Fixed-Line Fly Fishing Rods Tenkara

River Peak Sangaku Special Tenkara Rod 2.7 – Product Spotlight

River Peak has introduced a new tenkara rod, designed for ultimate portability and close quarters fishing. Called the Sangaku Special, it comes in three available lengths, 2.4, 2.7 and 3.0 meters. Unlike their well received Kiwami, the Sangaku is designed for genryu tenkara in challenging waters and locations. It has a fast flex action and compact design. While the Kiwami is designed to have a bamboo-like slow, rich action, the Sangaku is designed for fast hook sets and ultimate fish control in tight, challenging waters.

From the River Peak website, they state (Google translation): “Tenkara fishing that requires toughness and controllability in narrow and steep mountain streams. The casting width is suppressed as much as possible, and it is designed to be able to cast the [fly] to a pinpoint. The closing size is a very small 32 cm. It is extremely portable and can be stored compactly in your bag. Furthermore, by combining the dedicated ” mountain special line “, the potential of the rod is maximized.

To get familiar with what the Sangaku Special has to offer, I purchased a 2.7 meter version. It came from Japan as a complete kit with rod, line and flies.


The 2.7 meter version Sangaku Special has an overall blue coloration and a glossy finish. The accents are kept to a minimum and other than a black tip section, nothing makes the rod stand out. The rod designation is well done and kept in-line with a simplistic rod design. The rod is protected by a simple, yet effective, fabric rod sleeve.

River Peak Sangaku Special Tenkara Rod 2.7 - Product Spotlight - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis

As mentioned, my rod came as a kit. This included a 2.7 meter PVC line, designed specifically to be used with the rod, an orange foam line spool, a spool of 0.148 mm/4.8 lb. fluorocarbon tippet, and a compact fly box with three Elk Hair Caddis dry flies. All of this, along with the rod, fit into a well designed cardboard carton.

River Peak Sangaku Special Tenkara Rod 2.7 - Product Spotlight - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Accessories

The handle of the Sangaku Special is similar to a keiryu-style rod, in that it is incorporated into the handle section of the rod. Rather than the standard, anti-slip coating, the Sangaku Special has thread wrapped around the handle, giving a unique look and positive grip when wet or dry.

River Peak Sangaku Special Tenkara Rod 2.7 - Product Spotlight - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Grip

The tip plug is wood, and fits snuggly into the tip of the handle section. The butt cap is also wood, has a glossy finish, and a rubber bumper. It is without a decompression hole, coin slot, or knurling.

River Peak Sangaku Special Tenkara Rod 2.7 - Product Spotlight - Tenkara Angler - Tom Davis - Caps

The lilian is red and is attached to the tip section via a perfectly executed glue joint. The tip section can be removed through the second section (in the Japanese convention, the tip is section #1) so that the entire rod can be disassembled for cleaning and drying. I tied a terminal knot in the lilian to aid with attaching the PVC line, however.


Extended Length270 cm (8.6 feet)
Nested Length32 cm (12 inches)
Thread Grip Length14.6 cm (5.75 inches)
Weight (without tip plug)54.6 g (1.9 oz.)
CCS37 pennies
For more on CCS, RFI and Rotational Moment, watch our YouTube video on the subject.
Part of Teton Tenkara RFI Chart. For full chart, click HERE.


Noting that the Sangaku Special has a very fast or stiff action, I cast the rod with the provided PVC line. Since this line was designed specifically to be used with the rod, that just made sense. I found that despite the very fast action and stiff flex profile, the rod cast the PVC line beautifully. I could get very tight loops with the PVC line and place my fly into very tight targets. I’m not a PVC line tenkara angler, but I found this fun and rewarding. I also cast the rod with a furled line and a level line. I used a 9′ nylon monofilament furled line, and the rod cast this beautifully. I used an 8′ #3 fluorocarbon level line, and the rod didn’t cast this very well. But given the RFI, that makes sense. The Sangaku Special is not designed to be a level line tenkara rod.

Balance, swing weight, tip recovery, tip oscillation and other rod characteristics were not issues, as the rod is so short and the action is so fast. Despite its very fast action, the 2.7 meter Sangaku Special is still not as fast as some compact tenkara pocket rods. The action shouldn’t deter the potential buyer. It’s designed for casting in close quarters and controlling fish in fast, turbulent waters where there is very little room to do so.


The River Peak Sangaku Special 2.7 meter rod is a compact rod that would be great for anyone looking for a go-anywhere, Japanese small stream rod. It is designed to be used with a short PVC line, and given its high RFI, the Sangaku Special has a very fast hook set and great fish control. At the time of this article, it can be purchased for $152. 00 USD (rod only) from Tenkara Adventure Outfitters, or $269.50 USD (full kit) from River Peak out of Japan.

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ. Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod, then make up your own mind. I purchased the River Peak Sangaku Special and imported it from Japan.

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  1. Hi, thanks for the review. I’ve got this rod in the 3m length. It’s still stiff, but I assume it’s a bit softer than the 2.7 m length. I use the Fujino straight line on the rod, as it’s a bit heavier than a level line but I can still hold the line off the water. As you said, it’s a very accurate rod. It’s not a rod for everyone but I think it’s got its uses. I always have mine in my pack for when I get to a section of stream that is overgrown. The fish in this stream are a decent average size and so I need a rod that can control them. The Sangaku is perfect for this. When the tree cover opens up again I go back to my longer rod and the River Peak goes back into my pack.
    It’s a nice looking rod as well!

    1. Mike Agneta has the 3.0 m version. I’m sure he’ll add a review after he’s had a chance to use it a bit. I’m glad you like the rod!

  2. Thanks for your review Tom. Do you have any thoughts regarding the durability of the thread covering on the handle? Just wondering if abrasion might be an issue over time.

    1. Gary, unfortunately I don’t. I’m betting that it will be robust enough for most folks, but I can see that if it gets snagged on thorn bushes it could tear the string. However, I don’t have any proof that this is the case.

  3. I recently purchased the 2.4 through River Peak (amazingly received it in three days from Japan!) and have been using it along densely vegetated, high mountain streams in the Olympic Mountains here in Washington State. I use a 4 level line with it and find that it casts beautifully and accurately for those tight spaces between large boulders and overhanging vegetation. These streams have very fast current as they descend rather rapidly. The small collapsed size also allows me to tuck it into my waders as I climb down into canyons and through large log jams. In this area, I target mostly resident coastal cutthroat in the six-to-eight inch range.

    I didn’t order the PVC line – I don’t like the idea of using such a heavy line in fear of spooking the fish. I find the stiffness of the rod is an asset in high velocity drop-pool streams.

    I don’t particularly like cork on rods of this size and I find the material on the handle sturdy enough – the approaches to the stream I fish are an ugly bushwack and it has held up so far with no sign of wear. It gives a nice grip and feels comfortable in the hand.

    I consider the Sangaku a seiryu rather than a tenkara rod. I own several other 7-8 foot rods by other retailers and so far I would rate this one far above them in how it performs and the quality of workmanship. I really love this rod. However, I would caution anyone that this type and length of rod really works best in the unique conditions I described. It shouldn’t be your sole rod, but part of a collection that allows you to fish a variety of stream types and conditions.

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