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How not to break a beautiful Tenkara Rod!

by Martin
(Mustang, OK)

My wife and I had stopped by the Roaring River Trout Park in southwest MO on the way to Branson for an hour of Tenkara fishing fun. I set up my wife’s Kurenai HM33R with a size 16 beadhead flash back pheasant tail nymph and a rainbow warrior trailer. I was using my Amago with a similar rig. We had been fishing for about 45 minutes and moved down stream slowly trying to entice one of the rainbows. I looked downstream for a moment and noticed this “oh crap” look on the wife’s face and she was holding the Kurenai’s handle only in her hand. I looked to the right in the river and the majority of her rod and line was holding position in the fast current. I immediately pulled up my line and walked down to her. As I got to her I noticed the line was pointing to the bottom so I cast out my line in hopes of catching it to retrieve the rod. After about three casts I was able to snag her line and pull it in to the bank. I also noticed the line felt tight so as I retrieved it sure enough their was a trout on one of her flies. As I pulled the line in closer to the bank the trout was not cooperating and finally broke off just at our feet.

So what caused this catastrophic rod failure? My wife was repositioning herself a few feet closer to the ware in the faster water where you could see the rainbows on the bottom. During the move she was dragging her flies in the water. Sure enough one of those hungry, aggressive rainbows came up and grabbed one of the flies. Once the trout had the fly it immediately went to deeper water. My wife, being caught off guard, pulled up on the rod with the surprise and enthusiasm that resulted in a snap at the rod handle. The remainder of the story is told above.

Moral of this unfortunate event that resulted in the destruction of our beautiful Kurenai rod is first do not drag your fly in the water when moving around. But most importantly do not let yourself be under gunned when fishing. We had used the Kurenai numerous times catching lots of fish. I had even caught a 14” large mouth bass on it at a local pond at home. I got complacent in thinking we had a correct rod for this situation. Should I have let my wife use one of my stouter rods for this fishing situation? Probably. Could the same outcome have occurred? Possibly. Luckily I have four other Tenkara rods in my quiver. Be well! Fish on!

Comments for How not to break a beautiful Tenkara Rod!

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May 10, 2018
Muscle memory and setting the hook
by: Chris Stewart

Sorry to hear that. It is good that you were able to retrieve the rest of the rod, so only one part is likely to need replacing.

Muscle memory is very hard to overcome, particularly when one is surprised, as your wife was with the unexpected hook up. Roaring River has some large fish, so she may have had the wrong rod and the same result may have happened even if she had not been surprised, but I suspect the surprise led to a pre-programmed "set the hook" response. I think almost everyone would have done the exact same thing.

I believe that in general, people set the hook much harder than necessary - particularly when the line is tight and there is no slack that has to be taken up.

Martin is absolutely right - don't be undergunned for the fish you might hook, but also, don't set the hook too hard (fast, but not hard).

May 10, 2018
Light Tippet
by: John Evans

I would add one other comment. Make sure to use tippet that is appropriate to the rod . . . and maybe even a little lighter. Light tippet protects the rod in most cases.

May 10, 2018
One more "tip"
by: John Evans

Also, it's important to remember that tenkara rods are meant to flex along their entire length. A tendency many of us have is to grab the rod in the middle to get more leverage on a bigger fish. This limits the flex in the rod and can lead to a break. As tempting as it is, don't grab a tenkara rod in the middle unless you KNOW that it won't break!

May 10, 2018
How not to break s beautiful Tenkara rod!
by: Martin

I use 5X tippet. Chris’ observation is right on. I believe the surprise and excitement factors add the unwanted strength to the hook set. Lesson well learned.

May 10, 2018
5X is too strong for the Kurenai!
by: Chris Stewart

I would urge everyone in the strongest possible terms to use tippet no stronger than 6.5X with the Kurenai rods. If you don't have 6.5X, use 7X, not 6X. Truly, 5X tippet is MUCH too strong for the Kurenai.

May 10, 2018
by: Les Albjerg

The good news is replacement sections are not too expensive. Chris also ships them fast. I have found light tippet is the key to protecting the rod. These rods also protect a light tippet so well, it is amazing the size of the fish that can be caught on a 7x or 8x tippet. I really like the 6.5x tippet that Chris offers. I really like the Fujino tippet, and will be switching to the brand through out the year.

May 10, 2018
Draggin' Fly
by: Rob R

I actually catch quite a few trout that way, but not with a Kureni.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662

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