Sato Tenkara Rods

The Sato

The Sato™ has two patent pending features - Triple-zoom: this allows you to use the rod at three different lengths - 10’8”, 11’10”, 12’9”. Shorter to ease you into tenkara, longer to give you a taste of the advantages presented by a long tenkara rod. Keep your Plug ™ system: After hearing that no one has ever been able to keep their tenkara rod plug for longer than a year, Tenkara USA decided to find a solution. Next time you go fishing, remove the plug from the top end of your rod and insert it into the hole at the bottom of your rod. T he Sato™ will come with two plugs on the rod so you can leave one at home in case you ever need it.

Open lengths: 10’8” - 11’10” - 12’9”, Closed length: 22 3/4 imches, Handle length: 10 1/2 inches, Sections: 9, Weight: 2.6 oz.

Rhodo Tenkara Rods

The Rhodo

The Tenkara USA Rhodo™ is the lightest feeling tenkara rod made and has two new features - Triple-zoom: this allows you to use the rod at three different lengths - 8’10”, 9’9”, 10’6” - short when you need it, long when you want it! Keep your Plug ™ system allows the angler to remove the plug from the top end of your rod and insert it into the hole at the bottom of your rod.

Open lengths: 8’10” - 9’9” - 10’6”, Closed length: 21 inches, Handle length: 9 inches, Sections: 8, Weight: 2.1 oz.

Ito Tenkara Rods

The Ito

The Ito is designed as a very long rod, with the lightest possible feel. A true delight to fish any mountain stream, the Ito will be most useful on wider streams, larger rivers and ponds. It is the main rod we like to recommend for those who fish more open streams. The Ito features an innovative "zoom" function, which allows the angler to lock one segment in place to fish the rod either at 13ft or, fully extended, at 14ft 7in. The zoom locks both at the butt of the rod with a proprietary cap, and at the end of the handle segment. Having a rod that can be instantly extended an extra 2ft is a true asset on any mountain or other smaller stream. The Ito is classified as a 6:4 but is a softer feeling rod.

Open Length: 13ft - 14ft 7in, Closed length: 25.8 inches, Handle length: 12 inches, Segments: 9 (can be fished as 8), Weight: 4.1oz, Finish: matte black with dark blue sections. Best line matches: 3.5 level line up to 25ft. Works well with traditional line and can also be fished with 4.5 tenkara level lines.

Iwana Tenkara Rods

The Iwana

Ideal for those seeking very very delicate casting and for fishing smaller streams, the Iwana feels extremely light-weight and with its 6:4 action, very precise. The progressive taper, ultra-light weight, and tip action provides for great battles, even when hooking the smaller fish. Quality and strength are by no means compromised, and landing large fish is not unheard of. If you are going to streams where 12 inch trout are trophies then this is the rod.

Open Length: 12ft, Closed Length: 20 1/2 inches, Handle length: 11 inches, Sections: 9, Weight: 2.7oz, Finish: glossy carbon.

Amago Tenkara Rods

The Amago

The Amago is a lightweight 6:4 rod. The 6:4 action provides a accurate pin-point casting action. The light weight of the rod, similar to the popular Iwana rods, makes this rod a delight to handle and when catching fish of any size.

Open Length: 13ft 6in, Closed Length: 21 1/8 inches, Handle length: 11 inches, Sections: 10, Weight: 3.5oz, Finish: matte black.

Traditional Tenkara Lines

Traditional Tenkara Lines

Tenkara USA's traditional tenkara lines designed to cast more easily, with more precision, better against wind, and do not tangle/coil when freed from a snag. Tenkara lines come with a transition loop on the thicker end, which will be girth-hitched to the tip of the tenkara rod. Tenkara USA lines are hand-woven by expert line-makers in the United States and come in a package containing instructions and a spool to store the line.

Length: 10ft 6in or 13ft, Transition loop: Soft Spectra® braid, 80lbs.

Level Tenkara Lines

Level Tenkara Lines

The smaller the number the lighter the line is. So, a 2.5 level line is lighter than the 4.5. What this translates to: The lighter the line the easier it is to keep off the water, but the more challenging it is to cast. The heavier lines will be easier to cast. Additionally, the heavier lines will pair better with the stiffer rods, so the 4.5 lines are recommended for the Yamame and Amago rods.

65ft spools allow you to cut 4 or 5 lines out of one spool. For example, cut one that is 12ft long, one that is 18ft for larger waters.

Tenkara Line Holders

Tenkara Line Holders

These spools are great for quickly winding the line at the end of the day, or for moving from one spot to another. While our tenkara lines come with a small plastic spool, these spools are wider, and thicker, which make it much easier and quicker to wind the line around it and the notches are excellent for holding flies. The foam core helps ensure your line dries off quickly and also make it easier to secure the ends of the line.

Diameter: 2.73 inches, Width: 0.56 inches, Weight: 0.62oz

Tenkara USA

Tenkara USA is dedicated to bringing the traditional method of Japanese fly-fishing, tenkara, to those in pursuit of angling simplicity. They promote the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing, which uses only a rod, line and fly. It's really that simple.

Because the basic concept of Tenkara is so simple, it is particularly effective for fishing mountain streams. But, the benefits of tenkara go well beyond simple: delicate presentations with the light line, ability to hold the line off the water and a fly in place over difficult currents, precise casting, and greater control of the fly just to name a few.

