Rods are funny. Over my years as an angler I tend to come full circle on equipment. I also know that understanding and embracing equipment takes some time and discipline. There is no perfect rod so I tend to stick to a short list. For me this short list has been fairly consistent since my start in tenkara.
We all tend to do a broad sample whenever we start something new. Try a broad range of equipment then refine to what we enjoy the most. This thread is open for everyone to share what they feel the title means to them. The objective is to share our journey with anyone new entering this wonderful sport.
On a recent thread I posted that the perfectly sized tenkara rod for me would be a 320 sized rod as it can be used in both large and small water. This is not for honryu (larger river) but could in a pinch. In general for me, Tenkara shines in the fast freestone streams that are 5-25’ wide. Anything wider it could be argued that a traditional flyrod and reel might start gaining some traction as being an advantage. I am not discounting tenkara honryu fishing . It is fun and effective, but rather just stating a personal preference to smaller water.
bold are rods I still own.
Year One: — TUSA rhodo / TUSA Sato
My first rod was a TUSA rhodo. On my first outing I caught three fished, but was underwhelmed by my casting range. So, I bought a TUSA Sato. A bit better on my reach and definitely beefier.
Year Two: ---- Nissin flying dragon 53
I went large this year after hooking( not landing) a 24-26" atlantic salmon on my sato. Fished rivers and the salt with this rod
Year Three: — TB36 / Oni Honryu 450 / suntech GM 53 /suntech kurenai 30m
Had the bug and went a bit haywire. Bought a bunch of rods to play around with.
Year Four: ---- Nissin Kyogi 18
Fished rivers and the salt with this rod
Year Six: ---- Nissin Royal Stage 320 6:4
This is the best rod I have ever casted. I also casted the 360 version which equally suits me.
If you consider the time I have been fishing, I have not rotated through many rods. The two carp rods are not even tenkara rods and are not used for trout, they could be easily omitted. So really I now own 4 rods.
My two favorites for tenkara are the Nissin Royal Stage 320 and the rhodo. The rhodo for its utility and the Royal Stage for its finesse. I do still fish the Sato a bit, but just on stocked water.
The reason I like a 320 sized rod as I feel that it is a fantastic rod to get into technical water and tight casting. I live in the Northeast and if the water is wild then it can be pretty tight casting. It is not that I cannot fish a 400 sized rod, it is just that it is not as versatile as a 320. If it is windy, I always tend to choose a shorter rod. The air closer to the water always seems less effected by gusts.
I suspect those TUSA rods have a touch of fiberglass in them as they tend to be a bit thicker and heavier than comparable rods. They also can take a bit of substantial abuse, which I would not put on my other rods. Most people will raise an eyebrow upon hearing that I use TUSA rods. They are not very sensitive or great casting rods, but they are not bad, and if I had to pick a rod to fight a large fish it would be be one of the two. The sato has landed a 24" brown and the rhodo has landed a 17" brown in incredibly heavy current. The water on the 17" was cranking and the rod was completely doubled over…hahahaha.
For the money the Nissin Royal Stage 320 is a gift. Such an incredible rod. Makes me look like I am an excellent caster…hahahaha.
Some guys say 360 is the perfect length. I like it a touch shorter and feel it is not much of a penalty. It may really boil down to the water you like the most. For me it is the smaller water. 5-12’ wide and found deep in the woods.