Interview with Brent Auger

There are a couple of main reasons why I write interviews; I want to know more from the person, and I enjoy being a part of and contributing to a tenkara community. As the American tenkara community grows, I promised myself that I would devote some of my attention to key people that support it. Living in Phoenix, Arizona, there are limited opportunities for trout nearby so I must put forth quite a bit of effort in travel to get to good trout water. For this interview, I’m traveling by wire to Idaho and to Brent Auger of Dragontail Tenkara.

Like almost all of the tenkara fishers in America, I got my first rod from Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA. I ended up working for Daniel creating content for his company that sold tenkara equipment. My experience with Tenkara USA was fun but not always easy. Daniel and company helped develop and grow the community yet recently, he sold the company.

Dragontail Tenkara continues to increase its tenkara presence through great service and making available new equipment. Brent offers tenkara equipment at a reasonable price point. I want to find out more about the brand and more importantly, the person behind the company.

Without any more delay, let’s begin the interview.

Adam Trahan: Brent, I’m not sure if you read my interviews so I will detail the instructions here for yourself and anyone reading.

I write the interview as a whole while trying to make it flow as the main idea. I think about you, what an interesting interview looks like and I break it down into segments and further into questions. I try to imagine what you will answer and lead into the next question. Once the interview is written, I send it off to you for filing out and sending back with a few images. When I get it back, I post it at verbatim.

That’s the process.

My suggestion is to read the document first, then to help me to make it flow.

I often ask the same question two different ways, reading the interview first will help prevent repetition.

If you like, you can ask me questions in the same format, inserting them where you like.

“Please feel free to introduce yourself or open the interview any way you want.”

Brent Auger: I grew up in a small city in Southeast Idaho and am still here, big cities are not my favorite so that works out for me. I love that I can get away from the city life in a short drive and enjoy the outdoors. I have had so many fun carefree adventures in the outdoors throughout my childhood growing up here and I would not trade those experiences for anything.

I am a quiet person by nature, but I do love helping people, whether for our business or other things in life. I am not the kind of guy who likes to be in the spotlight at all, especially speaking live, but I do love to work in the background helping people do the things they love.

On any adventure I go on throughout my life I am always looking for somewhere I would love to fish, I just can't get enough. I started fishing tenkara gear back in 2012, I was enamored by the fishing style right away. I started our company DRAGONtail Tenkara in 2014 and we are still here and doing great. My focus with DRAGONtail Tenkara is to offer affordable rods that perform great, as well as giving people more options for lines and tenkara accessories so they can find everything they want in one place. It took a few years, but I think we really achieved my main goals, not that that will stop me from taking that process further.

I grew up as a kid thinking I would be an artist. I am far from being an artist now but my background in digital art has helped me many times in life. Nowadays I just like to enjoy other people's works of art and use my art skills for layouts and product design.

Adam Trahan: I only practice tenkara now. I choose it for my approach to my favorite type of fishing, trout in mountain streams. In the last few years, I’ve been working on my Honryu tenkara. Honryu being the mainstream or river fishing for trout. Before I found tenkara, I have a long history of fly fishing. I’ve focused on small stream fly fishing and that is where I meet my Japanese friends and started sharing our love of small stream fishing. Later, I learned to make bamboo fly rods and set up a rod making shop. I made some excellent rods for myself and my friends. All the while creating content at my web sites. Ultimately, I found Daniel Gahlardo from a bamboo rod maker introduction.

The collapse of the housing market and the beginning of his company lead me to my own introduction of tenkara. I lost my rod shop when we moved, and I was personally going through a sort of new start in my life. Tenkara was so focused on fishing and minimalism that it was perfect for me to dive in and basically put fly fishing on hold while I learned about the history and practiced tenkara.

More than a decade later, after visiting a Japanese fly-fishing friend and studying from the different tenkara experts there, it seems that the best tenkara fishers are also from a fly-fishing background or do both.

