2018 Instagram Tenkara Rod Popularity Contest

Earlier in the week, I thought it might be fun to throw up a quick little poll on the Tenkara Angler Instagram account, asking viewers a fairly straightforward question:

“What tenkara rod are you using? List your favorite in the comments”

Well, the community took that challenge and ran with it. Some people were very specific with their feedback, citing several different “favorite” rod models depending on the situation, while others just vaguely mentioned a brand, with no reference to rod model, size, etc…

So I gathered that information and made this infographic recapping the results.

InformalTenkaraRod Poll

While I’m no statistician, there are a few interesting things I noticed in summarizing the data. First, and not surprisingly, Tenkara USA was the runaway winner, not only in overall brand affinity (26%) but also rod models, with five of the top seven! The Sato was the overall winner with 10% of the vote, but the newcomer Hane came in second with 7%. Curious if the Hane’s strong showing is more a result of people just getting the new rods in their hands now, and that’s literally what they’re fishing… because remember, the survey wasn’t “what’s the best tenkara rod” it was “what tenkara rod are you using?”

I also took note of Tenkara Rod Co.‘s impressive showing. I’ve always recognized they sold a lot of rods, however, I never really noticed them being used or mentioned much in my personal tenkara circles. That said, the audience surveyed was from Instagram, where Tenkara Rod Co. has a huge following. Five of their rods were mentioned, with the Teton being the preferred model.

Finally, it was nice to see the community is exploring a bit, with various Japanese makers littering the results. Oni, Nissin, Suntech, Shimano, Daiwa, & Tenryu all seemed to split a highly representative “Japanese” vote, with Nissin scoring the top Japanese brand honors, but the Oni Type III the overwhelming favorite model. (#savethecamohandle)

In the end, this was nothing more than an exercise in entertainment. Almost 70 individual results were tallied over the course of a few days, so while it’s a sample size of some corner of our tenkara community, it’s certainly not a definitive one.

If you’re interested in the full results in raw data form, see below. Thanks to everybody that participated, maybe we’ll try a few more of these in the future. If you’re not following Tenkara Angler on Instagram, check us out HERE.

BRAND AFFINITY VOTES % TOTAL
Tenkara USA 17 26%
Tenkara Rod Co. 8 12%
Nissin 6 9%
Oni 5 8%
Badger 4 6%
Generic 3 5%
Suntech/Tbum 3 5%
Tanuki 3 5%
Dragontail 3 5%
Tenkara Times 3 5%
Daiwa 2 3%
Shimano 2 3%
Tenryu 2 3%
Three Rivers 1 2%
Patagonia/TFO 1 2%
Esoteric 1 2%
Zen Tenkara 1 2%
65 100%
ROD PREFERENCE VOTES % TOTAL
Tenkara USA Sato 7 10%
Tenkara USA Hane 5 7%
Tenkara Rod Co Teton 4 6%
Oni Type III 4 6%
Tenkara USA Rhodo 3 4%
Tenkara USA Ito 3 4%
Oni Type I 3 4%
Suntech TenkaraBum TB40 2 3%
Nissin ZeroSum 320 2 3%
Tenkara USA Amago 2 3%
Tenkara Tanuki 325 2 3%
Tenkara Rod Co Cascade 2 3%
Dragontail Komodo 2 3%
Tenryu TF39TA 2 3%
Nissin Royal Stage 360 2 3%
Oni Honryu 395 2 3%
Nissin Pro Spec 320 1 1%
$10 Broomstick 1 1%
Daiwa Enshou LT39S 1 1%
Three Rivers Confluence 1 1%
Garbolino (?) 10K 360 1 1%
Badger UNC 1 1%
Tenkara Times TRY 300 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Mini Sawtooth 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Sierra 1 1%
Dragontail Hydra 1 1%
Badger BadAxe 1 1%
Tenkara USA Iwana 1 1%
Shimano Pack Tenkara 1 1%
Badger Scout 1 1%
Patagonia Soft Hackle 10’6″ 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Grand Teton 1 1%
Tenkara Rod Co Owyhee 1 1%
Suntech Kurenai 1 1%
Tenkara Times TRY 360 1 1%
Tenkara Times Watershed 330 1 1%
Nissin Pro Spec 2-Way 360 1 1%
68 100%

 

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The Tenkara USA Hane “Adventure” Rod

On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, Tenkara USA made their first new rod in several years, the Hane, available for sale.

