Bringing It Home

As you may or may not know, our tag line for Zen Tenkara is “defining American tenkara”. I’ve been asked exactly what that means and where we’re going as a company. Well, in this moment, I’ll attempt to tell you. We are anglers, fly men and women, passionate about what we do, how we do it and as it were, where we do it. That my friend, is America. We are American and for the most part, fish on American waters. We are not imitators in fact, we are inventors. Creative and exploratory in nature. We are rebels in our heart of hearts. And, we’re proud of that.

We saw the usefulness and effectiveness in the tenkara method. We embraced it. The difference is, now listen up because here it comes, we saw its application and decided to push its limits and see just where this fixed-line method of fly fishing could take us. Our discovery was, it could go far and, be applied to numerous situations, environments, species and waters. In fact, it rocked! It was addictive and so clean and so simple and so straight forward, that we embraced it. That’s our story and that’s how in our time, as a company, we began to define American tenkara.

We are not transporting Japanese culture here, we are learning from it and writing our own story. We did begin with a traditional tenkara rod, the Zako. But from there, nothing has been traditional. Our second rod, the Kyojin was a rod designed to target big species like carp, salmon, pacu, dorado…. The list goes on and certainly not what people think of as tenkara targeted species. Our third rod, the Baichi, is a nymphing rod and a transition rod for western anglers. They love the familiar feel of it and the nimbleness is offers compared to their home-sweet-home 9’ 5 weight. This rod opened the door that had been closed shut to tenkara and fixed-line fly fishing due to an initial purist approach that was preached early on. The Baichi is an easy invitation to western anglers that lets them explore the possibilities of tenkara without throwing away everything they know and love. That’s why that rod was produced. A peace offering of sorts, an olive branch if you will. And, it works great for large species like large-mouth bass, muskie and pike, and big trout 24” and up. Love it or leave it that’s our story.

Now Zen is committed to bringing it home all the way. We had hoped that we’d be able to show off our newest rod at our Tenkara Winter Series 2016 event in early March. So it happened, we weren’t ready and decided that holding back to get the rod as close to freak’en amazing was critical. It’s almost here though and as excited as we are, we’re taking our time before introducing it to the world: The first 100% American made tenkara rod – blanks, material, components, the whole hotdog – USA made. And we’re proud of that, and know, we’ll be setting the bar from this point moving forward. Kinda a big deal, at least in our heads.

That being said, we were able to showcase our second 100% American made product: our Crosscurrent Chest Pack. This pack is trim, slim-lined, simple, but highly functional and as durable as a pack can be. It was made to be passed down through the generations. To your kid and their kids. Because we envision tenkara, fixed-line fly fishing and fly fishing in general, to experience a resurgence. We’re adapting and designing for a new breed of anglers.

This pack was made in Colorado, true cowboy land. It’s hand-sewn and built tough, but it’s clean, trim and smart. Remember, it’s about “finding balance on the water” (our other tag line). But just to give you an idea, here are the specs:


Handcrafted in Colorado, USA

462 cu in capacity

500 denier Cordura shell

Heavy duty #8 YKK zippers and hardware

Mil-spec webbing

Mil-spec thread

Closed-cell foam padding provides limited flotation

Fold-over zipper storm flaps

Full Velcro interior wall and front Velcro accessory patch

Low profile, easy-adjust, X-back harness with net attachment and front pull-down straps

Internal storage pockets

Bottom adjustable straps

Multi-purpose rear sleeve

Top grab loop

And Zen won’t stop there. We’ll soon be rolling out a new line of American Made, Colorado Made, Eco-friendly, tenkara lines for all your rods.

Stay tuned for the roll-out of our dynamic new rod. Get your hands on our new pack to feel the integrity of it and keep your eyes out for some hot new, but very green lines.

All 100% USA Americana. Bringing it home my friend, bringing it home for all to enjoy! So for all of you that have recently discovered you can catch more than small brook trout on a tenkara rod, welcome aboard the crazy train we’ve been riding from the beginning. Welcome to Zen.


  1. Hi Karin. We trust you had a successful I-cast experience in Orlando last month. Had been checking to see if you had written any comments about the Expo. We wish you much success and am hopeful the exposure will generate a lot of sales for you. Hope you made some videos you can share. Good luck. Ed

    • Hello Ed – how nice to hear from you! ICAST was great fun and also good business. I met some interesting people and made some good contacts as well. Even picked up a few new shops. The week after ICAST I went straight into the Outdoor Retailers Show for another 4 day expo. Also picked up a few new shops there and again, made some great contacts. It’s been a fantastic summer so far as I also managed to squeeze in a trip to fish in Mexico and Alaska. We have been working on making some videos – they aren’t spectacular but are definitiaely informative. We’ll me posting them to our website and our YouTube channel. Stay tuned!

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