In 2013 we had our first event in North Carolina. It is very safe to say that the weekend was a huge success in every way that we can think to measure it. It became apparent very quickly that we would need to do this again. So, what is it?
Going back to almost four years, Lance Milks and Jason Sparks were talking over the concept of having a multi-vendor, instructional, all things tenkara exhibition event. It was chewed on for some time.
We had a good handful of ideas that we pulled together and starting planning. We found a great location to hold the event. We found some very "tenkara smart" anglers eager to get involved and make a presentation. We invited several tenkara rod manufacturers to come in and set up shop, a true first in the US. Everyone was excited on the "business end" of this. We settled on eight speakers and near as many tenkara vendors/ brands to be represented.
We had topics that covered a range of things like: tenkara 101, kebari history, line options, big fish wrangling, warm water species, and more. We heard from popular tenkara personalities like Tom Sadler, Robert Worthing, Matt Sment, Adam Omernick, John Cianchetti, Lance Milks and Al Alborn. The list of tenkara brands was impressive also: Tenkara Bum, Zen Fly Fishing Gear, Tenkara USA, Mountain Troutfitters, Badger Tenkara, Riverworks, Tenkara Customs and a show favorite, Zimmerbuilt.
The attendees ranged from having never before fished to the fly fishermen interested in tenkara to anglers that had already adopted tenkara fixed line fishing. There is no doubt about this next statement, they all got something from this weekend. If counting, they all probably got dozens of things from it. From how to hold the rod to how to cast a 26 foot line to how to tie the centuries old "takayama sakasa" kebari. There was an incredible amount of serious tenkara information shared in those two days.
The "Appalachian Tenkara Anglers" group is designed to bring together tenkara anglers into a supportive and engaged community. We have been very successful in growing our online membership over the last four years. Bringing this community of like minded anglers together in the real world was the next step. Bringing the tenkara community at large the "Tenkara Jam" presented a way to achieve that.
We are crazy enough to do it all over again. We have added several organizations that are interested and supportive of our movement. We expect another round of solid presentations to impress you. We are looking forward to repeating the awesome collection of rods and products like never before seen. I assure you that there is no where else in the world outside of Japan where you can ask questions about and put your hands on over one hundred different fixed line rods in a single room.
On top of the production we are creating, and probably the single best part of all of this, the tenkara community comes together. You will meet people you have only chatted with online. You will be able to ask questions to one hundred other tenkara anglers that do it just a little bit differently. You will sit next to people that have never heard of tenkara before two days ago and you will get the chance to tell them your story. You can be the factor that makes a difference for them.
Here we are now in 2017 coming back for a FOURTH YEAR. The event will be held on the campus of Appalachian State University in a state of the art facility. We are pushing to add great new features, new vendors, new presenters all wrapped up in a new setting. We believe that the tenkara experience in Boone, NC and the fantastic waters surrounding our High Country in the Blue Ridge Mountains will prove to be a lifelong memory.
To wrap this up, we want to share the biggest THANK YOU to everyone that was involved, presented, supported, attended and believed in the inaugural "Tenkara Jam". Those 50 people took the first steps in this movement and it is that list of names that made Jam 2014 a true success. Year four would not be possible without continued growth and support in our community.
WE ARE TENKARA.
Tenkara Jam 2014: Foscoe, NC
Tenkara Jam 2015: Hunt Valley, MD
Tenkara Jam 2016: Cherokee, NC
Tenkara Jam 2017: Boone, NC
TENKARA JAM 2018 TBA