Tenkara on Vermont PBS

I could nit pick a few misconceptions about tenkara as they presented it. Most minor.

Probably the biggest one is that a basic tenkara rod can be purchased for less than $100, is 8 feet in length, and weights about .6 oz (17g). I don’t know what rod he was using. It may have been a tanago rod. Which is ok, many people do use tanago rods for small tight streams or keiryu rods for larger streams for tenkara style fishing. And the guide did go on to say popular lengths of tenkara rods are 11 ~ 13ft. Otherwise the description of what tenkara is all about was mostly correct.

The fishing was done last summer, but the video was uploaded about ten days ago.


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I too found that video earlier this week. Was a really busy week, so I hadn’t the time to watch it yet.

Based on the description I read, your synopsis is about what I expected.

The rod he was using is the Nissin Air Stage Hakubai 240, which technically is a seiryu rod, but you would not be able to find any tenkara rod that would be better suited to the stream he was fishing and the fish he was catching. He did not say THAT rod was under $100, which it isn’t, but that you could buy a “basic” tenkara rod for under $100, which you can.

The only significant quibble I would have with anything either of them said is when the show’s host said the Air Stage is a tenkara rod, which it isn’t (but that is really a distinction without a difference unless you have a cork fetish). Most of the time they were talking about tenkara FISHING, which they were in fact doing.

haha yeah, I see two rods in the video, one is Seiryu and the other is Tanago/Keiryu (whatever you want to call the Soyokaze).

Still, I can’t think of better rods for a stream like that, than an Air Stage or Soyokaze.

Well, I define a tenkara rod as any rod classified and marketed as a tenkara rod by the manufacturer.
However, I don’t classify tenkara fishing as requiring the use of rod called a tenkara rod by the manufacturer.
Mostly I define tenkara fishing as fly fishing with any telescopic, fixed line, non-reeled rod.
It’s done in to many places, with to many different techniques, to many colors, to narrow it down much more than that.
Unfortunately that’s too broad for some people. Who want to say, Hey, that’s not tenkara. I would never say, or think, that. I would only say, you might want to try this set up and technique it works well for me, you might find it works better too.


Pretty rad. I love any and all mainstream local exposure that tenkara gets as long as it’s at least 50% accurate.
Not exactly sure why, (a bit of self-validation, perhaps) but I just do.
This was a good watch.


Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. :smile_cat:

Nice video…I love those micro brookies he was catching. Road trip!!!

Finally got around to watching it and not too bad.

For anyone who’s never been up here to VT, that’s what it looks like here in the dog days of summer on our small mountain streams. There are plenty of places with bigger water too and certainly bigger fish, but that’s pretty normal up here. When it gets warmer here the bigger brookies slow down a lot (like many places) and the smaller ones like they catch, are a little more active than the big ones.

I agree with several others, that Nissin AS looks like a lot of fun.

Hi Bill.

Thanks for joining us and thanks for spreading the word about tenkara to more people. It seems like you guys had a lot of fun doing the episode. I love the wild brookies we have here in VT.

I’m certainly far from being an expert, but there are many people here on the forum with lots of experience and considerably more knowledge. I’m sure you can get some answers in short order. Hope to see you around.

Bill, thanks for checking in. Few experts here, and no tenkara police. As the forum name implies, 10 Colors = 100 people, 100 ways to do tenkara. Many here are like myself. Been tenkara fishing for a few years, but never met another person tenkara fishing by chance while out fishing. In 7 years I’ve only seen one other guy on a stream with a tenkara rod. And only two who had heard of it.

Anyway, your segment on pbs is only the second one I have seen on tv. The other from a couple of years back when David Hughes had a short segment on Oregon public tv.


Though I tend to think of tenkara as being complex, with many optional techniques available, that will take a long time to master, due to the equipment being simple. Simple equipment with many techniques possible to be learned. Like Mind-mapping. More options can be tagged onto one word, than onto a phrase. :grin:

And I am not a one fly guy. Maybe the motto should be created, Many flies One rod. :wink:


That’s something I could more easily get behind than “one fly”. I love tying flies too much to use only one; almost an addiction.

Then again, what rod would I choose…?

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welcome to the forum Bill!

I dig that rig that you are fishing with. I would like to here more details about it and how you landed on that specific rod.

Outside of Japan, tenkara is used as an umbrella term for fixed line fly fishing.

The good part of it, is that everyone in the forum will understand this. There is a part of the community who want to use the correct vocabulary for each segment of fixed line fishing, which I find to be sensible. Part of the controversy is that there is a lot of grey area between disciplines.

I am new to the sport, and have never fished in Japan or with anyone who would be considered a master tenkara angler. My simple understanding of the tenkara definition is linked to the use of specific gear, flys, and mountain rivers and streams. I have really have little understanding of the exact criteria and for different people the defining line is different. For me and probably most…I just love fixed line fishing. It is clearly the best engineering for the job no matter how and where you employ it. I am not bogged down with what people want to call it, but do consider it respectful to attempt to use the correct terminology when I can. It seems that there is more and more info out there for us to digest and be educated about tenkara though…which is a good thing.

“The heavenly rod of a thousand flies.” :smile_cat:
I carry way too many flies, an old habit.