If you’ve been on any sort of tenkara-themed social media over the past month, you’ve likely seen photos and articles about an interesting new tenkara rod from Japan. The KIWAMI by river peak first started popping up on Instagram & YouTube. Next, Adam Trahan (Tenkara-Fisher) photographed a few models in-hand, and Tom Davis (Teton Tenkara) recently completed one of his thorough reviews.
The U.S. tenkara market is generally familiar with Japanese fishing brands such as Shimano, Nissin, & Daiwa, but who is river peak? Tenkara Angler reached out to river peak representative Ichi Katsumoto to learn a little bit more.
Ichi, thank you for chatting with Tenkara Angler about river peak. Would you mind providing an overview of the company? Our readers would love to learn more about the river peak brand.
river peak was established in May 2014 in Kobe, Japan, specializing in tenkara and fly fishing products. Our fly and tenkara lineup includes everything from rods and reels to lines and hooks. Even tying materials and tools.
We continue to develop new products with testers all over Japan aiming to develop and sell niche products in small quantities that appeal to anglers, something that famous brands cannot do.
We are especially proud of our KIWAMI tenkara rod, which we developed over a long period of time with a long-established Japanese rod manufacturing company and our testers.
river peak also holds fly and tenkara fishing camps, hands-on fishing events for children, tying workshops, and fishing tournaments all over Japan to experience the fun of fly and tenkara fishing to both children and adults.
Our main mission is to share the joy of fishing to as many people as possible!
In terms of product development, we employ a nine person pro staff specializing in each field in Japan. The team conducts numerous tests and revisions before going to market.
Our tenkara tester is Shoji Oshima. He walks up to 30 kilometers a day while fishing, and is an expert on tenkara fishing in Japan’s headwaters. He also has a popular fishing channel on YouTube.
Wow, I had no idea river peak had such a large fishing footprint. What models of tenkara rods does river peak produce and what features and benefits do they have?
Our tenkara rods are designed to target Yamame, Iwana and Oikawa under 30cm in Japanese mountain streams while allowing anglers to enjoy the fishing experience. The most important thing for us is to eliminate problems that anglers may encounter while fishing throughout the day.
An example of this is creating light rods. A rod that is too heavy is very stressful for anglers who cast continuously all day long. Our goal is to make rods that are as light as possible so that anglers can cast them all day without getting tired.
Also, because tenkara fishing requires pinpoint accuracy and presentation, we emphasize control, so the rod can place the fly where you want as little blurring as possible.
Skilled tenkara anglers use 1 Gou (4X) tippet with our rods, but we recommend new or entry-level anglers to use 0.6 Gou (6X) tippet so that when a big fish is hit, the tippet may break rather than damaging the rod should you lose control. When a large fish is hit, it may be effective to place your free hand on the butt to handle the fish.
KIWAMI Tenkara Rod
Our KIWAMI tenkara rod is a slow action model for level line casting. It is designed and manufactured in Japan to be what we feel is the best level line casting rod. We combined traditional techniques with cutting-edge technology to create one of the lightest rods of its size in Japan.
The body of the rod is rolled with carbon thread to create a bellows shape. This minimizes rod body shake and allows anglers to cast level lines accurately. The KIWAMI is also slender and ultralight to reduce air resistance, enabling anglers to enjoy stress-free tenkara fishing.
The KIWAMI is available in two lengths, 3.3m and 3.8m, and is a 6:4 action with a AA grade cork grip.
POP☆STAR Tenkara Rod
The POP☆STAR tenkara rod is our model that allows all anglers to feel free to enjoy tenkara!
It is a 2.7m rod with a very soft body, reliably made with Toray Industries Japanese-produced carbon fiber. The tip section is solid, making it very hard to break. The POP☆STAR comes in four different attractive colors, but can also handle long lines of about 4m easily, which is a favorite length of professionals.
In addition to just offering the rod, a POP☆STAR Starter set is also available. It is a set that allows anyone to easily set up the tenkara system. It includes 3 flies, 2m tippet, and 0X yellow level line.
That Pop Star rod sure looks fun! Are there any other tenkara products that river peak produces that are not rods?
