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Official NGTO Tenkara (gear) Thread

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  • #16
    Some information on two VERY easy shops to order internationally through-

    First up, Tenkara-Ya. This site is ran by one dude, Keiichi-san, and he's great. He is active on facebook and I have done a lot of communication with him on there. His English is great, and he is in typical Japanese fashion, VERY respectful, courteous, and always wants to help, even if you wind up changing your mind on something, he is happy to help. I have ordered from him 3 times now I think. If there is something you want that isn't on his site, he can most likely get it, and he'll let you know approx. how long it will take him to source the item. Even if it means him going to a store in person and getting a part, he'll do it.
    He will then give you an invoiced total including shipping. His costs, after shipping, are generally 10-30% lower than Tenkarabum. Shipping on a rod is not much, since they are so light. Japan Post EMS is very fast, figure $10-$20 to get a rod from Japan to the US in 3-4 days.
    http://www.tenkaraya.com/

    This other shop, I tried out on my last rod purchase. Their site translates very well with Google Chrome, is easy to navigate (once you learn the translated terminology), and their prices are good. You have to make an account, and place the order, then after they total shipping they send you a paypal invoice. Similar process to Tenkaraya, but they have a larger site with more listed inventory, since it's a small chain in Japan. They were SUPER easy to deal with, have really nice prices, and shipped crazy fast.
    http://www.fishing-otsuka.co.jp/statics/international/

    My two newest rods are Daiwa Seiryu-X in 3.5m and 4.5m (11' and 15') sizes. These are Hae or Seiryu rods. Hae is like a creek chub in Japan that is popular to fish for, they get beautiful spawning colors like some of the ones we have here. They are commonly found in.... calm stream, which translates to- you guessed it, Seiryu. Hae/Seiryu rods are typically VERY soft, full-flex, and a LOT of fun to play a smaller to medium sized fish on.
    Last fall I caught a ~16 stocker brookie on a 2.9m Nissin Air Stage (VERY soft seiryu) w/ 7X, and it was an epic battle. Lately I've been catching fat sunfish and loads of redeye bass on these two Daiwa rods, and they're just so much fun. You feel every head shake.

    With my 4.5m rod, while it is VERY soft, and flexes into the handle, since it's so long it acts as a big fulcrum, giving me power to pull in a fish that is probably larger than I should be targeting. These rods are rated to work with up to 5X tippet, and combined with how much they flex, it would take a really big fish to break off- the rod will protect the line a LOT. This 4.5m rod would be awesome on a tailwater with lots of casting room, and will happily handle your average stocker sized trout, giving plenty of fight but not being outgunned on a hard run. I caught a few on the Nant with it, and it was loads of fun.
    Resident Tenkara Nerd

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    • #17
      I have another company to look into if you are interested in tenkara. Also curious to hear Iso's thoughts.

      Dragontail Tenkara is out of Idaho, they sell three rods of their own, and carry a line of higher end rods out of Idaho. The company itself has excellent customer service, updated me with my order, shipping and answered a few questions before I bought the rod.
      http://dragontailtenkara.com/


      I ordered the hellbender, which is rated as their big-fish rod. Reasonably priced(all their rods are), really nice build quality. 7:3 action, 13/11' rod (13' rod and the last butt section locks when you collapse it so you can fish it at 11') The 11' feels a bit odd when casting, not sure if its how the rod is weighted with the one section collapsed or what. Still can throw a delicate dry fly, but I have this thing rigged for the hooch and have no problem throwing a dropper setup with some weight on it. Also have a line specifically designed for weighted nymphs, this helps with the heavier setup(Moonlit Oudachi). Biggest fish I've caught on the hooch was around 17-18" and I had a blast bringing him in. I can easily see this rod being able to control a trout in the 25" range. Seems like it could be a good rod for bass as well.

      Again i'm new to Teankara and fly fishing in general so take EVERYTHING I say with a grain a salt

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      • #18
        I haven't fished a Dragontail, but I've spoken with Brent Auger (owner) and bought a Nissin rod from him, and sold a tent to him as well. He is a stand-up guy, and I've not heard a single bad thing about his company or rods.

        Another small US-based company to check out is Badger Tenkara. They're up in the midwest somewhere, and have pretty boring-looking rods (all are flat olive drab) that are supposed to be great value. Like Dragontail, they have excellent customer service. Their UNC (Un-Named Creek) rod is a short 2.6m (7'?) and a little stiff, so it would be great for blue-lining, cuz uhhh, that is exactly what it's made for. It's normally around $100, goes on sale every now and then for like $85, and it's supposed to also be great for kids.
        Resident Tenkara Nerd

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        • #19
          Update on my more recent gear upgrades/purchases.

          Late last summer I came across a deal on the Nissin Royal Stage 320 6:4. That is a small stream full-flex rod of really dang high quality. Bought it, took it on one (trout) trip to Cohutta, and enjoyed the heck out of it. Dang near perfect length and flex for that watershed and those fish.
          I sold it to cover the costs of an Oni Type III (3.4m full flex) that a friend offered me while he was thinning his collection....

