Suntech Genryuko

The Suntech Genryuko is Suntech's headwaters rod (genryu = headwaters, ko = child). It makes an excellent rod for fishing weighted nymphs, with a sensitive tip and lots of backbone for good hooksets.

Very early on I realized that traditional tenkara rods were not well suited to fishing deep or fishing heavy nymphs. The force required to straighten and tighten the line when the nymph was 2-3' deep was more than the soft rods could generate. To a large extent, instead of producing a solid hookset, the rod just bent from the resistance of trying to pull the line through the water.

Suntech Genryuko (collapsed)Suntech Genryuko

The Daiwa Kiyose SF series of rods became the "go to" rods for tenkara anglers wanting to fish heavy nymphs. The Suntech Genryuko is designed to fill the same niche. It is a rod designed for backpacking into the headwaters and collapses to a backpack friendly 15.375 inches. It is slightly more "tip action" than the Daiwa, but only slightly.

The Genryuko is ideal for Czech or Polish nymphing. The rod is stiff enough to keep you in constant contact with your nymph. You must be in contact with the nymph because the fish will spit it out almost immediately. The hard bead head and tension on the line are dead giveaways that something isn't right. If you don't react instantly, and if the hook doesn't catch on the way out, you'll feel the hit but miss the fish.

Angler holding brown trout

The slightly softer tip sections of the Suntech Genryuko will give a bit more than those of the Kiyose, so the there will not be quite as much tension on the line.  The softer tip sections also make casting an unweighted wet or dry a bit easier, but this is still first and foremost a nymphing rod - or a lantern fishing rod (very short line, headwaters bait fishing), which is how it is used in Japan).

Behind the slightly softer tip section, the very firm midsection and stiff butt make the Genryuko 36 stiffer overall than than the Kiyose 36SF.

If you will be fishing the Genryuko with a tenkara line, I would recommend the Nissin PALS SP Pro 3.6 for the Genryuko 36 and either the Nissin PALS SP Pro 3.6 or 4.0 for the Genryuko 39. These lines are very similar to furled lines, although they are constructed in a slightly different way. However, unlike most furled tenkara lines available in the US, they are made from fluorocarbon rather than thread or nylon. Thus, they are denser and cast more easily. If you choose a level line, I would recommend a size 4.5.

The Genryuko are stiff rods and you will appreciate the extra weight. The rods would also do quite nicely with a horsehair line made to the taper I have seen referenced for historical tenkara lines in Japan - a 5 section line tapered from 9 hairs at the rod end down to 5 hairs at the tippet end. If you will be fishing with a keiryu rig, I would go with a tenjo line of 4X and tippet of 5X. You could use 5X from rod tip to hook, but if you do that and have to break off a snag, the line is likely to break at the lillian rather than at the hook. Better to have a lighter tippet as the weak link.

Although I have frequently recommended fishing with the lightest line you can get away with (based on the rod, the amount of breeze and your casting ability), tight line nymphing (also called short line nymphing or contact nymphing) is one situation where a heavier line provides an advantage. A heavier line will sag more, which is a disadvantage if you are fishing across the stream because the varying currents will cause more drag.

However, if you are fishing directly or nearly upstream, and leading the nymph or nymphs back down towards you, varying currents are less of an issue and the extra sag provides excellent strike detection. The line sag lessens or disappears when a fish takes the nymph and you can see the sag disappear before the line comes completely tight and the fish feels the tension.

I am confident that The Suntech Genryuko has the capability to handle larger trout than the average angler will ever catch. The only limitation I can see is the 5X tippet recommendation, but fish into the mid 20 inch range have been caught on keiryu rods with 6X tippet, so landing a real bruiser is not out of the question.

Suntech Genryuko 36

Weight with rod cap - 2.7 oz
Weight without cap - 2.3 oz
Length Extended - 11' 9"
Length Collapsed - 15 3/8"
Sections - 12
Tip Diameter - .65mm
Butt Diameter - 20.5mm
Tippet Recommendation - 7X-5X
Pennies - 39

Suntech Genryuko 39

Weight with rod cap - 3.1 oz
Weight without cap - 2.6 oz
Length Extended - 12' 7"
Length Collapsed - 15 3/8"
Sections - 13
Tip Diameter - .65mm
Butt Diameter - 21.5mm
Tippet Recommendation - 7X-5X
Pennies - 50

Suntech Genryuko Features

Suntech Genryuko name on grip

As with other keiyru rods, the grip is a widened out section of the rod blank. Although completely smooth to the touch, it has a very effective non-skid finish - wet or dry. "Genryuko" is written on the grip, although it is subtle and the above photo does not capture it well.

When collapsed, the Suntech Genryuko is short enough and thick enough that Fuji EZ Keepers do not work well. I would recommend the Tenkara Line Holders instead.

Swivel attaching lillian to Genryuko

Unlike the Daiwa, Shimano or Nissin, the lillian is attached with a micro swivel, which is small enough to go through the second section for complete disassembly.

Genryuko rod with Fuji Rod CapFuji Rod Cap
Genryuko Grip Cap showing knurlingGenryuko Grip Cap

The tip cap is a standard Fuji KTC-16 for the Genryuko 36 and Fuji KTC-20 for the Genryuko 39, which is not only more secure than a tenkara-style tip plug, it is less likely to get lost and less expensive to replace if it does get lost.

The grip screw cap is knurled for easy removal and beveled for comfort (for those anglers who grip the rod at the very end). There is a foam insert so the rod is quiet when collapsed.

If you are looking for a rod that collapses to a short length, with a sensitive tip but outstanding backbone for short line nymphing, and want the quality you get with a Suntech rod, the Genryuko is just what you are looking for.

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Angler holding brown trout alongside Suntech Genryuko

I was fishing a deeper hole with a fairly heavy beadhead and it seemed to work well. I really like the rod and the way it feels.

Shu O, Washington

Caught a nice rainbow today with the Genryuko. That rod can really control fish.

Adam K, New York

Hybrid striped bass alongside Suntech Genryuko

Hybrid striper!!! At least 3-4 lbs I would guess! Awesome fight.

Love it. Still fun on smaller fish (something I love about these style rods in general), but handles larger fish great. Nymph Rod, yes. Bass Rod, yes. Large fish, yes. Get my drift? Lol. LMK when the 39's arrive please. BTW, love the compact light weight Suntech quality.

Jeff R, Texas

Wanted to let you know I had an absolute blast this September with a Suntech Genryuko 36 that you sold me--putting it to work on the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers. It was a fantastic tool for contact nymphing, especially on the swifter, mid-sized reaches of the Taylor, where many fly-fisherman are relegated to pocket water. It handled multiple 18-20" browns on 6x-7x, and it took 22-24" rainbows to push the limit there (lost two of those near my feet.

That stiffness and soft/sensitive tip are perfect for tight line nymphing.

John J - Colorado