Suntech Kurenai

The Suntech Kurenai rods are just delightful rods for little wild brookies (or greenbacks, or goldens, or redbands). They are to the average tenkara rod what a tenkara rod is to the average fly rod. They are light, they are sensitive, they are incredibly fun to fish with. The Suntech Kurenai HM30R is a 3 meter rod (9' 7") that weighs just .9 ounce. The rod has a wonderful feel to it. With a size 3 level fluorocarbon line, it almost casts itself. Even though size 3 level line is a light line, you can feel the rod load as you begin your forward cast.

Brown trout caught with Suntech Kurenai

These rods will spoil you. If you're not already obsessed with little wild trout in little wild streams, after fishing with these rods you will be. The rod's action is just perfect for the 4" to 8" trout one would find in such streams. The rod has enough reserve backbone to handle the unexpected 10 or 11 incher, but a fish of that size will give you a fight you won't soon forget. The longer rods will handle slightly larger fish, but these are not big fish rods.

The HM30R is not a rod for the main stream, or even the larger tributaries. It is a headwaters rod. A rod for people who delight in finding and following the narrow blue lines on the topo maps.

I first got in the HM30 rods to take to the 2012 International Fly Tying Symposium, where I sold every last one of 'em - before I even had a chance to write a page for them.

At the show, all we had to do is put a rod in someone's hand (and watch as their eyes got wide, their jaw dropped and they said "Wow!"),  then put a line on the rod, have them making beautiful casts in just a couple minutes, and then write up another sale. They really are that nice.

Even today, people who've heard about the rods but never seen one say "wow" when they pick it up. I warn people that this rod will cast a spell on you (The Curse of the Kurenai). If you even touch it you will want it. It will haunt you. You will buy one.

The Suntech HM33R, which is the next longer rod, is 11'2" and almost as light at just 1.1 ounces. The casting feel is very similar. Most of the medium to small streams that tenkara anglers fish are wide enough to use an 11'2" rod. The "standard" length of tenkara rods in Japan is probably the 3.6 meter rod, which generally run from 11'6" to 11'10" in length.

Small brown trout caught with Suntech Kurenai HM33R

The Suntech Kurenai HM33R is just a few inches shorter than the average tenkara rod yet weighs less than half as much. It will easily handle the fish that Japanese tenkara anglers catch, which mostly run 8-10". For that matter, it will easily handle most of the trout that US anglers catch, which on average are probably only a few inches longer.

You might not land the rare 18 incher, but you will certainly maximize the enjoyment of the fish you do actually catch on a day to day basis. (And that might be a better way to choose a rod!)

Red Breast Sunfish caught with Suntech KurenaiKurenai and Redbreast Sunfish. John E photo.

By the way, the HM33R also makes a dandy sunfish rod! It will cast far enough to reach them, it is sensitive enough to transmit the smallest "tick" when they take the fly, and boy will they put a bend in it!

The HM39R rods, at 12'10", may not be headwaters rods anymore, but if you have casting room for a 13' rod they really will spoil you. They weigh 1.5 ounce - less than half as much as most 13' rods. They aren't tip heavy! You'll never again be able to pick up a 3.6 ounce 13' rod and think it is anything but clunky.

Regular readers know that I often fish with a friend I call "Coach" (because with his coaching his granddaughter won both largest fish and smallest fish at a local fishing contest). The Kurenai HM39R is his "go to" rod. He likes it primarily because it is so light but also because it is surprisingly capable. He's caught trout to the mid teens with it, as well as hand size bluegills and bass up to a couple pounds. And despite my descriptions of the rod as a light rod with an incredibly soft and sensitive tip, he generally fishes the rod with a tungsten bead head nymph and a half inch thingamabobber. The tip is indeed soft, but there's some backbone behind it.

On a slightly wider stream, the Suntech Kurenai HM45R is just a truly sweet rod. It has all the reach of an Ito, yet weighs less than half as much. For fish up to maybe 15" it is just more pleasant to fish with than any of the other 4.5m rods out there.

Large rainbow trout in net
Broken Suntech Kurenai - these rods are not meant for big fish.

Coach often says that I underestimate the capability of the rods I sell. That may be true, but he's not the one who gets the emails when someone breaks a rod. I received an email from a guy who loved his Kurenai HM45R, but was surprised that it broke in three places when he hooked a 21" rainbow (he managed to grab the line and land the fish, which is how he knows how big it was).

