Chinese “Tenkara”. You’re either a Comrade or Enemy of the People.
With a little hesitation, I pressed the “Confirm Purchase” button on my Paypal/Ebay account, ordering a Chinese made “Tenkara” style telescoping rod for a grand total of $6.48 including shipping. I half expected to never actually see this rod, as many items coming direct from Hong Kong fail to materialize during 12 week shipping periods.
I originally wanted to get into tenkara with the minimalist Daiwa Soyokaze, but they were discontinued and upon seeing this rod for the ridiculously low price, I figured I’d have nothing to lose. I like the aesthetic of the more minimal rods without cork handles, a perfectly streamlined tool for backpacking, literally looking like a stick when collapsed. Nothing to catch or snag in a pack, rods of this style are the most minimal available. Add a few flies, some clippers, tippet material, and some small forceps and I’ll be fishing for under 4 ounces.
Within a day of ordering I received a shipping confirmation. A good sign I might actually get this rod.
Only one week later, the rod arrives, shipped from a distributor not in Hong Kong, but in New Jersey. Not bad.
The tip action is very slow and light. I have little experience with “tenkara” rods, but plenty fishing western fly rods. I would put the action on par with a 2-3WT rod. The rod has no issues casting the above mentioned line. While I’ve yet to hook a fish, I can tell from a trial at the casting pools that this will work fine for high alpine lakes/streams where range is not necessary and typical fish are under 10″. The only experimentation I need to do is try a few more hand made lines and see what weight is optimal.
Three more rods are in the mail; one spare and two for my kids.
A grand total of $6.48 to get into “tenkara”. Time will tell if I find it necessary to upgrade rods, but as an infrequent fisherman, I don’t see the need for anything better.
The true Rod of the People.
And if you have any guilt about a cheap Chinese rod, read about where all the $150 tenkara rods are made….