Line Through the Middle Tenkara Rods

(David Walker) #1

If you do a google search for self made or modified tenkara rods.
For example this search phrase - テンカラ竿を自作し - To make your own tenkara rod. Among some of them will be rods where the line runs inside the rod blank, with some mechanism to store the excess line.

Mostly self made or modified rod activities are found on Japanese tenkara websites. Because - Not many tenkara anglers in the west thus far are posting about their projects or even attempting them. Dr Tom is one of the few I recall seeing. That was more than just modifying the shape of the grip or changing it to a different material.

Several projects will show up where they modify a tenkara rod so that the line runs through the middle, or inside of the rod, so that the line exits the rod tip. Others take a rod manufactured as an inner line or line through the middle rod, and modify it for tenkara fishing. These rods are made and sold to use a reel of some kind. Mostly they seem to be salt water rods.

It is an idea that keeps attracting imaginations. For practical reasons. With a way to store extra line the idea provides a quick way to change line length. Many projects are rather crude. Others more refined. The ones where they use bulky or heavy line storage systems are unappealing to me. Others where the line storage system is small, light, and streamlined are more appealing.

As far as I am aware the only commercially made and sold “inner line tenkara” rods are the ones made by 柏木重孝(かしわぎ しげたか)、Kashiwagi Shigetaka-san.
I find him an interesting guy with unique ideas. His ideas are a bit outside, well, maybe way outside, most ideas of what “tenkara is”.

Indeed I have seen his style of tenkara , 柏木流 (Kashiwagi-ryū) called Hybrid Tenakra.
However, his background is interesting: creator of ZEAL lures, author of articles, VHS and DVDs about bass fishing, etc. His blog is also interesting.

Wikipedia Kashiwagi Shigetaka


I think I have discovered at least six websites selling his rods, kebari, and other products, the following links are to 2 of them:

I find rods where the line runs though the inside generally described with either of these phrases.
中通し, middle through. However, google does not always translate it that way.
インターライン , interline.

Doing a google search with either of these 2 phrases will find several examples of both the refined and the crude attempts at making an inner line tenkara rod.
中通し・テンカラ竿・を自作し… Through the middle ・tenkara pole ・self made.
インターライン・テンカラ竿・を自作し… To make your own interline Tenkara pole.
The first one finds more results.

Generally I find the ones made using a Fly Rod Reel or a Round line spool of some kind unappealing. The ones that use a moderately long & narrow line winding mechanism of some kind more appealing. Either self made one or using something similar to the clip on Owner line winding shikakemaki – such as the BS-25 or BS-10 models or similar product from other companies.
『オーナーBS‐25ベスト仕掛巻』or BS-10 ベスト仕掛巻 .

An Interesting Essay about this idea:
The link is to the Google translation in to English. It’s fairly good. But a couple of notes about the translation is below the link. Ah, you might be glad later, if you read it first. :open_mouth:
Fusion of fly fishing and tenkara fishing.
Fusion of Fly Fishing and Tenkara Fishing

First the easy bit.
Bristles or Hair Burr, should be Kebari. Ten Color = Tenkara, Hera Fishing, a type of Carp Fishing.

The ah, problem troubling bit. :grimacing:
Google has a real problem with this phrase, 木化け・石化けは. in the bulk translation of the whole website. Found in one of the last chapters. And makes one of those unfortunate R-rated translations into English. (if you take a look at the romaji you can probably figure out why) Google translates 木化け・石化けは into Trees and Fossil F__, well, it rhymes with bad luck. 'Nuff said. It should translate as something like Garbled Trees and Garbled Stones.

Here is a good picture of 木化け・石化け, which should give you a good idea of the point the author was trying to make.

A Different approach to making a through the middle rod for Tenkara on the amagochan6332 YouTube channel.

He does not title this video as Tenkara, but of the 28 or so videos he has uploaded, most are labelled as Tenkara videos. {including some with Dr. Ishigaki from a year ago and from 4 months ago fishing in Hokkaido]

アメマス, Amemasu , aka Salvelinus Leucomaenis 61cm (24 inches)

What amagochan3662 has done is modify a 5 meter Uzaki Nissin Pro Spec black sea bream through the middle rod, NISSINの黒鯛用中通し竿を, by covering the reel seat with a Cork Grip, and I think, added an Owner type line winder, below the cork grip. A nice view of it is near the end of the video.

