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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 some sakasa articles >>

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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Comments

Chris Kight - October 19, 2022

In the streams on the Western Side of the Tahoe Sierra, I mostly fish Sakasa Kebari size 12’s on 5x tippet and go down to size 14’s or even 16’s if the fish are particularly small or hesitant to bite my fly. A note that a more literal translation of Kebari is “hair/feather hook” or “hair/feather needle”. Early hooks were fashioned with bent sewing needles and hair or feather was attached with thread.

Sare Lanzafame - October 19, 2022

Thanks for the pics and material list for the Sakasa Kebari Fly.
I’ve been tying flies for over 40 years and have just recently started tying and fishing the Kebari series of flies. I’ve always been a Soft Hackle Fly nut – so the Kebari stylem is right up my alley.
Not only are they easy to tie – but I find them very effective on Trout and Warm Water fish alike.
Thanks again – enjoy the Tye.
Sare

Richard Loyd - October 19, 2022

Mr. Leary,
I have been tying flies on and off all my life and really love Sakasa style flies the most. Here in central California I have been using 16 to 22 barbless with success. I have been tying Kebari to resemble mosquitos but also tie up to #12 size hooks. The best part I enjoy is the freedom of creativity, like the article explains, there are no hard in stone rules. Finding what works for you is all in the fun. Hoping the best for all your adventures!!

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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