Big water, big fish rod


Thanks Thomas for an interesting review. I have been looking at this fishing rod for a long time.


Thanks Tom. I’ve been looking at this rod as well for some of the bigger rivers/fish here in MT. I don’t currently have a Gamakatsu rod in the collection.

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I have a Zen tenkara big fish rod which I am so so on. I feel like Zen rods are a premium price for not premium rods. I also wish I had gotten a longer rod with more flex. I used it to fish the florida coast and it was pretty fun but the short length was problematic. I really like the Kurenai hm30r and weirdly enough I landed an 18 inch cuthroat on the eagle river with it. I had to take it through swift water to do it. I am sure if I keep that up ill snap the rod but it was really fun. I ordered the H54R to try it out on bigger water and bigger fish. Its a really good price now direct from Japan due to the exchange rate.


I really like my kurenai HM 30/33/45/54R rods. Just be careful using them for big fish…they are seriyu rods and designed for small/modest fish (6.5x rating). I use my Kurenai LONG 61 (rated for 4x) which is much better suited for big fish…or some of my other big fish Tenkara or keiryu rods.


Perhaps a better path to travel would be a Japanese made salmon rod.
Suntech has quite a selection.
Although they are perhaps a bit expensive, the current exchange rate may be a unique window of opportunity.
If you are serious about big fish in big waters a compromise rod will not make you truly happy.

@CM_Stewart tenkarabum carries carp rods and has written about how they are a less expensive option to the salmon rods. He may be able to speak to how the specs and flex profiles differ.

I will say that i have owned two carp rods and they really rob me of casting and presentation experience. They are heavy in swing weight and in flex. They are not finesse tools.

I would only consider them if the average fish I was catching was well over 26 inches.

In general, i feel a quality 4m rod in the 19-23 penny rating should handle most fish to 24 inches. Longer or stouter rods compromise too much in the control needed in tenkara fly manipulation and thus lower their utility.


I would like to order a carp rod from Japan to use for salmon fishing but its hard to tell what to order. I really like the quality of the Suntech rods. What carp rods do you own?

I had a nissin flying dragon and a Nissin kyogi. I still own the kyogi.

If you look on amazon there are some budget carp rods demostrating lifting gallon cans of paint. Might be worth investigating, especially if you have not fished a long rod. Even the kyogi is not a delicate instrument. Not sure if it was worth the 350 i paid for it.

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Wasatch make a rod called the Rodzilla looks a beast. I recently purchased the Samurai 6.4, haven’t fishing with it yet but it casts well and feels quality. Ruben the company
owner got fed up with T rods breaking, apparently his background is in carbon fibre so the rods should be well made.

Hello and welcome to the board! Your post in the Dry Fly thread nails some advantages for Tenkara over a fly rod & reel in small Tenkara-friendly streams where “Tenkara” was created and flourished that I’ve experienced and demonstrated quite a few times fishing alongside a buddy who fishes a western rod but has yet to become enlightened

When I began fishing with a Tenkara rod I wanted to expand the use of a fixed line rod for big rivers, and saltwater.

Honryu is a fixed line discipline that I’m not very experienced with but would like to be successful at. I know there are some rods specifically designed to reduce the problems I’ve had with the application of a fixed line rod to “Big water, big fish”.

Off the top of my head disadvantages I’ve found with fixed line rods for BIG water include:

  1. Even with my 5.4 meter Keiryu rod and a 5.4 meter line my casting distance is limited to around 8.2 meters to maintain the “Tenkara Triangle” rod-line-fly geometry. On some days under specific conditions it works. But often for BIG water in high flows that limits wading, and especially in saltwater, 8.2 meters does not reach out to where the fish are holding.
  • Increasing the line length with a level line makes it harder to cast, especially in windy conditions that always seem to be present in the saltwater environment.

