BC Honryu Fishing


I figured that I would move the conversation we have been having in the market place to the main forum.

I have been fishing fixed lines in British Columbia for the last year and a half catching mostly trout and the odd coho jack. I have primarily used a TB Traveller 39 as an all around rod and a Keiryu x 45 to cast weighted flies. I won’t call this thread Tenkara because most of my fishing in the winter is using weighted nymphs but during the summer and fall I prefer to use kebari and the odd DH caddis.

On the two rods mentioned above I have landed a few trout approaching the 20” mark, a few char up to 22” and a couple coho jacks which were around 16-18”. In order to pursue the larger anadramous fish we have in our coastal rivers i purchased a Multiflex Sumui 5.0 last fall and received it this spring. The rod an it’s application have been discussed at length on the “wtb multiflex sumui 5.0” thread in the market place if you are interested in reading it there.

I figured that I would use this thread to share some catches as well as to discuss techniques and tactics that are working for me.

On my second outing with the rod I caught a bull that was probably around 23” but very well fed and in a weight class that I had yet to encounter (at least without the fish immediately breaking off). I shared a photo of the fish in the other thread but I will add it here as well.

My next trip out I hooked into and landed an even larger fish however when the fish took its first real run the rod failed completely (exploded into multiple parts) at the second section. I had to quickly follow the upper sections of the rod out into the river and when I recovered the rod was able to net the fish. Here is a photo that a friend took of it.



Obviously I am a bit disappointed that the rod failed. I had purposely used 5x tippet to minimize the chance of something like that occurring. I have never had a rod fail like that on me and I have landed bull trout above 20” on both of the rods previously mentioned.

On my side I could have moved with the fish as it ran rather than trying to stop its run with just the rod. I feel like I should have also utilized more side pressure to move the fish back out of the current rather than simply trying to stop its run.

I was wondering if anyone else had any opinions? I reached out to Plat (where I purchased the rod) and their reply was that it is very unlikely that the rod would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty but did not have any real suggestion about what would cause the rod to fail before the tippet. I am going to purchase another section but I am just a bit on the fence because even though this fish was large there are much larger fish in our rivers. Furthermore i was extremely lucky that the flow was very low the day I was fishing which allowed me to wade out and recover the rod which would not be possible most days.

Any thoughts would be appreciated as I mull over how to proceed. I may have to go back to the Keiryu x. Even though it’s a broomstick the only time it has ever broken was when I accidentally stepped on it :joy:


Rods break. Even the “best” rods break. I can’t comment on why you Suimu 5.0 broke but I lend you my sympathy.

The more I fish fixed line rods, the more I embrace the chance of the rod I’m using breaking. I have no illusions that the rods are indestructible. But I too feel that they should perform within specified limits.

I don’t target large fish. It’s not my thing. But I do know that tenkara is not designed for large fish. In my hands, a tippet rating isn’t an invitation to catch large fish.

There are a couple companies that make tenkara rods specifically designed for large fish. Look at Zen Tenkara and Wasatch Tenkara. The later claims that none of their rods have every been broken by a fish.

You have my sympathy. My only advise is to lower your tippet test poundage. Don’t look at X rating, look at the breaking limit of the tippet. Continue to use good large fish technique and have fun. Maybe try a different rod. I love the Suimu 5.0, but it’s not Superman.



I have been writing a bit on this topic recently in a number of threads. Look at some of my replies so what I write here is not redundant. I am not a big fish hunter with fixed line, but hunt for big fish using other means.

To cover some thoughts specific to your larger fish hunting and rod failures.

  1. Targeting large fish you are pushing the extents of what these rods may be capable of. You may be putting more strain on these rods. Part of understanding the limits may require trial and error. This stage may have a cost. Consider what you are doing with a rod as being you being like wright brothers. You will experiment and you will have failures, but you will also find an avenue to make it work. Some engineering might be wrong. Some engineering might be fine, but the technique/application wrong. In fishing and other endeavors I have found correcting my behavior fixes problems that others might reconcile with a change in equipment.