“If memory serves me well, you have fly fishing in your background, can you tell if fly fishing has helped your tenkara fishing and company?”

Brent Auger: Before I found tenkara, I was actually a spin fisherman who was interested in fly fishing but was intimidated by the cost and the complicated appearance of fly fishing as someone had no experience doing it. I learned about tenkara fishing from my friend Brandon Moon and instantly fell in love with the connection and control the tenkara gear gave me. I haven’t fished a spin rod since that first day of tenkara fishing.

A few years after I started fishing tenkara rods I decided to learn to fly fish with a rod and reel setup. To my surprise, it really was not that hard to get the hang of it. I think I have tenkara to thank for making it so much easier to pick up fly fishing so much faster. So much of the fly-fishing process was already learned with tenkara and I just had to focus on changing my cast and finding a rhythm.

I find that having an understanding of both tenkara fishing and fly fishing has helped me connect better with customers from different backgrounds. I also find that the two styles give me different advantages, approaches, types of enjoyment that I personally cannot get from one style alone. For me they are complementary, and I will probably never give up either style.

I am also part owner of the companies Moonlit Fly Fishing and NIRVANA On The Fly, which with the help of Brandon Moon we have developed some really great fly-fishing gear in those two brands. We are big suckers for fiberglass fly rods and our in-house furled leaders. I am in the business of both styles of fishing with a fly.

Although I fish both styles, I find that if I am fishing a creek or stream, I choose my tenkara rod everytime, for me there is no better way to pick apart small moving water. Now my business partner Brandon Moon has gone the other direction and he prefers a fly rod. We both catch lots of fish but we use different tactics and approaches due to our different gear. We are proof fly fishermen and tenkara anglers do get along just great.

Adam Trahan: It took me some years to divorce my approach of fly fishing a stream and to develop a tenkara approach. I had to remove muscle memory in my cast at the end of a long day. Tenkara rods are different from a technical standpoint and movement on the stream with a fixed line is too. The choices I made in techniques had to be developed and practiced. The fish didn’t change, my reach and stealth did so my approach changed. All the old and new Japanese tenkara books I bought were difficult for me to translate. A trip to Japan and another after that, being passed from one tenkara expert friend to another really helped me to compare and contrast approach and style. My experiences, the books, the different fishers there. It was good for me and has helped me to understand that the two techniques, fly fishing and tenkara are interrelated yet they are also separate and different.

“What is your view on the difference between fly fishing and tenkara?”

Brent Auger: I have not been to Japan but I have learned from Masami’s Oni Tenkara School and from others who have been to Japan. It has also been great to see more Youtube videos on tenkara come out of Japan over the years to learn from, I am hoping this trend continues.

Tenkara gear is obviously different of course, the long tenkara rod with a very light line gives you a deadly triangle keeping most of the line off the water for direct connection to the fly and for superb drifts.

For me what sets Tenkara apart the most from regular fly fishing is the focus on fly manipulation tactics more than having the right fly with the perfect drift. If a perfect drift doesn’t work, tenkara gear allows us to be so connected to the fly that we can bring it to life with the slightest movements of the rod tip, all while keeping our fly going through the perfect drift. Adding this controlled animating the fly allows you to induce strikes even when you have the wrong fly.

There are many other differences of course but a lot of what we do in one style can be applied and used in the other. Personally, I overlap tenkara techniques into my fly fishing and vice versa. Having said that, I still like to hear and learn from those who have made a specific style all they do.

Adam Trahan: I enjoy the variety of perspectives that people in tenkara have. By design, tenkara is simple in nature. Right from the beginning of “rod, line and fly” people begin to make choices in their interpretation of tenkara. My view is that tenkara is simple. It is easy to learn but it is somewhat difficult to master.