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Image: Tenkara USA

You may recall seeing the distinctively white Hane before, as it was initially sold in prototype form at the 2017 Tenkara Summit. Well, after being in the wild for a few months in the hands of “testers” it appears that Tenkara USA had reaped enough user feedback to make a few changes and go into production.

From the Tenkara USA release:

“The Hane (pronounced like “huh – nay”) is a super compact all-around tenkara rod that will quickly become your favorite adventure rod. Measuring just under 15 inches when collapsed, but extending to 10ft 10in (330cm), the Hane fits nicely inside a small daypack, making this a superb tenkara rod for backpacking, bikefishing and other adventures. Whether you are targeting trout or bass, the Hane was designed to work well in your mountain streams as well as your urban fishing outings. It’s a rod that can tag along in a variety of conditions without compromising durability.

We decided to make this rod white, a unique color among our lineup. Part of the reason for that is the idea of having a rod that will blend in well with open skies above. Whereas a black rod does a good job blending in with canopy, its movement tends to stand out when fishing ponds and open meadow streams. The tip of the rod is black.”

Here are the Hane’s specs:

Weight: 3.5 oz (100 g);
Closed length: 15″ (38cm)
Open lengths: 10’10” (330cm)*
Handle length: 8″ (20.5cm)
Segments: 12

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Image: Tenkara USA

Personally, I only had the opportunity to dry cast the Hane prototype at the Tenkara Summit and noted the rod to be very cosmetically pleasing but a bit stiffer than I’d prefer. However, the comments left on initial Facebook posts from Tenkara USA representatives indicated some small changes were made based on tester feedback to give the Hane a little bit more flex, while still maintaining the “backbone” and ruggedness needed to make this rod a true multi-purpose (& species) tool.

So is the Hane your next “adventure rod?” I guess only time will tell. If you’re interested in giving the Hane a try, they’re now available on Tenkara USA’s website with an MSRP of $150; however, several Tenkara USA dealers (should you happen to live near one) have also been mentioning on social media that they are currently in stock as well.

Do You Even Tomezuri Bro?

Couldn’t help but laugh when combing the internet for the latest in tenkara news and notes. Came across this clever t-shirt, that pokes a little bit of fun at the “seriousness” that can, unfortunately, run rampant in our larger tenkara community.

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I reached out to Team Ratskin Canoe (see Fall 2016 issue of for an explanation) to see if they needed a webpage to “host” the sale of these tees… hence this post & redirect.

“Ok Gang, so we are going to finally get moving on something that some of us have been wanting to do for a while… we are starting a fund to help bring some Japanese guys to the US to hang out and fish Tenkara with us.

We are going to kick it off with a long-sleeved, non-cotton athletic shirt that’s designed for fishing on stream, hiking and wearing around town.

Brought to you by Ratskin Canoe & Friends, we offer to everyone the “Do You Even Tomezuri, Bro?” tenkara shirt. The price will be $35 plus shipping. All proceeds will go to the Ratskin Canoe Tenkara Education Fund, or RCTEF, which aims to educate Americans about Japanese Tenkara, and promote real-life social interactions and meet-ups between Tenkara enthusiasts from different countries.

You can place an order using the PayPal button below. $35 plus $3 shipping.”

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

For those that don’t understand the joke, “Tomezuri” is one of many fly manipulation techniques used in tenkara fishing. This particular technique actually anchors the fly in the current and can be seen in action below in this video from Akai Kitsune:

Wading Small Streams: Making A Case For Wet Wading

Editor’s Note: While the summer season is winding down for many, it’s still a great opportunity to get out on the water. Adam Klagsbrun wrote this great piece for Tenkara Angler (Winter 2015-16) that provides some different wading options for those looking to enter a small stream fishery.

Wading Small Streams:
Making A Case For Wet Wading
By Adam Klagsbrun

Fishing small streams with a Tenkara rod takes specific form for some, as the “long rod and short line” approach allows for the less-glamorous casting methods needed to present flies to small targets and in tight quarters when there’s no room to backcast at all.

But beyond presenting a fly, there is an issue at hand that many anglers don’t seem to consider quite as readily… that there’s a better way to present themselves on these streams – one that promotes a more comfortable and versatile approach to crawling around the banks and walking through the water.

There are two main reasons to consider a wet wading setup. The first relates to the reality that you are not going to be stepping in water much higher than your knees in a small stream because you don’t need to.

