Finesse-Fishing is a new website offering Japanese Domestic Market spinning and baitcasting rods and reels for trout and panfish.
Many of us started out fishing with ultralight spinning gear. Despite taking up fly fishing and then discovering tenkara, there are a core group of us who never abandoned ultralight spin fishing.
For years now, I have been importing tenkara, keiryu and seiryu rods made for the Japanese Domestic Market. I think a lot of tenkara anglers (and ALL the keiryu and seiryu anglers) accept that Japanese rods are the best.
Bass anglers have known for some time that the best spinning and baitcasting gear is made for the Japanese Domestic Market. I suspect most trout and panfish anglers have not yet realized that (no one here sells it and no one is talking about it). My goal is to change that.
If you fish with ultralight spinning gear, if you are curious about ultralight baitcasting gear (yes, it does exist), head over to Finesse-Fishing and take a look.
The names are familiar: Daiwa, Shimano and even Tenryu, which makes the nicest looking ones of all! I started importing Tenryu tenkara rods last year and have been extremely pleased with their quality. If anything, their spinning and baitcasting rods for trout fishing are even nicer than their tenkara rods.
Tenryu's spinning and baitcasting rods for trout are in their Rayz series, which runs from the very short 3' 9" rod for the headwaters up through a 10' 6" rod for salmon on wide, windy rivers. The LL notation for the RZ39LL and RZS51LL is between light and ultralight.
The following spinning rods and baitcasters will be ideal for trout fishing in small to medium sized streams.
Tenryu says the parabolic action
of the Tenryu Rayz Spectra blank was inherited from the Rayz series, but if you pick up
both and wiggle them one after another, you can tell in an instant that
they are not the same. As nice as the Tenryu Furaibo rods are, and as nice as the Tenryu Rayz
rods are, this rod is on another level. More info...
Type Native (stream rod)
Breakdown Length 31 1/4"
Rod Weight 2.3 oz
Line Weight 1 - 5 lb
Lure Weight 1 - 8 grams (roughly 1/32 - 1/4 oz)
Short of the Spectra, the Tenryu Rayz rods are the nicest spinning rods you will ever find. The fit and finish are truly excellent. Tenryu offers 8 spinning rods for trout but at least for now I will carry the three that are best suited for fishing small to medium sized streams. More info on the RZ39LL. More info on the RZ53UL and EZ56L
1 - 5 lb
1/32 - 1/4 oz
1 - 4 lb
1/32 - 3/16 oz
3 - 6 lb
1/16 - 1/4 oz
For the quality of a Tenryu Rayz spinning rod and convenience an packability of a tenkara rod, you can't beat the Tenryu Rayz Integral 4-piece rods. The rods fit in a Medium Rod Case and will fit in a backpack. More info...
1 - 4 lb
1/32 - 1/5 oz
3 - 6 lb
1/16 - 1/4 oz
I would pair most of these rods with the Shimano Cardiff CI4+ C2000HG reel. For the Tenryu Rayz RZ39LL, though, I would choose the new Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S, which is a slightly smaller, slightly lighter reel.
Unlike the Tenryu Rayz and Tenryu Rayz Spectra, the Tenryu Rayz Alter rods are not designed for mountain streams. They are designed for fishing in lakes, where you don't have to fight the current as well as the fish, and where logs and snags are not nearly as big an issue.
The rods are softer and a bit more mid flex than the stream rods, and are rated for lighter lures. Tenryu does not give a minimum lure weight, indicating only that it approaches zero. If you want a rod with Tenryu quality and the capability of casting lures below 1/32 oz, these are your rods.
Model Tenryu Rayz Alter RZA61L-T
Type Area (lake)
Breakdown Length 38"
Rod Weight 2.75 oz
Line Weight 1 - 5 lb
Lure Weight Near 0 to 3/16 oz
Most people think baitcasters are just for heavy lines and heavy lures. However, there has been a revolution in Japan with the advent of the Bait Finesse System. It is a collection of reels, rods, lines and techniques that have opened the way for light and even ultralight baitcasters. Finally, there are baitcasters for trout - reels and rods that are very well suited for trout fishing in streams.
Baitcasters are more accurate than spinning rods and reels, and that accuracy is paramount in small streams. Bait Finesse for trout (or as it is called in Japan, Mountain Stream Bait Finesse) in the US is now about where tenkara was back in 2009. This is just the beginning.
The Tenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BC shown above is out of stock until spring, but he RZ56L-BC is in stock now. The Tenryu baitcasters are at least as nice as their spinning rods. If you know you like fishing with a baitcaster and you want to try it for trout in streams, these are your rods.
Type Wild (stream)
Breakdown Length 33 7/8"
Rod Weight 2.8 oz
Line Weight 3 - 6 lb
Lure Weight 1/16 - 1/4 oz
The Daiwa Wise Stream 45ULB-3 is an extremely convenient, extremely capable baitcaster for trout fishing in streams.
To me, the key feature of the Daiwa Wise Stream 45ULB-3, and the feature that might very well make it my "go to" baitcaster, is that it is a relatively short, three-piece rod. The broken down length is about 19" - which makes it easy to carry strapped to my backpack. It also fits in the Medium Rod Case!
Of course, it doesn't hurt that the second cast with the new rod yielded a 20" brown trout.
Wise Stream 50ULB-3
2 - 6 lb
1/16 - 1/4 oz
The Dawia SS Air baitcasting reel pairs with the rod nicely.
The Daiwa Area Bum 60L-B is a light action baitcaster designed for trout fishing in lakes. The action is softer and more full flex than rods designed for use in streams. In streams, maneuvering fish out of heavy current and away from snags requires a rod with a firmer midsection. With no current and fewer snags to contend with, rods designed for lake fishing can have softer actions, which allow the use of lighter lines and smaller lures for more finesse. In Japan's heavily pressured "Areas" (managed, stocked pay-to-fish lakes) anglers have downsized their lures to 1/16 oz and their lines down to even to 1.5 lb (for comparison, Varivas 9X tippet is 1.6 lb)! For most American anglers used to baitcasters, both of those are off-the-chart light! With this rod, though, you can fish that light - and catch fish!
Area Bum 60L-B
1.5 - 5 lb
1/16 - 1/6 oz (2-5 grams)
I would use the Daiwa SS Air baitcasting reel.
Domestic shipping is via USPS Priority Mail (2-3 day). The S/H charge will be added to your order automatically ($10 for the Tenryu rods and the Daiwa Wise Stream, $20 for the Daiwa Area Bum).
International shipping (other than for the RZ39LL, RZI rods or the Daiwa Wise Stream rods) will be via USPS International Priority Mail, which is quite expensive. Please request a quote before ordering.
Payment is processed by PayPal but you do not need to have a PayPal account. You can use your credit card.