I’ve said it before, I look at tenkara much like looking at a sailplane or a surfboard. You look at a surfboard and it looks simple, a board with fins but that board has a lot of technical background in the shape and curve. Using one to ride a small gentle wave or a massive mountain of water can be easy or complex. A sailplane looks simple, with wings, fuselage and a tail but to use a sailplane to ride currents of air to the clouds and then cross-country hundreds of miles, it has so much potential, or it can be as simple as gliding to land.

A tenkara rod can be as easy as a child fishing for sunfish or in the hands of an expert, to dissect a stream looking for any particular trout.

Tenkara (for me) is using one rod on the stream or river, a single line and minimal fly choices. I try to do more with less. Most of my tenkara is about the skill in using the minimal equipment.

“Brent, why tenkara? What is it that attracts you to this simple fishing form?”

Brent Auger: I love that you said that tenkara is “easy to learn but it is somewhat difficult to master”. It is easy to get started with tenkara gear and start catching fish but what most people don’t understand is that this simple method goes so far beyond easy and simple.

Tenkara is a very interactive style of fishing. With most of your line off the water (if not all but the tippet) and a mostly tight line to the rod I feel like I am almost in total control of my fly. I can bring my fly to life with very little movements and tease the fish into biting. I feel like I am intimately interacting with the fish and water currents, and that is very enjoyable to me. I also love the amount of sensitivity you get when fighting fish on a tenkara rod, it doesn’t take much of a fish to make it exciting.

The Simplicity of the gear needed to actually fish is another thing that attracts me to tenkara. It is so easy for me to pack all I need to fish for a longer day hike, even two different rods if I want. Although if someone saw my collection rods and lines, they would not think I was simplifying, I love to use different things, I like to use lots of different rods and lines to change up my fishing experience as well as try everything out there.

Lastly, I love that tenkara is still somewhat new to the majority of tenkara anglers (or people who fly fish with a tenkara rod), at least here in the USA. This makes interacting in tenkara groups / social media so enjoyable as many people are experiencing something new to them and it is so fun to see their excitement and adventures.

Adam Trahan: Writing these interviews is fun. At one point, I was paid to do them and I thought that was just the coolest thing. But being involved with a new “industry” and the development of it was super hard on me on a professional level. Looking back, I weathered it well because I just made choices to be nice. And I have no regrets. I enjoy sharing my fishing experiences with the tenkara community. I help people, that’s what I do best and it's a good place.

You run a business, and it seems to be thriving.

I asked for you to send a couple of rods so that I may orient myself to them and be able to talk about their characteristics when suggesting equipment to new tenkara fishers. Your offerings are super nice at a great cost point! By far the best rods I’ve seen in the American market right now. Other American companies are very expensive in comparison.

Nice work Brent.

“How did you get to this point with your tenkara business?”

Brent Auger: When I started my DRAGONtail Tenkara back in 2014, I saw it as a solid side business doing something I love. That mentality quickly changed in the first year as I could see how this could become something big if I played my cards right.

I think staying true to our motto of “Providing Affordable Quality in Tenkara Gear” has really paid off in the long run. I have worked hard to increase our factories rod design abilities and to not be complacent with our current gear lineup, we always continue to improve and replace rods as we strive to make them even better. We are anything but stagnant.

I also buy and use a lot of different types of tenkara rods (and tenkara-like rods) from many different brands (especially Japanese brands) to find what I like and think about what I wish was different in each rod. I feel this has given me a lot of perspective in designing the rods we develop to make them better.

The other thing that sets us apart from the majority of other tenkara companies is that we offer everything they need or might want. I consider DRAGONtail “The Candy Shop of Tenkara”. You can get everything you need from us; we have larger fishing gear selection than some fly shops I have walked into. We got it all from the fishing gear to fly tying. We also develop our own tenkara accessories to fill the void of what many people are looking for, as well as bring in many lines and accessories from Japan.