There is a high visibility level line, a popular wooden spool, and a waterproof bag convenient for climbing in mountain streams.
Our level line is high visibility fluorescent yellow with high specific gravity and flexible design. It is 100% fluorocarbon and comes in 50m spools ranging from 2.0 Gou (2X) through 4.0 Gou (02X).
The river peak wooden spool comes in 6 different fishing designs. It is lightweight and waterproof and easy to carry by placing it over your rod through the center hole. We also added a fastener to the back so you can wrap a loop of line to secure to the spool.
Finally, we are really excited about our waterproof Rain Sling. It is a 13L large capacity sling bag that is completely waterproof. It has airtight rubber zipper covers to even protect if from saltwater. (To avoid saltwater corrosion we recommend wiping off the zipper after use). The pack is perfect for the headwaters with dimension of 44cm x 24 cm. The Rain Sling comes in two different colors, gray or beige.
Are there other types of products that river peak produces that are new and exciting? Many tenkara anglers in the United States also fish other gear and techniques.
Three that immediately come to mind are the YAMAME slow action fly rod, replacement rubber coated net, and Bass bug taper fly line.
Each are very specialized products. The YAMAME is a 75% fiberglass/25% carbon fiber 4 piece, 8-foot 2-weight that is made in Japan. The fiberglass allows for delicate presentations, and the carbon gives the rod just enough stiffness to allow for better distance casting.
The rubber coated replacement netting is important for catch-and-release angling. The oval rubber coating prevents the hook from getting caught in the net and allows the fish to be released without being damaged.
And the Bass Bug taper line is designed to cast large flies such as bass bugs and poppers with consideration for casting from complicated terrain. It places the center of gravity extremely at the front, and powerfully turns over a large fly to carry it to the point.
However river peak’s lineup is much more than that. We’d love if you’d visit at https://riverpeak.co.jp/ to see the full offering.
Speaking of your website, if somebody wanted to buy a river peak item, where would they be able to purchase? Also, does river peak have active social media addresses in which American readers could subscribe?
Yes, river peak’s new U.S. dealer is Tenkara Adventure Outfitters. You can find the KIWAMI available for sale with more coming soon.
Other links are our New Products, 2021 Catalog, Website, Facebook, and YouTube.
That’s great that river peak has found United States distribution. Ichi, if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your personal fishing? I’m certain the readers would like to learn more about you as well.
I started sea shore fishing when I was 6 years old, (53 years ago). I lived near very beautiful sea and started fly fishing to target bass and gill 40 years ago.
When I lived in Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka prefecture 300km awayfrom Tokyo, there was a large brackish lake called Hamana Lake. The Tenryu River also flows a 30 minute drive from my apartment.
Then I began to fly fish to target seabass and rockfish in the lake and trout in the river. I met crazy fly fishers there and visited several rivers with them and enjoyed food and drink a lot. After joining river peak I started learning tenkara, so I am more than happy to take any advice from your readers about tenkara!
You can enjoy very unique sea bass fishing in Hamana Lake in July to October. When the tide matches you can catch over 100 within 60 minutes! Regular size is 20cm and you can expect one over 50cm, as well as flat fish, sea bream and starfish! There is a 360 degree boil around you and it is really busy to catch and release fish.
The Shokawa river is my home river; there are some lodges where they offer very local specialties.
Mr. Kubota is a professional fly fisher as well as chef, we also enjoyed fly fishing and cuisine staying in Kubota lodge in Iwate.
I had over 60 rods and 40 reels and have now reduced down to 30 rods and 20 reels. This gives me more space for tying, even though old eyesight takes more time to tie flies than before!!!
Lastly, for readers, please kindly accept and laugh for any errors in grammar, spelling, or fishing terms on our English Home Page and Catalog. We are reviewing these one by one now. We welcome any corrections, especially fishing terms as sometimes it is very different in English from what we say in Japanese.
Thank you and please enjoy safe fishing, Ichi Katsumoto
Thank you Ichi for sharing both the river peak story and your own personal fishing journey with the Tenkara Angler readers!
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