The Fly Fishing Ninja

Posted by Carl McNeil on

It is our supreme pleasure and an absolute privilege to welcome the fly fishing ninja, Kunio Onishi on board as our newest Epic Ambassador.
Hailing from Japan, Kunio is well known to New Zealand Anglers and particularly  the two handed fraternity. As New Zealand's only full time Spey Fishing guide  Kunio is a master of the long rod, his guiding operation http://flyfishingninja.com/  is highly regarded by Kiwis and International Anglers. Kunio is a wonderfull teacher and also offers Spey Casting Tuition.
As with all our Ambassadors we first came into contact with Kunio as a customer, after purchasing a couple of our rod building kits

Welcome Kunio - we're absolutely stoked to have you on the team!

Kunio Onishi, fly fishing ninja

New Zealand Fly Fishing Guide Kunio Onishi

"When was the last time I didn’t go fishing…

My father was a mad keen fisherman, not a flyfisher though, he took me out every single time he went for a fish. My hobby was fishing, obviously, and reading books, but just fishing books. If I think about it, fishing is already part of my life.

I have a younger sister, she used to have a serious ear disease, mum had to take her to the specialist 3 times a week. I could have stayed at home by myself reading books(I didn’t have a Nintendo!), but I went with them every single time. Because… there was a little Lure&Fly shop near by. I was 10 years old then. Everything in the shop was expensive for a little boy. I was just looking at those beautiful rods, reels, lures and fly tying materials. The owners of the shop, Mr and Mrs Kawamoto, welcomed me every single time I went. It must have been really funny and awkward for them to see a kid by himself come to their shop. They knew I wasn’t going to buy anything but they gave me nice smile and warm atmosphere every single time I visited. And guess what!? I went to the shop 3 times a week for about 10 months and didn’t buy a thing!

I had already fallen in love with this art by then. I wanted to be a flyfisher. I saved every single pocket money towards the kit. It took me more than one year to save 7000Yen($NZ92.00). I finally bought a Shakespeare Beginners set, which included a rod, reel, line, tapered leader and 5 dry flies and 5 streamers. 

I practiced casting every single day after school.

I still remember clearly, the very first fish I caught with my fly rod. A little rainbow trout. I was a very happy boy. 

Soon, like other flyfishers, I became really keen to catch fish with my own flies. I kept helping in my parent’s shop to save money for a fly tying set. Months later, I bought a cheapest Veniard vise, scissors, bobbin holder etc, minimum essentials. The owners of the fly shop knew I still didn’t have much money, so they kindly donated to me the rest of the stuff I needed, including hooks, threads and some basic materials. Mr Kawamoto even drew me step by step instructions for specific patterns. At this time, I realised that a Fishing God was always behind my back, incredible things were kept happening. 

New Zealand Fly Fishing Guide Kunio Onishi

The very first fly I tied was a Montana Marabou, and I caught a tiny Large Mouth Bass with it. The priceless moment.

From that day, I just became unstoppable. Of course I went fishing with Dad but there are also many rivers and ponds around our home. Trout, Largemouth Bass, Snake-Head, Carp… I was so lucky.

At one stage, my friends and I were fishing every single day, even early morning, before the school! 

I was a mad flyfisher in my whole teenage period, then one day, in late 1990’s, “Phase 2” of my flyfishing journey started.

I never ever knew there was an another style of flyfishing - Spey. Using a big, long double hand rod, maneuvering 60-80ft of fly line out from the rod tip, then sweeping the rod backwards to create a D loop and shooting it well over 100ft without a single false cast. Wow…

Andy Murray, Spey casting instructor from House of Hardy came to Japan for casting demonstration. His beautiful, effortless, smooth casts were unforgettable. It was like magic.

I fell in love with the art of Spey casting at this moment. 

I moved from Japan to New Zealand about 9 years ago with my kiwi wife and 2 kids, living in a little town called Taupo. 

I am a registered professional fly fishing guide(a proud member of the NZPFGA) here in the Central North Island. The mighty Tongariro river is only 35mins away, dozens of other incredible waters are in 100km radius. What a place to be! 

New Zealand  King Fish New Zealand Fly Fishing Guide Kunio Onishi

I love casting dry flies/nymphs with Epic 580 in small streams, chasing Carp and SeaBass in Japan every year with 888 and stalking Big Kingfish with my trusty #10 Bandit on the Tauranga harbour. I also love Spey fishing especially in fall/winter period on mid/large size rivers and lake edges. As Spey fishing is getting more popular here in New Zealand, my business is leaning towards more to the Spey style, I do many casting schools and one on one teaching. People wants to know how to cast, swing and catch fish more efficiently. I also run fly tying classes too, specialising in tube flies and intruder style patterns for NZ rivers and lakes.

I have bought ridiculous numbers of rods, reels, lines since I started flyfishing and I still do. I strongly believe that as a professional fishing guide and a mad flyfisher, I must know what’s the latest gear available on the market and which ones are the real deal.

And always… I use only the best.

Kunio Onishi, flyfishingninja

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