There are a few more videos uploaded at about the same time, a month ago, fishing with the same rod.

I expect - Opinions will vary about whether this Is Tenkara or Is Not Tenkara.
To OK maybe it is 10 Colors Tenkara, just not a color I want to color with.
I think Amagochan6332’s effort was fairly refined.

Q: 10 Colors Tenkara or to far out that the Tenkara spirit is lost??

(Adam Trahan) #2

In 2012, I interviewed Masaki Wakaba. He was working on an interline system for tenkara. I eventually went on and fished with Wakaba-san in a mountain range not too far from Tokyo for Rainbow, Yamame and Amago. We spoke more about the system to adjust the length of the line.

I think it is cool you have tapped into this. Perhaps one day…

(David Walker) #3

Adam, thanks for the link to the Masaki Wakaba-san interview. :grin:

It seems I recall reading it before and forgotten about it. But maybe I had not read it before.
For sure I recall seeing his Yellow website. I definitely recall seeing the drawing labelled Yellow’s Tenkara System. And seeing the pictures of the rod with the pieced together cork grip many times during web searches.

I also see you are pictured with Masaki Wakaba-san in 2013 in Japan. I think you also returned to Japan in 2016. Did you visit with him again during that trip? Also the pictures of Guam on his website bring back some memories for me. I made eight submarine patrols from Guam in mid-late 1970s.

The Nissin Zerosum Hatsuume 450 Rod [ 宇崎日新 ロッド ゼロサム 初梅 450 ] shown on the above website is still listed on the Nissin website. From the pictures I was expecting a rod with a foam grip. But they are not sold that way. It is something he added.

Nissin Zerosum Hatsuume Rod

I see the dates for his inner line rod experiments on his website go back 10 years.

I seem to recall finding online old issues of Tenkara Club Magazine [テンカラクラブ雑誌] that had an article about building an interline tenkara rod. That may have been issued 8 or 10 years ago. I recall it because I spent a little time trying to find the small light weight reel they used, and trying to find more information about the author of the article. I was not at home at the time so my computer time was limited.

I did not find it again just now with a quick search. But the search for it turned up something equally interesting, or perhaps more interesting, to post to the forum. Hopefully after checking it out farther I will find it worth posting. :wink:

(Adam Trahan) #4

Hi David,

I did not visit with Wakaba-san in 2016, we were not able to coordinate times. I did visit with Masayuki Sakurai and Yoshida Takashi (Yoshidakebari) On a side note, I have had the wonderful opportunity to put together many tenkara anglers in Japan because of the opportunity of my visits.

It’s not that I think I am special, I am not, it is because, I want to meet as many people as I can.

Wakaba-san and Sakurai san grew up in the same neighborhood and they did not know each other but through meeting me, they came to know each other.

There are many more of these meetings because tenkara anglers in Japan and myself meet and the group together meets. So many people because of my visits, again, not because I think I am someone, I don’t, it’s because it is an opportunity.

I invited someone to travel with me to Japan, they meet people, people in Japan ask me to introduce them to someone, I do. It just seems to be the way that it goes and there are other meetings from what I write here and there…

blah blah blah

The interline rods are interesting to me but not enough for my own effort. I stopped fly fishing to learn fixed line fishing. Interline rods are not fixed lines… I had already made a light line fly rod that cast a monofilament line that I had made from learning about line making from starting Team Loop (North America) I learned from the Loop guys about how to do it.

I could comment more on interline tenkara rods but really, my observation is from an outsider’s view and it’s not my place to comment on them, I don’t use one. I do find them interesting and there are a few people doing it in Japan although I no longer read anything about them.

A few years ago, I did a lot more searching online than I do now. I know enough people in Japan and have been there, fished many mountain ranges, I believe I have a pretty good idea what tenkara is so I just focus now on my own writing as someone that does it over here.

I’m in contact with many Japanese tenkara anglers, we still chit chat about this and that…

Todoroki-san is teaching me a little now and I’m enjoying his help.

Interline rods are interesting but I don’t do it, I enjoy reading about it though.