  2. In my experience, longer rods are prone to more incidental contact with objects. Incidental whacks on trees or boulders or beadheads can produce a weak spot that under stress can fail. I would say this is common. I like rods that might have more glass in them. Some high end rods and suspect these long rods might use more graphite to sacrifice durability to be lighter. I have seen some rods on amazon lifting a full gallon can of paint…hahahaha. That is not the rod you own.

  3. Fish behave differently in different circumstances. Length and weight is not directly related to a fishes power. We can have a bigger fish fight like a wet rag under the right conditions. An individual fish will have different states of power as well. Current, Water temps, How it is feeding, its’ health, and even things like how full its stomach is can factor on hard a fish will fight and how powerful it is. No different than how strong we are at any moment in time.

  4. I shared this below link in the other thread. Preflight is really important. You are learning things but you should revisit your big fish resources and give it a refresh every time you fail. If current is heavy and we cannot move, this may be a no solve situation. The surface area of a large fish in current if it were turn sideways or windsock(open its mouth) can break our tippet and put incredible strain on our rods. Even with a fish that is just dead weight not fighting. All we need is to make one error and game over. There may be conditions that you find with experience, are just not fishable. If there is no soft water, we cannot move, and the current is too heavy…it may not make sense to engage.


  1. There is a find balance in rod attributes for it to be pleasing. This is a personal thing that only you can experiment with and find the right one for how you fish. I personally dont like stout rods but they may be the best for your application.

  2. Addition: On the Power curve. Technically the power curve is a high stick senario. In other disciplines, any rod angle over 45 degrees is a high stick…which may seem absurd but a rod builder once told me this. I pick rods I can high stick and can abuse in every discipline. We are going to make mistakes and really tenkara rods are made to high stick. Like anything else, not all rods are created equal. I would say if this rod you have fails in the same way then it was not a fluke. I would try to identify why it is failing. A big no-no is to pull on any part of a tenkara rod other than the handle under load. Doing this could damage the rod and create a failure many fish later. If you are not doing this and it fails again, I would move to a different rod entirely for the type of fishing you are doing.

  3. This may the most important. You need to find folk who are like you. Targeting really large fish. Most guys, including myself do not and our opinion is largely limited to incidental encounters. We cannot provide adequate advise for you. We are trying to help, but really you will get the most from someone who focus is large fish.

Hope it helps. In general, when I hunt big fish with spinning or a fly rod. I tend to go stout and durable and tend to sacrifice light and sensitive.

Uneducated, I would say something in the 4m length but stout might be worth a try. A long rod is great to protect the tippet and bungee a fish. It is horrible to fish with in terms of presentation control and can put a lot of strain on an angler during a fight. We are on the wrong side of the lever. That said, I am not doing what you are doing and I dont know how you fish.

Like I note, you need to search for folk who do what you are doing, but also may need to figure out what is right for you. Just be scientific about your approach and enjoy the ride.


Consider the Riverworks Monster and Behemoth rods for big fish. Bonus - they are a US based company, with all rods manufactured in the US.

I have seen this very thing happen to the 450 Suimu on a very big fish. (Not me) I would recommend you move up in size and length for bigger fish. I am waiting for Wasatch to modify their existing Rodzilla rod to include a longer handle. I have their current model and I feel like it can easily handle a fish in the 30 inch range. My only beef is the handle is too short. In either case, I share your enthusiasm for catching big fish on fixed line and I have done my time here in Colorado chasing after them. Its fun and exciting. I definitely think you should take up Wasatch on its rod break guarantee. If a rod breaks while fighting a fish, they will replace it.


You hit the nail on the head with “move up in length”!
Those fish are too large and strong to fish a 5m rod as the arc that will be put in the rod is too tight, it was not designed for what you’re doing.
You want a salmon rod, which are 8-10 meters long, Suntech makes a very nice one. They are designed for the size fish you’re catching.
Right tool for the job is the one actually designed for the job.

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Might be cool to do a review here on that rod. I am curious in the penny rating. Just to note Travis is using a 5m rod, it just is much lighter. I looked up the rodzilla and it looks like it has some girth.

Rod Specs:

-8:2 action

-7.9oz (with tip plug)

-two fishing sizes (fish at 16’ or 17’ 6")

My kyogi 18 is also 5.3m and a broomstick too with an agressive taper / softer tip, that we find in keiryu rods. I am curious about rodzilla and its taper. 7.9 oz on the rodzilla seems heavy. The kyogi can be fished single handed but is on the edge of it being comfortable.

