What’s Our Story?
Zen Tenkara grew organically from owner Karin Miller’s passion for the sport. When she relocated to Colorado from South Florida, her need to be on the water led her to fly fishing. Tenkara was the perfect tool for the small streams that were near her home. She was captivated with tenkara’s efficiency, simplicity and fun. And in 2012, Zen Tenkara was born. Karin’s curiosity and hunger for adventure fueled her desire to target bigger fish and test the limits of this fixed-line method of fly fishing. This is the driving force that has led Zen Tenkara to be the pioneer of American tenkara.
Today, Zen Tenkara/Zen Fly Fishing Gear is a Colorado company that designs, manufactures and sells a broad range of tenkara fly rods, lines and accessories. Zen is revolutionizing this fixed-line fly fishing method and is known for creating a “fusion” of traditional fly fishing and tenkara to target not only small traditional tenkara species but also large, powerful fish not typically associated with this ancient Japanese method. Karin Miller, who remains at the helm of Zen, has established a reputation for being innovative, being cutting edge and for pushing boundaries with her high-performance tenkara rods. Together, Karin and Zen Tenkara are defining American tenkara.
Our Angle on Angling
Our priority is your experience. We know we’ve succeeded when you’re having as much fun as we are—a fun day of fishing is a successful day of fishing. Zen Tenkara is not just about the catch; it’s about the thrill of the experience.
At Zen, we connect with you—whether you’re an experienced fly fisher, planning to start tomorrow, browsing for a gift, or just wondering what tenkara is all about, we’re here to help guide you.
At Zen Tenkara, We Are:
Innovative: Our team is encouraged to ask, “Why?” But our most motivating question is, “Why not?” We design rods that are thoughtful and effective while maintaining tenkara’s signature simplicity. We make rods to handle a variety of species in a variety of waters and to target the fish we dream of.
Leaders: We balance respect for ancient tenkara tradition with revolutionizing this fixed-line method of fly fishing. We think outside the fly box. Our innovations in simplicity have made us leaders in tenkara firsts.
Cutting edge: We design fly rods and tenkara gear that simply make sense while improving performance and increasing effectiveness. We push boundaries and test new ideas in order to gain insights and create unique tenkara gear.
Collaborative: We cultivate connection—to the water, to the fish, to the people and Nature surrounding us. At Zen, we do our best to be present and aim to cultivate the same strong connection with you. Share your adventures with us. Email us your stories. Have questions? Contact us and you’ll get a personal response, often directly from our founder. We offer an unmatched level of customer service that sets us apart.
A Word from Our Founder:
My first memory of fishing was with my dad when I was about four years old and we were anchored off Honeymoon Harbor in the Bahamas. There wasn’t much room for toys on our 27-ft Morgan sailboat, which we lived aboard for about a month at a time. One day while we were fishing out of our dingy, he casually said, “I think you caught something.” What? Really? I began to reel the line in. As I looked over the edge of the boat, I was surprised to see something very bright red and yellow attached to my hook. This was different. I pulled the line in and found, to my surprise, a Matchbox cement truck. We turned to each other in disbelief and wonder—a toy truck!—and then doubled over giggling and laughing. In that moment, there was nothing else, just the connection between me, my dad, the water and the “fish.” One of the joys of fishing is that you never know exactly what you’ll find at the end of your line. I never figured out how my dad got that toy truck on my hook, but that moment, that feeling and the connection we shared was cemented in my mind forever (no pun intended). I grew up on the water; it’s in my blood and a huge part of who I am. It’s both a place of tranquility and excitement, tradition and exploration, and fly-fishing brings it all home for me. Zen Tenkara embodies those opposite but complementary states—the yin and the yang. I invite you to join us and find your balance on the water.
Tight lines and happy fishing,