Long rods

(Gressak) #1

So I wanted to start a thread to discuss long rods. I read an entry in the TUSA book. Rod length for tenkara maxes out around 4.5 meters. I may even argue that it may max out at 4 meters.

I believe this is true. It is not to say you cannot fish and use some tenkara techniques with a longer rod…like a 5 or 6 meter rod. Its more that the rod length makes it much much more difficult to employ all tenkara manipulation techniques effortlessly.

The longer the rod the more minute the movement required for subtle manipulations of the fly. Really hard to do when the force and fulcrum is 5 meters or more from the end of the wand.

I fished a 3.6 meter rod recently for a whole day. Then I hit a bigger river and fish for an hour with my 5.3m suntech GM. All I can say is that I could not employ all my tricks as easily. There is definitely a change in precision in both casting and manipulation.

I have fished long rods all day long. Even my 5m / 5 oz carp rods…Those are a strain one handed…but it is possible. This is sort of noting that long rods do have their place and are awesome for fighting larger stronger fish.

Its the typical trade of finesse for power.

(Paul) #2

I guess it depends on where you fish, and how you fish.
For me, where I usually fish the streams and creeks are fairly low gradient, low flow waterways, and I tend to have the most success when fishing the deeper pools of those waterways. Now, because these waterways have a pretty slow flow, the surface is calm and unbroken, which means that wary fish (and they’re all wary) spook easily because they can see the silhouette of a potential predator (me).
A longer rod would allow me to present my fly, nymph or bait at a greater distance and reduce the chance of the fish detecting a threat.

Also, I don’t really fish unweighted kebari style flies. I haven’t had much success with them, maybe I’m no good at presenting them correctly but generally I stick to small bead-head nymph patterns or slightly wire weighted bug patterns and more recently, split shot weighted bait.

Recently, I fished a small overgrown stream that is pictured below. I have fished this stream about 4 times over two years and never caught a fish, but I had always seen fish in the stream. Initially trying with small spin gear, then after discovering tenkara I had fished with my small GM 2.7m rod but still found it extremely difficult to cast a fly because of the dense vegetation.

Some might say that even a 2.7m rod was too long for this overgrown stream, or stop trying to fish that creek and move on. However I was determined to land a fish from this stream as a personal challenge and I’m happy to say that I was successful on my 5th visit to the stream. I found success not by going to a shorter rod (which I have a 2.1m Kiyotaki), but by going to a longer rod and shorter line. I actually landed a fish with a keiryu setup (you can just see the markers in the above photo slight left) with my GMR Special 36NP and a line that was less than half the length of the rod. With a line less than 1.8m long I was able to underarm pendulum swing the weighted bait without fear of getting stuck in the constant overhead trees. There’s no reason to say this wouldn’t have worked with a small weighted fly or bead-head instead of the grub I was using. Now if you expand this formula to a larger waterway, it is evident a longer rod will be required, which is what I plan to do with the new Jade 65M I have recently received.

(Gressak) #3


For your usage there is no doubt a long rod has advantages. Especially nymphing or slow drifting in large water and larger pools. I too own some longer rods for the same reasons.

Can you share the type of fish you target?

The notes I was making are more inline with tenkara manipulation techniques of both unweighted and light wire weighed flies. I have started getting more skilled with the shorter rods and am noticing that I just cannot do the same tricks as effectively with the 5 meter rods.

I am not sure if it helps, but I would definitely give lighter flies a try in calm water. There are still currents in there and they can an will deliver a lighter fly to places that might be more difficult with a heavier fly.

Targeting those larger pools in greylight can be another huge advantage. Mostly the bookends of the day but also overcast conditions. When the sun is up and bright the fish will push for the saftey of the depths, structure, and cover. They are also more likely to see you or shadows of your line and rod. Some of my haunts have several different birds that will feast on trout. The trout become wary of any movement. I noticed that I do much better in the magic hours than I do when the sun is up…and high noon is the most challenging unless the water itself provides cover with its speed or foam.

I have not done this myself for trout but I fish for salt species at night. Some of those larger pools might be interesting to try on a full moon if you feel you can cast without a light and have enough room not to snag up.

I use the bow and arrow cast a lot when things get tight. Not sure if you have used it but I tend to use it a lot in tight quarters. You can often get the fly delivered lower than with an upright or even a side arm cast. Great for geting in to the nooks under the overhanging brush.The only reason I mention it is because you mentioned the pendulum cast, which I find far less precise.

(Peder) #4

This can be lots of fun for trout. At least in my experience (and from a few things I’ve read over the years) the biggest brown trout feed at night. It definitely has its challenges, but can be fun.

(Paul) #5

The species I’m chasing in the streams pictured is trout. Browns mostly but I have caught rainbows there as well.

I should definitely try to improve my success rate with unweighted kebari. I guess coming this far having much more success with weighted patterns, confidence in an unproven method (for me) would be my greatest hinderance.

When I fished the small overgrown stream with the GM27 I was using the bow cast a lot. I agree that it is very accurate but for this particular stream I was having to bow cast nearly every cast. While the bow cast definitely has its place I don’t find fishing very enjoyable when having to bow cast more than 90% of the time. It breaks up the flow for me too much.
Also, not really shown in the pictures, there are a lot of sections that are broken up by fallen logs across the stream. Having the 36NP with a short line allowed me to lift over the obstacle and place it in front for a short drift towards the sheltered area under the log. This resulted in one hookup but I wasn’t paying complete attention and did not set the hook properly, which allowed the small trout to headshake itself free.

Fishing the larger pools at night is something I have thought about. This would also open up the target fish to include River Blackfish, a small Australian native which almost exclusively feeds at night.

(Gressak) #6

If you can get over the boogieman factor, night fishing is pretty awesome. Have to get into the mindset that you are the boogiman. Although, considering your location I bet there are a bunch of legitamate creepy crawlies on the prowl at night.

You are right about the bow cast…it gets old quick. Definitely try lighter flies. I will do a post shortly in the kebari section with some suggestions that might help.

(Chris Lynch) #7

the longest rods I’ve fished have been 4.5m- Nissin ZX450 and Daiwa Seiryu-X 45.
The Nissin felt like a telephone pole, I didn’t like it at all, the Daiwa feels just like a long tenkara rod to me.
I can cast it all day, but i will feel it later on.
I’m reasonably accurate with it, certainly less-so than with my shorter rods. It does however give me great standoff distance without resorting to long lines.
I don’t think there’s a rod longer than 4.5m that will balance well enough to be used like a tenkara rod while being realistically comfortable.

(Gressak) #8

My gm 53 is pretty nice. Light and can cast pretty well. The grayce is pretty nice too. They are definitely fishable…just not as comfortable or precise. Definitely nice rods for big water and big fish. Leash em and land em.