Using a longer furled or PVC line can make casting easier but I believe…

  • Carrying more line in the air on the back cast increases getting snagged up and tangles.
  • Control of drift and manipulation are not as precise, and strike detection and hookset will not be as fast or effective when the geometry of the of the rod-line-fly “Tenkara Triangle” changes.
  1. Landing a fish is much harder handlining in the extra line length.
  2. The Rotational Moment (tip heaviness) and Moment of Inertia (MOI) of a robust, longer rod is going to increase making casting more tiring as the day goes on.

At some point in BIG water, the ability to shoot compact heads longer distances to reach fish and the ability to reel up line to land a fish overcomes the reduced efficiency and effectiveness (fun?) I have with a fixed line rod. Each of us must individually determine where that point is. I’ve not given up yet but it’s something to be aware of. :slightly_smiling_face:

I do find the ability of flexible fixed line rods to protect lighter tippets with hard fighting wild fish to about 18" is astonishing.


Wonderful thoughts on the subject @Brian_Miller . I re-read your post 3x, so much to consider. I think your last part about an individual’s “fun” factor pretty much sums it up in a great way.

I have a Nissin Oni Honryu 395 and really haven’t used it for huge fish. That said, it performed admirably on the Fryingpan tailwaters with some 16"+ fish. I’d love to go somewhere to really put it, (or the Shimano BG tenkara rod, given I could get my hands on one) through the paces.

It seems like the BG Tenkara is becoming a popular tenkara rod in Japan for big fish. I’m currently working on an article for the print version of Tenkara Angler where the author and his friend each use the BG Tenkara and converted them into interline fly rods. Obviously more fly fishing at that point when you introduce a reel, (and the geometry or whatever isn’t the same), but still very interesting. And he brings in some bruisers.


Thanks for the welcome, I’m really enjoying the forum.
I’m certainly still learning regarding using long lines on big rods. I’ve found long lines and long rods are fantastic for down stream manipulation. I use a 6m 4# level line and a kebari.


Those interested in fishing Big Rods for Big Fish with Long Lines may find the following video helpful, especially for hand lining in Big Fish:

This is a great tip! It’s demonstrated in this DT video by Dr. Paul at 11:25. *It’s interesting that Mr. Sakakibara uses the hand over hand technique at 16:36. Copy, Cut and Paste the address below into an address bar to view.

Long Line Tenkara Tactics - YouTubeYouTube

For containing really long lines safely and easily , a Stripping Basket could be put to good use…Karl.

Anyone have any experience with the Riverworks big fish Monster rods?

A friend of mine owns one. Ive cast it but not fished it. I found pretty balanced and enjoyable to cast for how stiff and stout it is but thats based off 10 min in a parking lot. The owner loves it.

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So my Zen snapped on the third section and I am not going to replace the part, its going in the garbage. I am still searching for an in stock Japanese rod that can handle salt water or salmon. I really like the look of the Suntech SUIKEI Special mainstream SST but I can only find it in stock on Japanese sites that wont ship internationally. There is one Suntech FM-X 72 but im not sure how that would hold up with salt water fish.

I am living in Chile for a year and I plan on buying the oni honryu for the large trout in Patagonia as my current line up might not handle the big fish down there. (oni type III, Kurenai h54R, Kurenai hm30R)

I bought a Chinese 7.2M carp rod so ill try that on the salt water. If anyone has updates on salt water fishing that would be grand!

When you say “Japanese rod,” do you want a rod from a Japanese company or a rod made in Japan? I like to fish clouser minnows with a Daiwa Keiryu-X, but it’s made in Vietnam. As a Sakura snob myself, I don’t think you could go wrong with a Suigo… they have tons of sizes in stock. I haven’t fished one, but it’s probably the rod I would get if I was more dedicated to saltwater or big bass.淡水-てんから-たなごなど-1/鯉竿-特選-水郷/

Ps- they’re pretty responsive if you have questions; they’re even going to hold an out of stock rod for me when they get their next shipment. (The website uses the inventory of the Tsurigu store, not the factory inventory)

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Good distinction. Either is fine… so far when the rod design and process is originating from a Japanese company made elsewhere I have been happy with the quality. Thank you for that link, I have not come across Sakura yet.

I love my Oni Honryu , but would caution that it’s a bit too soft for trout over ~20".