A Temple Fork Tenkara Rod?

For the first time, an established U.S. fly rod company is planning to sell tenkara rods.

Temple Fork Outfitters of Dallas is designing rods now and hopes to have them on the market within a year, partner Brandon Powers tells The Fly Line.

“This is definitely off our radar screen, so we’re kind of getting a crash course” in tenkara, he said. The company had developed a couple of prototypes a couple of year ago but never brought them to market, he said.

Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Mont., and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, both tenkara enthusiasts, are serving as a pro staff, evaluating rod designs, Powers said.

Tenkara USA of San Francisco invented the category of tenkara fly-fishing in the U.S. in April of 2009, introducing the first line of tenkara rods outside Japan. Its first competitor, Fountainhead Rods, was founded in 2010.

If its plan comes to fruition, Temple Fork will be the first major U.S. fly rod company to add a line of tenkara rods.

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4 responses to “A Temple Fork Tenkara Rod?

  1. Well, it was bound to happen. My guess is that the really big companies like Orvis and Sage will let smaller outfits test the water with tenkara and see how it goes before they jump in. Though I recall hearing something about Orvis making a limited edition tenkara rod for TU or something. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  2. And so it begins…I am glad to see tenkara getting attention. But I am not happy to see the major players getting into it. The Wal-Mart effect is surely a danger. The big guys come in drive the little guy out and then decide that it’s not profitable enough, drop the product line, and then we’re left with nothing. Am I overrracting, do I need to be pulled away from the edge?

  3. Anthony don’t jump just yet. Consider the fact that Daniel at Tenkara USA has been studying tenkara with actual tenkara masters in Japan and has been designing tenkara rods for years. TFO is “taking a crash course” in tenkara and just copying a product. If anything, they might attract a different breed of angler but I don’t think they’ll ever have the understanding of tenkara Daniel does. So no matter what, it seems to me that T-USA will always be more authentic unless the guys from TFO decide to fly to Japan and study with Dr. Ishigaki (which I highly doubt they will do). So for those who want to practice “real” tenkara, Tenkara USA will always be the best resource. The copycats might attract people who are only superficially interested in tenkara and might find that it’s not worth their time after all.

    • Jason, I hope that quality, integrity and authenticity carry the day and count for something. You and I both realize that tenkara is more than just a type of rod, but I worry that this will get lost. Daniel has been so careful to present tenkara in a certain context. I find it hard to believe that such care will be taken by other companies. The danger is then that tenkara will be misunderstood an damaged. I’ll just cross my fingers and hope and hope for the best.

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