Chance Encounters


photo courtesy of Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata

The internet and Facebook elicit quite mixed feelings inside me, I have to admit. As I grow older I can’t help but to look back at my youth with increasing nostalgia. Personal computers were unknown, TV had only 3 or 4 stations, cartoons were not constantly on, kids were allowed to roam far and wide, phones were all attached to a cord…and we went outside…just because…well because we had nothing much else to do often enough. And I think we liked it.

Well that’s not the world we live in now. Now we are often disconnected from those right next to us and yet “connected” to others in far flung corners of the world. It’s just weird.

It can be good and it can be bad. And sometimes just plain cool.

It was on the Facebook that I ran into Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata. If memory serves, it was through Craig Chambers (see a guest post from him HERE) that I first came across Mr. Kuwata’s Facebook posts. Most often these are simple, but elegant photos of flies – western fly fishing patterns almost exclusively. One day I asked Mr. Kuwata if he ever fished tenkara, or if he was purely a western fly angler. And was rewarded with a little nugget.

It was through a few back and forth messages on Facebook that the story arose – I’ll present Mr. Kuwata’s replies – with just a few minor edits for grammar and overall flow.

Good morning, It’s 7:45am now here in Japan, sorry I don’t do tenkara. But I do know it’s so effective. I think it’s interesting you American guys tie tenkara flies and Japanese tie Catskill flies.LOL !

About 40 years ago I was backpacking in the Nagano Prefecture (Central Japan) and I met a gentleman on the river bank and we had a coffee break for a while. He gave me a beautifully tied tenkara fly: peacock body and brown hackle. The body was covered with black mono tying thread. He didn’t use any head cement or glue. I think he is not only a traditionalist but also an innovator.

photo courtesy of Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata

photo courtesy of Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata

This fly is tied on size about #8 black porgy salt water hook. The eye is braided nylon. He told me this fly is tough enough to catch a hundred Iwana(Japanese char).

Sorry I forgot the name of the river. But I still remember the name of the place,Togakushi in Nagano Prefecture. 40 years ago I was a serious backpacker. I carried a big Kelty Tioga backpack on my shoulders.

I googled the river – it was the Torii River.

That was a few days journey to Nagano. I forget the details. I just walked many hours and enjoyed fishing for only 30 minutes.

I walked several hours and found a camp site, and set up my tent. As always I enjoyed 30 minutes fishing before dinner (freeze-dried food). I caught a few small Iwana. I didn’t take photos of the catch in those days.

So there it is. Just a simple story. And a tenkara mystery. Who was that tenkara angler all those years ago? I wonder if somebody out there will recognize this story or recognize this fly. Wouldn’t that be cool? It would be such an awesome circle.

Thank you so much Mr. Kuwata for sharing this!

Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata: photo courtesy of Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata

Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata: photo courtesy of Mr. Noriyuki Kuwata


4 Comments on Chance Encounters

  1. Nice story. Magical. I too love and hate the interweb.

  2. I remember the days…

  3. Wonderful story, Anthony!

  4. What a beautiful fly. Hard to achieve that level of perfection.

what say you?