Any tenkara folks out there?

IveofIone

Active Member
WFF Supporter
There are two good creeks within an hour of where I live that are difficult to fish with a conventional fly rod. I'm thinking perhaps a tenkara rod would be better suited to such small streams. Fish wouldn't be much bigger than about 11'', a 13'' fish would be a jumbo. Both are streams where I'm sure I would rarely-if ever-see another fisherman.

Any advice for buying a rod, line configuration, etc? There is a ton of videos on the subject but not all are helpful and I'm sure some are just inaccurate. I see tenkara as a relief in summer from the usual waders, boots, fins, boat, anchor, depth finder and the other crap needed just for a few hours on the water.

I'll be going alone so I won't embarrass anyone!;)
 

Craig Hardt

Active Member
Hey Ive,

I have a few in my arsenal and I'd recommend just about any of the many 12-13' rods on the market that fit in your budget. I personally fish a 14.5' rod most of the time but that takes some getting used to and I think a 12-13 footer would be easier to learn with. I'd lean away from anything marketed as a 'big fish' tenkara rod as it will be beefier than you need. Also may want to avoid those super portable 10-12" collapsed length "pocket" rods--they cost more and the one I had broke twice since I think they have to use thinner walled sections to make it so compact.

I have mostly Tenkara USA rods but also one imported from a Japanese company. The advantage of a onshore company is easier to find replacement parts and Tenkara USA, and others, have lifetime return/repair on their rods. The Tenkara USA Sato is the one I usually recommend, if it is in your budget, since it can be fished at three different lengths and is very light in the hand.

But really I've never seen a 'bad' tenkara rod yet from a company that is willing to offer a warranty. The cheaper rods are usually a bit heavier but will fish fine. Just look at the company's warranty claim process before you buy.

For lines I've been really liking some of the new tapered nylon lines the last two summers. Just starting out I'd recommend one tapered nylon line the same length as the rod and also a spool of #3.5 level line. If you only were to get one line I'd go with the level line as you can cut lines of different lengths to see which you prefer. Furled lines are also very popular and cast nicely...but they are heavier so sag more.

One source I trust is https://www.tenkarabum.com/ if you really want to see a huge selection of rods in one place. He imports direct from Japan and knows his stuff.
 

flybill

Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
WFF Supporter
I have a Tenkara USA 11' rod I believe. I like it, and it is nice and compact. I added a line holder on the handle, a friend showed his to me. It works on small stuff and is just a little different to get used too. The first time I hooked a fish, my hand went up to reel and line that wasn't there. I also have a 6: 2wt 4pc Rainshadow rod that I built! I love it and probably fish it more, but still like to use my Tenkara rod once in a while. I say give it a try! I got Leland into it for a while, and he's probably fished his more than I. Don't know if he fished it on his recent trip or not though...
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
Hello Ive. I like fishing small creeks to mid-sized rivers with Tenkara rods.

I don't think many Tenkara rod companies; including the top quality Japanese mfgs offer a "warranty" like what's become the standard with western fly rods. They don't need one. Replacement Tenkara rod sections probably cost much less than the "handling fees" and shipping that you'd pay to get a western rod repaired. You don't have to ship the rod to the mfg, and you can get the replacement section in days rather than weeks.

I have two small creek rods that are distinctly different from each other. Before recommending a rod I'd like to know a little more about the creeks you plan to fish. How wide? Are there a lot of low tree branches and brush right up to the water's edge?

I like fluorocarbon level lines. They are inexpensive, versatile, work very well, and are the most popular Tenkara line. The #3.5 line mentioned by @Craig Hardt can be a good line to start with. Does it get very windy on these creeks?
 

bennysbuddy

the sultan of swing
WFF Supporter
I’m a tenkara USA fan & almost always have a set of tip replacement parts on hand. I use furled lines that I dress with Burt’s beeswax lip balm for a floating line. They suit me well for rivers the size of the teanaway & I enjoy fishing them
 

Ron McNeal

I know not the heart of another man.
So, I'm confused: Ive mentioned two near-by creeks that he assumes hold 11-12, maybe 13", trout and he's getting recommendations for 11, 12 & 13' rods? I don't get it........:(
 

newfydog

Active Member
Anything and everything you might need or wonder about can be found on Chris Stewart's' website Tenkarabum. https://www.tenkarabum.com/

He has a rod custom made in Japan for USA fishing which is a superb all-round rod, the Suntech Tenkarabum 360 https://www.tenkarabum.com/suntech-tenkarabum-36.html

Tenkara USA is a fine outfit as well but I much prefer Chris' gear, his downhome attitude, openess to all types of fishing, and the fact that if I break a piece he often has a replacement in the mail that same day.
 
Last edited:

newfydog

Active Member
So, I'm confused: Ive mentioned two near-by creeks that he assumes hold 11-12, maybe 13", trout and he's getting recommendations for 11, 12 & 13' rods? I don't get it........:(
Tenkara rods are light and long. They let you reach over currents and rocks for amazing fly only presentations. On a small stream I catch way more fish with my long tenkara rod than a fly rod with line hitting the water.

"Long rod short line is an incredibly effective way to fish, and allows you to keep even most of your tippet off the water for exceptional drag-free drifts. With drag free drifts, you will catch more fish, except for one problem. To quote The Curtis Creek Manifesto "Frightened fish can't be caught!" With a longer rod, you can still fish a short line, but you can do it from further away, frightening fewer fish."


 

Ron McNeal

I know not the heart of another man.
Tenkara rods are light and long. They let you reach over currents and rocks for amazing fly only presentations. On a small stream I catch way more fish with my long tenkara rod than a fly rod with line hitting the water.

"Long rod short line is an incredibly effective way to fish, and allows you to keep even most of your tippet off the water for exceptional drag-free drifts. With drag free drifts, you will catch more fish, except for one problem. To quote The Curtis Creek Manifesto "Frightened fish can't be caught!" With a longer rod, you can still fish a short line, but you can do it from further away, frightening fewer fish."

Thanks. Guess I never really thought it through. I've been schooled.
 

Creatch'r

Heavies...
I met a guy in AK fishing an indicator and beads for dollies behind salmon with a tenkara rig a couple years back and frankly, I’m still impressed.
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top