About Tenkara

Tenkara is the Japanese method of fly-fishing where only a rod, line and fly are used. Eleven to fourteen-foot long rods telescope down to an easily packable, 20 inch section! The ultra-portable gear and minimalist nature of the sport make it ideal for going farther as you explore your favorite mountain stream or remote destination. Whether you are fly-fishing while backpacking, or maybe just a fly fishing minimalist, the size and simplicity can be liberating.

The Gear


We carry all models of rods and lines of Tenkara USA and are the exclusive Tenkara retailer for the Sacramento region.

Tenkara is the ideal method for fly-fishing small streams. No reel is used, and to get started in tenkara fly-fishing all you need is a the rod (starting at $139.95), a line ($19.95), tippet (which you probably already have) and some flies. The 11ft to 14ft7inches rods close down to a mere 20 inches and all pieces fit inside the handle and remain well-protected. The long rods have significant advantages over short fly rods: keep the fly in place on the other side of a current, make very precise casts to tight spots, and better control the fly for the ultimate presentation. Tenkara lines are all designed for delicate and accurate fly-casting. To learn more about gear and basic setups start by watching the videos above or visit the Tenkara Forum or Tenkara Blog.

Rods: Tenkara rods are the fundamental and most distinctive feature of tenkara fishing. They are long, with each telescoping piece fitting inside each other, and they have very sensitive and soft action. The long rods, usually 12ft and ranging from 10ft to 14ft 7 inches, close down to a mere 20 inches and weigh an average of 3 oz, making them ultra-portable and ideal for backpacking. The extended length of the rods makes them well suited for most stream-fishing situations, where keeping line off the water at a longer distance provides for a signficant advantage, decreasing the chances of current dragging the line. The collapsible feature also removes ferrules used in western fly rods, which allows for a very smooth curve and bending action throughout the rod. The telescopic feature of these rods ensures all pieces, including rod tip, are well protected inside the stronger parts of the rod, making them portable and less prone to breakage when transporting. The tenkara setup is ultra-light, rods weigh an average of 3 oz, and because a reel and fly line are not necessary, more ounces are cut. Every rod will have a different feel, and the feel of the rod (how much it flexes) is primarily a personal preference: softer or stiffer. To explain the "flex" or "action" of a tenkara rod, an index ratio was developed. This is known as the "Tenkara Action Index©".

The Tenkara Action Index© tells anglers how many "Bottom parts are stiffer : Tip parts are more flexible". Most tenkara rods are classified as 5:5 or 6:4, where a 5:5 rod indicates 5 bottom parts are stiffer and 5 tip segments bend more easily. A 6:4 rod indicates 6 parts are stiffer and 4 tip segments bend more easily, and so forth. 7:3 and 8:2 rods are considered more specialty rods for those who prefer fast rods or are pursuing larger fish and want the rod to help them land the fish.

The length of the rod should primarily be chosen by the size of the streams one will fish. 12ft is a pretty standard length for tenkara rods, allowing for reach when needed and on occasions, and when necessary the angler can always hold the rod above the handle or use a shorter line. We like to recommend people get the longest rod they can get away with. Places with more overhead cover may benefit from a shorter rod, whereas longer rods will allow you greater reach, versatility and more control over the line at a longer distance. One foot is the difference between having your arm next to you or stretched in front of you, all depending on the stream.
* Options based on length: 11ft rod: IWANA; 12ft rods: IWANA, YAMAME; 13ft rod: AYU; 13ft 6in: AMAGO; 13ft-14ft 7inch "zoom rod" (can be fished at either length): ITO.

Lines: In tenkara, since the fly has virtually no weight, the line is what is being cast forward. Tenkara lines are specifically designed for use with tenkara and are catogorized either "traditional" or "level". The traditional tenkara line is made to cast in perfect balance with tenkara rods - with power and precision and very delicate presentation. Traditional lines come in a fixed-length 10 1/2ft or 13ft, and are super quick and easy to setup and to use. Tenkara level lines are a special formula of fluorocarbon and have been selected based on their castability, and higher visibility. Level lines are dense enough to be cast, but very light so they can be kept off the water a longer distance. They also come in large spools allowing the angler to cut several lines of whatever length is desired. Approximately 3 and 5 lines can be made out of one spool, making them very economical. To the end of either line simply add between 3 and 6 feet of tippet. There is no need for a leader to be used with tenkara. Line selection is really a personal preference, so try both the traditional and level lines to find the one you prefer.

Tippet: The tippet is a necessary part of all fly-fishing. It is the thin line that goes between the fly line and the fly. It allows the angler to connect the fly to the line, and prevents the fish from seeing a thicker line on the water. Tippet in the US is normally classified as #X, with larger numbers being thinner diameter tippet. With tenkara, it is recommended only tippet of 6lbs breaking strength or less (usually 4X or thinner) be used in order to protect the rod in case of snags that are out of reach. The flexible rod does a great job at protecting thin tippets.

Flies: Tenkara's long history could have meant that thousands of fly patterns are normally used. Refreshingly, the simplicity of tenkara fishing is also present in the flies used. Tenkara fly-fishing often focuses more on the techniques of presenting a fly rather than the appearance of a particular pattern. The idea of giving life to a fly by motion makes tenkara flies very versatile and effective. For example, one of the most recognizable tenkara fly patterns are the reverse hackle flies (e.g. Traditional Reverse Fly, A.K.A: Sakasa Kebari). Motion in a fly is an important aspect of tenkara fishing, and is made possible by the light fixed line used, where the long rod allows the angler to precisely control the motion of flies.

American River Shad

Morgan and an American River shad caught with Tenkara...Why not?