The Kurenai rods are seiryu rods. In Japan, seiryu rods are used to fish for chubs and dace - none of which get bigger than about 7". These are not big fish rods. Even with 6.5X tippet, I definitely would not fish any of the Kurenai HM rods in a stream where hooking a 21" fish is a possibility. For that matter, I wouldn't use 6.5X tippet. I use 7X, which is more than strong enough to land any fish for which a Kurenai is a suitable rod.

Angler holding brown trout and Suntech Kurenai HM54R

The longest of the Kurenai rods, the HM54R and HM63R are fun rods for modest fish in bigger waters. They are the lightest rods you'll find for their length. Who would have thought a 17+' rod would weigh less than 3 ounces? Who would have thought a 21' rod would weigh less than 4 ounces?

New York stocks 9 1/2 to 10 1/2 inch trout. These rods are just ideal for those fish, and also for the holdovers, which are generally in the 13-14" range.

I think they would also be ideal for fishing ponds or lakes for bluegills and crappies or pretty modest bass. I would stay with tippet no stronger than 7X.

A little while ago I was pining for my Suntech Suikei ZPRO 54, which I truly loved but sold after Suntech discontinued the rod. I do like the FMX Keiryu ZPRO 53 quite a bit, but the Suikei ZPRO was a bit lighter and a bit softer. There is something about fishing with a rod that has a maximum (not minimum, maximum) tippet rating of 8X. Well, it turns out that the Kurenai HM54R is even lighter than the Suikei ZPRO 54!

Without the tip plug, it weighs just 2.6 ounces, which is phenomenal for a 17'8" rod! It has the same insanely light tip as the Kurenai HM30R, which means even a small fish can put a bend in it. It also means that if you are fishing with a keiryu rig (light tippet for your main line, a light split shot and yarn markers) there will be no bite that is too subtle to detect. And you know, there's no reason not to use 8X with the Kurenai! I feel better already.

14" trout caught with Suntech Kurenai HM64R

You can use the longest of the Suntech Kurenai rods for keiryu fishing if you know the waters and know you will not hook any large fish. This 14+" brown trout was caught with a a Suntech Kurenai HM63R and a light keiryu rig with 8X tippet to protect the rod. It worked just fine.

For modest fish in bigger water, it just doesn't get any better!

Years ago, Daiwa introduced a series of keiryu rods they called their Zero rods. The concept was to add as little as possible (as close to zero as possible) to the natural bait so as to achieve a drift as natural as possible. The Zero rods were rated for insanely light tippets. Well, the Kurenai rods are rated for tippet as light as 9X, which is certainly lighter than necessary. I have fished with 10X tippet. I wouldn't recommend it (although it will cure you of overly aggressive hooksets)!

With their extremely light, sensitive tips, along with 8X or 9X tippet, either no split shot or a size 6 or 10 split shot, a small hook and small bait, the Kurenai HM54R and HM63R can give you the most natural drifts and the most effective keiryu fishing experience you have ever experienced. You might might be surprised how many fish there really are in the streams you fish.

Small fallfish caught with Suntech Kurenai

A Great Micro Fishing Rod

After having had these rods for a couple years, and after having done micro fishing for quite some time, it finally dawned on me that the HM30R is also a superb micro fishing rod.

While it is considerably longer than all the other rods I had carried for micro fishing, at times a bit more length is an advantage. What sealed the deal, though, was recognizing how amazingly sensitive the tip is - even compared to the other micro fishing rods. I caught a 2" bluegill and was really a bit surprised that it put a good bend in the rod tip.

This is a rod whose tip will bend from the fight of an extremely small fish, yet will not be at risk if your extremely small fish gets eaten by a much larger one as you are bringing it in - which has happened! And if you happen to catch a 9" brookie when fishing for black nose dace (which has also happened) you can enjoy the fight without worrying about your rod. And of course, if you are fishing for baby bluegills and happen to see a 10" bass, you can yield to the temptation to cast to it, secure in the knowledge that the rod can handle it. (I would not cast to the 10" bass's momma, though!)

Blacknose Dace in Micro Photo Box.

If you fly fish for micros, the Kurenai HM30R can cast a line light enough that you can see it twitch when a black nose dace takes your fly!

Do not think that only the HM30R is suitable for micro fishing, though. The HM39R has some significant advantages. Not all micros are skittish, but some are. There will be more than a few times that the difference between a 30 and a 39 is the the difference between not catching and catching. Sometimes bait or fly placement is absolutely critical and with the HM39R you will be able to just lower the hook into the right spot. 

