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.
Daiwa assembled this kit for sale in Japan to anglers who are interested in learning tenkara. It will provide a very smooth and easy transition from fly fishing to tenkara.
There are two kits. One comes with an 11 foot rod and one comes with a 12 foot rod (3.3m and 3.6m, respectively). The rods are not bad for kit rods, and share a number of features with Daiwa's Expert Tenkara rods.
The line included in each kit is Daiwa's 4 meter (13 foot) Tenkara Fly Line, which is essentially a floating fly line. Not surprisingly, the line casts just about like the floating line most fly fishers use. The line comes with a 10 foot knotless tapered nylon leader, which will also be very familiar. That makes taking up tenkara a very small step.
The kits also come with four flies, none of which are sakasa kebari, and one of which is a parachute dry fly!
I am sure some Western tenkara anglers will say "that's not tenkara" but the reality is that very well known and extremely well regarded tenkara anglers in Japan used and recommended floating fly lines (and used dry flies)! Daiwa has been making tenkara rods for much, much longer than Western anglers have been using them. Daiwa may have a better perspective of what is and what isn't tenkara than we do.
The Daiwa Tenkara Starter Kit was designed by a Japanese company for sale in Japan to Japanese anglers. If it works for them...
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 Suntech Keiryu Special 27 that the Small Stream Starter Kit is built around is a very nice rod for fishing small streams. It's very light and very sensitive, just the ideal rod for small streams.
Tenkara is definitely the easiest way for kids to learn fly fishing. Line management is probably the hardest thing to learn for a beginning fly fisher, but it couldn't be easier in tenkara. Need to take slack out of the line? Raise the rod tip. Casting a tenkara rod is almost as simple. You can have your kid catching fish in minutes.
A while ago I unbundled the kit and offered the kid's rod, line, flies etc separately. It has become clear that people want a Kid's Kit, not Kid's Components!
I think the new Kid's Tenkara Kit is the ideal kit for teaching kids. The new rod included in the kit is a much nicer rod and the kit now comes with a full spool of line. It is a major upgrade but the price is almost the same.
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 (where it is legal), 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.