Auxilliary Rod Grips

I recently brought up the subject of auxiliary rod grip to shorten Tenkara style rods. The idea is not new but while there are rod models which come with two different tips, I am unaware of butt section currently available.

I confess to not having made my first length-reducing butt since new ideas constantly impinge themselves (as easier methods,) and in the latest iteration, suggest quantities which necessitate this becoming a commercial venture.

If indeed, rod makers discontinued this option, perhaps the idea is not commercially viable. I’m only one person, so personally, I wouldn’t need very many for myself.

To be specific, I could make and sell rod grips to fit some distal rod sections at a price that would, (one hopes,) make the venture attractive with easy-to-use, economical replacement handles. Again; I’m aware of zoom rods.

And, parenthetically, anyone who watches, Shark Tank on TV, knows that the investor’s do not favor ideas which require educating users.

How could I get an idea of this idea’s viability as to investing a largish chunk of cash? Your comments are appreciated, and, the more, the better.


Hi Barry. Just from an average user stand point (and keeping in mind that I am just one user with an opinion) I don’t see the utility of an auxiliary rod grip. There are a lot of zoom rods that are already available that provides a lot of opinions for users. For example, if I am using the Sato, I can choke up on the shortest length to create a rod that is close to 2 feet shorter than its original length. I personally would not want to have to fiddle with adding an additional grip to make a rod longer or shorter. I would just move my body to change the distance or move my hand on the grip to alter the rod length. Again, just one person’s opinion.

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I agree with Jason, and would add that tenkara is already a pretty niche market and I would personally not want to invest any product even if I thought it were brilliant.

I fish a number of different rods of different grip sizes, shapes, and materials. For me, I dont think much about the grips themselves being different enough to be a deciding factor, nor a difference between a 320 or 380 rod being a deciding factor if blank attributes were similar. As Jason notes length differences are compensated in so may different ways.

I would be interested in trying a few different handle styles on the same blank in order to figure out which shape works best for me, although I don’t think that is really your intent.
I have less interest modifying the lengths of my rods…

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I agree with Harry. My only thoughts about rod alterations have been with the handle style itself.
On occasion, while fishing, I would think to myself, “how would this rod feel with a wooden handle?”, or “would I enjoy this rod more if the cork handle was thinner?” More about grip material and width.

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For most Japanese tenkara rods that are available in multiple lengths (for example the Nissin Zerosum and Royal Stage), all the sections above the grip are exactly the same for all lengths of the rod. Thus, purchasing a replacement grip section solves the issue Barryk raised. Please note that does not hold for the zoom rods!

Parenthetically, that also explains why all Japanese tenkara rods count sections with the rod tip as #1. The tip section, for example, is exactly the same for the Zerosum 6:4 320 as for the Zerosum 6:4 360, and 400 and 450. Counting from the tip gives it one part number (Zerosum 6:4 #1). Counting up from the grip would give the tip section (which is identical for all rod lengths) four different part numbers, which makes absolutely no sense.


In the early days Tenkara USA offered the Iwana with an exchangeable grip section. While I never owned one, I suspect that the reason that it is no longer offered is because it didn’t sell well. Besides in the field, two and three position zoom rods are much easier to adjust the length of the rod from above the grip than swapping out the grip itself.

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I’m not sure if I see an advantage of having multiple rod handles for the same rod. However, it is an interesting idea.

Again, we are not talking about zoom rods, although there have been many comments over the years regarding the fact that most zoomers don’t behave the same at all lengths, (physics again.) I’ talking about rods which are part of a "family.) This would include popular rods such as the Suntech Kurenai, as an example. This rod is available, in lengths of 30cm to about 65cm.

Perhaps your interest in starting with buying the longest to start, and then having a grip to fit whatever set of joints you would like as a second or third rod–and instead of buying multiple rods at a cost of &175 (including shipping,) for the 30cm rod and prices going up from there when you could buy an inexpensive handle is absent? But, that explains more fully, my proposal.

And for those who choke up, I have no rebuttal, but for myself, I’d prefer to buy one 6 meter rod and have every shorter length iteration for a few bucks. However, the fact is that the cost of making one-off handles for my personal use is a fraction of what it would take to amortize the start-up costs to make this a commercial venture so I guess that this is a dead issue.

I will still make public the process of do-it-yourself as it unfolds–in the future. But a commercially made handle would be much neater and more refined–but not custom made to your individual taste.

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Thanks Chris S for explaining why “my” handle idea could work–and as usual, doing a better job of it than I.

I think the problem you will find is similar to the issue found in zoom rods. The angler finds one length out of the rest that fishes optimal to them and the other lengths get neglected.

Changing handles in the field would not appeal to me, even if it offered a perectly performing rod at a new length. There is the risk of damaging the sections and also the logistics of storing the unused segments and extra handles. From a storage standpoint, in the field or not, handles have the same footprint as the rod.

Most of us carry multiple rods for backup or completely different applications.

The interchangable parts concept that Chris Stewart notes probably has the most utility for the manufacturer than the angler. For the angler it might be a convenience if the rod breaks. In theory, a rod shouldnt break unless it is a freak accident.

In genetal I pick a rod length i want to fish based on the type of water and size of fish I am targeting. It is rare that I will want to size up or down during an outing.

I know you want this idea to work, but in general there isnt a ton of utility in changing rod lengths. There is actually more utility in becoming intimate and learning to fish one length or one rod really well.

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