These rods are an excellent choice for people who enjoy catching smaller fish, whether they are 12" long or 1.2" long. They bridge the gap between fishing and micro fishing better than any other rod.

I know that most tenkara anglers are not micro fishermen. Most of the people who buy the Suntech Kurenai will fish for trout. These rods are sensitive enough for micros and beefy enough for trout and modest bass. Plus, they're almost certainly the lightest rods you've ever fished. They are just wonderful rods.

Satinfin shiner caught with size 26 Black Killer BuggerSize 26 Black Killer Bugger!

One last thing. The Suntech Kurenai rods are used in Japan to catch chubs. The chubs there are different than the chubs we have here (much prettier) but they are chubs nonetheless.

Personally, I think creek chubs are horribly underrated as a quarry, and are an awful lot of fun with the right equipment (and a Kurenai is definitely the right equipment). The photo below shows a nice creek chub caught by Alan L. You can be sure it put a good bend in the rod!

Large creek chub caught with HM30RKurenai HM30R and big creek chub. (photo courtesy of Vern Berry)

Suntech Kurenai Features

Suntech Kurenai - Smooth nonskid grip

The Suntech Kurenai grips are smooth to the touch but the covering is still a very effective non-skid finish. A grip that is smooth but not slick may not be what you expect, but it works. A change to the current non-skid grip is what lead to the minor name change - from HM30 to HM30R.

The grip is narrower than on the tenkara rods you may be familiar with, but the rod is incredibly light. You grip it with you finger tips, not your palm. I have not felt the grip is too narrow, and I doubt you will either. In Japan, anglers who use similar rods for tenkara fishing occasionally build up the grip with the wrapping material used for tennis racquet grips, but I have never felt it was necessary.

Lillian attached with swivel

The rod has a swivel attachment for the lillian similar to that that used by the high end Daiwa tenkara rods. It really does help reduce line twist and they are carefully engineered so that the tip section easily passes through the #2 section for disassembly.

Suntech Kurenai Tip Plug and Lillian
Suntech Kurenai Grip Screw Cap
Suntech Logo on rod

Please note: The Kurenai rods do not have a warranty. Replacement parts are available, though.

Tip Dia.
Butt Dia.

.9 oz
9' 7"


1.1 oz
11' 2"


1.5 oz
12' 10"


Suntech has discontinued the Kurenai HM series. They have replaced the HM rods with the Kurenai II AR series. I have ordered a few for evaluation but they have not yet arrived. When I have had a chance to fish with them I will edit this page.

Based on the stats, I expect that the new rods will not have the insanely flexible rod tip that was the prime characteristic of the HM rods. The new rods are 5 grams heavier and are rated for 6X rather than 6.5X.

* Weight is without the tip plug because the tip plug is not in the rod when you are fishing.

** The tippet recommendation is from Suntech. Personally, I would not use tippet stronger than 7X, and I would recommend not shopping around for the strongest 7X you can find. The tippet has to be the weak link, and it makes no sense to look for the strongest possible weak link. There is no guarantee that the tippet will break before the rod does.


Domestic shipping will be $12.00 - $15.00 via USPS Ground Advantage (2-5 day delivery).

Please note: All packages are shipped via USPS. If you have a PO Box, please list ONLY the PO Box in your address, not the PO Box and your street address.

Please do not put anything in the box for "Company" if it isn't absolutely necessary. Not "self", not "none" not "--", nothing. It wastes your time to put it in and it wastes my time to take it back out. Please just leave it blank.

International Shipments

International purchases may be subject to import duties and taxes. I cannot keep track of all import regulations in all countries written in all languages. Understanding and paying import duties and taxes is the responsibility of the buyer.

EU no longer ships to the EU.

Russia no longer ships to Russia.

UK no longer ships to the UK.
The new VAT regulations are too onerous for a one-man shop that rarely ships anything to the UK anyway. I apologize. 

TenkaraBum Home > Tenkara Rods > Suntech Kurenai

“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 Feb 25.

This Just In

Oni line size 2.5

Free Fly Tying Materials

Used Fishing Books and DVDs

3x5 Photo Tank (Imperfect)

Angler holding brown trout and Suntech Kurenai

This wonderful little rod is like the other Suntech rods. It is beautiful and light. It casts like a dream and is so much fun the catch fish with. It does have one problem though: After you have cast and fished this rod all other rods feel heavy and labored to use!! No joke, this rod will spoil you!

Tom D, Idaho

Teton Tenkara blog

WOW! What a fishing pole!

