22 CommentsFriday, 1 February 2019  |  Paul G

BFFI 2019

As well as launching the DVD "Manipulations Vol. 1: The Illusion of Life in Fly Fishing" at the BFFI we'll be doing traditional horsehair line-making demos on our stand from 2pm each day plus presenting in the Fly Fair Forum at 12:30pm both days (Scroll down for the full programme of presenters and Fly Tying in Focus demonstrators). The British Fly Fair lineup for tyers row is a truly international celebration of the skills of some of the best tyers in the world. For example, if you enjoyed Martin Smith's streamers from my Trout Flies blog, you can catch him at 11:30am both days in the Fly Tying in Focus theatre.

British Fly Fair International Dates for 2019

The 2019 event is being held on Saturday February 9th and Sunday February 10th. Tickets (with advance discount) are available in advance from the organisers by Clicking Here. You can pay a little more on the door to gain entry on the day(s) you wish to attend if you don't manage to book in advance.

BFFI 2019 Theatre Programme 

Each year Steve and Bridgette Cooper of Cookshill Fly Tying (ably assisted by multiple key supporters) put together a range of world-class presentations and tying demonstrations - and the show has grown out of all proportion from the early days of a single hall (in fact out-growing venues could become a trademark). Of course, 2019 is no exception with top names at every turn. The concentration of fly fishing knowledge, experience and skills contained within the three exhibition halls is truly exceptional. Here's a sample of the formal presentations (that happen on top of the immense array of talent on display along fly tyers row).

BFFI Programme 2019

British Fly Fair International 2019 Venue Address

If you've never visited the BFFI then you might need to check out the location and plan your possible routes. The good thing is that, these days, the British Fly Fair is a big event and the venue is large and obvious! Here's the address for the 2019 event:

Staffordshire County Showground

Postcode: ST18 0BD

First Peak Screenshots from "Manipulations Vol. 1" DVD

It's HERE:

Discover Tenkara Manipulations DVF

As mentioned in the video message at the top of this post for the 2019 event, John and myself will be launching a brand new DVD title. It's all about how, if you're a river fly fisher of any sort, you can multiply the effectiveness of each fly that you tie on. In many ways, these tried and tested ways you can use to control and animate your flies in (or on) the water are like a magic extra ingredient. It's an ingredient that brings your fly to life in the eyes of the fish (the only eyes that count). It's also one of the major factors that split out consistently highly successful river fly fishers from the ordinary Joe.

Manipulations DVD Nymphing Screenshot from BFFI 2019 Launch

Grayling seduced by a carefully controlled czech nymph manipulation (where the same fly was ignored on previous casts)

Because tenkara is so stripped down in terms of equipment (and because Japanese rivers are such unforgiving testing grounds) these methods have been mercilessly honed by the best practitioners in Japan.  They have also arisen from a backdrop where people needed to catch fish on flies or face starvation during harsh mountain winters (where 8 metres of snow is absolutely normal).

Riverscape Proving Grounds for Fly Manipulations Exposed at BFFI 2019

DVD Screenshot: Fly Fishing and Tenkara take us to beautiful places - The skills that Improve your chances take up no space in your luggage

That process has made these techniques extremely practical and effective. AND THE BIGGEST MYTH IS THAT THEY ONLY WORK "IN TENKARA". This is, of course, nonsense. Yes, they are absolutely essential if you want to be any good at tenkara...however, is it a good idea to ignore those skills if you want to make your czech nymphs more attractive to fish? Is streamer or wet-fly fishing completely devoid of the skills of creating enticing movement in y our flies? Do duns, emergers or spinners (imitated by dry fly anglers) hover, motionless at one point in space - unaffected by wind or water currents? Do they never send out vibrations from their own movement of wings, legs, tails or bodies? 

Early screen shot that BFFI attendees will have the first chance to view in full

Along with the (soon to be in high demand post Brexit ha ha ha, sheesh...) hard-won survival skills of horsehair tenkara line-making and "no-vice" fly tying - these top-level presentation tweaks will certainly increase your understanding, satisfaction and success on-stream. They also fit perfectly into the overall biology-based system of approaching rivers with a fly rod and/or tenkara rod first described in the book "How to Fool Fish with Simple Flies". That's why it seems to make sense to major on these related themes and skills in our 2019 BFFI activities, demonstrations and presentations.

Of course - we're producing an NTSC version for you in the USA, Canada and Japan - and this is available to Pre-order at a special launch offer price (just click the picture of the NTSC version  right here:

BFFI DVD Launches

Over the years for both John and myself the British Fly Fair has been a brilliant launching platform for almost all of the various DVD titles that we've worked on (together and separately). We are really grateful for all those opportunities and we've bust our asses to continually raise the standard of tuition and quality of production in each successive release. We are also so thankful for the opportunity to meet up with so many of our good friends and supporters.

