TenkaraBum 33 shares a design philosophy with the TenkaraBum 36 but it
is not just the 36 with one less section. It is a different rod
constructed on a different blank with a slightly different design goal.
The goal for the TenkaraBum 36 was for an all-around rod for how
American tenkara anglers fish (with weighted nymphs and with dry flies
in addition to the unweighted wets used in Japan).
The goal for the TenkaraBum 33 was a rod for streams that are a bit too small for the TenkaraBum 36 and for fish that are a bit too large for the Suntech Kurenai HM33R.
It is still a very sensitive rod and you will feel every head shake from a 6"
brookie (or a 4" creek chub). That said, the rod was designed with slightly larger fish in mind.
It is always a bit surprising to see Tom Davis catching 13-14" fish in narrow, overgrown mountain streams. That may be more common in the west, but it is not unheard of elsewhere. I have caught 17" trout in the New York City suburbs in streams for which the TenkaraBum 33 would be the ideal length.
On a recent weekend I caught a fat 17" rainbow with the TenkaraBum 33 prototype in a stream where I had to watch my casts so I wouldn't snag branches on the far side. Thinking back, nearly all the larger fish I have taken in smaller streams were holding under a low tree branch. Even with a slingshot cast, a longer rod would be a bit too long.
As with the TenkaraBum 36, the Suntech TenkaraBum 33 is a rod for anglers who want to fish nymphs and dries as well as unweighted wet flies. I have often recommended the Daiwa Kiyose 33SF for
nymphing, but it is a bit stiff for fishing dries and unweighted wets. The TenkaraBum 33 is stiff enough in the
midsection to get good hook sets with nymphs, but the tip sections are
softer than those on the Kiyose, so it will cast dries on a size 3 line
just fine. The different bend profile makes the TenkaraBum 33 a better nymphing rod than the TenkaraBum 36.
My initial thought (preconceived notion, actually) was that the
TenkaraBum 33 would be stiff enough to need a heavier line. After fishing with the rod a bit with a size 3 line, I thought what it needed was just a snappier forward cast. Once your line straightens out behind you as
you pause after your back cast, accelerate just a bit more than you may
be used to on the forward cast, still stopping the cast with the rod
high. That was before the Oni School, at which Tenkara no Oni said my forward cast was too snappy. He instructed that I should slow the stroke and let the rod do the work.
Following Oni's advice, I find myself closer to Tom Davis' view. Tom Davis prefers a size 3.5 or 4 level line with the TenkaraBum 33. In his words "I find that the TB33 answers best to a heavier level line, like a #3.5 - 4. Small waters don't require lighter lines, because it's easy to keep a shorter line off the water, even a #4 line." Personally, I think I would use the 3.5 rather than the 4, though.
The grip, grip screw cap, and tip plug are the same for both the TenkaraBum 33 and the TenkaraBum 36. The blank is different, so neither the tip nor any of the other sections are interchangeable with the TenkaraBum 36 sections.
The grip is hard EVA foam, which provides an excellent nonskid grip (and is less expensive than cork, allowing the money to go toward a higher quality blank). The grip screw cap is knurled for easy tightening and removal, and rounded for comfort. The tip plug fits quite snugly and will not fall out when you least expect it. Because of the tight fit, do not insert the tip plug when the line is attached. The tip section has Suntech's signature "Lillian Spin" swivel, which does help to reduce line twist and which easily passes through the second section.
Length extended - 10'11"
Length collapsed - 22.5"
Weight without tip plug - 2.3 oz
Grip - Shaped EVA foam
Sections - 7
Tip Diameter - .7mm
Recommended tippet - 6x-4x
Pennies - 22
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|The TB33 is a very capable rod for smaller streams. It has the ability to finesse cast a tight loop into those well protected spots (tightly protected under willow branches) so common in smaller streams, and yet it also has the stiffness and power to initiate a quick hook set and power the fish out away from the snags. This is exactly what is needed for my smaller streams.
Tom D, Idaho