One piece tenkara rods

I was watching the Discover Tenkara video series. Pretty awesome stuff.

One of the anglers noted some origins where anglers would carry bamboo one piece tenkara rods up the mountains.

It sort of had me wondering if there are any contemporary single piece tenkara rods on the market. I suspect that the engineering potential would produce a far lighter and more flexible blank.

It would not be very practical, but I would be very interested in trying one.

In the Fishing Cafe video, “Tenkara with Hisao Ishigaki”,

He visits the Alpine Museum in Omachi, where two bamboo tenkara rods used by two different Shoku ryōshi ( 職漁師), the professional tenkara fishermen, are on display. The newer one of the two was more refined, and I think 4 piece. The older one was crudely made, and 2 pieces. A handle made of some type of wood that was fairly long, and one piece of bamboo. The older one was I think about 9 ft, the newer one was longer, if I recall correctly, but I don’t recall how much longer, 12 ft maybe.

Later in the video he visits the son of the last Shoku ryōshi in, I think Akiyama. On display in his Inn is a two piece tenkara rod used by his uncle. It too was a 2 piece rod, wooden handle, with one piece of bamboo. He said his father’s tenkara rod was made the same way, only his father’s rod was longer than his uncle’s rod. Going on to say his father only carried the handle from home to the stream and back. He would leave several bamboo sections for the rod at the stream, hidden in crevasses where they would be kept dry. Each section left at the stream was made to fit the handle. He solved the transportation problem of a long rod by leaving the longest part of the rod at the stream.

Are those the types of rods you are calling a one piece rod? I would call them two piece, but I don’t recall reading about any one piece tenkara rods.

I think most people find that tenkara rods with fewer sections are sweet casting rods. Probably because they have fewer rod joints (eliminating hard spots) and therefore take a smoother arc when flexed. I have a Nissin Air Stage 450, and a Nissin Royal Stage 390. The first on has 5 sections and when collapsed is about 103cm / 40.5in long . The second rod has 4 sections and when collapsed is about 111cm / 43.75 in long. I think they are the nicest casting rods I have. :grinning: I think one of the Shimano rods also has fewer sections than most tenkara rods, and also has a fairly long collapsed length.

Some people find it a burden to transport rods that are that long, Or maybe not a burden, but less convenient than rods that collapse to a shorter length. But I have sometimes thought a one piece tenkara rod probably would cast just a little sweeter, but they could only be transported in a tube on top of the car. And only used on streams with clear surroundings. I think if you want to try one you will need to learn how to make your own. :wink:

I bet a rod made with modern materials and technology in one single piece would be both amazing to cast, and amazingly expensive.
Look at one piece western fly rods, they are generally very nice casting with a very smooth progressive bend, and normally on the high end.

David…I just reviewed the footage. The source was Shoichi Saito… on the third disk…he cleary states a rod without joints …a one piece rod.

My surfcasting rods are one piece 11’. I carry them on top of the car using a ski rack. A tenkara rod would definitely need a tube.

I will have to watch it again. Haven’t watched it for a while. I recall many things, but not what I had for dinner two days ago. Yeah, while surf rods are long, tenkara rods are longer, couldn’t get away using one of those front bumper rod holders I see people use on the coast to carry surf rods.

I wonder why they would be expensive? Without the need to machine several tight tolerance joints, it would seem they should be lower cost to produce. But maybe making a long one piece rod blank has it’s own quality control demands. Could be rods aren’t just made in sections for convenient transportation, but also to avoid difficulties of producing one piece rods. Get it wrong and the whole thing is rejected.

I am surprised by everyone’s enthusiasm
It is very precisely transmitted

In reference
Website searching name

Before the 1950’s
Bamboo rod was common

A rod of Karamatsu(唐松) was also used

Natural Karamatu = 天然唐松 = 天唐 = tenkara

In the past I also used a bamboo rod

Now bamboo pole is also a high price for art items

1 Like


Do you know of any graphite one piece tenkara rods?

In regards to bamboo. For the sake of both understanding history and have the experience, I would enjoy owning a bamboo tenkara rod. Are their any Japanese rod makers that still make bamboo tenkara rods? Have you had the experience to fish one?

I do not know graphite one piece tenkara rods
But Bamboo rod is still made now

Because Japan has abundant variety and quantity of bamboo
Bamboo fishing rods were commonly used
By the time I started stream fishing, the bamboo fishing rod was still used
The length of the fishing rod is 1.8m ~ 2.7m
1.8m rod = 1間竿 = one piece rod

bamboo made a fishing rod on their own because there was plenty(Free of charge)

The bamboo fishing rod now is very expensive as it became a work of art.

awesome footage…thank you!

