If you had to own only 3 rods

What 3 rods would you own and use. I’m curious if you had to get rid of all but 3 what would you pick. I’m guessing there would be some size preference, but I know I also prefer certain rods for specific fishing styles. IE the TB40 I prefer when fishing bead head nymphs in a tactical style. I’m feeling like trimming down my own rods and that got me wondering what others would choose.

1 Like

TB36, TB Traveler 39, Daiwa Sagiri 45MC


Nissin Oni Honryu 395, Tanuki Ninja and the TenkaraBum 33.


I may be a bit bias because they are all rods I produce but I would go with these three:

DRAGONtail HELLbender 390 rod for when I want to do very un-tenkara like things like drift streamers and catch trout in the 22-27 inch range. I used to do this a lot more than I do now but I still do it a few times a year.

NIRVANA 400 rod for when I want a rod with a lot of reach.

DRAGONtail MUTANT zx380 rod for a lot of my other true tenkara fishing, small trout, and light level line casting. It’s three lengths cover anything I usually fish in the mountains.

These three rods got me covered in all the things I like to do and I use them the most right now, the rest are really just for fun and doing something different from time to time.

1 Like

I’m down to four rods now, but I’ll give you my 3…

Nissan Zerosum 320 6:4
Nissan Royal Stage 400 6:4
Nissan 2Way Yuyuzan ZX 450

You didn’t ask for explanations, curious. But obviously I’ve found a specific brand that suits myself best.


Good point on explanations, it would be good to know why. Some really great responses so far.

How is that Zerosum 320 in 6:4? I prefer slower, full flex rods and I’m curious about that one specifically.

1 Like

I’ll both answer your question, and explain my choices above.

I’ve gone through a number of rods, and a couple years of fishing now to find “my Tenkara”.
I fish the streams and rivers of the Sierras, so it’s usually fast water, and I prefer to avoid people while fishing, so I’m often in the less accessible places. That’s the where.
The how, after trying a lot of different things, has gravitated to a very traditional Japanese type of angling. One unweighted usually reverse hackle fly, fished on a level line. It’s pretty simple, works as well as anything else, and I think has made me a better fisherman by focusing more on technique than tackle.

Now back to itsjayswhatsup question. The Zerosum 320 6:4 is definitely full flexing, and at just under two ounces an absolute joy to cast (especially with a light line, and I’ve brought home level line in 2.0 and 1.75) and fish. I feel it’s the sweet spot rod in the Zerosum line.

Oddly, in the 4 meter the Royal Stage feels more like the 320 Zerosum in flex than the actual 400 Zerosum does. It’s finish isn’t as fancy, and it’s a couple grams heavier because of the longer cork handle, than the 400 Zerosum. Maybe I’ll replace it someday with a Zerosum, maybe not.
To me, these two make a perfect pair.

The 450 2Way is strictly for the main Truckee River. Bigger river, fast water, bigger fish. It’s the ‘70 home runs Barry Bonds’ of my line up of rods. The store in Tokyo wrapped the grip with tennis racquet tape, and it feels like a lot of rod at first but actually casts one handed beautifully. I still fish it like the others, but know that I’ll never have to think about “oh shit what do I do now?!” with this one.

The three rods weigh 55, 80, and 105g.


I guess the same 3 I can’t live without: 3RT Confluence; Dragontail Mizuchi; Daiwa Keiryu-X 33.


The rods that are most often in my quiver, and on the river with me are:
Oni type 1 - unweighted flies
Riverworks ZX - weighted flies
TB40 - backup, and general fishing.

These are all for medium sized rivers, like the Provo.