Adam Trahan: Switching it up a little, I don’t want to be a fishing celebrity. I want to be a good husband, father and friend. That's all I want. Fishing and the web site is what I do for fun. Creating tenkara-fisher, traveling to see friends all over and fishing with them is a lot of fun.

I started sharing my enthusiasm of fishing small streams about 1995. There were no small stream fly fishing websites then. No blogs, nothing like what the internet and fishing has become now. I continue to this day doing the same thing as I did back then. I met Yoshikazu Fujioka back in 1997. He started his web site, “My Best Streams” back then and it’s just what we do to this day.

Recently I decided that I was going to make a fishing trip to the San Juan River an “open invite” that I announced on social media (Facebook) for about a year. I picked out a date and ran it down and ended up meeting exactly one person. It was an amazing experience. He ends up being quite talented, all-around fly fisher, traveled, older, mature. I’ve always said that I would rather meet one person one hundred times than one hundred people once. It wasn’t the best time of year to be fishing there, it was cold, there was ice and some wind, but I knew that would also weed out people. I think about twenty people expressed interest, but that one person showed up and it was so much fun. I’ll introduce him to Glen Canyon next year on a packraft adventure on the Colorado river.

“Has your company opened doors for you? Is Dragontail Tenkara what you do for a living?”

Brent Auger: It definitely has. I am not a social person by nature but tenkara and my tenkara company have pushed me out of that comfort zone to meet, fish with, and work with a lot of wonderful people I would have never met. There are so many good people in this industry that are doing really great things for others. It has really changed the way I view and understand the world and the people in it for the better.

It is also very rewarding to have so many customers that love a product(s) you worked hard on and to hear or read of their wonderful experiences with that product.

DRAGONtail Tenkara, and my other two fly fishing companies, are now what I do for a living. In 2022 I have phased out my web marketing business completely and it feels great. For many years my web marketing business paid my bills so we could put most of our money from DRAGONtail back into the business to help it grow. It was tiresome to work two full time businesses for years, but I love where we are at now.

Although owning a business commonly comes with working way more hours than I would normally work if I worked for someone else, it also comes with some great flexibility to be with my family when it is really important.

Adam Trahan: My own career is healthcare. I am a specialist, a heart electrophysiology technician and have been fortunate to help people live longer lives. I’ve had wonderful experiences at work treating homeless people to the biggest names in sports, but my favorite experiences are from normal, everyday people. A ninety-year-old oh so polite lady that appreciates my time when I call, that is what I enjoy. People that appreciate my time and what I do, it’s icing on the cake that is my life.

What I appreciate now hasn’t changed in the 20+ years of writing newsletters, web sites and interviews. I’m married to a wonderful woman, a beautiful soul, she is a hospice nurse, and she is my everything. My three boys are also my world.

“Brent, will you share any introspection on your home life?” I realize my questions might be invasive, but I am sure that there is an interesting perspective in who you are. Are you married? Kids? Who is Brent Auger?”

Brent Auger: I am married. My wife and I got engaged on a “Friday the 13th” before Valentine’s Day and luckily that didn’t curse our future, YET at least. We are going on 18+ years now and have two young teenagers, a boy and a girl.

My wife is very creative and artistic in a lot of ways, as of late she is working on breaking into acting and creating her own short movies. My daughter is also very artistic and creative, she gets more of that from my wife than from me.

My son has severe autism, and that has been both a wonderful and very challenging adventure for us to navigate. It is a big part of my life to help him have a happy productive life, luckily my business allows me to be flexible enough to be there when I need to be for him. It is emotionally hard for everyone involved but I have come to love having an autistic son now that he has learned to overcome most meltdowns, the highs far outweigh the lows nowadays.

I love the outdoors and fishing, but I also love basketball. I like to watch occasionally but mostly I like to play. I am getting a little too old for it these days but now I can still take my son to go shoot around, he loves it and it is great for his physical development.