Second, instead of using your expensive waterproof waders that will get torn, poked with thorns, scuffed on rocks, and generally abused while sweating profusely as you get a real work out navigating the stream; rejoice in the knowledge that you now have shin and knee protection, thorn protection, and will generally just experience less discomfort.

Enter the Japanese-inspired idea of wearing a neoprene gaiter on top of a high neoprene sock. This system has a few advantages over wearing waders and is something you’ll encounter if you fish in Japan.

First off, your body regulates the temperature automatically. It works like a wetsuit. Summary: water soaks through, you get wet. Your body heats up the water between your skin and the neoprene, and you are in the comfort zone.

Additionally, you don’t have to be sweaty in your waders. On a hot day, the cool water keeps you much more comfortable than your waders ever could. On a cold day, your body temperature kicks in and keeps you warm.

Sure, there will be moments when you step into some fast water and the warm water gets displaced. Fear not! Your body will remedy the situation quickly. This system works even when temps are down into the 40’s. It becomes more important for you to bring extra layers when it’s colder out, such as a jacket and insulating layer like a fleece in case the cold water begins to sap heat from your core.

The rest of the outfit consists of quick-drying outdoor pants or ¾ length pants. Roll the legs up to your knee, and in the summer you might want to wear shorts. When it gets cold, use a cooler-weather soft shell hiking pant that has a little more thickness and some wind resistance. I can’t say enough great things about the versatility of the setup. If you’d like to try it out, I’ll include a list of some current options. Wet wading socks can be purchased online or at most fly fishing stores around the country. Use your existing wading boots, or size down if you go for the thinner summer wet wading socks.

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Daiwa Neo NG-400 Gaiter – a black, knee-high gaiter with a padded knee and Velcro closure. This gaiter is designed to be used alone, or with a neoprene wading sock (preferable.) It is not wide enough to fit around most waders.

Little Presents Wader Gaiters – These are thicker neoprene, wider circumference and have longer Velcro straps so they are well suited to be used on top of waders – but can also be used alone. If you have extremely skinny legs, these might not be the best option for you, but they work.

Tiemco Foxfire Airista Gaiters & High Socks – These are the ones I’ve been using. They are similar to the Daiwa Neo Gaiters but are a different color and a slightly different cut. They are also not designed to fit over waders, they can be used alone, or with the Airista thigh-high wet wading sock. I highly recommend this combination.

If you enjoyed this article by Adam, you can read more of his work at his blog, Of Rock & Riffle.

An Angler’s Guide To Insect Repellants & Other Ways To Prevent Insect Bites

Editor’s Note: It’s atypical to take articles from Tenkara Angler magazine and re-post them here on the blog. That said, this article is so informative (and topical in these summer months), it probably deserves to be caught up in things like Google search for all to find. It was written by Rob Worthing for the Summer 2017 issue of Tenkara Angler. I hope you find it helpful, I know I did. 

AN ANGLER’S GUIDE TO INSECT REPELLANTS AND OTHER WAYS TO PREVENT INSECT BITES
By Rob Worthing, MD FAWM

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The author displays a classic rash of tick borne illnesses like Lyme

I’ve always wanted to write something about biting insects for anglers. But, the inevitable distractions – like actually fishing – always got in the way. Today, I find myself in a position where I have no excuse. Instead, I appear to have a tick borne illness. I got lazy, didn’t protect myself, and I got bit. As I sit at home, using up my sick days from work, enjoying a screaming fever, fatigue, malaise, headache, and one crazy bull’s eye rash, it only seems fitting that I write this article. So read up and arm yourself with some knowledge, because you don’t want what I got!

Each summer across fly fishing rags, forums, blogs, and social media outlets the debate over the best line of defense from mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects erupts. Why? Two reasons. First, these little blood suckers are annoying. Second, they carry diseases that we really don’t want. Diseases like Lyme, West Nile, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tick Borne Paralysis to name a few. Throw in Zika and a few news reports on Powassan virus this summer, and things get bonkers.

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Matt Sment fishes a buggy lie in the Driftless region of Wisconsin

The difficult part for most of us fisherpersons is trying to figure out the good information from the bad. What really works, and what doesn’t work so well? What’s safe, and what’s not so safe to use? Many of us have a particular product that works well for us around our home waters. Such experience can be very helpful. To further help us make an educated choice, this article will summarize the best evidence on the subject of insect bite prevention that science has provided us to date. Only here the info is geared for real-world use by anglers, not so much the scientists.

