I don’t remember if it was in a comment on one of my videos or through a direct message conversation we had, but GoFishSD on YouTube told me how he justifies buying a new rod:
When he’s caught 1 fish per $1 spent on a rod, he can buy a new one.
I think this is a great idea! Some of my rods (like my Dragontail Mizuchi and Zen Tenkara Suzume, for example) have definitely been “paid off” in that regard. Others, like the $266 Tanuki XL-1, which I’ve caught maybe 25 fish on, still have a ways to go.
I don’t think this is going to change my rod buying habits any, but it’s fun to think about. And if you’re looking for a way to justify or not justify your rod purchases, this is one way to do it!
How many of your rods have you “paid off” with fish? Leave a comment below.
I do not need more tenkara rods. I have all the rods I need to cover the kinds of waters I fish and the kinds of fish I target. But I do want more tenkara rods.
I like alternating fishing with my different rods, and I like trying out new ones. It’s just fun for me. And like I’ve heard Tom of Teton Tenkara say a couple times (I believe once in this interview and once in this interview), I want to know for myself what these rods feel like. As much as I appreciate the rod reviews of people like Tom, I want to find out for myself what something is like, I don’t feel comfortable talking with confidence about something if I don’t have firsthand experience with it.
This comes into play when people ask me which tenkara rod to get. I get asked this at least once a week, if not more. I am not all that great of a tenkara angler, and I have not tried dozens and dozens of rods, so it always makes me a bit uncomfortable to answer questions like this, but I try to give my best answer with the knowledge I do have.
I’d read online that people seemed to like the $100 Dragontail Shadowfire 365 rod as an inexpensive first rod. The consensus seemed to be that it was a good value and a good rod, but I wanted to know for myself because I don’t feel comfortable recommending rods that I haven’t used. So last year I asked Brent of Dragontail Tenkara to loan me a Shadowfire 365 to use. I fished with it half a dozen times (it’s in this video and this video, among others) and found it to be a surprisingly good rod. It’s become my go-to rod recommendation for people asking me about what cheap first tenkara rod to get if they don’t give me any other information.
But that’s an American-designed rod made in China. What’s a good, cheap(ish) beginner rod designed and made in Japan? That I did not have a good firsthand answer or recommendation for.
I’ve been eyeing the Nissin Pro Square Super Tenkara rods (hereafter to be referred to simply as the Pro Square) for a while now. Chris Stewart on Tenkara Bum calls the 6:4 360 “surprisingly nice” and “the best ‘beginner’ rod I have ever come across.” (I believe it’s the cheapest made-in-Japan tenkara rod out there, but someone correct me if I’m wrong.) It’s a rod that I’ve been wanting to try both for my own curiosity and as a recommendation for people wanting a first tenkara rod that’s made in Japan.
It retails for around $150, but I saw one on Amazon.com listed for $100 with free shipping. That’s about what you’d expect to pay for a used one, so I jumped on it. It shipped from Japan via DHL and arrived in 8 days. Here’s the Amazon link I bought it from, but the price has gone back up to $150.
The rod arrived today. It was packaged in a standard plastic Japanese tenkara rod carton inside of a bunch of bubble wrap inside of a thick, heavy PVC mailing tube. Needless to say, it arrived in one piece.
A friend of mine has this rod in the 7:3 360 configuration. He said it’s “quite soft, but good.” Other conventional wisdom I’ve read online seems to be that a Nissin 7:3 is like most other companies’ 6:4. Guess we’ll see. I wanted to try the 6:4 because that’s what Chris offers at TenkaraBum as a beginner rod and because my Nissin ZeroSum 360 is a 7:3. It’ll be interesting to compare the two.
One other thing my friend who owns the rod mentioned is that he doesn’t like how the handle has just the one hump instead two. To quote him again:
“Really I’m just not a fan of the handle. I don’t like the single hump and how it starts to flare out again at the bottom.”