My dad was a Volkswagen mechanic when I was growing up, he owned his own shop Gate City Repair. I had a beat-up VW bus in high school that I loved; I know many in the tenkara community love old VW buses. I miss all the carefree adventures I had with that bus with great friends. Wish I had one again, but it is not really practical for me to have one right now.

I am sure I could go on and on… but there’s a few tidbits for you.

Adam Trahan: You are no stranger to complimenting and commenting on Japanese developed tenkara rods. Besides your creating Dragontail, this is the second reason why I have asked you for this interview. Your understanding of what a good rod is. You have designed good rods and bring them to market.

I use the Suimu trio of rods for all of my tenkara from headwaters to rivers and everything in between.

For #untenkara, I use a Nissin Oni Honryu 450.

…and when it comes to my all-time favorite tenkara rod, I really enjoy the Nissin Tenkara Mini. Without going on and on about it, I use this rod as a rod that creates new tenkara adventures. I carry it with me on the plane or by car when I am not planning to do any fishing. It’s lost in my bag. But so many times, I’ve gone to weddings, other pursuits and other family trips and that rod has been my calling card to an unplanned fishing adventure. It is so compact and usable. It is not my first choice for a tenkara fishing trip, it’s a rod that creates adventures. Of course, that rod is nothing without the small kit that holds a couple of kebari, line and forceps.

“If you have seen the Tenkara Mini by Nissin, what do you think of pocket rods? Any plans to market a compact rod like the Tenkara Mini?”

Brent Auger: I love how a Nissin Pocket Mini casts, quite an achievement with so many rod sections. I love the idea of pocket rods making it so much easier to take a tenkara rod on literally any adventure.

What I don’t like is a heavy, stiff, or fragile rod due to design challenges of having so many sections to make it so short collapsed. While I love the idea of a pocket rod, I have always strayed away from producing pocket rods in the past due to design challenges. Having said that, we are currently working on a pocket rod design that is nearing completion. We are only working on one now because we finally feel comfortable about our ability to design a good one. More details to come…

Adam Trahan: I’ve been to Japan a couple of times and traveled around in that country fishing tenkara with many different experts. It was absolutely necessary for me to understand the people and the watersheds where it came to be. I don’t think it is necessary for others to travel to Japan in order to learn tenkara. As a matter of fact, I think tenkara is a personal choice and if someone wants to use a Mop Fly with their tenkara, that is simply none of my concern what they do.

People get to be who they are and use the language that they choose to describe what they do.

If anything, I identify with the Japanese community of tenkara anglers more than I do with the American community. But I am an American. It’s not because I don’t think the American community is not tenkara enough. It’s because of the culture in Japan. The way that they take care of each other, the nonjudgmental nature of Japanese culture.

I want to be more like that and it has very little to do with tenkara or does it?

There is tenkara in social media and then there are the tenkara people you meet while in the parking lot getting ready to hike upstream or out on the river.

“Recently I have started participating in the FaceBook group, American Tenkara Anglers. I appreciate it. It’s quiet and has a nice feel in the discussions. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t you create that group? What do you think about tenkara on social media?”

Brent Auger: I created the American Tenkara Anglers group years ago. Many people in the USA and surrounding countries do not always fish tenkara gear the same as many experts do in Japan. I created the American Tenkara Anglers group with that understanding in mind. I also created this group during a time when there was a lot of tension in other tenkara groups and I wanted a more positive group to send my customers to, most of those tensions have worked themselves out now and that does not seem to be an issue anymore.

I used to spend a lot of time posting and commenting in the American Tenkara Anglers group. I have since started a Facebook group “DRAGONtail Bunch” for mainly our DRAGONtail customers and that takes most of my social media time now. I am sure I will be back posting on American Tenkara Anglers group again once the spring and summer fishing season rolls around again and I have time to get out more often.

