We opened up the tenkara rod development process to a Facebook Group Appalachian Tenkara Anglers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/appalachiantenkaraanglers/). We decided to ask members to do a user experience test, review Tanuki 275 and post the results to the group Facebook page. I believe this is the first time in history a fly rod company opens up the development process to public testers and ask to post their honest reviews directly into social media. It is also the first time fellow fishers are able to influence the rod development and have their opinions and preferences reflected onto the end products. Please join Appalachian Tenkara Anglers to read “more” feedbacks and comments. It is a public group for anyone who are interested in tenkara fishing.
DECISION: Tanuki 275 production Decision
September 9, 2016
First I want to thank for all testers for their feedbacks with amazing details. I always believe more brains are better than one! Tenkara fishing is a recreational sport. Recreation means to relax and enjoy. Sport means competitive performance. For performance, I have manufacturer’s engineers and computers backing me up. After many hours of analyzing, communication with testers, Anthony Naples at Three Rivers Tenkara and manufacturing engineers, a decision has been made in both performance and user experience. Initially, the rod was intend for Appalachian Brookies. After read all review specially from Adam Klags. “As it is, this rod would be great for all around short-rod tenkara fishing, and impressively, I found that it handled browns around 9-11″ in the current as other fishermen had reported previously as well.” — I will try to develop a Brookie rod for common brookie size with “impressively” fun, next year.
Here are the key data I am looking into:
1. Casting experience (reaction to action flex) and casting accuracy — different flies, lines
2. Fish handling reaction and experience
3. Quantity of landed fish per sizes
4. Rod usage experience — quality, sensitivity, comfort levels…
5. Rod balance
6. Bend Test for about 11″ trout target. Rod can handle fish up to 18″ or 50 cm.
Based on the feedback data, I made some adjustment: REDUCE the BACKBONE power by 8-10%. I believe I made a right decision, which would strike the balance between performance and pleasure. More importantly, it is enhances FishOn experience — you can find the data posted on Tenkara Tanuki Facebook timeline on Sep 7, 2016 or Tenkara Tanuki website (tenkaratanuki.com/tenkara-rod-development/)
What are the reasons to be hide the decision?
Most fish caught was 9”-12” and those fish are more accessible than 4”-7” bookies. The tip needs to be stronger to support the weight of nymph or popper…
You wonder why the backbone, but not the tip?
1. By reducing the backbone a little, it won’t affect the casting accuracy and hook setting (Tanuki blanks only, other blanks will be noticeable). It is also optimizing the enjoyment of 9”-11”, Adam Klag “impressively”. It won’t affect setting hook on aggressive take like bluegills and bass. Best of both world.
2. Most of testers won’t even know the difference, until they have 11” FishOn. FishOn, it is the best reward a fisher can get.
3. Why am I so obsessed about FishOn experience? We pay money for the guide services. In order word, pay for experience.
4. I hope the new rods would max out the FishOn enjoyment, and fishers would use them more. The more fishers use, the better ROI (return on investment) they get.
Sept 7, 2016
I would like to thanks Anthony Naples who has encouraged me to develop Tanuki 275 for the Appalachian streams aiming especially for brookies with Facebook Appalachian Group in mind. I am from California, where small streams and brookies are far different from East Coast. I have asked Appalachian Group members to help with testing and publish their reviews on Facebook Appalachian Group. It is the very first time actual users take control of the testing process vs. a few tenkara gurus. I felt good to open the rod development process to public.
b. Demographics of the Testers
It has been two months+ and now 30 or so testers tried Tanuki 275 around the country. We had anglers with all different levels of experience and interest, from newbies to professional fishing guides. 50% of the testers belong to the FB Appalachian Group.
– Geographically about 45% are from West Coast, 20% East Coast and the rest from South and Midwest.
– Casting and playing experiences were the main focus for this test. 70% on small and tight streams, 30% on open water.
c. The fish and water
Most fish caught are trouts, smallmouth basses and bluegills. Due to heat waves in East Coast, there are not many reviews on brookie experience. 60% were testing on high small mountain streams. 40% on open waters and 60% cold water.
a. Reviews on casting accuracy were very positive.
b. Flies: it handles from small #18 may fles to #8 tungsten beads, kebari to poppers. Some adjustment on heavy weighted flies.
c. Basically — it is good casting on West Coast, and a little too stiff for bushy East Coast.
d. Playing fish: enough power to land 15”+, superb feeling on 13”+ (of course, it is a given to any rod). Very positive on landing fish in 9”-12” range. For 3”- 7” trouts feeling of the rod more than fish.
e. Handling fish: 9”-12” it is not overpowering, a little to much power for 3” – 6”.
f. Action/Flex: 70% positive, 25% a little stiff. 5% a little soft.
