These fishing flies (“kebari”, 毛針) are as much art as they are functional flies. Handcrafted by Meboso Hachiroubei (目細八郎兵), possibly the oldest craft fly shop in the world, they comprise a needle to which colorful feathers from wild birds are tied with silk thread. At Meboso, the gold bead at the top of the hook is coated with gold leaf. It is said that these flies originated in the Edo period, when the shogunate forbade the samurai from wearing swords or practicing martial arts, and the warriors turned to fly fishing for ayu (sweetfish) as a means of physical conditioning (the motion simulated swordplay, and the walking along rocky, fast-flowing rivers was good exercise).
Meboso started as a sewing needle shop in 1575 and turned to making fishing flies in the 1800s during the Edo period. Today, it is run by the 19th generation of the Meboso family and has 700+ flies of different colors, sizes, and resembling different river insects.
Photo Credit: www.crafts-hirosaka.jpPrice:
JPY 800-1,000Author: say1