throwing into snags and trees, or for learning purposes knowing that they may be lost.
But, if you are spending a chunk of cash on your sport, THE STUFF THAT YOU SEE why would you skimp on the tenkara flies, THE ONE THING THAT THE FISH SEE ?
My tenkara flies are based upon long, personal experience, aquatic observation, and tied for outstanding performance. Look at the feedback above, and then decide whether you want to save money, or catch fish.
NOTE: You would like some flies but are short on cash? I occasionally add products to my store which were made by customers. If you manufacture something that would sell here (looking for flies and fly boxes) I am willing to discuss a barter arrangement.
Fisherman on a Rock - Katsushika Hokusai
A number of folks have asked about the origin of the TFS banner image. Here is what I know about this old Japanese woodblock print, shown in it's original form above.
This Japanese Tenkara Fisherman is an example of an image of an early woodblock print popularized by many of the island's artists. Done by Katsushika Hokusai as a self portrait, "Fisherman on a Rock" is in a style called Surimono, a particular kind of Japanese print that were produced during the Edo period (1615-1868). These are tiny little prints (about 6×6?) that utilize poetry as well as images. The elegantly written poem at the top right corner (untranslated) show that it is an example of a finely made print. The print is signed "old man mad about drawing".
Katsushika Hokusai - 1760–1849 was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Tokugawa period (1600 to 1867). In his time he was Japan's leading expert on Chinese painting. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji done in 1831. Hokusai was a stubborn Bohemian
artist who fought with his teachers and was thrown out of art school.
He was an artistic genius, obsessed with art. He produced over 30,000 works, on silk, woodblock, books, manga, illustrations, paintings and sketches. Some of his paintings were public displays measuring over 2,000 square feet. This work of art well represents the guiding principles of my business, that of a solitary craftsman creating quality, traditional kebari and rustic bamboo equipment.