Stephen M, Massachusetts

I was one of lucky people to discover the Suntechs.  I got one of the 9'8" rods at the Fly Tying Show.

Frankly, I think it is a masterpiece.  

I am thinking of getting the next size up. I like the weight, action and speed. Is there a size bigger than the 33? Maybe a twelve footer?"

Justin A, Pennsylvania

The next longer rod is a 39, which is 12'10", 1.5 ounces, same collapsed length.


The rod cast the size 3 line so well I couldn't believe it.

 The rod does not have any feeling of tip heaviness or noticeable oscillations at the end of the cast. The Suntech 33 is a pure joy to cast.

Karl K, California

I received my Kurenai HM33R yesterday and I am impressed. This is my third Tenkara rod but it is my first "premium" one. I purchased it specifically for bluegill and I am already hurting for some warmer weather.

I have had great success with a lower quality rod, however, I could tell the difference in the quality and the feel of the rod in the first thirty seconds of holding the Kurenai.

I appreciate your passion for Tenkara and for making such fantastic rods and equipment available to the market place.

Thanks again

Chris A, Georgia

I finally was able to fish with the Suntech Kurenai HM30. What an amazing rod. I used 9.5' of 3.0 level line and 2.5' of 7X tippet. It casts a kebari and other tiny flies perfectly. I caught a couple of trout that were larger than expected and it managed them just fine. I count myself among the lucky ones in getting this rod...everything you said about it in your review is spot is the perfect tiny creek rod. I'm thinking about getting one of the longer models...just because.  

Rick P, Virginia

I have had a blast the past two days catching tiny (4 - 7") brookies in a high gradient northern XXXXXX county stream and wild browns in a XXXXXX stream. The browns ran 6 -12" (estimated) and my little Kurenai held up well (my tippet not so much on the estimated 12"er). I must say that I have found this type of fishing a refreshing and welcome change.

Mickey W, New York

Just to let you know I received the Kurenai HM39R and it looks fantastic but better yet it casts a #3  beautifully. Impressive.  Wow!!

Mark D, Alberta

Hey Chris, I absolutely love the Suntech Kurenai.  It is my new favorite rod. All I can say is that with the delicate presentation and sensitivity it is a fish killer. Earlier this week I was fishing for panfish and was surprised to hook up with a 3 lb bass which I am happy to say the rod handled beautifully.   

Steve F, Georgia

The rod is lite, smooth, and just beautiful. Shorter than my other rods, but not too much shorter. I'll adjust nicely. Absolute joy to cast. Thank you Chris, probably for the 50th time, for making these exceptional rods available for us fishing nuts.

Joe L, California

This rod [HM30R] is going to be so right for the creek chubs.

Alan L, Missouri

When the water got a bit smaller with more overhead cover I switched over to the HM33 and a 3.3M soft Fujino line which it really did cast to perfection as there was absolutely no breeze at all.  Tied on a Patriot Wulff and landed at least another dozen brookies.  These Kurenais are exceptional rods and really beautiful in the scarlet colors.  They feel as if they have no weight at all.  Again hooked and landed about another dozen fish and knocked off the biggest one, about 11 inches on the way out, he was really a fatty.  By the way those Wulff Patriot flies are very effective on brookie water, so you should give them a try.
Roger H, West Virginia

The biggest surprise was that for me [the HM45R] felt much less tip heavy than I expected - probably the result of the overall light construction.  It feels very nice in hand.      

George P, Washington

I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my Kurenai HM33R. I have caught Bluegills by the dozens, several Bass, Crappie and even a Channel Catfish on a black Killer Bugger. The sensitivity of the rod is amazing and has increased my ability to feel even the slightest take. Thanks for carrying such great products.

Chris A, Georgia

Thanks for the advice on that Kurenai! I'm in love.

Luis C, Florida

Little wild rainbow trout

Rainy day rainbows on the HM33R and a Utah Killer Bug. My son learned to cast it in about 3 minutes and began catching fish right away.

Bryan T, North Carolina

Kurenai is the best!

Buying lighter line...rod was a total gas! Hooked/released 12 yesterday...tenkara is more fun than I would have guessed...amazing way to deliver small flies to fish.

Mark L, Arizona

Just a brief note of thanks for the quick delivery of my Suntech HM30R rod and supplies. I've already had it out a few times with great results. This really is the ultimate in ultralight fly fishing. Thanks again.

Chris J, Pennsylvania

I've had the opportunity to use the Suntech Kurenai 30 that I purchased from you for a couple of months now and wanted you to know how pleased I am. What a buttery smooth, sensitive, FUN rod!

