Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Very Long Distance Fly Swap

Sakasa Kebari tied by Mr. Katsutoshi Amano
I love to go fishing anytime and anywhere I can.  However, when I'm not fishing I always enjoy tying flies for other anglers and myself.  In the last year or two I seem to have developed a liking for yet another aspect of the sport of fly fishing and that is the collection of flies tied by notable fly tiers, such as Fran Betters and Don Bastian, as well as lesser known but very talented tiers such as fellow bloggers Alan and Karel.  There are many tiers out there whose flies appeal to me in one way or another.  I find some flies fascinating due to materials used or method of construction.  Some are simply like miniature works of art.

Ishigaki Kebari tied by Dr. Hisao Ishigaki
Many people find items that have been previously owned by someone noteworthy or an autograph to be extremely valuable for one reason or another.  I find that the same can be said for flies used for fly fishing.  In fact some flies can be sold for hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on who tied it and how rare it is.  Why would collectors spend that kind of money to obtain an old dusty fly that generally can be tied today with the same or similar materials?  I can't speak for everyone but I can tell you why I would want to collect them.

Kebari tied by Shintaro Kumazaki
No two fly tiers tie the same flies exactly alike. A great example of this can be found in the new "Tying Tenkara Flies, Volume I" from In this video three different tiers tied the same pattern three different ways.  My point is that each tier of a particular fly will make slight modifications to either make the tie easier, more effective, or even for aesthetic reasons.  A little bit of their personality and their fly tying wisdom go into this process. Possessing flies from the a notable or very skilled tier allows anyone to hold and examine up close the genius  of another angler.  Such flies are also a piece of history.  How can today's tiers know where they are going if they don't know the paths that have been taken by others to arrive at the present day?  This is why I find such flies valuable and worthy of collecting.

Kebari tied by Hiroto Sasaki
With the help of Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, I was able to swap some of my favorite sakasa kebari with several tenkara masters in Japan.  The flies pictured throughout this post are the flies I received in return.  To me, each is as valuable as having a Fran Better's Ausable Wulff or a Carrie Stevens streamer. Each has something to offer or teach me.  I hope everyone who reads this will come to appreciate these and other flies as I have.  I also again just wanted to thank Daniel and my fellow tenkara anglers/tiers from Japan for these little treasures as they will now be added to my collection.


  1. Your correct in your saying they hold a special value. Each fly tied has a special meaning to the tyer and to the recipient.

  2. Thanks Brk Trt...I still hold your flies in high regard and they will always be the kind of flies I'm referring to collecting in this post.