When starting out practicing tenkara there is always the question of what to use as a first fly, whether it is better to start with a kebari or a western fly. But first let me give you a quick introduction to what a traditional Japanese kebari is.
Kebari in Japanese translates to feathered hook, so a fly with feathers tied to it. Another term that is common in tenkara is Sakasa which literally translates as “Reversed” meaning that the hackle on the sakasa kebari is oriented towards the eye of the hook rather than away from the eye of the hook found on what I term traditional western flies.
One of my favorite flies when I started out practicing tenkara was the Ishigaki Kebari, by far one of the most productive flies for me, yet also one with the most basic of materials to tie it. The Ishigaki is tied by Dr. Ishigaki using black cotton thread and brown partridge hackle. The Ishigaki looks like nothing yet looks like everything and thus makes it such a productive kebari pattern.
If you are starting out in tenkara and want to practice a traditional style of tenkara than this is probably the best fly in my opinion to start with. But that being the case if you really want to experiment with a number of different patterns than by all means try them out. There are a large range of styles available for purchase online or you can watch plenty of kebari tying videos on Youtube and other media sources as well. Even keep your eyes open for a few videos appearing on My Tenkara Fly Box page very soon.
In a future post I will be discussing whether you can only fish with a sakasa kebari or use a western pattern like an Elk Hair Caddis.
Tenkara and Tight Lines!