I couldn’t help but notice that over the summer, photos of a tiny “Pebble Connecter” rod were creeping into my Instagram feed. Not only were these posts coming from Japan, but also the U.S., with folks using them to catch pretty native brook trout. Knowing nothing of PEBBLE, and not really knowing what to expect, I ordered up a PEBBLE Connecter T260 tenkara rod to find out.
YouTube Rod Report
Before we continue with this article, if you prefer video to text, check our YouTube Rod Report on the Connecter. We’re planning on making more of these video “rod reports” in the future, so we’d love your support & feedback!
Now back to the article…
Unboxing & First Impressions
Upon opening up the parcel from Japan (more on that at the end of this post), I found a really short little rod (only 11.4 inches collapsed) in a clear PVC tube. Quickly discarding the tube, the first thing I noticed was how cosmetically attractive the gold accented glossy chocolate brown and burnt orange rod was. It’s quite a handsome, and vintage looking rod.
Digging in a bit more I found the Connecter to have pretty basic components. The shiny black rubber tip cap fits quite snugly. The end/butt cap is made of nylon/plastic and has a knurled edge and a hole in the center for drainage and ventilation. Upon extending the 12-sectioned rod, I found a standard glued on lillian (no swivel). Notably, that lillian did come with a factory-tied knot. I know many people like to be able to fully disassemble their rods for cleaning and drying, so you may need to get creative to untie that knot.
In hand, you immediately notice the small but contoured cork grip (only about 5.5 inches long) does generally feel comfortable. This honestly surprised me. However, if you have big “bear paws” for hands, the Connecter may not be for you.
Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty, all of the measurables of the Connecter. Staying true to the popular rod overview formula, I personally gathered all of the information in the table below. I found the rod to be CCS rated at 20 pennies, meaning it has a Rod Flex Index (RFI) of 7.8 and indicating it is a 7:3 tip flex model. While The PEBBLE website lists many of their own measurables, it does not call out any flex characteristics, so I felt that was important to quantify.
|Fully Extended Length||258 cm / 8.5 feet|
|Nested Length (with cap)||29 cm / 11.4 inches|
|Cork Grip Length||14 cm / 5.5 inches|
|Cork Grip Circumference||8 cm / 3.1 inches|
|Weight (without cap)||42 g / 1.5 oz|
|RFI||7.8 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex|
With all of the weights & measures now aside, I’m sure the next question you’ll have is “how does this rod fish?” I’ll be totally honest, I have not had much time on the water with the Connecter. Instead of ignoring that facet of the review, I reached out to two anglers that have put the rod through the paces during several outings of bluelining. Arran Kerr and Owen Carson may have fished this rod more than anybody outside of Japan. Their thoughts on the PEBBLE Connecter T260 tenkara rod are as follows:
“The PEBBLE Connecter T260 is, to me the perfect pack rod for bushwhacking blue lines with thick cover. The collapsed size is one of the smallest I’ve seen if not THE smallest. It’s durable, casts a fly with finesse, and is overall aesthetically pleasing. PEBBLE has been a wonderful company with great customer service. With their recent sale, have many rods on the way to the United States!”
“The Connecter is aptly named – it has connected me with many a char since I managed to connect with PEBBLE and obtain it! The rod is amazingly compact, only slightly longer than the Tiny Ten but nearly 1.5 times the length and decidedly more flexible. I’m not great at estimating action but I think it’s close to 6:4.
It’s definitely pocket worthy, but I like to slide mine into the elastic side rings of my Yonah pack. I mainly use unweighted kebari with the Connecter, although I have had success with small, weighted sakasa. A 3.5 level line suits it well. In true genryu fashion, I use this rod primarily in narrow, headwater systems that support almost exclusively southern Appalachian char, a small, elusive native fish that strikes subtly both at and below the water’s surface. It handles these small and powerful fish with precision. The only downside to his rod is the handle is very compact, a palm width or not much more, so you’re limited in your grip.”
So How Do I Buy One?
As of this publication, the only place to purchase the PEBBLE Connecter T260 tenkara rod is directly from PEBBLE’s website. The rod retails for 9,000 Japanese Yen (roughly $62 US Dollars). Note: As recently as a few weeks ago, PEBBLE was selling “B stock” blemished inventory of these rods. Some even selling for as low as 1,500 JPY.
While checkout process is smooth, the one quirky thing you’ll find is that you first need to open an account with a company called Buyee, who is basically a shipping concierge for Japanese ecommerce companies to ship to the United States. Buyee ends up placing your order and then once they have the rod in hand, will come back to you asking to authorize an additional shipping fee of about $15-30 USD. Just contemplate that in your purchasing decision.
In closing, the PEBBLE Connecter T260 tenkara rod is definitely a niche product. It’s tough to call a 8.5 foot rod that collapses down to 11.5 inches anything else. That said, it has nice cosmetics and a relatively low MSRP. So I guess I’d say that if a portion of your fishing takes place on small blue lines, the testimonials suggest that it’s a rod worth checking out.
Editor’s Note: If you’ve clicked on any of the links above, you’ve probably noticed that PEBBLE went out of business! This rod report must have been the kiss of death… However, if you’re still super motivated to get one (or 100) of these, or perhaps start your own tenkara company selling these rods, Alibaba has you covered. 😉
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