Daniel @ Tenkara USA wrote:
Excellent videos! What a great find.
The rods being made are not tenkara rods I believe. Mostly noted by the absence of a handle. ..
There are a lot of different types of fishing that use similar looking rods, both modern telescopic rods as well as bamboo. There are bamboo rods for ayu with flies and ayu with "decoy fish", for large carp, for small carp, for bait fishing for trout in ponds, for bait fishing in streams, potentially a few more, and of course for tenkara
Thanks for posting it!
Seems tenkara rods don't necessarily require a handle. There are two videos on youtube on the tytytji channel where he shows and fishes with an old bamboo tenkara rod he inherited from his grandfather. He states that is was made in 1948/49. In the videos he is fishing with the bamboo tenkara rod in the Sierras.
It is a ten foot rod which has 10 sections vs the five section rod made in the craftsman videos. Perhaps that is another feature of bamboo tenkara rods, that they have more sections or perhaps that is just the characteristic of the 'style' of the design tytytji has.
The tenkara bamboo pole is shown at least twice from tip to butt end and it does not appear to have any type of handle. No cork or other type of winding to make a contoured handle that I noticed. It is also interesting to see the rod sock and the ladder type line holders which I assume were also inherited with the rod.
Equally intriguing are the markings on the rod.
佐久てんから・渓流竿" "竿金 - Saku tenkara ・stream pole ・gold rod or is it fly rod ?
He also says the pole is marked with his name - SAOKIN. I am assuming SAOKIN is the craftsman who made the rod, but read a different way it may have meant that was his grandfather's name.
He states this means it is a Saku style rod. From what I can determine Saku is a city in the Nagano prefecture. Since he says it is a 'Saku style' pole I assume this means more that just the town where it was made. If there is a Saku style tenkara pole. How many other styles of tenkara pole existed in older times, say before the 1940 ?
In America from Colonial times into the 20th century different areas of the country in coastal areas developed distinctive types of work boats that were refined over time to best suit their local waters and the type of fish they caught. The type of boats that worked well in Maine were different from the boats on the Chesapeake Bay or Albemarle Sound which were different from the boats used in Florida or Louisiana. Each had their own unique waters requiring different boat designs. Folks in Maine hauled lobster traps, folks on the NC sounds caught Menhaden.
Perhaps there were many types or styles of tenkara rods adapted to the characteristics of local waters or perhaps just different due to the personal preferences of the local craftsman. What he thought worked the best. Today it is easy to forget just how the world has gotten smaller, not to many decades ago a trip to a town 40 miles away was a four day trip.
It would be interesting to learn of the different styles of tenkara rod that existed historically. We can find web pages describing the different types of kebari from different areas of Japan but not to much about how the rods may have been different that were attached to those different kebari. Perhaps not much different from today I suppose. The tenkara rods developed by Tenkara no oni are different from the rods developed by Dr Ishigaki or by TUSA or others. But I would find it interesting if there were 6 or 10 major styles of bamboo tenkara rods historically in Japan. TB has his killer bug and out west they have the Utah killer bug. Each region develops its local favorite.
Likewise, what is a 竿金, Saogane? Gold rod ? Or sometimes google gives me Fri rod, ? Fly rod ?. Google does some odd translations. Some times where I see a phrase containing the 金 character google will translate the phrase that contains it as " insect eating paint" or "Fri carbon rod" . Google 竿金 and you will find many different types of rods with the 竿金 stamp. I found one web page where the bamboo rod is described as both 竿金, and a 野鯉竿 , carp rod or Koi Pole. I leaning toward thinking 金 means 'fly', thus a fly rod for Koi fishing rather than a gold rod for koi fishing. However the 金 is not a character I have noticed before when referring to the kebari. otoh google translated this phrase （金属の輪のこと）as ' with a ring of metal'. Odd, but part of the fun of the puzzle that I ponder to keep from going mentally soft.
Google 金 alone and I find - gold. Odd, intriguing.
If you haven't seen the tytytji videos here are the links, 3:40 and 4:00 in duration.
Probably a good stream to fish with the rod where he probably will not hook onto to something bigger than expected and risk damaging the rod which is not only old but likely has a greater sentimental value that its market value. ( I know about these things, I'm caught in the middle of an intrigue between my half siblings in Ohio about who will inherit their grandpa's Civil War rifle. Perhaps worth $200 according to friends in Richmond. How and why am I in the middle of a controversy over which sibling inherits a Yankee's rifle?
Video 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXHvDS-Rmfw
And fwiw - if you watch the Tenkara 1 video at about the 3:00 mark they show the Tenkara display at the Omachi Museum, narrated by Dr Ishiagaki I think, and I did not notice any type of handle on the rods there. Just the butt end of the bamboo. However, the rod shown appeared to be a rather crude one. But then again, this is a statement from a guy who has missed seeing green lillians and only saw red ones.
Tenkara 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyXNE0bJxoA