Tenkara rods have been storming the western world over the last few years. However, tenkara rods traditionally come from Japan and were originally made from bamboo. These days there are a great range of tenkara rods made from graphite and other high-tech materials like carbon fiber. So what does Tenkara mean? How do Tenkara rods work? And what should you look out for when buying tenkara rods?
In this post, we will give you the answers to these questions and more. We will help you understand the key things you need to know when buying tenkara rod and what you should look out for. We will also give you the low down on 10 of favorite tenkara rods fro different needs and budgets.
Our Top Picks
Best tenkara rod for backpacking: DRAGONtail Tenkara’s Shadowfire Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod
For the best size tenkara rod for traveling that doesn’t limit your options, this 12-foot tenkara rod folds down to just 23-inches to easily fit in any backpack.
Best tenkara rod for beginners: M Maximumcatch’s Maxcatch Tenkatara Complete Rod Combo Kit
For a rod ideal for beginners, this combo kit comes with everything a newbie needs to get started with, and find a passion for, fishing.
Best tenkara rod under $100: Wild Water’s Complete Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Combo
For a great value rod under $100, you get more than your money’s worth with this fantastic kit.
Best tenkara rod for trout: Angler Dream’s 13ft Telescopic Fly Fishing Combo
For a tenkara rod that can stand up to large trout, this telescopic rod is more than strong enough and can be set up at 2 lengths.
Best tenkara rod for bass: Tenkara USA’s Sato Fly Fishing Multi-Size Telescopic Rod
For a telescopic rod with 4 lengths, this tenkara rod is ideal for fishing in a variety of settings and great for catching big bass.
Best tenkara rod for small streams: Aventik’s Z Nano Tenkara Rod
For a rod ideal for small streams and creeks, this nanorod does a great job and will last you for years.
Best short tenkara rod: DRAGONtail Tenkara’s Mizuchi zx340 Zoom Small Stream Rod
For a rod ideal for both tight spots and open casting, this short but extendable rod is great for getting kids into fishing or taking on backpacking weekends.
Best tenkara rod for panfish: Tenkara Rod Co.’s Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod
For a rod ideal for getting back to the basics, this rod is ideal for use fishing down at your local panfish lake.
Best budget tenkara rod: M MaximumCatch’sTenkara Rod with telscoping Pole for Fly Fishing
For a great value tenkara fishing rod, this bit of kit is hard to beat although you’ll need your own fishing gear to go along with this rod.
Best all around tenkara rod: Tenkara USA’s 13.5ft Amago Telescopic Fly Rod
For a large tenkara rod suitable for most fishing actions, this rod collapses down small and is a great all-rounder.
What is Tenkara rod?
The word tenkara literally translates from Japanese as “fishing from heaven” and describes a style of fishing akin to fly fishing. Typically tenkara rods are used for trout fishing in the mountain streams of Japan. However, these days they are used all over the world for a range of fish, from bass to perch. Tenkara rods are more streamlined than traditional fly fishing rods. This helps to center focus on the catching of the fish rather than the equipment itself.
Where are Tenkara Rod Company rods made?
Most of the rods used by the West are made in China. However, the top of the range tenkara rods still emanate from Japan. There are also some impressive outputs from collaborations between Japanese and American firms. These tend to have a stiffer backbone more suitable for the American style of fly fishing, which is slightly different to the Japanese style. So if you were wondering ‘Is Tenkara a fly fishing?’, the answer is really ‘yes, but….’. The thing to remember about tenkara is that it developed independently of fly fishing in the West, so it is similar but subtly different.
Top 10 Best Tenkara Rods
So now you know a bit about choosing a tenkara rod, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite fishing rods. These are our top 10 tenkara fishing rods for different needs and every budget. Read on to find the perfect fishing rod for your needs.
#1 Best tenkara rod for backpacking: DRAGONtail Tenkara’s Shadowfire Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod
If you are on the hunt for the best tenkara rod length that is also suitable for taking on your travels through fabulous backcountry fishing spots, then you’ll love this bit of kit. Easy to set up, with a medium action (6:4), this 8 section rod is great for beginner or intermediate levels. The moderate action is forgiving when working with moving baits helping you reel in more catches. At an affordable price and ideal for backpacker fishing trips, there’s not much not to like about this rod.
