The Ultimate Tenkara Starter Kit

Do you hate making decisions? I know I do. I’ve been dating the same girl for 7 years and I still haven’t popped the question. No kidding. 7 years.

For someone new to the Tenkara game, the ever-expanding selection of things like rods and lines can get a bit overwhelming. Some of the most frequent questions we come across in email, on forums, and on the phone are “Which rod is right for me? What line should I get? 6:4 action or 5:5? Furled or Level?”

Such questions are usually followed more questions. Questions about what type of water, wind speed, or fish size you expect. But that just complicates the picture. Before you know it, you’re spending hours on the internet searching for answers and explanations when you could have been fishing and having fun. That is the point, right? Go outside, catch fish, and have fun?

So in the interest of getting people out there, fishing and having fun, we wanted to provide a “no decisions needed” list of basic gear, including a brief explanation of why each item was chosen, and a URL where you can make your purchase where applicable.

Here’s the Tenkara Guides answer to The Ultimate Tenkara Starter Kit:

1)The Rod.
Tenkara USA 12ft Iwana. The best all-around rod on the market. Covers a wide range of conditions, types of water, and fish sizes. Great quality at a great price. And wonderful customer service.

2)The Line.
Tenkara Bum Hi-Vis Fluorescent Orange Level Line, size 3.5.
Hi-Vis means you can see your line, which makes learning to cast and detect strikes easier. 3.5 means your line is light enough to easily keep it tight and off the water, key skills when fishing Tenkara. It balances well with the Iwana rod. Cut it into 10-12 foot sections, and you’ll get 4-5 lines out of one 20 yard spool.

3)The Tippet.
Size 5X monofilament, any brand.
You can find this stuff at any fishing shop. Or pick some up at Tenkara USA when you buy your rod. 5X is the best all around size. We rarely use anything else. We use fluorocarbon most often, but monofilament is cheaper. Either way, we NEVER LEAVE ANY tippet or line on the river.

4)The Fly.
The Fly Stop Kebari, Black, size 14.
Fish eat flies. So do trees, bushes, submerged logs and rocks, etc. You’re gonna loose flies. At 55 cents per fly, it’s hard to argue with the Fly Stop. Get a dozen or two. Black size 14 is a great all-around style. Mix in size 12 too. When you’re ready to start tying your own, try Tenkara Bum Utah Killer Bug Kit (the one fly we use most often).

Total price for a quality kit with everything you need to get started? About $183.55.

Beat that, Western fly anglers.

We’ve got a few posts in the works reviewing all sorts of other rods, lines, and accessories. Worry about all that other stuff later. Right now . . .



3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Tenkara Starter Kit

  1. By Donald Larmouth June 29, 2011 – 9:28 amIn response to the ariclte on the Tenkara rods, here are my observations. Japanese trout streams have fast rapids and shallow pools where a clumsy angler will know swift defeat, for the trout are quick, alert, and cautious. The contrast between the mountain streams of Japan and the smooth currents of the Driftless Area streams of southwest WIsconsin could not be greater, but for each, the Tenkara system has equal potential.Successful anglers in the Driftless Area are dealing with small wary trout, but if the angler is stealthy the Tenkara system affords significant advantages. The Tenkara angler can hold his furled line so that only the tippet portion of the leader touches the water. He can control his false casts with few if any mistakes.The Tenkara system has also been successful in a still water environment. In this situation, the angler makes a cast and leaves the fly on the surface. He can drag or twitch the fly to attract a strike or cast from a drifting boat. In Ireland, this is called dapping . The anglers attach a kind of windsock to their lines and control the presentation by raising or lowering the windsock as it moves above the surface. The long light line of the Tenkara system can substitute for the rather clumsy system used in Ireland.The Tenkara equipment is straightforward: a light long rod which telescopes into a two foot tube, a furled line, a tippet, and very light flies. It allows the angler to cast in small spaces with light fliesMy personal experience suggests that the Tenkara system is not limited to fast mountain streams and can readily be adapted to other environments.Donald LarmouthGreen Bay. Wisconsin

  2. Thank you for the great information. I can not wait to start trying Tenkara fly fishing and to schedule a guided trip!

    • By Mark Cole June 28, 2011 – 10:03 amTwo years ago I took Chris Hunt and two others fihnsig in a small stream above Leadville, CO. I was new to Tenkara and had my newly purchased Yamame, a Tenkara fly rod, in my pack. Since I was showing the boys around, hosting the trip, I was not planning to fish. We arrived at the first site where the stream crosses the trail and stopped to rig up. While Chris and the others were stringing up rods, putting on waders, tying on flies I got bored just standing around. So I pulled the Yamame out of my pack, walked to the stream, caught a nice 8 cutthroat, and returned the rod to my pack. All this being done while the others were rigging up. I was very impressed by how effecient the Tenkara system is. I’m glad to see that Chris caught the Tenkara bug.I’ve given several presentations on Tenkara various groups, including my local chapter the Collegiate Peaks Anglers. I would be pleased to do the same for other Colorado Chapters that have an interest.

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