Rethinking Rod Choice

Early in my tenkara journey, I'd hooked a bass that I couldn't keep out of some brush. I had assumed that had I been fishing with a stiffer rod I would have been able to control the fish. I decided I would never again fished for bass with a soft rod.

However, the difference between how far a fish could run when hooked on an soft rod compared to a stiff rod can only be a few feet, as the soft rod will stiffen up as the bend gets closer to the grip. Of course, those few feet could certainly cost you a few fish.

Anyone fishing with a tenkara rod, though, accepts the idea that there are fish he or she cannot catch. Large enough, powerful enough to break a 5X (or even 4X) tippet. Losing the occassional bass to a brush pile is the price to be paid for fishing with a softer rather than a stiffer rod.

Today I decided to pay that price, and went bass fishing with a very soft rod and a fly I chose to call a Sakakibara Kebari. Named after Masami Sakakibara - Tenkara no Oni - the Sakakibara Kebari is a large Sakasa Kebari. Sakakibari ties them as large as a size 2.

Comparison of size 2 fly and size 14 flySize 2 Sakasa Kebari tied by Sakikabara himself,
compared to a size 14 Sakasa Kebari

I couldn't bring myself to tie a size 2 and instead tied mine on a size 6. I later ordered some larger hooks, tough, because even modest sized bluegills could just inhale the size sixes and I suspected  suspect most bass would prefer something a bit large. However, I subsequently learned that bass would hit a size 6 without hesitation, so that is size I now tie for bass. I made a couple modifications to the fly and changed the name to a Keeper Kebari, though.

This is more about the rod than the fly, though, and I found that the softer rod performed admirably. I didn't catch any large bass today, but those I did catch were easily brought to hand. And the bluegills were a lot of fun on the soft rod.

Largemouth bass on canoe paddleSmall Bass Caught on Nissin SP 390

More than that, though, I just like casting the softer rod better. Sure, it doesn't have the backbone that a stiffer rod has, but you know, that's what I like about it. If I have to lose a few bass to brush piles, or trout to swift current, so be it.

When it comes right down to it, the rod to fish with is the one you most enjoy fishing with. Realistically, you'll probably catch just about the same number of fish.

TenkaraBum Home > Tenkara Rods > Rethinking Rod Choice

“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

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

Beware of the Dogma

Currently processing orders that were received Mar 8.

This Just In

Oni line size 2.5

Free Fly Tying Materials

Used Fishing Books and DVDs

3x5 Photo Tank (Imperfect)