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Newbie looking for advice.

by Casey
(Anchorage, AK)

Full disclaimer. When I say newbie I mean never even held a Tenkara rod, but excited and willing to learn.

I live in Alaska and I'm trying to find the right rod for the different types of fishing I enjoy. I have a two week camping/fishing trip planned in July and would love use a new rod on my trip. This trip will be focused on arctic grayling, trout and red salmon.

I've narrowed down my selection to the TB36 and the TB Traveler. I like the option of being able to adjust the length of the pole. There is a stream a mile away from my house that is pretty narrow and lots of trees and thought the traveler might do better in tight spaces.

Can either or both of these rods handle 10 lb reds in medium to fast moving water? Is either rod better than the other? Anyone have or used both?

Thanks guys,
Casey

Comments for Newbie looking for advice.

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Jun 05, 2019
10 lb red salmon
by: Chris Stewart

Casey,

Neither of the rods you mentioned could handle a 10 lb salmon. The only rods I carry that I would suggest for fish of that size would be the Kyogi 18 or 21 carp rods.

Either the Traveler 39 or TenkaraBum 36 would be OK for 2 lb fish.

The Traveler would be a better choice if the adjustable length is important. If having a "grip" is more important, the TenkaraBum 36 would be the better choice.

Jun 06, 2019
No salmon
by: Rob R.

In all honesty, if you fished for salmon with a tenkara rod, you would end up frustrated and with a broken rod. I would stick with a western fly setup because the fish can at least run and you can control the drag. Tenkara rods were designed for small, high gradient, mountain streams for fish in the 6 to around 16 inch range. There are the carp rods which should handle a 10lb Salmon, but, I have caught carp and they do not live at sea nor do they live in strong currents like a salmon. I would think a salmon could do some damage, even to a carp rod. There were some folks on FB who have fished tenkara in Alaska and have recorded success with their rods but I don't think they ever targeted Salmon. On Teton Tenkara's blog, while fishing with his son, he inadvertently caught a salmon. The tenkara rod he was using had no effect on the fish. The fish swam wherever it wanted, oblivious that it was hooked. He had his son cut the line just so the rod wouldn't get damaged.

Jun 06, 2019
Kyogi Strong!
by: Les Albjerg

Casey,

I wouldn't hesitate to go after salmon or steelhead with a Kyogi 21. Yes it is a fixed line rod, but it isn't a "Tenkara" rod. I've caught several over 10 pound carp in the Snake River with the Kyogi. These are strong river fish, not the well rounded carp I have caught with it in Lake Lowell. I have also caught many coho salmon and steelhead on a fly rod when I lived in Oregon. These fish ranged from 6 to 16 pounds. So from experience, I wouldn't hesitate to go after reds with a Kyogi. I have had a well over 10 pound steelhead from the Salmon River right up to my feet before my hook broke out of the Salmon River here in Idaho with the Kyogi 21. I have had no trouble moving fish in the current with the Kyogi. It has way more power than a standard Tenkara Rod.

I am a big fan of the Kyogi rods. So much so, I own all 4 lengths of the rod. I hate that they are called "carp" rods. They should be called, "big fish" rods. One of my favorite uses of the Kyogi 18 is fishing for smallmouth bass in the Snake, Payette, Boise, and Wieser Rivers. These are all strong current rivers and it isn't uncommon to catch fish up to 5 pounds.

My favorite line is 20 pound mono with keiryu markers and 1x tippet. With that line and a Kyogi 21, you should have a blast on Reds.

I have several very nice Tenkara Rods and Keiryu rods that don't get fished as much because the Kyogi rods are also a joy to fish. They aren't clunky sticks. These rods will also give a thrill with a smaller fish as well. These are well made and designed rods.

Jun 06, 2019
Tenkara Salmon
by: Karl Klavon

If you Google Tenkara Samon Fishing, several videos and a number of articles will come up. There is even one American Tenkara rod maker who makes and sells steelhead and salmon capable rods, and has a half-hour or so long video on the subject of Tenkara Fishing Alaska.

Jun 06, 2019
Learning Curve
by: John Evans

Casey,
I would agree with all the comments so far, but may I add a general comment on tenkara angling, as one who is sympathetic to all newbies? Realize that there is a learning curve with tenkara rods. When you first pick one up, almost all but the stiffest of them will seem incredibly light and fragile. Also, you'll probably spend a good deal of the first few minutes with the line piled up at your feet or hung in the bush behind you. So . . . go slowly . . . give yourself time . . . learn one new thing about tenkara every day . . . and--as the other fellows pointed out--any 10 lb. fish is going to be too big except for a truly beefy tenkara/carp rod. But, boy, those 2 lb. fish and under will be incredibly fun!

Jun 07, 2019
Wow!
by: Rob R.

Well that is interesting. Must be a heck of a fight on those rods!

Jun 07, 2019
Thanks for the advice
by: Casey

Aww shucks... Looks like I'll have to get two rods.

Recommendations for arctic grayling/small trout rod under $250?

I'll do more research on the Nissin Kyogi and the TenkaraRodCo Grand Teton for salmon and bigger trout.

Thanks guys. Anyone else live in AK and want to go fishing?

Jun 07, 2019
Trout/grayling rod
by: Chris Stewart

For a trout/grayling rod I would recommend the Suntech TenkaraBum 40.

Jun 08, 2019
Second the Motion
by: John Evans

Casey,
I will second Chris' recommendation on the trout/grayling rod. He knows his rods!


