Short rods

Your thoughts on miniature rods? How do you feel about them? Do you use short tenkara rods in fishing?

I do like short rods, we have creeks that are loaded with fish but so much cover they are nearly impossible to fish. I recently purchased the tiny Tenkara Rod that you linked us to. It is a broomstick, I have yet to fish it, but backyard casting tells me this rod is not designed as a real tenkara. My favorite small rod so far is the ESO 206-245

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Did you buy the exact bait I gave the link?

Yes that exact one.

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Thanks for the answer, I personally love long rods 4 meters 7: 3.

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Yes 4 m is my favorite length but also like variety.

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I’m not a big fan of short tenkara rods. Mostly because I don’t much enjoy fishing tight brushy streams. The fish are there, often sheltering below tree limbs that are 1 ft above the water surface. Beautiful brook trout shelter there, but very difficult to catch.

Plus I find when fishing in those areas I spend 2/3 of my time trying to get my fly loose from a tree limb, or replacing a lost fly. Those kinds of areas are also short on wind, the mosquitoes have me for dinner. Short rods are, I think, more difficult to cast well. The short radius of the rod swing requires more effort, better form, to generate required line speed to cast the fly accurately to target point than for a longer rod.

Years ago Tenryu ( 天龍) made a very short tenkara rod, 2.8m I think (can not find a picture of it just now), this predated tenkara’s introduction here. I never understood the previous opposition to sub 3m rods.

The Tiny Tenkara rod though is very short, 5 ft / 1.5m. Rated 6:4 flex. I could be wrong but I think generally a more tip flex rod, 7:3 or 8:2 is favored for areas where casting space is in short supply.
And unless you really need a short collapsed length, I think a shorter rod would work better if it had a longer collapsed length with fewer rod sections. My opinion could be wildly wrong.


David, thank you very much for the detailed response. I agree with your every word.

There’s no way that tiny tenkara is a 6/4 maybe a 9.5/.5

What I do like about the tiny tenkara is that it’s not a wimpy rod, it can hand fish. It is tiny, I can carry it in a pocket anywhere. The idea is great, it just needs Japanese input.

Uhh, I’m going to go on a tangent.

What does it matter what I think?

I use one rod for all my tenkara, it is a triple zoom but it isn’t a tiny rod. Do I like tiny rods? 2.7m is a tiny rod in tenkara but not in fly fishing.

Can a tiny rod work? Heck yeah! It can even work in a BIG RIVER.

They work where the work.

We do what we do.

Enjoy tenkara your way.

The Nissin Mini V3 is a tiny rod in my experience that absolutely is a great rod. It does what it does exceptionally well.

I don’t use it any longer, I use one rod for all my tenkara.

I use one rod for all my Honryu Tenkara.

But I think you should do exactly what YOU want to do.

Wishing you well.

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I wish more people think the way you think.

This is the reason why I love fishing this type of place. No one likes fishing there.

It is difficult.

I like fishing difficult places.

When you fish difficult places, you get better.

Fish easy places.

You don’t.

David, you write the most interesting things that I really enjoy.

Thank you for participating.

I read Adam’s response and also like small, difficult to access water.
I bought my first Tenkara rod; a 6:4 (20 / 18 penny) 390/350 zoom model after reading a review by Dr. Tom. I partially solved the length issues with tight quarters by using bow and arrow casts and a short line; about 2/3 the length of the rod that helped. But I still found the rod (well, me actually) tended to launch dinks right out of the water. And after having to rescue a dink from a tree, I decided I needed to make a change.

In my western ff pursuits I solved issues with tight quarters by staying low, and going to a 7’9" 3 weight moderate action graphite rod, then eventually a 7’ 3 weight cane rod. Even with a short line a 390/350 Tenkara magnified the problem.

Then TD wrote another review about a 5:5 slow/full flex 300/265 zoom rod for skinny water and I decided to spring for it. Whoo boy! What a change! The handle is shaped to allow me to “choke up” to around 243 cm (8’). So for length, weight, and action it was like going from a 9’ 5 weight graphite to my 7’ bamboo rod.

In the fall I landed a chunky 13" fish in heavy current with that rod at the 8.9’ length, choked up to 8’ using a 7 foot level line and ~4’ of tippet. It was able to turn the fish as it tried to dart under an undercut bank then immediately back across the 8’ wide stream into a downed tree’s branches near where I hooked it, but man that rod was really bent. I played it laterally rather than vertically. That was most fun indeed!

