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What is a Tenkara Sakasa Kebari?

What is a Tenkara Sakasa Kebari?

The Sakasa Kebari (kebari means "fishing fly" in Japanese) is a reverse-hackle fly (commonly a softer hackle) that is mostly associated with Japanese Tenkara Fishing. It is not meant to mimic a specific insect but similar to what I would consider an attractor fly. It is more general profile of food and with its forward hackle you can create a lot of movement with small twitches that creates a life-like action in your fly to entice strikes from trout. Japanese tend to keep their Sakasa Kebari simple but there is no hard rule stopping you from going a bit overboard and having a lot of fun tying your Sakasa.

The SAKASA Kebari with its forward hackle has been the iconic tenkara fly that most USA tenkara anglers connect to tenkara as a symbol. In Japan, there are many other types of tenkara kebari used other than just the sakasa kebari and some of those styles of tenkara flies are now starting to grow in popularity in the USA as well.

Sakasa kebari are personally my favorite type of tenkara flies to tie. I just like the way they look and the flowing motion of their hackle when fished. I commonly use size #12 or #10 hooks for Sakasa Kebari.

My Favorite Barbless Hooks for Sakasa Kebari:

  1. Moonlit ML062 hook
  2. Moonlit Togatta ML251 hook
  3. Moonlit ML061 hook (heavy hook)
  4. Moonlit Togatta ML101
  5. Dohiku HDD 301 hook

My Favorite Hackle Feathers for Sakasa Kebari:

My Favorite Body Materials for Sakasa Kebari:


Checkout our Tenkara Fly Tying VIDEOS >>


Here is a few examples of my sakasa kebari I tied last year:

If you feel we missed anything in our article about Tenkara Sakasa Kebari, or have errors in our information, please let us know in the comments section below.

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Brent Auger - November 18, 2021

Richard Leary, the three sakasa kebari I use most is the Grave Digger, Pheasant tail Kebari, Red Zebra Kebari, and a Hare’s Ear Kebari.

I use all size 12s to size 10 hooks for most of my sakasa kebari, this seems to work very effective on creeks and small moving water well. When you hit decent sized rivers or slow moving water I find that sakasa kebari are not as effective as other flies I normally use, others may have a different experience than me on that.

Richard Leary - November 18, 2021

What might be the three most successful sakasa kebari flies?

And what hook sizes? I notice #12 is popular which is a very big fly here on our Southland rivers (brown trout at 1.5 to 2.0 kg on #16 to #22 barbless hooks)

And thank you for adding such an attractive type of fly to our repertoire. I hope that our fish agree

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