Interline Tenkara Rod

After seeing the Tenkara Angler article on an interline Tenkara rod, I decided to make one too.

Here’s my version:

One could describe this as the trivial solution to preventing large fish from breaking off. However, I haven’t been able to test it on any big fish just yet. The fish in the photos did manage to pull a few clicks of drag, but clearly isn’t the kind of trout that’s breaking 3x tippet.

Surprisingly, the rod’s casting characteristics weren’t ruined. I cut (way) too much of the tip section off, which makes the rod cast a bit like a broomstick. I also noticed that the reel’s weight moved the center of gravity closer to the handel, which is a bit of an improvement. The overall Moment of Inertia seems higher though, pushing the rod into two-handed territory.

So far, this design feels like the worst of both Western Fly Fishing and Tenkara. And any improvements I make would probably push this rod back into either discipline without offering anything new. However, I’m planning some design improvements anyway. I’ve ordered another tip section with the intention of cutting it much closer to the Lilian to hopefully rectify the broomstick casting. The steel bracket holding the reel is quite heavy, so I’m planning to replace it with a lighter 3D printed part. I’m also wondering if routing the line through the rod is the only option; Perhaps I could run the line along the outside of the rod and then up and out through a single eyelet attached to the Lilian.


I am not sure exactly how they are doing it, but a line outside of a tenkara rod with a fly reel strapped to the handle seems to be a common setup in Indonesia. Here is a video that shows it a bit.


Wow! I’ve never seen that before. Thanks for sharing.

My replacement tip section finally arrived so I was able to try another version of this. I tied a ceramic eyelet to the lillian and ran the line through.

I took this setup out side to test it. It cast pretty well, but the slack running line kept getting in the way.

It seems an interior running line is better than an exterior running line.


Looks like a company has brought this product to market already.


Has anyone used this rod? I’m curious if they were able to get the friction low enough to double haul.

Oh I’m very much into all of this!

The REYR rod is nothing like tenkara, other than telescopic rod sections. A 9’ 4wt is a monster rod compared to a 360cm Tenkara rod that uses 3号 level line. The other rods would be even less like Tenkara.

Did you hear that thing in their casting video? The caster had to overpower the ever loving s–t out of it to roll cast or even make a standard cast.

Scott’s advice: Stay away, very far away, unless casting with pool cues is your thing.

As for interline rods that are much closer to Tenkara, I can see the appeal - adjust your line length for stream circumstances, landing fish when using a line much longer than the rod… But can it be done using rods that will load using just 3.5号 level line?


I’ve been noodling about this since the initial post came up and suspect something significant could be achieved in this vein. Perhaps a very small, rudimentary reel that can hold 25 meters of level casting line, a drag set slightly below the breaking point of the tippet; all of which could be screwed into the threads of the butt of the rod.
Might be a nice project for a 3D printer, I’ve already been able to print a working fly reel from plans downloaded from thingiverse. But that project will have to wait till winter, summer is for fishing.

This approach interests me. I’m trying to get back into 3d printing myself, but the 3D printer I ordered (Prusa XL) isn’t expected for a few more months.

@Scott_T Makes a good point though. If this ideal is going to be developed, it’s important that the resulting rod retain Tenkara’s exceptional casting feel.

Honestly, I’d go super small on the reel, as in 25 meters sounds kind of big, though realistically isn’t.

Forget the drag, and go click/pawl with just enough resistance to overcome the tension of the line pulling on the spool when casting.

Have the reel “palmable”, and make it integral with the end cap of the rod, if you’re 3D printing after all, The line feeds through a small ceramic guide in what would normally be the foot. The rotational axis of the spool being offset just enough so that the line comes off the spool in a straight(ish) line. It would look very much like the shell of the Nautilus.

So, after writing the above, I decided to do some science. I took my 6:4 360 and 400 Zerosums out to the parking area, and did some experimentation. With a spool of 3号 fluorocarbon line threaded through the rod, I test cast both with the tip section missing. The rods did load up acceptably with a rod’s length of line, but would likely feel better with a 3.5号 or 4号. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as I can’t see the utility of these interline rods outside of Honryu type fishing.

The casting feel was not pure bliss, a la the standard Zerosum with a rod’s length of line attached to the lilian, but it wasn’t awful either. In my not so humble opinion (yeah, sure) were one to seriously look at interline rods, 5:5 blanks would likely be the best first choice, if you were trying to retain as much as the Tenkara feel as possible.


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I think you have to look at what you’re trying to achieve with a tenkara rod inline conversion. I’m not sure about what the folks adding a full sized fly reel are hoping to gain but in my case, I suspect I’ve got a fly rod in my quiver I’d rather reach for than to add a regular reel to a tenkara rod. That’s not to suggest what they are doing is wrong, only that I doubt I’d go that route.

In the vast majority of fishing situations, I’m confident a suitable fixed line rod could be found to work well without modification.

In my case, I live on a warm water river that, in addition to a number of small fish species suitable for a light weight tenkara rod, holds some very large carp and channel cats that could easily snap a light tenkara rod if the tippet didn’t let go first.

To address that issue, this thread got me thinking about adding a very light , screw on, line holding spool with a friction drag that would be inoperable on smaller targets but could let out some line on the larger fish. In other words, something that would remain unused and out of mind unless required. Think small thread spool or bobbin rather than a fly reel that can be palmed.

I’m fairly confident I could 3D print something like that or if small enough, fabricate it out of aluminum or brass with a mill and lathe. I think the biggest challenge would be a sensitive enough drag.

I’m sure there are many other equally valid takes on this innovation depending on what the ultimate goal is.

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I do not see the point of combining 2 fishing systems together. Both types are great separately but this reminds me of the saying, " All that glitters is not gold." I’m not yet convince this makes a better fishing tool but who knows. When I first saw a tenkara rod I shrugged my shoulders and thought it was silly. Why do that when we already have western fly rods for fly fishing. Now look at me, about 98% of my fly fishing is with a tenkara rod. I guess the pie tasted good in my face. Who knows, maybe I will be tasting that pie again. Anyway, enjoy the fishing no matter what tool you want to use, just have some fun and get outside. Please let us know how it works and how it compares to tenkara. Sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks. :disguised_face:


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