There are far easier and far more effective ways to make money - so I hope it is obvious that it means a great deal to us to be able to interact personally with anyone who has benefited from our publications. Gatherings such as the BFFI are vital to this whole community of fly fishers and the fishing, fish and environments that we are so passionate about. 

If you can, please do take the opportunity to attend this (and other) events - because that is the only way that this community gathering and sharing of ideas will be possible now and in the future.

Discover Tenkara Contests and Prizes at the British Fly Fair

This year will be our first foray into running competitions as part of our Fly Fair Forum Presentations AND on-stand exhibition/demonstrations. Our first one should appeal to anyone who feels like they should be able to out-do Bear Grylls or Ray Mears...could you cut it if you had to make your fly lines from scratch using natural materials? How about tippet, rod and flies too??

Horsehair line making will be demonstrated at the BFFI 2019 show

A Hand-made Horsehair line: Furled and knotted to create a carefully-designed taper and mass by Hirata-san himself

That's how the "Shokuryoshi" (pro "survival" tenkara anglers) did it quite commonly up until as recently as the 1960's. Is ours going to be the generation that those survival skills and pride in the same dies out?? We hope not, so if you're up for some fun and for the challenge of a nice winter challenge I'll be demoing how to make a tapered tenkara casting line by hand with no tools (than a cutting blade) if push comes to shove. We'd be very happy to talk about no-vice kebari making as well as whole bamboo rod creation.

In addition, if you come to our presentation in the Fly Fair Forum, you'll get a fair chance to win a signed copy of the 8" x 10" full colour coffee table book "How to Fool Fish with Simple Flies". You'll also get chance to see some very personal video sequences and hear a lot of stories (including plenty of me falling in the river in very public circumstances).

How to Fool Fish Print book available at British Fly Fair International from DT

And if it is just too far (or there is simply no way for you to make the space in your diary to attend the British Fly Fair, look out for the new DVD to become available in the coming months here on our site. As always, feel free to leave your comments and if (for some reason) you're not subscribing to our free email tutorials and special loyalty bonus offers - then you can rectify that by signing up Here.


Paul G
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  1:39

Let us know what you think of our ideas for the BFFI and also the new DVD announcement...


Neil McGhee
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  8:32

Definitely want the dad's. Nothing as good as pictures and words .

Paul Gaskell
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  17:57

Awesome Neil - I'm guessing that's the predictive text version of "DVD" ha ha ha :)


Glenn Smithson
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  14:44

All sounds good, hope to see you there. Definitely having the DVD👍

Paul Gaskell
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  17:58

Glenn, it's always a pleasure to see you and I look forward to catching up in person at the show.


Harold Steele
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  17:36

Paul, Have you ever tried a horse hair line on your Euro rod and reel?

Paul Gaskell
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  18:01

Hi Harold - I have and it's something I hope to capture some footage of this upcoming trout season. One thing worth noting is that, with the hand-knotted style of horsehair line used by Hirata-san, you often need to use the technique of catching hold of the line to complete the landing of the fish (second nature to tenkara anglers - and a useful "muscle memory" to develop if you ever get your line or indicator snagged on the guides/on the blank when fishing with a Western fly rod & reel).


Harold Steele
Saturday, 2 February 2019  |  19:59

Thanks for replying. It sounds like the knots won't go through guides.

Paul Gaskell
Monday, 4 February 2019  |  8:10

I'd guess they could easily be made to by the addition of a small drop of nail varnish or even flexible glue if you wanted.

Sunday, 10 February 2019  |  6:48

Guys, an enjoyable, informative 72 minutes - well spent. Adding the fly pattern, hackle type and density was, imo, an essential addition to the manipulation tactics. Perhaps not surprising that I like this video since the TIF lesson on manipulation is perhaps my favorite one. Your increasing skill at video production continues to favorably impress.

Paul Gaskell
Monday, 11 February 2019  |  20:50

David - your comments are (as always) massively appreciated as well as extremely kind - thank you.


Peter Heath
Monday, 11 February 2019  |  8:34

Another excellent DVD from the Discover Tenkara stable. Superb quality as always. Really well laid out and the recap at the end of each session is excellent and the information regarding fly pattern etc is inspired. Even after having had instruction from JP on these manipulation tactics there was loads to learn, or maybe there was loads that I had forgotten! Either way this will be a really useful revision source which I will use a lot. Can’t wait for volume 2 to hit the streets. Well done guys, another hit.

Paul Gaskell
Monday, 11 February 2019  |  20:52

Peter - we couldn't hope for a better review and we'd love to hear about your experiences on stream when applying the tactics if you ever get chance to share those,

Best wishes and thank you for dropping by personally at the BFFI show - it was great to see you,


Ian Beecham
Monday, 11 February 2019  |  16:55

I totally agree with Peter Heath.
Can I add that it is great value. More than a days guiding in the DVD and you can view it as often as you like. Well done both of you.

Paul Gaskell
Monday, 11 February 2019  |  20:55

Ian - it's support and the confirmation that folks as well-informed and practices as yourself find value in what we do that make all the "slings and arrows" worthwhile!