A fly fisherperson can control biting insects in two ways. First, using physical barriers. Second, using chemical barriers like insect repellants. There’s also the not-so-effective, sometimes dangerous stuff out there that we ought to address. That gives this article a total of three parts – physical barriers, chemical barriers, and not-so-effective/dangerous stuff. And since the chemicals are what seem to be debated the most, we’ll subdivide a few to try and provide everyone with an evidence-based plan to prevent bites they can feel good about.

Physical Barriers
Physical barriers are your primary protection from biting insects. A physical barrier is anything that minimizes access of biting insects to your body, whether limiting exposed skin to flying insects, or entry points for crawling insects.

  • Light colors. Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes and certain biting flies and make it easy to spot crawling insects for removal.
  • Layers. Tuck in your shirt and pants. Button sleeves and collars. Overlap base layers, socks, outer garments, and accessories like gloves. This eliminates entry points for crawling insects like ticks.
  • Loose fit. This deters thru-bites from mosquitoes and certain biting flies.
  • Long sleeves and pants. Limiting skin exposure minimizes access for biting insects. Popular sun protection items like fishing gloves, glasses, and neck gaiters help, too.
  • A wide brimmed hat. Black flies and midges avoid the area under the brim. That’s right, somebody actually published a study on wide brimmed hats.
  • Mesh. If you want to use a mesh head net, or looking at a mesh tent/bivy, get one that is 27 mesh/inch or finer to keep the smallest biting flies away.

Chemical Barriers
Choosing and using chemical insecticides and repellants can be intimidating, even scary. But if you want the most effective prevention strategies, you need chemical barriers. Here are the important facts about three different effective chemical strategies.

1. Permethrin + DEET
This is the most effective combo known, and it has the longest track record of safe use. Permethrin is a clothing treatment. DEET goes on the exposed skin. These products should be used in combination. Together, they can prevent 99.9% of mosquito bites (1 vs. 1888 bites/hour in one Alaskan study).

Permethrin:

  • A synthetic version of a natural chemical found in chrysanthemums.
  • It works by repelling insects and killing some on contact.
  • Resulted in 100% tick death after contact with treated cloth.
  • Also effective against chiggers, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, and biting flies.
  • Poor absorption and rapid inactivation in mammals, but you can still make yourself sick if you don’t use it right
  • Meant for treating clothing only, NOT SKIN!
  • Be sure the clothing is completely DRY before using
  • Don’t treat underwear, base layers or the inside of hats. Socks are okay, though.
  • It is also really toxic to aquatic life. Luckily, once dry it is water insoluble, which means you can wear them fishing without any worry. Just don’t treat your clothes around any water sources, and (repeat) make sure clothing is completely DRY before using.
  • Not only is it water insoluble once dry, but resistant to UV degradation, too. It will still repel insects after as many as 50 washes, but its ability to kill flies on contact wears out faster.
  • It binds to cotton and nylon really well.
  • It does not bind to DWR treated fabric like your rain jacket and tent fly. A lot of outdoor shirts and pants have a DWR coating, too. So check before treating.
  • It is flammable in liquid form, but dry clothes are fine. So treat your clothes before you travel – don’t try to bring a bottle on the plane.
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Sawyer Permethrin for treating clothing & gear

DEET:

  • Works by vaporizing, forming a barrier of vapor over your skin.
  • Effective against mosquitos, biting flies, fleas, ticks, chiggers, and mites. But less effective against certain species of biting midges.
  • 200 million users worldwide, less than 50 cases of significant toxicity in over 50 years of use. It has the longest track record of safety of any insect repellant, as long as you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.
  • Use on exposed skin only. No need to put it on under your clothes.
  • Don’t put it around cuts and scrapes or mucus membranes like your eyes, nose, mouth, or genitals.
  • Don’t rub it on your head. A little swipe on the back of the neck is fine.
  • 100% DEET is BAD. It is less effective, and increase the risk of making yourself sick.
  • Look for a 20-40% concentration of DEET. Less than 20%, and you loose duration of effect. There is zero added benefit to concentrations above 40%.
  • Also look for a polymerized DEET. Polymerization slows the vaporization process. This stuff is controlled release, lasting 12 hours.
  • It still repels if you sequentially apply it with sunscreen, only the SPF of the sunscreen might be reduced.
  • DEET is a plasticizer. It melts plastic. Keep it away from your gear.
  • For all of the above reasons, wash your hands really good right after putting it on, before you touch your gear or go fishing.
  • 3M Ultrathon and Sawyer Controlled Release are good. These are around 33% DEET in a polymerized form.
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3M Ultrathon, a sustained release DEET product

2. Permethrin + Picaridin
A great alternative for anglers. We already covered Permethrin. Picaridin is a skin repellant like DEET, only with some bonus features.

