Tenryu Fly Rods? After carrying JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) rods for years now, I am convinced that they provide the best quality you can find. More and more rods these days are made in China to hold down costs. Making rods in Japan does cost more, but I believe the quality control and the attention to detail more than make up for the higher cost. American fly fishermen may not look to Japan for fly rods, but perhaps they should.
Tenryu rods in particular are
excellent quality. I've had their tenkara rods for a couple years now
and their spinning and baitcasting rods for over a year. They are truly wonderful rods.
The Tenryu Rayz spinning and baitcasting rods have "Learn a lesson from the past" painted on the blank. That sentence is not on the Tenryu fly rods, but that same philosophy is evident.
After fly rod makers switched from fiberglass to graphite decades ago, they gradually made their rods faster and faster, eventually getting to the point that the average fisherman had to overline the rods and still had a hard time with them. Fly fishermen who wanted a pleasant day on the stream rather than a macho exercise to see who could cast the furthest finally rebelled. The pendulum then swung all the way to the other side, and glass rods became all the rage.
Tenryu learned a lesson from the past and makes the Tenryu fly rods with a composite of graphite and glass. The Fates StreamWalker rods are 79% carbon and 21% glass. The Fates Packer rods are 70% carbon and 30% glass. The rods aren't pool cues and they aren't noodles. They are soft enough that you will be able to feel the rod load and unload. They'll be fun with the 6-7" brookies you'll find in small streams, but they'll handle the unexpected fish three times that size.
The Tenryu Fates StreamWalker comes in four lengths: 6'6", 7'3", 7'9" and 8'2". All are 3-wt rods. The rods differ not only in their length - they have very different actions. The shortest rod, at 6'6", is described by Tenryu as having a semi-parabolic action allowing tight loop casts at short range and targeting large fish in spots that are difficult to cast to. With a short break-down length, the rod is suitable for hiking into the headwaters.
The next longer rod, at 7'3", is described as having a fast action for pinpoint casting. It is noticeably stiffer than the next longer, 7'9" rod.
The 7'9" rod is described as bending from the middle part into the butt to prevent hooked fish from coming off. (At least, that's how Google Translate interprets it). It is pleasantly full flex and despite having the same carbon/glass percentage as the shorter rod, and is more reminiscent of glass or bamboo.
The longest of the StreamWalker series, at 8'2" is effective for loop control, line mending and long drifts. The supple tip and middle sections move with the fish to prevent fish from coming unhooked.
The reel seat hardware appears to be black colored anodized aluminum. The hardwood spacer is the same exotic hardwood used for the reel seat spacers on their premium Specta and Alter spinning rods. Without the plastic shrink wrap (above) the wood it is very nice indeed.
Tenryu offers two rods in their Packer series, both 3 wts. One is 7'0"
and one is 7'6".
The shorter rod has a breakdown length of 15 7/8" (16 1/4" inside its 6-compartment cloth rod sock and 18 1/2" inside it's rigid case). The rod weighs 2.2 ounces by itself and 4.0 ounces inside the cloth sock. Tenryu says it is flexible enough to enjoy leader fishing at close range. I take that to mean the rod will cast effectively with just the tapered leader beyond the rod tip. For small, brushy headwaters streams, being able to make short, accurate casts can be the difference between a skunking and a "many" day.
The longer rod, at 7'6" is described as having a medium fast action and suitable for both subtle fishing (casting to small targets) and making longer casts to big trout in larger pools.
The rods fully packed inside the rigid case weigh about 9 ounces. You might not want to take the case with you if you are backpacking, but this case would have saved the trip for a friend of mine. On the first day of a pack trip, the mule carrying the gear fell and broke his only rod.
Inside the sock but without the hard case, either rod would make a compact, light package that will easily fit in a backpack or carry-on bag.
The reel seat hardware appears to be gold colored anodized aluminum with a hardwood spacer. I am not a wood expert and cannot identify the wood. I am not a photography expert either, and have a hard time capturing the wood pattern through plastic shrink wrap.
Tenryu says the 6-piece blanks have the same supple curve as a one piece rod, helping anglers cast their flies accurately. Knowing how supple the curves are on their 8 section Furaibo TF39 and 14 section Furaibo TF39TA are, I believe them.
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|I love it. The rod [7'3" Stream Walker] has a very nice action and is fun to cast. The only thing that bothered me was the handle was kind of small.
I do have a couple of Orvis rods and I find myself using the Stream Walker and enjoying it more than the Orvis rods.
I have not landed any fish over 12 inches with this rod but the ones that I have, the rod performed excellent.
Dexter D, Indiana