It was an easy jump really. Tenkara has proven itself to be less of a fad than originally anticipated (by many) and is taking root in the fly fishing world. For those of you who read this but maybe aren't familiar with all things fishing...Tenkara is ultra light, reel-less fly fishing. There is of course much more to it, but that is the simple definition.
I'll admit, at one time (maybe not so long ago) I figured Tenkara to be a bit of an oddball offshoot. Raise your hand if you too thought it was ultra purists taking the cane pole idea and making it trendy. In my mind, it was hipsters, wearing skinny jeans and loafers, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and wandering the waterfront running paths acting like they were fishing, but were really just trying to "out cool" each other.
Laugh if you must, but I live in the Madison (WI) area and downtown, this is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
But as time wore on, more and more of the fly fishing blogs started to pick up on the idea. Still...I wasn't sold even though the simplicity of Tenkara kept my interest piqued. More and more articles about Tenkara popped up, and more and more people were apparently giving it a go and deciding that it is fun. Anyone who reads Troutrageous knows that Michael Agneta is now a full blown Tenkara aficionado. I've been a fan of T! for a few years and watched quietly from the sideline as he dove further and further into the world of Tenkara. Via a conversation with Mr. Troutrageous about getting started in Tenkara...he even offered to send me one of his rods to "try out". Thanks man! But read on and you'll be glad we didn't go that route. :)
Somewhere in the mix, I also learned about an upcoming event called Midwest Tenkara Fest. Now I was hooked (pun intended). Tenkara fishing is finally sort of breaking through here in the driftless and it is time for me to be a part of it. Plans are currently being worked out to attend the inaugural Midwest Tenkara Fest, if even for just one day.
|Midwest Tenkara Fest|
The rod made it home unscathed and I was a (very) happy little camper. Then, the following morning, like the dumbass I can occasionally be...I promptly broke the last section of the rod while learning to set it up. I can be moody anyway...but after this bonehead move, I was an ugly, ugly man for quite a while. I did contact Matt right away, tucked my tail between my legs and explained that I needed to order a new tip section.
Matt's calm and understanding approach was WAY above and beyond what was necessary. He immediately set to work trying to get a new tip section to me so that I could still fish it on my upcoming days off. We set up a time later that day and he offered to meet me near where I work because I only had a small window of time between end of shift and meetings. Again, this is a guy who did not have to be so helpful in the first place, but is so passionate about his product and fishing that he didn't even think twice about any of this. Because in my world when things start to go wrong...they go horribly wrong, I had to call Matt (who was likely already en route to meet me) and cancel again. This time, work was getting in the way.
I was starting to think that maybe God didn't want me to learn Tenkara.
Without blinking an eye, Matt said it wasn't a problem and launched the part via mail. I didn't get to fish it on the days I had planned, but it certainly wasn't for lack of effort on Badger Tenkara's part.
The rod section arrived exactly when Matt said it would, and after another couple of days full of crazy scheduling, I finally put it together today. I'm proud to say that my Bad Axe Rod is ready to rock!
As I was putting thoughts together for this post, I was thinking about how many times I have gone to the grocery store, department store, a restaurant, or wherever, and was treated by the employees like they HATED me for being there. I was starting to believe that true customer service and satisfaction was dead.
Matt Sment and Badger Tenkara have absolutely restored my faith that there are still people out there who not only want to sell a quality product, but back it up with superior service. And really, in a sport with as great of a brotherhood as fly fishing has...I sure am glad to have people like Matt Sment out there supporting us, and will be Badger Tenkara's biggest fan and cheerleader.
Now...to start figuring out where to fish this bad boy on its inaugural trip. (after all of this...I feel I owe it to Badger Tenkara to make sure I do the rod justice...)