Thank you again for researching and sharing.

(David Walker) #5

Adam, thanks for the comments.
Oh. me too. I don’t think I would ever want to build an interline line tenkara rod. It is a case where More is both Less & More. Less appealing , mostly. And more weight if using even a very small reel. Though it probably does not affect the balance of the rod very much. A clip on line winder would be a better choice.

They just catch my attention because I see so much written about them, on blogs going back several years. And the one article I saw written about them in an old Tenkara Club magazine.

The comment on the link below, I think, summarizes the problem with the idea thus far. Where the blog author writes:

The stream is about to be lifted! Did you prepare for it?

The rod also improved (worsened).
We installed the guide and the reel on the Tenkara pole.
Therefore, although it is possible to adjust the length of the line, it became heavy.

:open_mouth::face_with_raised_eyebrow: Why I find words interesting: (改悪)= Worsened. But then, 改・悪 Translates as Improvement / evil. Maybe an accurate translation, maybe not. But amusing. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

[ It is kind of how I am seeing my wife’s recent retirement. Free to go and do = Improvement. Making me rearrange furniture, thereby losing track of where my books and stuff are = Evil. It may lead me to accepting a recent offer to return back to work. Former work mates are trying to recruit me. For at least part time work. The money offered is very good. = Improvement. The challenge might be good too. But. The stress of the PITA stuff in hospitals today is Evil. ] :thinking:

Anyway, I found my notes from a month or so back when I found the article in an old issue of Tenkara Club Magazine [ テンカラ倶楽部雑誌]. I now recall the article is in a print copy I have. I had written in my notebook a translation of the stuff I could read. And the Japanese text of the stuff I could not. And had not yet translated it. I could see the author’s name, and the name of the reel he used.

The author is /was 林田秀樹さん [Hayashida Hideki-san ]. I found a fan site. He is a professional angler, author of several books, and is or was a Daiwa Field Tester. But Tenkara doesn’t appear t be his main interest.

Hideki Hayashida Fan Site

渓流フィッシングライター林田秀樹 Fansite Mountain Stream Fishing Writer Hayashida Hideki Fansite

The reel he used for the interline tenkara rod was a Daiwa Coronet Mini [ ダイワリール・コロネットミニ ] . Which are quite small, and light. Weight: 50 g. I couldn’t or didn’t find it on the Daiwa website. But a google search with the previous phrase will find them on blogs. And they are still listed on Amazon- JP. Listed as Daiwa Bait Reel Coronet Mini. [ ダイワ(Daiwa) ベイトリール コロネットミニ ].

Amazon JP Daiwa Bait Reel Coronet Mini

The pictures on the below blogs gives a better impression of how small the Coronet Mini reels are.

A good choice IF one wanted to experiment with a reel. However, I think something like the Owner BS-10 clip on line winder would be a better route. Smaller, lighter, than even a small reel. And mostly I think one would only want to change line length by + / - 1.5m at most, Say from 3m line to 4.5, or 2.5m to 4m. A manual line winder would be adequate.

The most tenacious experiment I have seen is the guy on the Kurokantonbi blog. Though he hasn’t updated it for a long time his interline experiments started in 2007 or earlier.

Kurokantonbi Blog - Tenkara tags

However, I am happy with just an extra spool with a different length of line on it. Or different weight of line.

(Adam Trahan) #6

The Kurokantonbi BLOG was the version that I saw approach the issue the best. Not a fly reel rather a on rod line storage device, not a reinvention of the wheel.

The reason why I think this is so interesting is because right before I was introduced to tenkara, I had cocktail napkin sketched a long interline center axis flyrod with a large arbor no-hub monofilament line fly rod.

The interline tenkara rod was super close but I did not want to start hybridizing tenkara ever before I began to learn it. Now looking back, I am happy I did what I did.

I’m only interested, nothing else.

Tenkara is fine on it’s own.

I’ve always maintained that “Fly fishing is hard to learn and easy to master where as Tenkara is easy to learn and hard to master.” Which I feel is very true.

While I see many people arguing about what tenkara is or is not, that is not my argument.

I enjoyed your look into retirement, I can relate.

Take care and thank you for the reading.