The Tenkara Starter Kits have been simplified. They still contain a very nice "all around" rod, a spool of Hi-Vis fluorocarbon level tenkara line, and a pair of line holders. I had initially packaged tippet and flies with the kits for the benefit of people who are new to fly fishing, but it turns out that most people who bought the kits already had tippet and already had flies.
For people who are completely new to any type of fly fishing, tippet and flies are still available on TenkaraBum.com, along with streamside tools and other accessories (like a net) which you will probably want.
The revised kits still have everything you need to go from fly fishing to tenkara fishing. You need a rod, you need a line and you will need a line holder. I put two line holders in the kit because you are probably going to want to fish with lines of different lengths.
People have asked me for tenkara starter kits for quite some time. I hadn't put one together before for two reasons: different people wanted different things in the kit and I hadn't found the right rod. I have found some really nice rods and their buyers really like them (even beginners) but none were quite what I was looking for to build a starter kit around.
Photo copyright Tenkara Guides. Used with permission.
Eureka! I have found them. The rods I have chosen are made by Shimotsuke, the company that makes the rod that noted tenkara master Katsutoshi Amano uses. Shimotsuke also makes the Kiyotaki rods I have been selling in the Kids Tenkara Kit and for micro fishing. The rods have gotten great reviews for being such inexpensive rods.
The rods are the Tenkara 3.6 and the Tenkara 3.3. The 3.6 meter rod is 11' 8" and the 3.3 meter rod is 10' 7". The rods have an action that can only be described as "all around." With either the 3.6m rod or the 3.3m rod you will be able to fish sakasa kebari, Killer Bugs, dry flies, small beadhead nymphs, small streamers and woolly buggers, and even panfish poppers.
I think these are the ideal rods for someone just starting out - particularly someone who doesn't want to jump in with both feet and spend a lot of money on a fishing style that he or she hasn't tried yet. Plus, for people who can become overwhelmed trying to choose from all the different rods that are now available, I've made it very simple. You can get the long one or you can get the short one. It doesn't get much simpler.
Of the two, I personally like the 3.3 better but the 3.6 meter rod is more of an all around choice. Choose the 3.3 meter rod if more of your fishing is going to be on smaller streams, the 3.6 if you will also fish rivers and lakes.
I have no doubt that either rod will handle 8" fish and 18" fish equally well. And don't think they're just for trout. Both rods are fun with bluegills and can handle modest bass with no problem.
The rods have a nicely shaped cork grip. The grip screw cap is both knurled and slotted for a coin, and has a hole for ventilation. The rod finish is a clear coat over an attractive reddish brown blank, with gold painted accents at the section ends.
In addition to the rod, each kit will include a spool of Yamatoyo Hi-Vis level tenkara line. The 3.3 rod will be paired with size 3.5 line and the 3.6 rod will be paired with the size 4 line. The line is fluorescent chartreuse fluorocarbon and is really quite visible.
Every tenkara angler needs line holders for storing the line - either when walking through the woods or at home between trips. I've chosen the small tenkara line holders over the Fuji EZ Keepers because I think you may want to have lines of different lengths for different width streams. The small tenkara line holders will store a line off the rod but the EZ Keepers won't. Two line holders are included in the Tenkara Starter Kits so you can easily store two different lines.
That's the basic Tenkara Starter Kit - what a fly fisherman needs to take up tenkara: a rod, a line, and a couple line holders. If you also need flies and tippet, they are available with the click of your mouse.
Shimotsuke Tenkara 3.3 and Tenkara 3.6 rods (97% carbon)
|3.3||10'7"||8||20.5"||2.5||Hi-Vis size 3.5|
|3.6||11'8"||9||20.5"||3.1||Hi-Vis size 4|
Rods made in China.
No Japanese tenkara rods that I know of come with a hard case. I found these cases on a Japanese website and liked them enough to start importing them. They are light weight and inexpensive.
For complete beginners, who are not already fly fishermen or women, there are a few other things that you will need. You will need a pair of nippers for cutting tippet and for trimming the tag ends of knots. You will need a pair of hemostats because at least one of the fish you catch will be small enough that you won't be able to get your fingers in its mouth to remove the fly. (More than one, more than likely - possibly even most of them if you'll fish for bluegills.) You won't absolutely need, but you will absolutely appreciate having a zinger to keep your nippers handy. The set of tools comes packed in a ripple foam fly box.
Streamside Tools (nippers/hemostats/zinger) - $17
Unlike most of the tenkara flies you can buy over the internet, the tenkara flies offered on TenkaraBum.com were not tied in Kenya. They were tied right here in the U S of A by tenkara anglers like yourself. The flies are $15 per half dozen and area available in several patterns (not all patterns will be in stock all the time).
Like flies, I have had a hard time keeping tippet material in stock. I carry Varivas and Maxima.
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Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
Tenkara Starter Kits contain:
Trent's tenkara kit from TenkaraBum included the rod, a spool of #4 flourocarbon line, a spool of tippet, kebari in a plastic fly box, and two empty line spools. He also received a hand written note from Chris. I consider this the best starter kit out there for tenkara. It is quality stuff at a very reasonable price put together personally by a guy who really cares about your tenkara/fishing experience.
Of course, the rod, whether a 3.3 or 3.6 would make an excellent inexpensive backup rod.
Tom D, Idaho
Teton Tenkara blog
Thx for the handwritten note. Got my 3.6 kit and headed out after work for a half hour by my office. Started catching fish immediately. Fun as hell and intuitive to learn. Here's my first Tenkara fish. 3 casts in.
Dan C, Minnesota
Wow. For a "starter kit" rod, that Shimotsuke Tenkara 3.3 has beautiful details.
Jayson S, North Carolina
I bought a starter kit from you in June. I was on vacation to Yellowstone the past few weeks. I never took out my conventional fly gear the whole time. I had so much fun from the first time I used the Tenkara rod on the lower Yellowstone catching fish. Here are just the highlights. I completed the Wyoming Cut-Slam, Fished the Madison River at 3 dollar bridge and had an amazing night of fishing. I had fish after fish on, so much so that people were stopping to watch me fish. Fished out of Flagg Ranch with my son and I caught a number of fish during a lunch break (He had never cast a rod before). Fished in the head waters of the Green River, had a ball catching Colorado River cutthroats one afternoon. I fished the Hams Fork during an evening hatch and got into some very big fish. The rod, flies and everything else you provided worked super.
Carl K, California
|Just got back from hiking the John Muir Trail. I used one of your Tenkara rods and the Utah Killer Bug and caught 40+ fish. The Tenkara rod was made for this type of adventure. Thanks
Stan K, New Hampshire
|Chris, a note on large fish and my 3.6 Shimotsuke starter kit rod after two trips to the Trophy water in Cherokee, NC. The 3.6 has handled a bunch of rainbows/browns in the 15-17" range very well. I know you can't cover everything with one rod, but catching 6-8" fish has been fun too with this rod. I suspect the next rod I get from you will probably be a beefier version of the 3.6, but for a starter rod, just a note to you that this rod has been winner as a first rod. Thanks for all the fun---and the phenomenal dry fly presentation Tenkara facilitates---I'm having.
Clyde O, Georgia
Bought one of your Shimatsuke 3.6 starter kits -- awesome. Fished the West Walker, Little Truckee, and NY's West Ausable with great success.
BTW my 7yo son caught his first fish on this rod, so it's a bit sentimental to me. Here's a blog post I wrote on it. Lessons from Fishing with my Son
Jon S, California