Frankly, when I contemplated buying it, I worried that it might not work out for my Central Texas waters. I typically fish lightly-weighted killer bugs, in slightly deeper water, but the rod has really been a delight. I've now caught over 50 stocker trout with it (typical 8"-12" size) and the Kurenai has been an absolute blast. The rod is exceptionally light and beautifully built. It's more capable than one would first imagine.

You could combine something like the Suntech Field Master II 39 with the little Suntech Kurenai and handle most fishing situations with style! Just use a light tippet to protect the tip, and you're set to go. Thanks again for offering such superior rods.

John E, Texas

Hey Chris, I was a little leary when I received the Suntech HM30R but I found a honey hole for bluegills today and found this rod perfect for the job. I lost count of how many I caught today but had the best fishing day ever! Thanks!

Sunburned and smiling,

Don D, Michigan

I caught my 1st fish on the 39R  a 10"  rainbow in a small but really fast stream.  What  a battle!  I love that little stick.  

Ken B, Montana

The Suntech Kurenai that I purchased from you years ago is still one of my favorite / most used rods.  

Joey B, California

Just came back from the Conejos in southern Colorado, took the HM39R, two other tenkara rods, and my 5 and 8 weight fly setups.  Used the HM39R the whole time, not sure what I'm going to do with all my fly gear . . .

The rod was able to land an 18" brown (measured it against my net, not my imagination) without too much difficulty.  For some reason, the tenkara setup seems to tire the fish out faster than my fly rods.

Sang S, New Mexico

I received the Kurenai 54 on the 26th, fished it 27th and 28th on my favorite midge hole. 8 inches of snow, air temp 30, water 40. Two guys laughed at my long rod, getting used to that, but they stopped when I started catching fish. An hour into it when my feet started to get cold I cleared off a rock, sat down with feet out of the water, and kept catching when they were up to their waist grumbling about my catching while staying warm. Good times. I was able to cover 50% of the hole while sitting in the sun, and was able to fish the rod one handed the whole time. Can not wait to use this rod on the Madison and Gallatin this summer. Again, thanks for the professionalism and quick service

Don R, California

I really love this rod [HM30R]. It has served me well fishing for brook trout in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia, as well as fallfish in the local creeks near my home.

Andrew M, Wash. DC

Had my best fishing day yet in Colorado using the HM45R for the first time. 30+ fish in under 3 hours, 3 to 13 inches.  Never had that much control of the fly before. Used the same fly and 7x tippet the entire morning. Thank you.

John O, Colorado

Got my first chance to fish the 45R and it really is a sweet rod.   So light for its length (or even a shorter length!) and casts a #3 line with ease.   Got 4 11-13” bows today and it was great fun bringing them in.

You and your site are a class act; I will be recommending you to all Tenkara folks I meet!

Marc B, Oregon

I'm not one for writing product endorsements (this is the first actually). This summer I purchased the Suntech Kurenai 30, 39 and 45. I assumed that your write up describing how people light up when they hold one and get out their wallet after casting it, was a bit of good-natured hyperbole.  

Not so.  As with all of your recommendations, it was based on real experience that is helpful to so many exploring fixed line fishing.  I echo the comments of all the others who have praised Suntech models.  I would emphasize what little effort is needed to cast fine lines.  The thin soft tip atop a sturdy but light base feels as if the line and rod are one continuous flow of energy.  

I am so taken with the effectiveness of the reach of the 45 that I have ordered the Sawanobori 53 for the bigger waters I fish.

Rod T, Sasketchewan

Well the verdict is in.  The Kurenai [33] is a great little bluegill rod.  It casts wonderfully and the long slow action is perfect.  I caught several bluegill in the 8-9 inch range (and one 10 inch crappie) and the rod handled them quite well, although you do have to play them a little.

Eric P, North Carolina

Thanks Chris. This rod [HM39R] is just crazy fun to fish with.

Kenneth W, Virginia

Had a great day Friday with the Kurenai HM30R. Gosh what a rod (first time out with it).  Interestingly, I fished the morning with my western style rod and reel. Landed a couple. Then after switching to Tenkara after lunch, I realized for the first time how effective Tenkara is on small water. Being able to manipulate the fly without disturbing the water was an epiphany. The Kurenai out-fished the fly rod 3:1.  I’ve been western fly fishing close to fifty years which has helped my learning curve with Tenkara but I’ll tell you, Tenkara has brought new joy! Thanks for being the one who introduced me to it!!

Joe G, North Carolina