          The Oni Type III is widely considered to be the holy grail of small stream trout rods in the tenkara world. Holy crap this thing is absurdly nice. EVA foam grip (lighter and stiffer than cork) in a goofy camo pattern. The grip is so long that depending on where you hold it, the rod can effectively become much shorter (if you choke-up on the grip, holding at the forward tip), allowing you to fish it in tight spots.
          This rod is VERY soft, making hook sets on deep runs difficult to say the least, but that's not what it was designed for... Light flies fished at or near the surface is this thing's speciality, and it is REALLY good at that, and just incredibly accurate when casting.

          I also have fallen completely in love with my Shimotsuke Tenkara Gen ("Headwaters") 240cm rod. This is the shortest rod out of Japan with a cork grip and a decent flex profile. Not quite full-flex, but close to it (prob a 6:4 ratio). Handles a light #2.5 level line beautifully, and is very sensitive for detecting small fish taking the fly. Check the link in the name of the rod, they are ~$40 from amazon japan, shipped to the US... You can order one and have it on the water in 2-4 days for less than the cost of most American-market (chinese made) rods.
          I enjoy this rod so much, and think it's a PERFECT tool for most small GA and WNC trout waters.

          I don't think it's strong enough to handle a lunker like Splatek caught the other day, but it would make brookies and other little wild fish a lot of fun to catch.
          Bonus is that it collapses to under 20", so it'll take up little space on the side of, or poking out the top of, a backpack.
          Resident Tenkara Nerd

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          • #20
            Forgot about this thread some good info. Got another 270 as a present itís Chinese so donít bother asking the name but probably cheap. My other one I lost the bottom lid. Glad you posted this because when I saw foam cork it gave me an idea:

            I took a cheap wine foam cork and now itís my new lid! Had to kinda work it in. But now it serves as a lid, mini grip, and I made a slit in it to wind leaders around when not in use instead of using that little detachable holder Thanks!
            We are the music-makers,
            And we are the dreamers of dreams,
            Wandering by lone sea-breakers
            And sitting by desolate streams;
            World losers and world forsakers,
            On whom the pale moon gleams.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by GoutUnlimited View Post
              Forgot about this thread some good info. Got another 270 as a present itís Chinese so donít bother asking the name but probably cheap. My other one I lost the bottom lid. Glad you posted this because when I saw foam cork it gave me an idea:



              I took a cheap wine foam cork and now itís my new lid! Had to kinda work it in. But now it serves as a lid, mini grip, and I made a slit in it to wind leaders around when not in use instead of using that little detachable holder Thanks!


              #genius


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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              • #22
                Been helping a few members get started via PM, answered a fairly common setup question today about line selection, felt like it would be good to post here:

                They were asking about using nylon mono on a cheap rod, and having a hard time getting a fly anywhere but their feet.

                A higher-test nylon mono will have more weight to the line which *should* help it cast, but the line will be thicker and not any more dense, so it prob won't cast much better, if any, at all.

                Yeah you need some Level Line, which is denser flouro, making it thinner and heavier for the same test-weight. MUCH easier to cast. You could probably cast some like 30# sunset amnesia, but really, casting a crap line on a crap rod is not going to be enjoyable, and is not going to show the benefits of tenkara.

                Not to beat the "gotta pay for quality" drum, but you kinda do. You can get a decent western fly rod and reel setup from china for cheap, and have a good time with it, because the market is there for decent stuff to be marketed cheaply.
                The market is not there yet for cheap but good tenkara rods. I mean, it kinda is- a Shimotsuke Tenkara Gen 240, 270, or 300(cm) rod is a great value buy, if bought directly from Japan (amazon.jp- just change the country on your amazon account profile, and search for 魚釣三昧 てんから 源).... these are great cheap rods and good for small streams. By far the best value out there.

                Casting a light nylon line (what nylon mono is) is actually something that generally requires a very high quality tenkara rod, and an angler that really knows what they are doing. I am not there yet lol.
                DO NOT try to learn with a setup like this, it will likely only frustrate you, and it will be fun or easy to get the basics down when you are fighting the kit the whole time.
                Resident Tenkara Nerd

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by iso1600 View Post
                  Been helping a few members get started via PM, answered a fairly common setup question today about line selection, felt like it would be good to post here:

                  They were asking about using nylon mono on a cheap rod, and having a hard time getting a fly anywhere but their feet.

                  A higher-test nylon mono will have more weight to the line which *should* help it cast, but the line will be thicker and not any more dense, so it prob won't cast much better, if any, at all.

                  Yeah you need some Level Line, which is denser flouro, making it thinner and heavier for the same test-weight. MUCH easier to cast. You could probably cast some like 30# sunset amnesia, but really, casting a crap line on a crap rod is not going to be enjoyable, and is not going to show the benefits of tenkara.