Nissin kyogi 18
5.1 oz
57 pennies

At 57 pennies and a touch over 5.3m, this rod is sort of the limit of what I would find enjoyable at all.

@Jonathan_Antunez it would be great to get a download on the rodzilla, how you are using it, and the fish class you are converting.

Have you tried one?

Just the thought of fishing a rod at that length makes me want to run for the hills. 32 feet would probably only allow for a dead drift and swing. With a 5.3 meter kyogi, casting precision is out the window. More or less a flop or a roll cast to a general area. It would be a real challenge with a 10 m rod. I bet that sucker is crazy tip heavy.

I had a chance to cast one at a shop in Japan, just on a lark, as I was buying a little Suntech Kurenai 30.
It’s a two hand rod for sure! The tip section was (I believe) 1.5mm in diam, 3 times that of my Kurenais. The handle section (no grip over the graphite, normal Suntech) was just over an inch, so it actually felt pretty good in the hands to cast.
But, it flexed smoothly through its length and felt like I could master it pretty quickly. Being wildly expensive and as the owners personal rod I quickly handed it back with great thanks for the experience.

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Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts.

@tvdavisid i admit after the first fish the rod did have me thinking that it was unbreakable and this was probably just the universes way of humbling me. I had been thinking of the bottom two sections as a shock absorber but now realize that if the rod flexes down to them I am either going to have to move or to throw up the white flag, point the rod towards the fish and allow it to break off. This experience did show me that throwing the rod and following it would be a viable technique under the right circumstances but I don’t think you will catch me doing it on purpose lol.

I agree with @Gressak that I don’t think I will be investing in a longer rod as 5m is probably the limit of length that I am interested in fishing. I should also say that I am not too interested in fishing for salmon in rivers and the largest fish that I would be targeting would be steelhead and bull trout. As the rod was designed to fish for anadromous brown trout I had assumed that it would be capable of handling fish up to 30” but I could be mistaken. If the rod continues to fail I will most likely break down and buy a seven weight to fish during the winter months when this type of fishing is all that is available to me.

I agree the Wasatch rods are something to consider but it does appear to me to be similar to the Keiryu X in that the invincibility comes at the cost of finesse and sensitivity but I could be wrong. I would be interested to hear what kind of flies and lines you are casting with it. I will say that the Keiryu X is quite light and a bit cheaper than the Wasatch rods (importing from Japan is often a cheaper and faster option for us in Canada due to the current exchange rate).

Thanks again for all the thoughts. I’ll drop back in when I have more to report :slightly_smiling_face:


Aren’t the blanks manufactured by tanuki which uses Chinese blanks?

I believe that is the ZX4 rods. Others state hand crafted in TN.

Its definitely a 2 handed rod. Which is why I was disappointed with the short handle. In any case, once you cast with both hands, it becomes really easy. It will cast a 1wt fwd line twice its length with ease and its rated for 0x tippet. Its an impressive rod that has caught some amazing fish already.

Well you cant brag like that and just leave us hanging. Any pics or metrics? Please share to fuel our daydreams!

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Shared with permission.

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Riverworks have a sale on for their big fish rod at the moment, have a look at their website. I agree about Rodzilla, the thing could land a whale but it needs a much longer handle.

Thought I would share a few photos of some 2 of the rivers (the Squamish and Cheakamus) that I am primarily fishing this time of year. The water has been very low so this is as low as they ever really run.


Last trip out I found a few trout eating some nymph patterns which was a welcome change from the streamer and fry patterns that have been fishing for the last few months.

I hooked into a large fish on the TB Traveller 39 and was able to fight it very delicately for a bit before it broke off. It was a good experience and I will definitely approach fighting a larger fish in a similar manner once I have the multiflex back. I reread the Honryu Tenkara article on discover Tenkara and found the YouTube video Kobayashi is very helpful. Especially what he says about holding the fish in place and trying to keep the fish from feeling the hook.

Here are 2 fish from the day a small rainbow and a very beautiful coastal cutthroat kelt that would have been quite the battle in if it had been at its fighting weight.


