Why A Guide

With the growing interest in tenkara style fly fishing, is the growing need for knowledgeable, professional and skilled tenkara guides. Why you ask? Tenkara is simple and uncomplicated. Is there really a need for tenkara guides? The answer in my opinion is, yes . Let me spend the next few moments on this page telling you why.

To begin, I see a guide as a teacher, a facilitator, a resource, an advocate and a person of wisdom, knowledge and experience. They share information with you. They steer you in the right direction and help you discover your own answers because this is the most effective way to learn something. A fishing guide is no different.They are there for your benefit – to be a teacher, to be a resource, to be an advocate and to cheer you on. A guide will help you understand fish better and support you in becoming a more skilled and productive angler.

Guides can make your life easier. What I mean by this is not the obvious. Yes, guides will pack you a lunch, tie on flies and untangle nasty knots all as part of their service to you. But, what I really mean is guides will help you get results with much less effort. Even if your end landing results remain exactly the same with a guide and without (although probably not), I’ll bet a million that without a guide, you’re working twice as hard and half as efficient. Professional guides will show you little tricks and tweaks that will clean up, add distance to, and improve the accuracy of your cast. From their vast experience and heaps of experimenting, they can share a collection of simple pointers that will make your life on the water easier and sweeter all at the same time.Whether it’s a new cast or a technique with the arm or wrist, these pointers will exponentially improve your fishing and time on the water.

Guides have the inside scoop. That’s right, guides are scoop masters. They spend their days on the water….fishing. They know what the fishing and insect life are doing on an intimate basis. It’s their job to know this . Guides are fish people. They guide because they’re passionate about fishing, about the rivers and about their environment. They would probably do this even if they didn’t get paid for it.Guides also know other guides and fish people. They talk, share stories and share information.Guides have the skinny on what’s hot, what’s being rejected and where the activity is. If you are not local this kind of information is priceless. If you are local, it’s still priceless….that is if you really, really wanna get better at catching fish.

Gear and toys. Yep, that’s a fantastic and excellent reason to use a guide. We all like playing with the other kids toys….it’s just more fun. And sometimes we find we like their toys so much, we decide we want them for ourselves.Guides usually have a variety of awesome gear. When we go out with a guide, we get to use, play and experiment with their rods without ever having to commit to them. It’s like taking a car out for a test drive for the entire day. Its hands-on so you don’t have buyer’s remorse. Put the rod through the steps, work it over and decide on the water, not in a retail shop, whether you love the rod and need to have it.


Perspective is my final reason. Sometimes it’s helpful, and humbling, to see somebody else’s perspective. You can’t see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes. If you’re doing the same thing over and over you’re most probably getting the same results. We need to do something differently to get a different outcome. The challenge is that we’ve done it the same way for so long, that we have a hard time seeing what we’re actually doing, versus what we think we’re doing. That makes figuring out what to change hard. There’s a word for this, it’s “habit”. Habits are comfortable and are hard to break without the help of outside perspective.Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing it for the first time through someone else’s eyes. Maybe its hearing how they would approach the water or the rig they’re using and why. Perspective broadens our horizon, opens our eyes to new ways, new insights, new methods and makes us reflect on our own fishing practices. Guides provide perspective. They offer insight and options that usually bring forth better results and make you more aware of your own habits.

Zen is training and certifying tenkara guides. We want to offer all of the above to our customers, to tenkara enthusiasts and to people new to tenkara or fishing all together. Fishing brings us outside, connects us to our environment and is just good for our mental and emotional selves. Treat yourself to an incredible afternoon. Challenge yourself to learn something new. Connect with your environment. Stand in a river. Catch a fish. Hire a guide. You’ll be better for it.


  1. I am a Utah fly fishing guide that has introduced many hundreds to the sport of tenkara “nymphing” for 10 years now. I also use tenkara rods for dries, dry/droppers, wet flies and even small streamers but 90% of the fish my clients catch are on nymphs (with or without an indicator). I have found that this Americanized form of tenkara rod fly fishing is super effective because tenkara tackle makes it easy for beginners to get a natural drift and thereby catch selective fish. 80% of my clients have never or seldom touched a fly rod of any kind and are just experiencing local activities or are with a corporate group but the other 20% come with fishing/learning in mind.
    Most clients are happy to try tenkara but a few have a mental block about it or just don’t like it, so I also fish standard fly tackle. I bring both on every trip and try to introduce them to several types of fishing in a day. Most appreciate the selection of styles and will often settle on a favorite in short order.
    My advice is for regular fly guides is to carry tenkara rods and for tenkara guides to have regular fly tackle available. This is a diverse sport and should be taught as such!

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