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Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Discussion on tenkara rods

Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby itsme » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:46 am

Hi,

This is my first post on these forums although I have been reading a lot. I first read about Tenkara on the BPL site when the Hane came out. People on there seem to love it but it's almost impossible to find a used one. And I have read comments that other rods may be a better choice anyway. I have not done any Tenkara fishing yet but I am convinced that I will love it and am ready to take the plunge. For my first rod I'm looking for one to take backpacking and fish on small streams, mostly in Colorado. A lot of times the streams will be very tight with vegetation so casting will be difficult. From what I've read so far, it sounds like the 11' Iwana would be a good choice. Does that sound right?

Also, when I have it strapped to the outside of my pack, should I have some kind of protective case for it? I seem to recall that they claimed the Hane was tough enough where you didn't one.

Thanks.

Randy
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Re: Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby pechelman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:03 am

im new to tenkara as well and pretty much was making the same decision as you about a month or so ago;

Colorado, lightweight, backpacking, super tight/small streams.

I have yet to hit up the streams I originally had in mind, waiting for an open weekend I can go camping for a night or two, but I have fished a few closer streams that are exceptionally tight in terms of casting room due to the low cover of trees and branches.

From what I've learned so far, it seems to make more sense to use the absolute longest rod you can fit under the canopy with a shorter line VS using a shorter rod and needing to manage relatively more line to get the fly where you want.

Notice my emphasis on the word FIT. I didnt say cast.
In the end this does mean doing a bit more dapping than casting at times, but overhead or sidearm casting just isnt practical with any rod here really unless its a 7-8' max rod.

I'd also say to consider the big picture and if you're going to want to use this anywhere else where collapsed length and weight arent a big concern or where you'll want a little longer rod.

The decision I decided upon, was that I was going to need multiple rods.

I've got the 12' Iwana for backpacking (with an optional 9ft handle for super tight streams and a lighter\shorter stowed carry) AND an Ito for local fishing.

For what its worth, I've fished both my 12' Iwana and 13-14.5' Ito on the same stream with a very low canopy with a 10' line. I was a little surprised to find out how much easier it was for me to cast and reach spots with the Longer Rod w\ 10' line combo compared to the Shorter Rod\10' Line combo.

By easier, I dont just mean physical reach but moreso avoiding snags on branches.
I could more easily flick the line, roll cast, mend upstream with the longer rod so the line really never needs to be above\beside me in a cast thats just asking to be snagged by a branch.
hopefully this is all making sense.

Also consider if you're going to fish some of our high alpine lakes.
I can very easily cast a 20ft #4 level line on the 12' iwana but have a little more trouble doing it as cleanly\precisely with the softer Ito.

edit
i think the iwana is a great option for what we both have in mind, but id urge you to get the 12'.
With the 12, you can get an 11' handle, but if you get the 11' you cant goto 12'. Plus, i really think the extra length is a good thing in 90+% of the situations so long as you're willing to compromise a little on actual casting in every spot.

Also....my 12' iwana measures more like 11'6"
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Re: Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby itsme » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:33 pm

Thanks for the info. That's interesting. When I read about some people shortening their rods to 9'6" I was thinking it was for the conditions we're talking about. I did think I'd probably need 2 rods. I don't generally fish lakes but I am going to the Winds later this year so I sure will on that trip.
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Re: Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby pechelman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:58 am

itsme wrote:Thanks for the info. That's interesting. When I read about some people shortening their rods to 9'6" I was thinking it was for the conditions we're talking about. I did think I'd probably need 2 rods. I don't generally fish lakes but I am going to the Winds later this year so I sure will on that trip.


Its a personal choice as to the length, but chances are, if you think you're going to need a "short" 9'6" tenkara rod due to tight tree cover and what not, chances are, you're not going to be truly casting anyway. May as well take advantage of extra ROD length and a relatively shorter Line length so its easier to manage line & fly and an easier time of landing fish. (especially if you want to keep any to eat on a backpacking trip)

Oddly, its also way easier to implement some spey casting techniques ive picked up along the years with a longer rod where you hardly even have to lift the line off the water.

And dont forget, nothing's keeping you from choking up on the handle of your rod to effectively shorten it for a quick cast or two.

I guess you could say, so far, I'm a firm believer in the benefits of a tenkara rod as a TOOL rather than it being just a style of fishing.

I think the compromise really makes itself apparent when you're choking up on the rod all the time or you cant set a hook because you smack tree branches when you lift your rod tip. There are certainly some places I have trouble with a 12' iwana, a 9'6 would help for sure, but its still not a ~7' fly rod in terms of compactness for casting, hook setting, and landing a fish.

Either way, I'm prepared with the 9'6 handle.
There are a few places\streams im thinking about where itll be perfect with a 7-9' #3 line.
Think super low brushy canopy and sides, crawling around behind rocks, your basic nightmare for trying to cast to fish. :)
But I also think itll be a lot of fun on streams that you can giant stride across from bank to bank where its easier to control a short line a shorter distance away from your hand. (especially when its windy)

anyway, I'll stop here
I'm still SUPER new to tenkara, but I feel like I've learned a ton in the short time I've been doing it.
I'd be really interested to hear some other people's thoughts on this matter
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Re: Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby itsme » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:00 am

I did order the 12' and will add the 9'6" handle a little later. Just got a note that it shipped today so I hope to be able to try it out next weekend.
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Re: Suggestions for first Tenkara rod and other advice?

Postby Fin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:27 am

Good choice and I echo pechelman's advice - all except the 9' casting/ dabbing point...

Before now, my favourite rod was the Yamame because, here in France, I can go from tight streams to big rivers within half an hour and, for me, the Yamame was capable of handling both - giving more control when heavier rig was required, as well as still being fun enough for the lighter situations.

Recently, I discovered a couple of local, productive streams which are heavily forested. I had already pulled the trigger on a 12' Iwana - based on reviews and was struggling with casting and setting in this environment due to it's length (I had already shortened the line). The 9' handle has saved the day on these streams. I can use the undergrowth to stalk (wading is unnecessary) and cast where I want. Sometimes I dab, sometimes it's a bow and arrow cast - more often it's a side cast upstream (use all the tools in the box if you have to) - but it's all great fun!

For backpacking - I would say that the weight/ bulk of the 9' handle is negligible - unless you really are gram counting and the whole set up (including a few variable length line/ tippet combos) is super light and portable. Talking of line - I have found that the heavier 4.5 line works best with the 9' Iwana as the rod itself is almost too light and requires the heavier line to feel it loading (I use about 6.5' of line to 3.5' of tippet with this rod).

I still vote for the Yamame as Tenkara USA's "all round" rod - based on the variety of rigs and fish it can handle. But the double Iwana has become my "go to" set up - and for backpacking it's nigh on perfect.
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