Tenkara Rods and “Simplicity”

I currently own a dozen “real” tenkara/seiryu/keiryu rods and a dozen cheap Chinese fixed-line rods. I like fishing with a wide variety of rods. It’s fun for me to do. It makes for interesting Tenkara Addict videos. And it makes me a more well-rounded and better-informed angler.

When I made a video a few months ago about the rods I have, I got a few comments in this vein:

I thought tenkara was supposed to be simple.

The implication here was that because I have many rods to choose from, that complicates things. Because I have many rods, tenkara is no longer simple. Choice is apparently antithetical to simplicity.

First off, making a choice about which tenkara rod to use is always simple. This isn’t rocket science. I look at the stream and think about what size rod would be best. That narrows it down to a few rods. I then look at those few rods and weigh which one I think would be best for the size of fish I’m likely to catch against which rod I feel like fishing, and I make the decision. I’ve never found myself by a stream paralyzed by my inability to choose a rod to fish with.

But apart from that, and more importantly, having the right tool for the job is ultimately more simple. Simplicity is not just how easy something is to understand but how easy something is to do. Fishing a tiny, overgrown creek with a 12-foot rod because you think having additional rods complicates things? That’s anything but simple.

6 thoughts on “Tenkara Rods and “Simplicity””

  1. You’re on the mark. No one would accuse a gun collector of adding complexity to his/her hunting efforts. Plus, there is the simple joy of having the collection itself. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.

    Are the considerations the same when choosing a backup rod to bring along for a pack-in trip?

    I greatly appreciate the measured, unscripted sincerity in all of your excellent, online content. Always honest and never over the top. Perfectly executed.

  2. I would agree with you in that simplicity and the amount of Tenkara rods you have are separate ideas. What I don’t understand, at least in my view, is why bother with buying the cheap Chinese sticks. I know they’re $8-$12 or whatever, but why waste money on them? Now I think they would be an excellent pick if you wanted to hand a tenkara rod to someone who’s never fished before, or even better, a young child to teach them the basics and not worry about the inevitable rod breakage.
    If and when I get the free time to go fishing, my fishing experience is enhanced by using rods that I truly enjoy using. The best equipment that I can afford to use. I love it. Whether its tenkara or conventional rod and reel fishing, I really appreciate using good, quality equipment. I don’t want to sound snobbish or arrogant, I certainly don’t have the most expensive or latest high tech stuff, just good quality stuff that I know will last for years. However, there is definitely good quality equipment to be had for bargain prices such as nets, waders, tackle, and gear, but Ive never come across a “bargain” quality rod, (or reel), that will fish as well, or is built as well, as the quality stuff. You just have to pay the price for the research, design, materials, and manufacturing of the quality stuff.
    There’s nothing like a quiet morning next to a beautiful stream fishing a simple, well balanced, quality tenkara rod and catching some fish and enjoying life!

  3. I would agree with Steve. Why bother with a cheap, fish okay,rod when you have really good quality tenkara rods to fish with. Wouldn’t you want to have a good experience and time on the water with something you enjoy and have fun fishing with?

  4. Simplicity can also be The Challenge. As can having a selection and learning the characteristics of each. I dunno…if I aint Challenged enough I become ..bored and …Comfortable in my Laziness. No way to Live I reckon. If that’s Living…or am I complicating Simplicity…

  5. Your tutorial on rods is perfect. I use your exact method when choosing between my rods. Tenkara is fun, effective and you do a marvelous in helping me learn Tenkara. Thanks very much. Keep up the excellent work with all your channells, i subscribe to all. Love the new u v yarn as well.

  6. I await your new year’s 2022 equipment summary video with baited breath…
    天龍 Tenryu (ten-ree-oo)
    The Tenryu Furaibo TF39A packs down to 14 inches. Tom reviewed it in 2015, and while he said it was a very well-made rod, he gave it a “mostly” like instead of a “really” like rating. Still, recently he gave the Shinobi 395 a “really” like rating, after finding what I thought were several serious flaws, including that it verged on top-heaviness. Chacun à son goût.

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