The Tenkara Starter Kits have been very popular ever since I first introduced them. They are an easy way for someone new to tenkara to get what they need to start out. The kits contain a rod, a matching line and a pair of line holders. Initially, I packaged flies and tippet with the kits, but most of the buyers had been fly fishing for years and already had both tippet and flies. The kits now have what you need to go from fly fishing to tenkara fishing. If you have never fly fished before, flies, tippet and streamside tools are also available to go with the kits.
The Nissin Starter Kits are built around the Nissin Pro Square rods. More and more people are asking me for rods that are made in Japan. Other than some of the rods carried here on TenkaraBum.com, nearly all the rods available in the US are made in China. Even the newest, fanciest models do not match the Japanese rods - particularly with respect to weight (but also action). The Japanese rod makers have been making tenkara rods for decades - and it shows. The Nissin rods chosen for the kit are very light, very sensitive, and capable of casting a very light line. To me, fishing with the lightest line I can get away with and keeping nearly all the line off the water's surface is the essence of tenkara. The Nissin Starter Kits start at just $170. Rod, line, and line holders all made in Japan.
The Small Stream Tenkara Starter Kit has what you need to start tenkara fishing in small streams. You don't need much, but for small brushy or overgrown streams you really do need a short rod.
It has been quite a while now since I wrote Rethinking Rod Choice - Many. Some things haven't changed - a short rod really does make a lot of sense if you want to fish small streams; and some things have changed - the outfit that insisted tenkara rods were 11' or longer now sells a 9' rod.
I was reminded of the value of short rods when Dave Hughes sent me a
copy of his Trout from Small Streams, second edition. He included a
tenkara, and in it wrote some very interesting things about what he
calls "downsized tenkara" - tenkara fishing with downsized rods for
really small streams.
The Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 270 that the Small Stream Starter Kit is built around is a very nice rod for fishing small streams. It's light, sensitive, capable of keeping fish out of snags, and inexpensive.
The Small Stream Keiryu Starter Kits I used to offer were well recieved by keiryu angers but were not nearly as simple or as inexpensive as the tenkara starter kits. I have radically simplified the kit, but it still contains what you need to start keiryu fishing.
The Keiryu Starter Kit is built around a Nissin 2-Way 540ZX medium keiryu rod, which is a very capable rod that won't break the bank. Also included are a package of Owner Keiryu Rigs (two fully rigged keiryu lines, two extra snelled hooks, six lead-free split shot) and two line holders.
You'll still need to collect nymphs or caddis larvae from the streambed you are fishing, or bring red worms, waxworms or salmon eggs. Nightcrawlers are much too large and are not recommended.
In Japan, where tenkara originated, keiryu fishing with bait remains probably ten times more popular. I have found it to be extremely effective but have also found that the same rig and fishing style is also extremely effective for use with weighted nymphs, whether heavily weighted like Czech nymphs or lightly weighted like Killer Bugs and Killer Buggers.