                  Not to beat the "gotta pay for quality" drum, but you kinda do. You can get a decent western fly rod and reel setup from china for cheap, and have a good time with it, because the market is there for decent stuff to be marketed cheaply.
                  The market is not there yet for cheap but good tenkara rods. I mean, it kinda is- a Shimotsuke Tenkara Gen 240, 270, or 300(cm) rod is a great value buy, if bought directly from Japan (amazon.jp- just change the country on your amazon account profile, and search for 魚釣三昧 てんから 源).... these are great cheap rods and good for small streams. By far the best value out there.

                  Casting a light nylon line (what nylon mono is) is actually something that generally requires a very high quality tenkara rod, and an angler that really knows what they are doing. I am not there yet lol.
                  DO NOT try to learn with a setup like this, it will likely only frustrate you, and it will be fun or easy to get the basics down when you are fighting the kit the whole time.
                  What's the best and/or cheapest way to get some of that level line? There's some on Amazon for $15 for 30m
                  Have any brand recommendations you like in particular?
                  _yero on instagram

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by orey10m View Post
                    What's the best and/or cheapest way to get some of that level line? There's some on Amazon for $15 for 30m

                    Have any brand recommendations you like in particular?


                    Canít speak for ISO but I really like the nissin oni high vis(amazon prime for $18). Noticed dragontail has some level line for pretty cheap on their website($10 limited time). I havenít used the dragontail stuff, but the company and its owner are awesome and I doubt they would sell a less than stellar product. 30m will last you quite a long time... itís a tough material. Iíve been fishing the same 16í section for about 6months and counting.

                    Its not level line but if youíre doing any nymphing on the hooch I strongly suggest you look into the moonlit oudachi.


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                    • #25
                      regular mono and/or fluro work too
                      That's what we used in UTAH

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                      • #26
                        Does anyone have a preference on the little spools /line winders to store the line when you're moving between spots or done fishing?
                        There's the circular spools like tenkara USA sells..and then there's the "vertical" ones like this from dragontail

                        https://dragontailtenkara.com/tenkar...-line-winders/

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                        _yero on instagram

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                        • #27
                          I have both and prefer the spool for level line and the long one for furled leaders. I tried the long one with level line (3.5) and found it put bends (kinks) in the line. The spool doesn't.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by orey10m View Post
                            Does anyone have a preference on the little spools /line winders to store the line when you're moving between spots or done fishing?
                            There's the circular spools like tenkara USA sells..and then there's the "vertical" ones like this from dragontail

                            Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
                            I have, and regularly use both. The long one is attached to all my rods and holds whatever line I'm currently using. As wrmann stated, it does bend a level line a bit, but Ive found that level line doesn't hold this kink while fishing and has never been an issue. I light tug or even the first cast straightens it out. IMO this is a much faster way of "spooling up" between fishing spots and I prefer it for on stream line management. And since it is integral to the setup, I don't have to worry about putting it in my pocket and losing it.

                            I have 2 of the round ones from tenkara USA and they hold any other line that I'm not currently fishing. I may bring one of these with me on the water and it will hold a furled line and another, different length of level line.

                            End of the day, both are good.

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                            • #29
                              Long line winders


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                              • #30
                                I know others have expressed interest in using a longer tenkara style rod on the hooch. I have been using a new rod for the past month or so and I figured I would share my thoughts.

                                My original hooch setup was a zoom rod with the longest extension at 13'. I found that I wanted more of a reach so I began increasing the length of the line I was fishing. I progressively increased the length until I was fishing nearly 19' of line even before I even attached my tippet. This created two problems:

                                1) I lost a lot of fish since I had to hand line in the last 8+ feet.
                                2) The line had a lower water entry angle and it was harder to keep all that keep all that line off the water. This sort of messed with the one real benefit of tenkara: simple dragless drifts.


                                I decided to go for a keiryu rod and picked up the Nissin 2-Way 540zx medium. It's longest extension is at 17'6" and with 20' of line I can cast 30-40' away without line on the water. This allows me to fish across currents and different water structure and maintain a real nice drift. It weighs 4.6oz, and is pretty easy to cast one handed. After a couple hours on the water my forearms and shoulder start to get a bit tired but the rod can be cast two handed really accurately and effectively(spey cast). Its surprisingly accurate with a small dry fly but since it's a keiryu rod(bait casting) it can handle throwing around some weight. I've fished dries, dry dropped, put on heavy streamers, tipple nymph setups and soon will be experimenting with micro spoons.

                                This rod comes in a variety of sizes and stiffness's(see ISO's fisrt post) and there's always a bit of give and take between the stiffness of a rod(and therefore how pleasant it is to cast and catch fish), and its max tippet rating. This particular rod has a max tippet rating of 6x- meaning you probably shouldn't target monster fish, but you can handle most hooch bigguns if you do hook into one. Biggest trout I've caught so far is in the 16-18" range and the rod had no issue bringing him in.

                                All in all, this is a super fun rod to fish. I do sometimes feel the need to add additional line on, but I will end up running into my original problem. At the end of the day, moving around puts me within range of most water I want to fish. Eventually i do want to get my hands on something in the 22-25' range, but for now this will do just fine. If you see me wading around the hooch track me down and I'll let you give it a try!

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