Isaac Tait wrote, " Before I even started making my Tenkara rod, I first sifted through a huge pile of bamboo, “casting” each piece… Mine will be a two-piece rod coming in at about 270cm, perfect for the tiny streams that I prefer to fish. I cannot wait for the fishing season to kick off next March so I can get out and use my own handmade bamboo Tenkara rod! "

Isaac successfully completed making his bamboo tenkara rod, under the guidance of Yamano-san,

I would image he will at some time make a blog post about fishing with it. But he did not use it in his most recent blog post - a trip report of his first fishing trip this year after the fishing ban was lifted. Maybe he will do an update about the bamboo tenkara rods he and Go Ishii made in Yamano-san’s shop.

None of these are one piece bamboo rods.

Anglo & Company appears to make two. I say appears because they look like bamboo, but I don’t see the words bamboo rod ( 竹竿, take zao) or 和竿 (wazao) in the description. It could be they are synthetic materials made to look like bamboo, but I don’t think so. They seem to be produced only when an order is placed.

Both are about 3.2m in length. Fairly heavy for short rods, and pricey at 108,000 and 110,000 yen. I think you’d have to be serious about getting one at those prices.

Daniel Galhardo wrote about the bamboo tenkara rods made by Dr. Ichihashi, 市橋, a pediatric doctor who has been making bamboo tenkara rods for many years. It’s an interesting read. Don’t know if he sells them, how you could order one if he does, likely also expensive.

There are also several post on the Yoshidakebari blog about his work. Such as this one

And maybe this one too

Some interesting google search results can be found with the following phrases:

市橋先生の竹テンカラ竿作り Ichihachi Sensei making bamboo tenkara rod
テンカラ竹竿作り Making tenkara bamboo rod
テンカラ竹竿製作 Tenkara bamboo pole production
テンカラ竹竿を作る Make a bamboo tenkara pole
Or modify the above by substituting 和竿 for 竹竿.

A google search for 竹テンカラ竿販売 Bamboo Tenkara pole sale, might find something.
Here is one I found with a quick search that listed テンカラ竿(毛バリ竿) Tenkara rod (kebari rod)

The easiest route might to contact Isaac Tait with an inquiry about ordering a Yamano-san made bamboo tenkara rod. However, if he only produces a few rods each month probably also expensive.

Here’s a fun video of one being given a trial run on a stream.
テンカラ和竿(The tradition for tenkara fishing rod)

1 Like

Thanks David!!! Once again solid info. I love that video…what a beautiful rod.

1k for a rod. That is pretty hefty for sure, especially considering it may not be the rod I am out there leaning on the most.

I think it was in one of the discover series where a interviewee was saying the bamboo is seasoned for 5 years before its built on. Considering the process , the value can quickly reveals itself between the time and the craftsmanship. I will have to meditate on that acquisition.

When I am on the stream, anyrod I use might as well be one piece. I carry the rod extended to be ready for fishing.

My Nissin Mini are many many sections. The rod is extremely accurate because of the distribution of “joints” through out the rod. Sort of opposite but not really. When the designer engineers a rod with the joints in mind, you get a great rod like the Mini. It is an awesome rod.

One piece rods are what they are, elusive and talked about but not practical for the most part unless there is good bamboo available close to your stream or home, or you like to use long lines…

1 Like

Do you know what material tenkara rods are made I’m looking for the ideal material to create a modern one piece “tenkara” rod.

ive made several out of the bamboo i find locally in my (southeast texas) woods. i have no idea the strain or fancy greek/latin names.

this one is about 5’ long. ive made them from 5’ to around 10’. the main part of the rod is one piece but i added a root culm handle. technically a two piece i guess but the rod goes almost to the base of the handle. ill have to lay them all out and take a group photo.

after fishing them a few times, ill pick my nissin pro square every time.

1 Like

Beautiful work man! Did you treat the bamboo in any way? How’s the action compared to your other rods ?

when i first cut them, i fire the stalks to draw out the sap and straighten them. then i sun bleach them for a few weeks. i know the masters dry the stalks for 10 years. i dont want to wait that long. :grin: once i have them to the finished stage, i wipe them down with my age old wood preserver. its a mixture of diesel and drain oil.

compared to modern tenkara rods, they suck. the ones ive made so far are too stiff. something like an 8:2 tone. ive been trying to select stalks that have more of a 5:5 tone. i have a few drying now that should give a softer action.

they are fun to make and it keeps my mind and hands busy. in the future i intend to start experimenting with making 3 and 4 piece bamboo rods.

1 Like