Picaridin

  • Used on exposed skin similar to DEET.
  • Effective against mosquitos, biting flies, and ticks.
  • 20% concentration offers 8-hour protection.
  • Not greasy like polymerized DEET.
  • It won’t melt plastics, and won’t hurt your gear.
  • It’s a newer product, so it doesn’t have the long track record like DEET does. But studies so far suggest it is as effective and safe.
  • Nutrapel makes a great 20% picaridin option.
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Nutrapel, an effective alternative for anglers that won’t melt your gear

3. Oil of Citronella
For those who want an effective all-natural option.

  • The most effective botanical repellant.
  • EPA registered in 1948, so it has a long track record of safe use, too.
  • But you still have to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS to avoid getting sick.
  • Used on exposed skin like DEET and Picaridin.
  • The downside is a really short duration of effect. The recommendation is for reapplication every hour to maintain its efficacy.

Not So Effective/Dangerous Stuff

  • Area Repellants. Candles, coils, butane burners, vermiculite, etc. Their efficacy under ideal conditions varies widely. Wind, humidity, and other environmental factors impact the effective area. In Japan, incense coils burn regularly around the dinner table after a long day of fishing. If you’re going to fork out the dough, just know that the evidence is kind of weak and that their ability to deter insects is dependent on a lot of other things.
  • For Wear Devices. Bracelets, pins, and the like. Their efficacy is limited to the immediate vicinity around the device. In other words, the skin right around the bracelet on your wrist. Might be enough if you’re covered up, but there is likely a better option out there for you.
  • Animal Products. Flea and tick collars, cattle tags, and the like. These contain a variety of pesticides not cleared for human use. Adverse local and systemic effects are associated with use in humans. For example, more than one Marine or Soldier has suffered chemical burns on their legs from using flea collars as anklets. Leave the animal products to the animals.
  • Ingested Products. Garlic, vitamin B1, and more. There just isn’t any evidence to support their use. Some can be harmful. For example, eating match heads to prevent chigger bites. Sulfur products used on the skin are, in fact, effective against chiggers. But eating match heads doesn’t work. Neither does getting drunk. In fact, the metabolites that leak out of our skin after a heavy night of drinking might attract certain flying insects.
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Big fish and blood suckers abound in the author’s home water

10 Colors Tenkara Forum Hoo-rag

In a partnership with Peder, the caretaker of the 10 Colors Tenkara forum, we’re using the Tenkara Angler storefront as a venue to help the forum sell some merchandise, in this case, a super functional Hoo-Rag. (Just don’t call it a Buff).
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There are actually two methods to acquire a Hoo-Rag:

Option 1: If you find value in the 10 Colors Tenkara forum and would like to support it, please consider making a donation (click here). For any donations $20 or greater, you will receive one free 10 Colors Tenkara Hoo-rag. For any donations $35 or greater, you will receive two free. They will be sent anywhere in the world. The donated funds will go directly to keeping the forum up and running.

Option 2: From the Tenkara Angler web store for $13, shipping included within the US. These are being sold essentially at cost plus shipping to those that are interested in wearing the colors and spreading the word about the forum!

So there you go, should you need some multi-functional sun protection for your angling pursuits and want to rep the 10 Colors Tenkara forum, enjoy!

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Gear: Tenkara Fly Fishing Spool Fly Boxes

Some really nice tenkara fly fishing spool/fly boxes were recently posted online by Dennis Vander Houwen, author of the Tenkara Path blog and proprietor of the NightSparrowDesigns Etsy Store. They are available for purchase HERE.

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Available in 3 different types of wood, these spools hold one or two tenkara lines and swivel open to reveal compartments that hold about a dozen flies.   At $45, these would not only be a great addition to one’s personal tenkara gear kit, but a perfect gift for that tenkara angler that has everything.

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