I definitely think there is something to experiencing the culture surrounding tenkara anglers in Japan and learning straight from them, I am sure it adds a lot to the enjoyment of it all. I would love to go to Japan someday but it is not in the cards right now, I think a lot of people are in that same boat. Because of that, we appreciate those of you who have gone and now share their experiences with us, as well as those Japanese tenkara anglers who have come to the USA to share.

Adam Trahan: A couple of years ago, I drove up to Idaho to meet some old friends that lived in Hailey and Ketchum. What an amazing experience! We rode the ski lifts to go hiking, played disc golf at a private course and did a little fishing! I was taken to some excellent small streams through small rivers. And I caught a lot of wild and beautiful fish. I used my biggest rod to catch a really big rainbow right off the road nearly under a bridge. I was not able to travel around much past that valley but what I have seen and read, Idaho rivals Colorado in quality water.

“Please tell us what it is like to fish in Idaho. How long have you been fishing there? What is your favorite area to fish?”

Brent Auger: I have lived in Southeast Idaho my whole life and have no plans to change that any time soon. There is not much right here in my city to fish but you go about two hours in almost any direction, and you can find some amazing fishing and wilderness to explore. There are many places you can hike up a mile or two and be all by yourself on an amazing creek, that is my preferred type of fishing trip.

There are also many small to medium sized rivers to fish as well with nice sized fish, if you follow me in any of the tenkara groups you know what I am talking about. Although I prefer to fish creeks in the mountains, I have found a lot of enjoyment fishing some of the rivers that are small enough I can wade across them. Also, the craziness of catching a 20 inch plus trout on a tenkara rod can be a lot of fun, once you figure out the landing of it.

Adam Trahan: I think Honryu is yet to be fully developed. It comprises the smallest portion of tenkara yet I believe it is a sleeper in the scheme of things. People like to catch big fish. Typically, bigger fish take more skill in catching and still, tenkara is relatively new outside of Japan. There has been time to develop the equipment but if you look at the big picture, even in Japan, the big rods only make up a small portion of the total. It seems to be changing in Japan with more and more bigger rods being made available.

“What are your views on Honryu? Not the marketing view but the fisherman’s view?”

Brent Auger: I use tenkara rods quite a bit for fishing for bigger fish on smaller to medium sized rivers. I am guessing what I do is probably not so much Honryu fishing but more fixed line fly fishing, I don’t know enough about Honryu fishing style specifics from Japan to define it.

After talking a bit to you about Honryu rods a few years ago, I went ahead and got the Gamakatsu Multiflex Suimu EX 500 Honryu rod. I was blown away that a rod that long could cast so nicely and while it is tip heavy it still has a very light swing weight compared to other rods in the same length range. I have only used it on about eight fishing trips, but I was very impressed. Normally I don’t fish rods over 400cm very much, but I like that rod. I also like the Tanuki 425 rod for a rod in the Honryu category of rod length.

I would really love to fish Honryu in Japan in the lower, wider rivers for medium sized salmon that I have seen in some Japanese social media and videos. Someday I plan to dive into learning about true Honryu fishing more and possibly make a rod for it but for now my plate is fairly full.

Adam Trahan: You know, I just may have made a gaff, but I’m going to leave it in place. As far as “selling rods” goes, the term marketing, in my view, is angling towards the consumer. Businesses market their goods; customers buy the goods. The marketing in tenkara has had a couple of prominent directions. From afar, it seems you have grown your company on good rods at a great price with availability and good customer service. And the most important aspect, anglers telling each other about their experiences with Dragontail. That’s my view.

“What is your marketing approach?”

Brent Auger: We definitely take more of the word-of-mouth marketing approach rather than the expensive heavy aggressive marketing approach. We find that if we can give customers a lot of value for their money, paired with over-the-top customer service, and a large product variety, customers will keep coming back to support us. What we save on high marketing costs we pass on in our prices, and what we lose on possible new customers from heavy marketing we gain back through loyal customers who also bring us new loyal customers.

