The TenkaraBum 40 is not just the TenkaraBum 36 with one more section. It is built on a different blank, optimized to give performance as close as possible to the TenkaraBum 36 while minimizing any tendency for tip heaviness. The 40 has a slightly longer collapsed length, allowing Suntech to make a longer rod with the same number of sections. That improves the bend profile and also keeps down the weight. The penny measurement is exactly the same as the TenkaraBum 36.
For the TenkaraBum 40 to have the exact same penny rating as the TenkaraBum 36 is a tribute to the skill of the Suntech engineers. I told them I wanted the rod to feel like the TenkaraBum 36 and then let them go. I don't have years and years of experience working with different tapers, wall thicknesses, resins and prepregs (pre-impregnated carbon cloths). They do. They were able to make a rod that is longer but feels almost the same - exactly what I wanted and what was wanted by the people who shortly after getting a TenkaraBum 36 asked me for a TenkaraBum 40.
The TenkaraBum 40 is just a bit faster than most tenkara rods. The tip sections are a bit softer and the mid sections are a bit firmer. Having slightly softer tip sections yields two benefits: the rod will cast a very light line very easily, and the rod tip will still dance when you have a small fish on the line. You can feel the fight of a warpaint shiner, like the one above caught in North Carolina when I was there for the Tenkara Jam. If you want to fish small flies on a light line, the TenkaraBum 40 is an excellent choice.
Having slightly firmer mid sections also yields two benefits: you can get good hook sets when fishing weighted nymphs and you have a bit more control, making it a bit easier to guide good sized fish out of the current and into quieter water.
The TenkaraBum 40 was not designed with bass in mind, but the firmer midsection gives you the muscle you need to cast larger flies and to tire larger fish.
Of course, if you fish for bass with flies, you will catch sunfish also. With the softer tip sections, the Tenkarabum 40 is not overkill for sunnies. You might even find youself fishing for sunnies. If the nearest trout stream is three states away, there are few better ways to spend a summer afternoon.
I have fished the Suntech TenkaraBum 40 with everything from a 2.5 to a 4 level line, and with the 3.6m and 4m Fujino White lines. So far, my favorites have been a size 3 level line or the 3.6m Fujino White line (the Fujino White lines seem to be just a little longer than the length shown on the package).
If you are one of the many tenkara anglers who really like the TenkaraBum 36 but have wished there was longer model, now there is. Even if you have never fished with a TenkaraBum 36, if you've wanted a light weight, very responsive rod of about 13' that is fun with smaller fish and has the ability to handle larger fish, the Suntech TenkaraBum 40 may be just the rod you've been looking for. That is especially true if you want to fish weighted nymphs as well as
unweighted wets and dries.
The Tactical Nymphing that a number of us
have been working on, most notably Rob Worthing of the Tenkara Guides,
but also Erik Ostrander (also of Tenkara Guides), Jeff Lomino of
Riverworks and Chris Hendriks (a tenkara guide in Norway) in addition to myself, has basic
principles rather than rigid rules. One of those principles is using a
rod that can cast modestly weighted nymphs on a light line, yet still
have sufficient backbone to yield good hook sets and to maneuver hooked
fish into quiet water.
The TenkaraBum 40 is one such rod, and of the various rods that are well suited to Tactical Nymphing, it is the most "all-around" in that it is also very well suited to fishing delicate dries or standard unweighted kebari. More and more people are telling me it is now their "go to" rod.
Tactical Nymphing often involves fishing with a pair of modestly weighted nymphs. The reason for two flies is not to catch two fish at once, although that will happen occasionally. Instead, it allows fishing with two different patterns or at two different depths (or both). Fishing with two weighted flies requires a rod that has sufficient backbone to handle the weight, but also has the ability to handle the light line and light tippet that is also a key element in Tactical Nymphing.
For Tactical Nymphing line, I occasionally use 0X Varivas fluorocarbon tippet
and a TenkaraBum Tactical Nymphing Sighter. A clear line and white
sighter is about as stealthy as you can get, yet still registers strikes
very well. The only disadvantage with the clear fluoro tippet is that
it is a bit shiny. On a very bright sunny day, the Sanyo Valcan size 2.5 line might be a bit better. It is a bit thinner and
isn't at all shiny.
There are tenkara anglers in the US and Japan who will adamantly maintain that tenkara is only for trout and only for mountain streams. Tactical Nymphing does not have such rigid restrictions. It works quite well on big water. It works quite well for grayling. If you switched from a small nymph to a hellgrammite immitation, it would work for smallmouth bass.
The TenkaraBum 40 is equally at home on a big river as on a mountain stream. I know for a fact it works quite nicely fishing for bass from a boat. Trout, bass, grayling, sunnies, shiners - perhaps you shouldn't call it a tenkara rod. Just call it a TenkaraBum 40. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's in a class by itself, but it is unique.
Although the Suntech TenkaraBum 40 blank is different than the TenkaraBum 36 blank, the grip, grip screw cap and tip plug are the same for both rods.
The grip is hard EVA foam, which provides an excellent nonskid grip (and is less expensive than cork, allowing the money to go toward a higher quality blank). The grip screw cap is knurled for easy tightening and removal, and rounded for comfort. The tip plug fits quite snugly and will not fall out when you least expect it. Because of the tight fit, do not insert the tip plug when the line is attached. The tip section has Suntech's signature "Lillian Spin" swivel, which does help to reduce line twist and which easily passes through the second section.
Length extended - 13' 1 1/2"
Length collapsed - 23 5/8"
Weight without tip plug - 2.6 oz
Grip - Shaped EVA foam
Sections - 8
Tip Diameter - .65mm
Recommended tippet - 6x-5x
Pennies - 18.5
The TenkaraBum 40 when collapsed is too long to fit in any of the Ebira rod quivers. It will fit (just barely) in the medium rod case.
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| I think the TB 40 is one of the best rods on the market, if not the best 400 cm rod currently available. I love the way it casts, dampens, fights fish, and it's balance is perfect.
Tom D, Idaho
| I really like this rod. For an all around Tenkara rod you may find none better. It is just a bit less tip flex than the TB36, but still maintains the backbone the TB36 is known for. So far I have thrown weighted nymphs, split shot killer buggers, and weightless kebari without compliant. Rod has handled hybrid striper and even a small carp on 5x tippet. It's rated to 4x. This is a very capable rod in the right hands. I can recommend this to anyone who loved their TB36 but wanted a longer version. Your dreams have come true.
Jeff R, Texas
| The TenkaraBum 40 is my favorite rod.
Jeff P, Connecticut
|What a rod! I caught 7 rainbows out of Wilson Creek. You really need to promote your line of rods more. What a silky smooth progression in both the casts and fighting the fish. I caught fish from 12-15 inches, all planted, but lots of fun.
Les A, Idaho
| The rod performed well for me as always. Will continue to use it as my guide rod.
Rob W., Tenkara Guides LLC, Kentucky