That is some beautiful country and fish you have there. Pretty awesome.

I dont know the DT article, but I feel its more about throttling pressure than feeling the hook. I need to track down the source but someone wrote that the more pressure you place on a large fish the more they will return. Its ok to slowly increase pressure, but if we do it too quickly or at the head of the fight, they will run.

I recently had a beast on, i would say think of it as never going beyond 50% of the max pressure you would put on a 18" trout. Staying under 20% for the initial stages of the fight to determine the attitude and behavior of the fish. Often they do not know what is happening.

Not exactly the same thing but consider how you would guide a large farm animal, like a cow. Gentlely coax and guiding. It is a long boring process. I have found when I start spacing out is when I make an error. I also find we lull ourselves into thinking we have control. Landing may take 3-4 attempts and need to be gentle as well.

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I know @TrKiPo you probably already know this or are already doing what I am writing. It is evident in the larger fish you have caught. There really is no way you could have landed those fish without these considerations. This dialog is more about discussing the details and putting form to the tactics. This is the benefit for us and others. I find articulating things that are instinctual can really give structure to what we are doing.

When fighting fish with tackle that is properly matched. We almost never loose fish. Fighting fish can be just a boring exercise. I can really horse in most fish to about 16". I will apply close to complete force on the fish to get control of their head. I will even lift their heads out of the water to shorten the fight. Head out of water will tire/suffocate a fish, so it can really be a quick way to shorten a fight.

A fight with tackle matched to fish size.

  • Intitial engagement -heavy maximum pressure
  • Bring them to the top - shorten the fight
  • Land them quickly and green
  • get back to fishing quickly

What I am writing is based on my experience when there is a mis-matched tackle to fish size. This goes for any tackle, but some of it relates to the constraints of tenkara.

  • Intitial engagement - light pressure (20% of the system extent)
  • Long fight timeline - Throttle pressure light to moderate pressure (0-50%)
  • Avoid bringing to the top - Large fish on top can be “end of story”
  • Avoid bringing fish to the shallows too soon
  • Land them completely spent in soft water -deeper water is best.
  • Take a break you will need it

A large fish has the power to overcome us if we are not careful. Sudden forcefulness is not a good idea. Slow increasing force can work, but needs to be monitored and dialed back if we get a negative change in behavior. We do not want it to run. We do not want it to surface or force it into the shallows until it has given up. We need to bow to the cow and reduce pressure if we think it is rising to the surface. If its head comes out of the water it can be… end the story. Head shakes or full weight of the fish will find the weakspot in our system. This weak area could be a poor hookset, or worse a weak spot in our line / rod. Shallow water is danger for any fish, it will always trigger a fight/flight instinct.

For trout over 20", landing a spent fish is almost necessary unless you have a partner that can net them green. Be prepared for fish mortality. For peeps who are big fish hunters, I recommend bringing provisions to harvest that fish . A knife and some ziplocks.

I personally hate it when I unintentionally killing any fish. I think a big fish hunter needs to be mentally prepared in the reality of your success has an inverse relationship to a large fish’s ability to survive the fight. You may not revive those large fish and the probability that fish dies after it swims off is high. It may take hours or days to happen, but we have taxed these animals to the outer extents of their survival. Try not to take them out of the water and dont take pics or too long with pics. Stocked fish I feel are more fair game than wilds. We want the genetics of the wilds to persist. Hatchery fish are of questionable genetics.

I definitely do not frown on harvesting. It is also the right of a fisherman to harvest anything they want.

That said, specifically targeting large fish with undersized tackle on a consistent basis may result in unintentional wanton waste. If the angler believes: Fish swimming off == Fish survival, it is not necessarily true. I would consider all of fly fishing is a light tackle sport. Even a fly rod and reel.

I know I personally kill fish and create wanton waste. Just recently I hooked a 15" brook trout in the gills and although I left the fly, cut the tippet, and released the fish. I saw it float within 20 minutes of the release. There are a number of reasons our fish do not survive. This is the price of our entertainment. With big fish this price might be higher. I think its fair for it to be our personal choice, but also our responsibility to consider our footprint.

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He doesn’t make any of his own blanks.