A Survival Fishing Kit: Hirata-sanís Secret to Long, Happy Life
2 CommentsFriday, 13 July 2018 | Paul G
I used to think I was a pretty good fly fisher. I even entered some competitions to find out how I stacked up…And while, on paper, I guess I did well, my world-view got blown out the water when Dr Ishigaki introduced me to a true “survival” fly fisher in 2014. Points on paper and catching lots of fish using all the modern gadgets and latest tackle is all very well…Strip that away though and it means NOTHING if you had to make and use a survival fishing kit just from materials you can find.
In that situation, if you don’t have the right skills and knowledge when needed, you’ll die. That’s a sobering thought - and a world away from a game of “fishing for points”.
Dr Ishigaki introducing Hisanobu Hirata to us on our first meeting in 2014
I didn’t really realise it at the time – but the first meeting with Hisanobu Hirata in his small, fascinating fishing store in the little town of Shiro-Tori (“White Bird”) in Gifu set off a chain reaction in my brain. Here was a man who had started out trying to catch fish for pocket money in the shadow of his father (a truly great professional fly fisher who used tenkara – NOT BAIT FISHING - to support his family). If you registered for the Free Screening, you’ll soon hear the story of my garden cane rod and home-made line in the bonus email lesson content – That whole experiment was Hirata-san’s fault!!
The Satisfaction of Skills
Why is this important though? Well, imagine having the confidence to only have a bamboo rod and a home-made (horsehair) fly line and a fly (tied without tools or a vice) and STILL know you can beat out the competition and guarantee your family’s survival…What would that kind of ability and confidence feel like?
Now, if you’ve heard his backstory, you’ll know that it didn’t start very well for Hirata-san! He struggled to make the simple tackle “sing” in the way that his father seemed to do so effortlessly. While his dad returned with four or eight kilos of big “amago” (one of the hardest Japanese trout to catch), Hisanobu could generally only catch one or two fish – and these would be unfit to eat at the end of his fishing day.
So How did Hirata-san Win His Happiness?
On the verge of throwing in the towel (and with his father insisting that he would not teach him directly) Hirata-san began to devour information. By sheer talent and force of will he forged himself into a brilliant angler who has had a 50+ year career as a professional tenkara master (first as a professional “Shokuryoshi” catching amago and iwana to order and then, with the growth of fish farming, as a teacher of survival tenkara to private students).
Looking down towards Shiro-Tori (where Hirata-san's shop is) on the drive up to Itoshiro
Capturing and breaking down the basic – but truly life-saving – skills of Hirata-san’s “survival” tenkara (from tackle creation to presentation skills and even avoiding eye-contact and the correct mental approach to catching fish!) was a blast. It’s been truly exhausting and inspiring in equal parts and we’ve poured it all into the new 10-piece download bundle. That’s why I recorded this sleep-deprived but very relieved message on my phone now that it is all complete:
Having created these publications, we can now say with certainty…
The MOST important Item in a Survival Fishing Kit is Your Knowledge
Any high quality tool is useless if you don’t know how to use it. The strange thing is, the more basic the tool, the more skill is required. If you’re a musician and you can’t cut it with just an acoustic instrument and a single spotlight in a small room, well, you’re basically a phoney. But the satisfaction of being great with just the bare minimum…it means you can move entire stadiums when you’re let loose on the most expensive gear. It is exactly the same in fly fishing (and especially tenkara).
I’m sure that is why now, Hirata-san still fishes in his spare time for pleasure. Not many professionals at any career choice would or could say that. There is great joy and satisfaction in being deeply effective with the simplest tools.
The methods, philosophy and tackle that are such "second nature" to him (and which have sustained his interest for five decades) are the fundamental roots of tenkara. If you want to truly be a tenkara angler (which you may not, and that is fine!), you can't really consider yourself as having real "tenkara understanding" without studying and absorbing the skills that Hirata-san and other "Shokuryoshi school" anglers use. I can guarantee it will sustain your interest and satisfaction the more you learn about it.
So what might be some of the secrets behind Hirata-san’s happiness?
Perhaps I’m wrong, but the things that we wanted to pass on through the bundle contents seem to add up to a happiness and satisfaction that Hirata-san experiences through tenkara (we certainly get a lot out of them). Things like:
I think these deeply satisfying effects come from surprisingly simple practical abilities such as:
If you like the sound of having those abilities yourself, then the 10-piece download bundle explains the details of Hirata-san’s fly choice tactics, fly tying methods, horsehair line-making instructions and onstream casting, presentation and pro-level hook setting skills.
CLICK THE BUY NOW button now and we’ll be delighted to welcome you into the exclusive membership area where all the items in your bundle live (along with explanatory notes and any updates and improvements that we make).
The good news if you are used to paying VAT on our Gumroad products, this new membership site platform does not charge VAT. Of course, on top of that, you always have our 60-day DT money-back guarantee – even on download products (which most folks think is crazy, but we work hard on our products for you!).