Tenkara – no – Oni — Masami Sakakibara’s World of Tenkara —

Oni Blog

Pleasure to just deepen techniques

Posted on | November 9, 2015

Stream fishing season is over at the end of September in JAPAN.

It is resumed in the next March.

From October to February comes the mating season of

Japanese stream trout: amago and iwana char.

They lay egg and fries are born in this season; we do

not bother them during this season.

Fishing ban is necessary due to this reason.

As written before, Japanese fish from salmon families

turn red during the pairing season just like salmon.


It is easy to spot fish with deep reddish colors even

from the distance; I go for observing them.

I’ve been doing this over three decades in this season.

I know suitable places for mating. I go there for

checking how many fish have decreased.

It is a pity to know the number has been decreasing

year by year.



One of the causes is destruction of the nature by building

dam and other man-made structures –natural habitat is

declining in number.


The biggest reason is, however, the fact that fishermen

keep them and take home.


There are so many of them who take home over 20 to 30

fish – only from one fishing trip!


There is no regulation on fresh water fish in Japan.

Everything is left to fishery associations in each area.

Some rivers restrict catch and kill only to 20 fish for

maximum number per person.


But basically most associations do not have any limit rules.



The first successful fishery association is catch-

and-release zone in Itoshiro area in Gifu prefecture

situated in the center of Japan.


They regulate the catch number – up to 10 fish per


I thought  this was a great decision.


They aimed to restore the number of fish to the number

of 30 years ago.


They didn’t the priority on fishermen but on the fish.


This is why Japan’s state-run broadcasting company

NHK also aired about the association.


The move was led by Mr. Saito, who is one of my important

friends and is a true naturalist.


Without such a movement, fish in this small island

would be cornered one day.




“Tenkara” fishing is now being exported overseas;

with simple set of fishing gear you can enjoy fishing.


This is what makes me pleased.


Surrounded by the sea, lakes and other fishable places,

we Japanese use different types of rods,

lines and rigs depending on the games. You may see such a

variety at regular Japanese fishing shops.


We placed our priority on techniques; we left production

of rods to experts.


Experts on fishing rods in Japan are seasoned fishermen

in certain field and thus they are called experts.


They know the rods for their specialty better than

anyone else.


Experience is the most important knowledge.


As the old saying says, “The gray hair is the crown of

glory,” experience matters the most also in fishing.


In order to enjoy Tenkara, I suggest you deepen its



What you have to do is to expand your imagination on

how you fish.


Improve your long line method so that you can catch

the fish in the distance.


In this way, you do not have to rely on reels.

You make the most of the current so that you can sink

your fly and search for fish in the deep column which

let you not use split shots or weight.


This is because fishermen in Japan just a Several century

ago did so in the deep mountain.

And those people established “Tenkara.”


Even if you cannot achieve your goal today, you may be

able to do that tomorrow.


Thinking this way makes you excited, and above all that

is the most important and makes you happy.


I think all people regardless of age, gender and handicap

think the same way.



Big couple of mating fish – 50 centimeter male and 35 centimeter female spotted at my home river this year







3 Responses to “Pleasure to just deepen techniques”

  1. Adam Klags
    November 10th, 2015 @ 12:56 AM

    Masami-San, this is a great blog post! Thank you. I was very excited to read about the new regulations in the Itoshiro area. I am hoping Japan can work on more catch and release areas, and it would be even more amazing if there was a 0 (ZERO) fish limit for some areas, so that all the fish had to go back into the water. (Only keep one if the hook kills it by mistake…) This is how we protect our very high pressure waters here in the USA. Looking forward to reading more about your off-season adventures. Very nice photo & video of the fish spawning.

  2. Michael McAtamney
    December 2nd, 2015 @ 5:22 PM

    I started fishing the tenkara style this summer and caught five wild brown trout ,while on holiday in Devon.All fish were released to be enjoyed by the next fisherman. To be one with your natural surroundings while fishing is a great way to unwind from the pressures of modern living ! Tenkara fishing is the simplest & most natural way to do this.If we are to protect this sport for future generations it is vital that we protect our fish stocks by catch & release,plus preserving their natural habitat.
    Love your oni tenkara rods. M.M.

  3. ONI
    December 3rd, 2015 @ 7:40 PM

    Dear M.M.
    thank you very much. Nice read.You hit! that’s good.Yes,TENKARa fishing is simplest and deep.We have to keep natural surrounding for our boys and girls.

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