I didn’t notice this before, but he’s right. The grip at the bottom kind of just flares outward toward the butt cap. Having wiggled it around in my hand in my office, I don’t think this will bother me, but we’ll see once I actually use it on the water.
Anyway, I don’t have anything super insightful to say about this rod. I’m just excited about it and wanted to share my excitement. New gear day is always fun! I’ll be using this rod in the next month or so, so stay tuned.
Have you used any of the Nissin Pro Square rods? Which one(s), and how have you liked them?
I see you lay down your rod on your YouTube videos. Do you ever take it apart and let it dry? Tenkarabum suggests doing this after every trip but seems overkill to me.
The rod doesn’t always get wet when I lay it down (e.g., when I place it on some grass next to the creek). In that case, I don’t bother taking it apart. But if it gets wet, yes, I take it apart and let it dry. Sometimes when I forget to do that, the next time I’m extending the rod to fish with it, it smells like stink water. Not something I want.
I get asked a lot of tenkara-related questions in the comments of my YouTube videos. I’ve decided that in 2021, a lot of the blog posts I write will be answers to these questions. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post to give your own answer to the question.
Do you typically feel takes while fishing a kebari, or is it almost always a visual thing with your line? I’ve been trying to fish kebaris more this fall/winter and am unsure if I’m just failing to feel/see takes or if it’s mostly due to lower fish activity or not casting to the right spots. Thanks!
I rarely feel the take. For me, it’s almost entirely a visual thing. I concentrate intensely on the end of the line (the spot where the tippet is tied to the line). If I see that make any kind of motion that I didn’t cause—a sudden stop, a change in direction, a tightening of the line, etc.—I set the hook.
Of course, I’ll often feel a fish on the end of the line when I go to recast, but that’s different.
I’ve found that what qualifies as a “small, overgrown stream” often has little to do with the stream itself and more to do with the rod one uses to fish it. What could be considered a small, overgrown stream with a 13-foot (400-cm) rod suddenly becomes quite open and easy to fish with an 8-foot (240-cm rod).
You may have seen my most recent Tenkara Addict video, in which I discuss my new online fly tying store, FlyTyingYarn.com. If you haven’t watched that video and browsed the store yet, I invite you to do so. I also started a fly tying YouTube channel and an Instagram account of the same name. I’ll be adding new products and educational articles to the store monthly, new videos to the channel every 2–4 weeks (haven’t ironed out a schedule yet), and new posts to the Instagram account weekly.
If you haven’t browsed the “Learn” page on FlyTyingYarn.com, you might want to head over there and take a look. Among other things, I include descriptions and pictures of some of the flies I use the most:
The initial response to the store has been beyond my expectations, and I’m really grateful to everyone who has placed an order.
(Also, I realize that I didn’t post to the blog here for November. My goal for 2020 was to post on the first of each month. I was traveling during late October and early November, so it slipped my mind. Sorry! To make it up to you, I’ll be posting again in a couple weeks about a new rod I’m getting and about how it compares to two of my existing rods.)
I fish with a backpack, and I attach the net to the backpack. I’ve tried attaching the net with carabiners (too fiddly) and magnets (not strong enough; I’d often find myself bushwhacking alongside a stream only to find my net caught by a branch several feet behind me). For the past six months or so, I’ve been using a side lock buckle. This is your standard webbing buckle, the kind that you squeeze on the side to open up. This is the exact buckle (3/4″ size) that I use. I have the net dangling off the bottom of the left shoulder strap. To both attach the buckle to the backpack and attach the net to the other half of the buckle, I’ve used a couple different sizes of zip ties.
This works really well. I can easily clip and unclip the buckle to grab the net, and the buckle never accidentally comes undone.
I love my medium Measure Net. It’s the perfect tenkara landing net aside from one thing—it’s not packable. I’m gearing up for a weeklong backpacking and fishing trip in a week or so, and I wanted a net that was not only lighter than by beloved Measure Net but that also could pack down to keep the overall bulk of my backpack to a minimum.