Jun 09, 2019
Beware!
by: Les Albjerg

Casey,

Beware not all rods are created equal. This is especially something that has to be kept in mind with a fixed line rod. In fixed line fishing there is no reel to make up for the shortcomings of a rod.

I bought a 15 dollar Chinese rod with a fancy paint job from a company with good advertising, and it almost made me quit fixed line fishing. Are there good rods that TenkaraBum doesn't carry? Yes, but very few. The service Chris gives is exceptional.

My advice? Get a TenkaraBum 40 like Chris suggested. If you took all of my rods away and said I could only have one, it would be the TenkaraBum 40. The rods I fish the most are the TenkarBum 40 and the Suntech Fine Power 54. This winter I caught my biggest rainbow of my life with the Fine Power. It was a 28 incher in the current! You need length in a fixed line rod to fight bigger fish.

Last, check out the blog, Teton Tenkara. Tom Davis fishes smaller streams in his videos, but he has a lot to teach a newbie. Teton Tenkara isn't the same as the rod company. He also gives great rod reviews. Please don't waste your money on a cheap rod.

Jun 10, 2019
TB40
by: Casey

Chris

Thanks for the recommendation. The TB40 is in my cart.

Now for line and flys...? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Just looking for a basic set up. Was thinking level line and tippet, but not sure of brand or size.

Casey

Jun 10, 2019
Line and Tippet
by: Chris Stewart

The TenkaraBum 40 can handle a range of lines, but as a starting point I would suggest a size 3 (size 4 if you know it will be windy where you are fishing).

I use all the brands I carry, without much thought as to their differences other than sometimes the orange is easiest to see and sometimes the chartreuse is easiest to see. It depends a lot on the background - if there is lots of light green (early spring) foliage I'll use orange (Sunline). If it is a rocky stream and most of the rocks have an orangish color I'll use chartreuse (Yamatoyo).

I would use 5X tippet. The Varivas is a good quality. I generally use nylon just because there is more on the spool than for fluorocarbon, and the spools are the same price.

Jun 10, 2019
Before I hit purchase
by: Casey

Chris,

Thanks for the level line and tippet advice.

When comparing the TB40 vs TB Traveler are there any pros or cons of either that I should consider? Does the Traveler have a similar mid section and as capable when using weighted flys/ nymphs as the TB40?

I keep going back and fourth about the length of the rod. Having never used one 13' sounds HUGE. Having the option to adjust the length sound appealing. Just not sure what length would be best.

Jun 11, 2019
TenkaraBum 40 vs Traveler 44
by: Chris Stewart

Comparing the TenkaraBum 40 with the TenkaraBum Traveler 44 at its middle length (40), the rods are pretty similar. The Traveler is just the slightest bit firmer through the midsection. The TenkaraBum 40 has won praise as a nymphing rod, but the Traveler 44 should actually be just a little bit better.

The two rods are similar enough, though, that I would choose base on what is more important to you, having the ability to adjustable for length or having a hard foam grip.

Jun 11, 2019
You can't go wrong!
by: Les Albjerg

Casey,

I have had both rods. My 10 year old fishing buddy now has my Traveler 44. My son had it for awhile before he bought his own rod! So it has been enjoyed by 3 people. Personally, I like the EVA handle of the TB 40 and the bend profile of the 40. Since I fished the Traveler 44 at the 40 setting 90 percent of the time, I must admit that I really don't miss it much. Now if I want to go longer, I use the Suntech Fine Power 52. For some unknown reason, I don't really notice that it doesn't have a cork or foam handle. I have lots of rods, and in my opinion, the TB 40 and the Fine Power 52 are on the top of the heap!
The Fine Power is a zoom, and I do find it handy. You have to think about where you are fishing. I have one stream with some larger fish that I use a 3 meter rod on, the stream is simply too restricted for anything longer. Longer is better within reason when it comes to fixed line fishing. I do have an 8 meter rod that comes in handy at times, but it is a bit extreme!

Jun 11, 2019
Rod Case
by: Casey

Hate to keep asking questions... But will the TenkanaraBum 39 fit into your small plastic rod case with the ez keepers installed or should i get the medium?

Jun 11, 2019
Medum Case
by: Chris Stewart

Casey, the small case is too small. On the website there is a list of the rods that will fit in the Small Rod Case. It is a short list. The small case is too short for most tenkara, keiryu and seiryu rods.

The TenkaraBum 36 and 40, as well as the TenkaraBum Traveler 27, 39 and 44 all require the Medium Rod Case.

Jun 13, 2019
Thank you!
by: Casey

Just a wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone that replied, gave advice, and recommendations.

Final decision. I went with the TenkaraBum Traveler 39. I like the option of adjusting the length of rod for size river/stream. I live within walking distance to a very narrow creek that adjustable length should come in handy. Also the TenkaraBum Traveler39 has a similar midsection as the TenkaraBum 36 and 40 so it as capable to fish weighted flies and nymphs.

Pictures to come with my new rod!

Jun 13, 2019
A suggestion
by: Les Albjerg

Casey

I’ve never heard this advice but it served me well learning how to fish a zoom rod. Set it at one length and learn to fish it well at that length. Do this with all three lengths. My second bit of wisdom is once you are comfortable doing that. It often pays to stay in the same spot and fish a different length. I’ve been amazed at the number of fish I’ve been able to catch from the same casting location. You’re going to have fun.

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