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What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

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What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:26 am

Example, I have a 3wt rod, others are 5wt, etc.... What would the various TenkaraUSA rods be equivalent to in these terms?

I have an Iwana 12'. Would it be equivalent to say a 3wt or ?

Thanks

tj
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby CM_Stewart » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:47 am

Apples and oranges.

The actions for tenkara rods and fly rods are so different that they really aren't equivalent, and trying to measure a tenkara rod by the same standards will give you misleading results.

For example, we often think of tenkara rods as being "slow" but so much of the action is in the soft tip sections that if you compared them to fly rods with a measurement system like the "common cents" system (designed to objectively measure rods from different manufacturers - since the AFTMA has a standard for lines, but there is no standard for rods), they would rate as not just fast, but approaching the speed of light fast (in the sense that according to the rating system, it is impossible to get much faster). Even the Ayu. Similarly, the common cents rating system for fly rods calculates line weight based on how much force is required to bend the rod by an amount equal to 1/3 of it's length. The stiffer midsection of tenkara rods takes a relatively large amount of weight to bend (relative to the soft tip), so it takes a bit of weight to get the specified 1/3 bend. Actually casting a line of the weight that the rating would suggest would feel like you had horribly overloaded the rod.

For example, your 12' Iwana will easily cast a line that is considerably lighter than a 000 weight fly line. If you actually measured the 12' Iwana based on a fly rod system of measurements, it would come out as a 2 weight, but if you tried to cast a 2 weight fly line it would feel like you were trying to cast a steel cable. The 12' Iwana is NOT a 2 weight fly rod.

Consider this: to actually fish a 2 wt fly rod, you might cast the measured 30 feet of fly line, weighing 80 grains, plus a 12' leader. The 12' Iwana will easily make the cast with no fly line, weighing exactly nothing, plus the 12' leader. Thus, I would argue that tenkara rods are in actuality "nothing" weights.

Tenkara rods were designed to cast a very light line, using mostly the soft tip sections to propel the line. They were not designed to cast fly lines that fit anywhere in the AFTMA rating system, and the system for measuring fly rods was not designed to measure tenkara rods.

There are no equivalents.
Last edited by CM_Stewart on Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby Stephen McGowen » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:12 am

Bless you Chris.......it is about time that somebody posted this.
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby Wupperfischer » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:27 am

Hi Chris,

many thanks for your post.

Last year i meassured two 11 ft Tenkara rods with a system that is comparable with the cc method. The Iwana and a Daiwa rod were both in the 2 wt. range, but casting with a 2 wt line was horrible.

I think Tenkara rods need there own system.

Best regards Ronald
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby rsetina » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Excellent explanation Chris. Tenkara rods are so different from western rods they can't be compared. Ronald, I think Tenkara rods already have a system. 6:4, 7:3, 5:5. We need to get into the habit of using that system and try not to compare the two very different, in some ways, systems of fly fishing.
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby masjc1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:26 pm

Chris,

Thanks for the post. I see that our work on line weights has been put to good use. You provide a good clear explanation. I do think that Tenkara needs it's own system of line designations. Any thoughts?
Mark

"I have laid aside business and gone a fishing"

Izaak Walton
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby CM_Stewart » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:51 pm

Mark,

Thank you again for weighing all those lines for me.

I really haven't thought about a designation system for tenkara lines. In effect, there already is one for level lines - the Japanese line sizes. For furled lines, it might make sense to list the actual weight in grains. Of course, if that catches on I'll have to get a grain scale.

One other thought, though, is that tenkara lines are so light that wind resistance is a factor. Two tapered lines of the same weight, one mono and one fluorocarbon, will cast differently, particularly if there is any breeze. Two lines of the same weight but a different taper could cast quite differently as well.

I don't know what the answer is (other than to have several lines and match the line to the conditions).
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby rsetina » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:11 pm

CM_Stewart wrote:I don't know what the answer is (other than to have several lines and match the line to the conditions).


That's probably the best way to go. Thanks for the idea Chris.
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby Bamboozle » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:26 am

CM_Stewart wrote:Thus, I would argue that tenkara rods are in actuality "nothing" weights.


I like this better!
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Re: What weights (#wt) are the Tenkara rods considered?

Postby wrknapp » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:22 pm

Okay guys. Ever the contrarian, I have to agree and disagree. As many of you know if you read my posts, I do a lot of non-traditional tenkara fishing. I don't always relate my exploits here because sometimes I use rods that are not tenkarausa rods and out of respect and admiration for Daniel, I do not write about other available equipment.other than lines and flies.

Okay, for the topic at hand: I suspected that tenkara rods are underated as to strength so I have been experimenting a lot to see for myself. I have since the beginning used 4x to 0x tippets and have never broken tip because I was landing a fish on heavy tippet. Today I took a perfectly good 1 wt forward Orvis line and cut off the first 30 feet. I did the same with the first 30 feet of a DT 6 wt line. I put leaders on both and then attached a backing loop to the rear end of both. First I tried the 30 feet of One weight line. No problem casting the whole thing except when in the wind. I changed and used the 30 feet of double taper six weight. It was a revelation!. The rod that casts the lightest of lines with ease handled this 30 foot traditional line with ease. Not too surprising to me, my 11 foot Iwana performed even better as did another manufacturer's 6:4 rod. I suspect a 7:3 rod could probably handle even heavier lines. This is important because it means fewer limitations and much more flexibility with all tenkara rods. The rods roll cast this heavier line with ease. There are only two limitations that are readily obvious. You have to hand over hand the fish in at the end (I do this all the time because I already fish longer lines with heavier tippets). If you can't back up on a river or shoreline, then a fish swimming right at you can be a problem (less if you are using a barbed hook which I do sometimes if I have every intention of eating the fish (warmwater and saltwater situations for me-it has been years since I purposely harvested a trout).

I thought about this because I have had both bamboo and fiberglass and graphite regular fly rod and reel combos that would collapse under certain line weights and then perform exceptionally well with a line two or sometimes even three weights heavier than rated under certain conditions and vice versa.

The reason for this is because rods perform differently based upon what part of the rod is doing the work. With long light tip sections, tenkara rods can cast very light near weightless lines. This is perfect for stream situations traditionally described and taught on this and other sites. But because of the length of these rods, they have tremendous butt strength. It takes a very heavy line to bend the rod deep enough to get into and exploit this strength. Once you realize this, however, it greatly expands your horizons. With the right line leader combination I can use all my tenkara rods from 9 footers to 13 footers and other rod/poles that are even longer and cast 1/0 Clousers and big bass bugs and 1/8th ounce hand tied jigs. I can use lighter spinning lures, bass worms, baits, etc. just by adjusting lines and tippets.

The lifting power of these rods is amazing but just as with traditional fly rod and reel setups, you do have to be careful with over stressing the rods by the bend you put in them when you snag or when you lift a heavy fish.

So there you have it. I don't know what weight my tenkara rods are but they will handle fish at least as well as a six weight traditional fly rod and reel, and I routinely used to land steelhead up 35 1/2" on my 5wt 4pc 8'3" Sage DS fly rod configured with a 6 or 7wt line (always heavier than rated) and old Pflueger Medalist fly reel. I don't know yet if I can do that on a tenkara rod because I haven't hooked one yet to know. I do know that have landed bigger fish than I thought because the long rods can absorb the shock of big fish.

Experiment. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Randy
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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