#Bacpacker_Rod #Backpacker_Tenkara #Tenkara #Moderate_Action_Rod #Fishing
#2 Best tenkara rod for beginners: M Maximumcatch’s Maxcatch Tenkatara Complete Rod Combo Kit
If you’re looking for the best beginner tenkara rod, then look no further than this combo kit. Complete with everything a beginner needs to get started, including a selection of tenkara flies and a floating case. This set is affordable without scrimping on what you get. The lightweight rod is also strong enough for a battle with a large trout. This is the est cheap tenkara rod and will bring years of joy in the great outdoors to anyone looking to get into fishing. Be wary about taking on too big of a fish with this rod though as it won’t be able to stand up to larger fish.
#Beginner_Tenkara_Rod #Beginner_Rod #Beginner_Fishing_Rod #Rods #Fishing_Rods
#3 Best tenkara rod under $100: Wild Water’s Complete Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Combo
If you’re looking for the best budget tenkara rod under $100, then look no further than this great bit of kit. The graphite build keeps this rod affordable whilst ensuring it is strong enough to tackle big fish. With a collection of flies and some handy tools, this kit also has you ready to go from the day it arrives. The high flexibility allows for extra precise fishing meaning this is good for beginners and intermediate fishers alike. This handy case, easy attach reel, and collapsible rod, truly is a snip at under 100 bucks.
#Tenkara_Rod_Under_100_Bucks #Tenkara_Rods #Value_Rod #Tenkara_Set #Kits
#4 Best tenkara rod for trout: Angler Dream’s 13ft Telescopic Fly Fishing Combo
If you love fishing for trout but don’t like lugging a big rod around with you when finding a secluded spot, then you’ll love this telescopic tenkara rod. The 7:3 stiff action helps with the precision of your casting. You will also be impressed with the distance you can get with this rod. The large cork grip helps when your fish locks on and is comfortable enough for a full day out fishing. You can also set this rod at 2 different lengths giving it added versatility. The downside of this kit is that the flies aren’t the best quality.
#Telescopic_Tenkara_Rod #Trout_Fishing #Trout #Trout_Tenkara_Rod #Trout_Rods
#5 Best tenkara rod for bass: Tenkara USA’s Sato Fly Fishing Multi-Size Telescopic Rod
If you’re an intermediate fisher or above and want to know about the best tenkara rod for big fish and bass, then you’ll love this rod. The telescopic body can be set to 10’8″, 11’10”, and 12’9″ in length, giving you superb versatility. It also collapses down to just under 23 inches making it nicely portable in its included hard case. With a stiff 6:4 action, this rod works well when looking for big bass. The only downside of the rod is it is
#Telescopic_Bass_Rod #Telescopic_Fishing_Rods #Bass_Rod #Bass #Bass_Fishing
#6 Best tenkara rod for small streams: Aventik’s Z Nano Tenkara Rod
If you are looking for the best small stream tenkara rod, then this super-compact rod could be just what the doctor ordered. Choose from 9 or 12-ft lengths and collapses down to just under 15 inches, making it super portable. The 9ft length is also great for small streams and spaces. Whilst the price is cheap, with a 35-year guarantee on this rod, you know it is built to last. Spare sections can also easily and cheaply be picked up if broken by a larger fish. The downside of this rod is that it doesn’t come with everything you need to get started and is just the rod itself plus a case.
#7 Best short tenkara rod: DRAGONtail Tenkara’s Mizuchi zx340 Zoom Small Stream Rod
If you are looking for a short rod great at getting you out of tight spaces, then you’ll love this extendable and retractable rod. With an 8ft option, you are able to get success in tight corners. However, with 9.6ft, and 11ft options, you aren’t restricted from tackling more open spaces either with this great bit of kit. You also get some nifty little flies, 10ft of line and a line holder, meaning you are good to go with this kit. The downside of this rod is the price, but it’s well worth it for the excellent construction.
#Short_Rod #Tight_Space_Rod #Stream_Fishing #Creek_Fishing #Extendable_Rod
#8 Best tenkara rod for panfish: Tenkara Rod Co.’s Sawtooth Fly Fishing Rod
If you’ve not been out fishing in a while and want to get back to basics, then a day out seeking out panfish is in order. This rod is ideal for use with panfish, with spinner flies ideal for bluegills and sunfish. Once you’ve had your fill of these, you can also use this rod to catch some perch with a long-spin fly. Ideal for fish between 6 and 18 inches, this rod is a great way to rediscover your passion for fishing and comes complete with everything you need. The downside of this rod is that it is on the higher-end of pricing for tenkara rods.
