Most of the tenkara rods sold in the U.S. are made in China. Nothing wrong with that – Chinese factories make some fine rods, tenkara and otherwise, these days. But for the most serious tenkara fans, there’s just something special about a rod made in Japan.
So it’s something of a milestone that New York-based TenkaraBum is out with a new rod made to American specs in tenkara’s homeland.
“This is the first rod developed by an American tenkara angler and a Japanese rod company for sale in America and also Japan,” says TenkaraBum founder Chris Stewart.
The Japanese company is Suntech, in Nagoya, and Chris says it has a reputation for high standards. Other Suntech rods, when they’re available, have been very well-received in the U.S.
We Americans just love our bead-head nymphs, but standard tenkara rods have never been ideal for that kind of fishing. Their soft action leaves something to be desired on hook-sets. Stewart asked Suntech to give the TenkaraBum 36 a stiffer midsection that provides the necessary backbone to set a hook several feet under water.
“It has a different action than any tenkara rod I’ve come across,” Stewart said. But it is still a tenkara rod, of course, so it’s sweet for wet flies and dry flies.
The 2.2–ounce TenkaraBum 36 is 11 feet, 10 inches long and has an EVA foam grip. It’s a beauty, black with a silver band around the end of each section and a fine glittery finish on the handle section. I got mine today and plan to use it for the first time on the Farmington River in Connecticut.
TenBum is proud to have his brand on a Japanese-made rod. “It’s a Japanese fishing style,” he said. “I wanted to have it made in Japan. They’ve got the institutional knowledge and making these kinds of rods for years.”
You can get yours for $230 at TenkaraBum.com.