While it is completely possible to use a wide range of western flies and techniques with your tenkara rods, many people are curious to explore the traditional Japanese flies known as "kebari".
Our kebari selection has been carefully chosen by John and Paul of Discover Tenkara based on patterns and principles they have learned while studying in Japan. All of these flies have earned a place in their fly box both on home waters in the UK as well as in the mountain streams of Japan.
Kebari are often simple fly patterns featuring very few ingredients; the term kebari literally translates as feathered hook. The design philosophy of these simple flies strongly prioritises the fly's physical properties and the way they interact with casting and currents. The way they function on the river is more important than a “close-copy” resemblance to prey items in the vice- In fact most kebari are intended to give a general overall impression of ”food” rather than matching a specific insect or lifecycle stage.
The general suggestive outlines of kebari allow the angler use their presentation skills to control what their fly imitates at a particular time. Presentations could be dead drifts around complex currents, static (anchored) approaches or manipulations to give lifelike movement that can be irresistible to fish. The “Discovering Kebari” e-book explains presentation techniques - and how every presentation relates to specific functional properties of kebari. Paul and John have ensured that our kebari selection includes patterns from each major functional category. As a result, you know that you can buy the pattern that perfectly matches each authentic Japanese presentation tactic.
As tenkara has grown in the west there have been a number of misconceptions that have spread, perhaps the most common being that all tenkara flies have reversed hackles; this is simply not the case and on their travels in Japan John and Paul discovered that the reverse (sakasa) hackled kebari probably account for less than a third of Japanese tenkara flies.
Another common misconception has been the belief that stiff hackled kebari are intended as dry flies - this couldn't be further from the truth! All traditional tenkara kebari are intended to be fished as wet flies. On top of that, stiff rooster hackles are commonly used on wet flies intended to be fished in the most boisterous of currents where a dry fly would quickly drown. The use of stiff hackles on wet flies also gives a wonderful "anchoring" effect which allows some presentations with tenkara that would be difficult with almost any other method.