#Fly_Fishing #Panfish #Panfish_Fishing #Panfish_Rod #Bluegills #Sunfish
#9 Best budget tenkara rod: M MaximumCatch’sTenkara Rod with telscoping Pole for Fly Fishing
If you’ve got the fishing gear, but need a tenkara rod, then this is the best value fly fishing rod around. With a choice of 10, 11, 12, and 13 ft rods, no matter your fishing style or what you like to catch, you’ll be covered with this range. The smooth cast and sturdy backbone make this a good choice for beginners. It is also easy to keep the line from getting tangled thanks to the built-in rotating lilian, another plus for beginners. This lightweight rod is incredibly cheap for what it offers.
#Budget_Tenkara_Rod #Budget_Rod #Budget_Fishing_Rod #Budget #Value
#10 Best all around tenkara rod: Tenkara USA’s 13.5ft Amago Telescopic Fly Rod
If you are looking for the best size tenkara rod for long casts and distance, then you’ll love this 13.5ft beast. It also collapses down to just under 22 inches, although the 10 pieces do make it a bit of a pain to set up and put down. Nevertheless, this rod is impressive and the size of the fish you’ll catch with this rod makes up for it. The carefully designed handle assist as a counterbalance against fish when they latch on, making it easier to bring home the big catches. Despite the length, this rod is impressively lightweight and a great all-rounder suitable for most fishing styles.
#Tenkara_Fishing #Large_Tenkara_Rod #Large_Rod #Large_Fishing_Rod #Tenkaras
How do you fish a Tenkara Rod?
When fishing with a tenkara rod, you don’t need a reel or a fly line! You will require some sort of leader and about 5 feet of tippet. A level line leader is a goof first port of call, but this will vary depending on the conditions you are fishing in. A level line leader helps to deliver a drag-free presentation so long as the wind levels a low. A level line leader is a type f fluorocarbon line that allows you to cast with a lighter line.
You’ll find tenkara rods with a 5:5, 6:4, and 7:3 action. A 5:5 means 50% of the rod is stiffer vs 50% softer (or more flexible), 6:4 means 60% is stiffer, and so on. You should pick a rod length based on the height of the canopy you plan to fish in. As such, your choice of rod will not reflect the wideness of the river but how much height you have to cast in.
What to look out for when purchasing Best Tenkara Rod
When it comes to buying a tenkara rod there are a few key things you will want to consider. Here, we outline, the 4 key considerations you need to consider when buying tenkara fishing rods:
#1 What are tenkara rods made of?
If you’re after a traditional bamboo model, these do still exist. However, for American style fly fishing you’ll be better off choosing one made from graphite or carbon fiber. These materials are more consistent in terms of strength, rigidity, and flexibility.
#2 What length tenkara rod do I need?
When it comes to length, you need to think about the size of fish you want to catch and canopy cover. Whilst you can catch larger fish with small rods with good power, typically, a longer rod will provide give you a better chance of catching bigger fish. Longer rods have more leverage than short rods. However, short rods can be useful if you have to fish in places with a low hanging canopy or generally lacking space.
#3 What is a good choice of material for tenkara rod handles?
A good choice of material for a tenkara rod handle is cork. This is nice and grippy. It is also comfy to hold over many hours thanks to its natural springiness and softness to touch. If a handle doesn’t feel comfortable – send it right back. It can be a good idea to choose darker colored handles too as this helps prevent any reflective glare giving your location away to your fish.
#4 What is the best action tenkara fishing rod?
This will depend on your style and experience. The action refers to how many segments of your rod are stiff and how many are flexible. The more flexibility you have, the further you will likely be able to cast. However, this comes at a cost in terms of precision. If you struggle with precision beginners tend to fair best with an action of around 4 or 5. As you improve you will move towards actions 3, 2, and finally 1.
Fishing with tenkara rods is great fun and really lets you focus on fishing rather than the gadgets and the gear. Whilst tenkara rods have changed from their bamboo ancestry, they are still true to this underlying principle. The rods above are suitable in a range of contexts and there is a choice for every budget. So what are you waiting for? Choose your rod and go enjoy some fishing!
CPT Bligh says
Somehow I rather doubt that Tenkara rods are measured in inches. You may want to review your article and fire your editor.
Most people do not use metric here in the states, inches are well understood, the point is to make this article palatable for all. good job, maybe your editor should have a raise. Thanks for not being snobby.