I personally don’t want our company to be in everyone's face all the time. I market the way I would want a company to market to me, and that seems to work great for us right now.

I also spend a lot of time reading people’s posts on social media to understand their wants, needs, gear struggles, and their fishing styles using a tenkara rod. We keep all this in mind when deciding on and working on new products and designs. We want people to feel like we listen and deliver something that fits their needs or wants.

Adam Trahan: Brent, do you have any questions for me?

Brent Auger: I tend to favor longer rods if I can get away with it (380-400cm), even on smaller creeks. I just love the control I have over everything with a longer rod. If you didn’t have to worry about tree/brush canopy overhead, what is your preferred tenkara rod length to use on creeks?

Adam Trahan: Great question. Coming from a fly-fishing background, for streams, rods up to 8’9” were about as long as I went. Length is an attribute in my view. On rivers I used up to 11’ single hand rods, that’s my background before tenkara. When I bought my first rod, the Ebisu, I knew that length was going to be an attribute as well. I researched the Japanese market heavily. This was in early 2010. As a side note, I was also figuring out how to buy them either with help from a company to sell directly to us or through a friend. The Nissin Fuji rod at 410cn was an early rod of mine at 6:4. Really long and soft, that was my preferred length but more importantly, accuracy had to be there. Longer rods have more issues that impart unnecessary movement into the line so finding a rod that was accurate and long ruled my search.

To answer your question, 390 - 410 seems to be the sweet spot that I like. I use a plus 1.5m line length now so with that length line on a long rod? I’m standing back or casting a good distance upstream.

The most accurate long rod I’ve come across is the Discover Karasu 400. It is a mimic machine for sure. But I’m just not a fan of foam grips. The Suimu are awesome casting rods in their shortest length and feel great. The Suimu EX 400 zooms to 4m! But it’s a 3-meter rod! With this rod I can have my short AND long rod!

I’m really still discovering how to properly use a zoom rod. My tenkara is still evolving.

I actually like that short~long rod…

Adam Trahan: I really appreciate your time and kindness with me. It is refreshing and I appreciate you and your company.

“Please feel free to express anything you want in closing.”

Brent Auger: First, thanks for creating this platform for people to be interviewed for all of us to learn from others in the tenkara community. I love that they are longer conversations that allow people to say a lot.

I think I have talked about most everything I would like to talk about except I wanted to give a shout out to Jason Sparks. When I was first getting into tenkara he was so active in the online social media helping and inspiring people, including me. I can still remember as I was just starting to tie my own flies, he was very encouraging to me and helped me think very much outside the box. I can still remember when he went through that carpet fly phase, I also started experimenting with all kinds of different materials. I feel like I have become quite a good fly tyer at this point and although my style is different from Jason Sparks’ style, I feel like his early encouragement helped me along a lot early on. So thanks Jason, I am sure I am not the only one who feels like you helped them along in their tenkara journey.


  1. I dig the reference to the old VW's. I just sold my bus, it was my second one. I'll use the money to get a new Subaru Forester. ...but I loved my bus.

  2. Adam, another great interview.

    1. Thank you. I try hard to bring forth good content.

  3. Thanks for this, first tenkara rod was DragonTail Shadowfire when it first released as wasn’t sure about this tenkara thing and wanted something reasonably priced. I still use it and added a Mizuchi recently for smaller streams. Both are great.

    1. Excellent! Dragontail and Brent have been good for tenkara outside of Japan and I'm glad to see your first rod was one of the line up.

  4. Adam, long time, old friend. Greetings. Many moons ago you got me interested in tenkara. It took me a good while, but now my little Brushy Creek and other local small waters are where I have fished the long rod almost exclusively. I do still use my other small stream traditional rods occasionally, but the majority of the time it's a tenkara rod - one of a few, now, but also usually a Dragontail, thus the comment. Thanks to you for the years that it's been, and to Brent for the gear.

    All the best and shalom, good Sir.