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Getting Started

Why Tenkara?

Learn why people have been talking about this simple Japanese method of fly-fishing

Tenkara fly fishing is appealing for several reasons, especially:

Its simplicity, intuitiveness, high effectiveness that stems from the drag-free drifts and terrific presentations allowed by the long tenkara rod and tenkara line, pin-point accurate casting, portability, and fun.

Most anglers who enjoy Western-style fly-fishing are often initially attracted to and enjoy the simplicity of the method of tenkara to catch fish, which uses only a tenkara rod, line and fly and gives you direct connection to the fish. But, simplicity wouldn't mean much without tenkara fly-fishing being effective. Developed by professional tenkara anglers in the mountain streams of Japan, tenkara is an incredibly effective method of fly-fishing. The effectiveness of tenkara fly-fishing primarily stems from the significant advantage of keeping the fly line off the water’s surface at long distances, with the fly on the other side of multiple currents and the line not being dragged by the currents. Furthermore, tenkara anglers primarily fish with a tight line as they present the fly, which makes hooking and catching fish easy.

Intuitiveness is another reason many anglers enjoy fishing with a tenkara rod rather than a Western-style fly rod. Unlike Western fly-fishing, there is no need to spend much time learning how to cast. With tenkara fishing, you learn how to quickly rig your system (tenkara line to rod, tippet to line, and tippet to fly), learn how to cast within minutes and then are able to focus on the experience of fly-fishing, and on learning the most important aspects of fly-fishing: identifying where fish will be and properly presenting the fly to them.

How to Tenkara Fish: The Complete Guide

Learn in 17 minutes. Learn everything you've ever wanted to know about tenkara. In this video, Daniel Galhardo, who introduced tenkara outside of Japan, will guide you through all aspects of tenkara. 



The Quick Guides to tenkara fly-fishing

Quick Guides to tenkara fly-fishing can be viewed here or downloaded by clicking the arrow on the upper left corner. The Quick Guides to tenkara fly-fishing can is an excerpt from tenkara - the book. The tenkara book has diagrams of how to fish with a tenkara rod, level lines and flies and can be a handy companion on your first few outings as you discover tenkara fly-fishing and its advantages.

The Book

In tenkara - the book, Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo shows just how simple fixed line fly-fishing can be. This book is a complete guide to the tenkara techniques, tenkara gear, history and philosophy of tenkara, and the method of fly-fishing of Japanese tenkara anglers.

How to Choose the Tenkara Rod

Selecting the Perfect Tenkara Rod? Allie Marriott Shows You How!

Looking to find your ideal Tenkara USA® rod?

Jump into this enlightening video as tenkara guide, Allie Marriott simplifies the selection process tailored to your specific needs. Discover considerations like water size, fish size, fly types, and water canopy.

Remember, every Tenkara USA rod is stamped with our promise - the Tenkara Care™ Lifetime Guarantee. If you see Tenkara USA on the label, you're in safe hands.

From intimate streams to broad rivers, be it big fish or small ones, Tenkara USA ensures you're geared up right. Dive in, learn, and let your next fishing chapter unfold!



Need More Insights?

Our passionate tenkara team is here to assist!
Just reach out and we'll guide you on your tenkara expedition.

Three Easy Choices

If you wish we offered fewer options, you can easily narrow the choices of the best tenkara rods down to 3 “all-arounder” rods: the Hane (our adventure rod, ideal if you're looking for a solid tenkara rod that is super compact), the 12ft Iwana (a great value all-around tenkara rod), and the Sato (our premium all-around rod)

These rods are very easy for us to recommend, with the other rods in the lineup being considered more “specialty” tenkara fishing rods.

If in doubt: just get the 12ft Iwana, or the triple-adjustable Sato (10ft8in to 12ft9in), primarily based on your budget.

Smaller Streams – one more choice 

The Rhodo! Named after the Rhododendron that surrounds small streams, the Rhodo is an adjustable tenkara fly rod that can be fished at 8 feet 10 inches, 9 feet 9 inches, or 10 feet 6 inches. It is a delightful tenkara fly rod that feels incredibly light on the hand at only about 2oz overall. This is the best tenkara rod to add to your fly-fishing gear if you're primarily targeting smaller mountain streams. 

Bigger Fish – two more choices

We have developed two tenkara rods with more backbone if you frequently catch fish that are 17″ (43cm): the adjustable Ito (13' /14'7"), and the 13ft 6in Amago have more backbone and make landing the larger fish a bit easier. The Ito is the premium fixed-line rod, and Daniel's unabashedly favorite tenkara fly rod.

Some further thoughts on how we make our recommendations on the best tenkara rods

Rod length, start here

The first question you should ask yourself when choosing the perfect rod is which length is right for the majority of fly fishing you plan to do.  Generally speaking, we always recommend using the longest tenkara rod you can get away with.  This will give you more reach, help you keep more line off of the water and give you more control over your fly (one of the main benefits of tenkara fishing).

A 12ft (360cm) tenkara rod is a very standard length for tenkara. But, if you live near pretty small streams with low, overhanging branches, then a shorter tenkara rod (say in the  11ft / 330cm range ) might let you cast and maneuver more easily under the canopy.

Secondly, the type of water

In either case, you should decide on your tenkara fly fishing rod choice based on the waters you’ll fish the most. AND, keep in mind a longer rod will have the added versatility of giving you reach in more open sections of a stream while having the ability to be “fished shorter” by holding the rod above the handle and potentially even collapsing one segment. Further, pairing a long rod with a short level line is a very effective combination in smaller streams.

Fish size, last consideration

  • All tenkara rods are made for the average trout and other smaller species of fish: 8″ – 18″ (20 – 45cm).
  • All tenkara rods will handle the occasional 20+ incher (50cm +). So, if your targeted fish size is within those ranges, fish size should have little bearing on the rod choice: ANY ROD WILL WORK FINE.
  • If you’re constantly catching big fish that are over 17 inches (43cm), then look at the big fish tenkara rods like the Ito and Amago more seriously. 
  • As it is such a versatile rod, it is hard to make the “wrong” choice, and we guarantee you will enjoy whichever tenkara rod you purchase.

Tenkara Rod Trade-in Program

If you have purchased a non-Tenkara USA rod but are interested in upgrading, please take a look at our. We offer a 30% discount on any tenkara rod toward the purchase of one of our rods. 


For more information on choosing a tenkara rod, here are some articles on how to buy a tenkara rod for a specific location:

Choosing a tenkara rod for the Sierra Nevada
Best tenkara rod for Sawtooth mountain range
Tenkara rods for Colorado, Front Range and Boulder

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