Thank you - we rely on (and lean on) you and all members of our incredible supporters far more than you'll ever know - particularly when it comes to the motivation to keep steering the course that we believe in.

Thank you again!

Thursday, 14 February 2019  |  13:29

Hi guys, finished watching the new DVD last night and I can only echo all the other positive comments.
Great instruction on when, how and why these manipulations are used, suggestions on kebari choice and positioning yourself on stream. Also highlighted were the ‘no no’s’.....‘don’t just shake the rod’,
‘pull too hard here and the kebari will leave the water’, etc. Always good to avoid the pitfalls!!!
Obviously a lot of time,funds and experience have gone into this as the production levels are way up there, I was genuinely sad when the credits rolled, I really didn’t want it to end.
IMHO I’ve always loved the manipulation side of tenkara. Ever willing to try something to gain a reaction if nothing is happening, rather than showing the same static presentation continuously.
As I’ve said.....picture two kids, one holding a ballon, one flying a kite, I know what I’d be doing!
Bring on vol 2 but have a rest first!!
All the best,

Paul Gaskell
Thursday, 14 February 2019  |  18:27

Glenn, I always run out of superlatives to adequately describe how much we appreciate your input and support over recent years. It was great to catch up at the show and many thanks for the very cool gifts (which is fast turning into a tradition - since you spoil us at each BFFI).


Thursday, 14 February 2019  |  16:31

Hi Paul and John,

I agree with others here that your videography and production skills have grown exponentially and are a joy to watch — again and again. This takes a huge investment of time and equipment to make possible and the results are evident.

One quick question. How does this video differ from your original manipulations video that's no longer available (aside from the obvious improvements that I mention above)?

Last but not least. Is this available in HD or only 720p like previous videos/downloads?

Paul Gaskell
Thursday, 14 February 2019  |  18:53

Hi Peder, many thanks and to take the simplest question first the HD download is at 1080p resolution.

In terms of how it differs, there are a number of significant elements. Before I describe those though the first thing to say is that there are roughly half of the manipulations covered in this Volume 1...with the other half slated for Volume 2. Consequently that implies a good deal more detail (where the devil is).

Now,on face value that probably seems like there's nothing new to learn here - and what we'd say is that folks need to ask if their manipulation skills are already better than Mushu san, Masami or any of the other Tenkara Acrobats.

Big improvements include the details of "feeding slack" (and more specifics that combine overhead drone footage and side elevation views with chalk board drawings of critical small details that make the difference), the cadence of good sasoi (impossible to show in text and static diagrams), showing where and how different manipulations can be used on different tackle (including demonstrations with fly rod and reel) and key point summary round ups that set you up for success much better than the previous version.

However the two most significant improvements are the "authentic battlefield conditions" proof of concept fish captures for every single manipulation (In all weathers and spread over 3 continents) PLUS the concise but detailed dissection of improvising and marrying fly characteristics to different micro variations of each main manipulation tactic.

If someone watches this new DVD and just checks off the names of presentations that they've seen/heard of through our previous materials (and feels that this means there's nothing new to learn), then those folks will miss 90% of the benefit available from this latest material that was not present in the first release.

Oh, and it looks a lot nicer as a "fishing trip replacement" when you can't get on stream too.

Overall, even if you're really, really familiar with the previous manipulations DVD, it will still take between 7 and 10 re-watching of the new one to take in the extra details (particularly with the scope for improvisation and tweaked field applications compared to the sanitized "ideal" model demonstrations).

Because of that I predict an underestimate of the quantity of new insight by most expert viewers who know our stuff well...and whose first several watchings will inevitably be tuned to looking for brand new named tactics.

I hope that goes some way towards answering your questions Peder.

Best wishes

Saturday, 23 February 2019  |  15:18

Hi Paul and John
Is there a possibility to buy this on a video on demand platform? I don‘t have a DVD player anymore and I don‘t feel like watching it on the playstation in the kids room :-) My favourite device is my iPad. I regularly buy content on vimeo, that would work.

Best wishes, Mark

Paul Gaskell
Saturday, 23 February 2019  |  15:54

Hi Mark, you can download (and if you set up a free account, you can stream or re-download) from your personal library using this link to our Gumroad shop:

N.B. if you order from a VAT-liable location Gumroad will add VAT automatically (since they pay VAT while we do not, yet, meet that turnover threshold ourselves).


Monday, 4 March 2019  |  18:56

Hi Paul and John

This is a great tutorial and I have been watching it now multiple times. The trout season will open in a couple of weeks and watching your videos is a great way to bridge the fishing-free time.
I already learned so much from you reading your blog that I substantially increased my catch rate last year. It almost felt like an unfair advantage I had over the fishermen struggling with their rod and reals in the fast flowing mountain streams. This year I plan to broaden my fishing territory and fish more different types of rivers. There are plenty of them here in Switzerland.
I‘m looking forward to your next lesson.

Take care, Mark