I haven’t handled the Tiny so I can’t comment on whether I’d like a stouter, even shorter rod.


Well said.

I tend to think the more you fish the type of stream you prefer the more skilled you become at fishing that type of stream. That is if you are not just a casual fisherman. Some people fish for twenty years and gain one year’s experience, 20x over. Another type of person will accumulate 20-years of fishing experience. Most people somewhere in the middle.

As for casting a short rod (= / < 3m) vs longer rod (= / > 3.6m), what I meant was - I think it is very helpful if the shorter rod is a really good design.

I think a mediocre 3.6m rod can easily cast a line. But a mediocre short rod can’t without greater skill, a better rod design, I think, helps especially with short rods.

[recently somewhere on line I saw a one frame cartoon picture of two guys fly fishing.
One guy was casting a fly rod, the second guy had a fly reel attached to a broom. The first guy makes an observation to the other angler, “I see you prefer fishing with a stiff rod.” Or some similar statement]
Cute cartoon. I’d post a link to it if I remembered where I saw it. An experienced skillful fly line caster can probably do a decent job casting a line with a broom handle. (if he has perfect timing and rhythm) The rest of us do better with a well designed rod. That compensates for our less than optimum form. :slightly_smiling_face:

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宇崎日新「テンカラ ミニ」 Uzaki Nisshin `Tenkara mini’
reviewed April 19, 2019. by Fujiwara Yoshihiro-san [ 藤原祥弘さん ]
Length: 3.25m ; weight : 55g (1.94 oz.)

The whole page digital translation in pretty weird in most places. One example is the date of the post is off by about 9 years, Sept 2010 vs April 2019. However, you can gain more insight into Yoshihiro-san’s impression of the U-Nissin tenkara mini if you run the digital translation.


David, thank you very much, interesting article, better than the official site.

I was interested in the mini, was kind of waiting for Ten Bum to stock them rather than order overseas.

Streams choked with too much foliage are a challenge and I am often in the camp of finding spots with more casting room. Cover is good for the fish and fishing…but too much can cause challenges in landing fish. Depending on the angler, their definition of a tight or technical stream might be wildly different. I do like fishing natural streams with deadfall and challenging fishing, but there is a tipping point for me when a stream of stretch is just not worth the effort. Recently I picked off a couple of nice browns in a stretch of wild stream that gets some pressure. There were literally only two options for presentation position and there is no way a traditional fly fisher could present in these spots unless they were a magician. Pretty awesome feeling to take fish were few others probably ever tried.

There is a rule of thumb in surfcasting where if you do not have a path or a plan for landing a fish, then you probably need to pick a different spot. This is a consideration about both angler safety as the surf zone claims several anglers each year and the second part of the consideration is reducing futility of effort…as in if there is no way to land a fish that you caught…then there is no point in fishing that spot. I use the second part mostly, but do consider the first part occasionally when the spring flow is cranking.

The tipping point for me is if a spot is so bushy or filled with deadfall that the probability of landing a fish is around or below 50%…I would move to the next area or terminate fishing that river. I do not want a fish to break off and have the tippet get caught up in deadfall or bushes resulting in a fish that might die if snagged that way. I personally do not like leaving any material in the river so I try to avoid or retrieve my snags unless there is a safety issue why I cannot.

I fish a tusa rhodo in tight water…which fishes at these three positions…270/297/320cm. TUSA rods are actually shorter than advertised. I have never measured my rhodo, but suspect the shortest length is less than 270…aka 8’ 10"…it is probably 260 cm.

I am not sure if I would fish too much shorter than this rod. Insulating distance between the angler and the fish is important and the length helps clearing obstacles even the smallest rivers. This preference may have more to do with the water I fish and my fishing style than it does any specific technical reasons.

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In fishing many short rods over the years there seems to be a real challenge (design wise) to get the rod shorter than say 240/260 cm and flex well for casting. I have found, though, that not many situations require a rod shorter than that. On occasion I have fished a 180 Kyotaki…it is cast-able but better for bow and arrow or pendulum casting. If you really feel a 6 foot rod is the max for the place then perhaps a western fly rod is the better tool.

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