There were a couple of interesting comments on the last blog post wondering why I bothered with super cheap tenkara rods, referring to the bargain basement AliExpress and Amazon rods that I sometimes fish with (and that I talk about more in this video). Steve said:
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.
And Bill said:
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?
I see people online saying that they’ve fished with these super cheap rods and that they can’t tell any difference between them and the more expensive rods made by more well-known tenkara rod companies. I also see people online saying that these super cheap rods are complete garbage and are not worth trying. So who’s telling the truth here? There is no value in me parroting whichever point of view that conforms to whatever bias I may already have. I want to find out for myself.
With the Tenkara Addict YouTube channel, I have what I believe is the largest active tenkara audience in the English language (and it’s certainly the largest one not controlled by a tenkara rod company). I take that seriously. I get asked multiple times each week about what rods to get. Sometimes these people have $300 to spend on a tenkara rod. Sometimes they have $10. Not everyone in the world has the same fishing budgets you or I do.
So let me directly answer the question. I try out all of these super cheap rods because…
- I want to be able to give an informed opinion about these rods to those who ask me.
- I want to show people that you can get out and catch fish and have fun on a very tight budget.
- I’m personally curious about them.
- It’s fun trying new gear.
- It’s boring for me to fish the same great tenkara rods over and over. I’d rather fish ten different $10 rods one time each than the same excellent rod ten times.
- They make fishing a creek I’m very familiar with (which, again, can be boring) more challenging and interesting.
- They add variety to the YouTube channel.
- I believe it makes me more well-rounded tenkara angler.
- It makes me more appreciative of the good rods when I do get back around to fishing them again.