Dennis Coppock, Colorado
September 7, 2016
I recently was able to fish with the Tanuki 275 on an overnight backpack trip that was around 18 miles, encompassed two drainages, one full of Greenback Cutthroats and one full of Brook Trout plus a single German Brown. While in the canyon portions of these drainages I had tight casting, overhanging pine and aspen trees, willows and super clear water to deal with but with the 9’ rod and 9’ of line I never really had an issue with these obstacles. This was typical high gradient pocket water and I used the bow and arrow cast enough to know that this rod does it well and with accuracy. As far as casting goes this rod was just about perfect for me as I loved the stiffness of it and it casted both #3 and #3.5 lines with ease, I know others have said that it’s too stiff for their style of fishing but for me it was perfect when having to turn fish in fast water and while most of the fish in these smaller high country streams are small, under 12”, you never know when a 15”+ fish is going to appear … more
Adam Klags, New York
September 6, 2016
Thanks to LT for sending the rods out, and for graciously allowing me to take the rod to the Adirondacks where I was able to fish a number of small and low (but very cold) water tributaries to lakes and larger rivers in the Adirondack region…
As was expected, the majority of the 30ish wild brookies landed on the rod were really between 3.5 and 7 inches. This is an important consideration in the design of the rod, if it is to be an Appalachian Brookie rod and not a 9-11″ rainbow or brown trout small stream rod… read more
Rob Lepczyk, Maryland
August 7, 2016
So I have been fishing with the Tenkara Tanuki 275. As requested, I’ll make a post about the testing rod.
LilTanuki, as my circle of friends have been calling it, is a nice rod. It is smooth, accurate and balanced.
But, the rod really just feels like the bottom few sections were taken off the 375, which I own. In my opinion, this makes for a rod that is TOO stiff past the midpoint of the blank… read more
Zoan Kulinski, Wisconsin
July 26, 2016
A review of Tenkara Tanuki ‘s new prototype tenkara rod.
Please bare with me as I’ve never written a review before…
It’s a 2.7 meter (8’8″) rod that is very light weight and is a pretty fast rod. The rods finish is very nice and it has a foam grip. My preference is toward slower rods because they fit my casting stroke better. I could not cast the 2.0 line at all, but thats,on me. The 2.5 and 3.0 cast fine with a light kaberi but I could not get the line to straighten out with a size 14 hopper, again it’s me not the rod… read more
July 19, 2016
Bought a new tenkara rod over the weekend. Well, I pre-ordered one anyway.
Yeah, it’s yellow.
It’s the special edition Tanuki 275 “Appalachian Brookie” tenkara rod.
The rod will be released in the Fall in a standard coloration, however, this yellow cosmetic will be unique to 15 rods sold through Pittsburgh-based Three Rivers Tenkara… read more
David Taylor, Virginia
July 19, 2016
I just had the opportunity & pleasure of meeting Sharon Levasseur this afternoon. She is good people!!! 🙂
Not only did we talk about Tenkara but she brought along her Tanuki SNOW 325 and allowed me to try it out.
All I can say is WOW!!!!! This rod was AMAZING. It was so light and precise. I could land a fly where ever I wanted it with no effort. Hats off to Luong Tam for designing and producing an AMAZING rod!!! read more
Glenn D. Grossman, Washington
July 18, 2016
I’ll preface my experience testing the prototype of the Tanuki 275 by saying I don’t possess a fraction of the experience that 99% of the other testers do with Tenkara fishing. On the plus side, I am able to give the perspective of a relative novice and I do own a couple of other small stream rods that I fish with regularly, so I have some basis for comparison. I rigged up the 275 with my own typical line and tippet (#3 Nissin level line the length of the rod and about 3′ of #6 Rio fluoro tippet).
I decided to take the rod to new to me water at an area near the headwaters of the Kalama River that has difficult access and small, swift water… more
Grant Bench, Utah
July 18, 2016
I consider myself brand new to Tenkara. My first experience w/ the Tenkara method was w/Erik Ostrander on a very small creek near Salt Lake. Needless to say, i was very excited to attend the Oni School 2016 here in my own backyard. One of the afternoons, Tenkara Tanuki put a proto 275 in my hands. I went to a spot on the Provo River with deep, fast runs and riffles… more
Sharon Levassesr, Virginia
July 17, 2016
I had the pleasure of testing the 275 Tanuki prototype last week. I am rather new to fly fishing and Tenkara so my review will not be as technical as others. My hope for this rod was that it would get me into some increasingly tight spots where I know the fish are and something small enough to teach my grandson with. I used my furled Moonlit 12.5 ft lines with 3 ft of 5x tippet and dry fly shown below as well as some nymphs and larger surface flies. I have no experience with the level lines so decided to stick with what I know. Casting the dry fly was a dream. Made me look good. Got me into as tight spot on the South River where there are a lot of downed trees and fish hiding… more
July 11, 2016
Had the pleasure of testing the Tanuki 275 over the weekend. As it was delivered late Saturday I spent that afternoon casting it in the yard to get a feel of the rod. Used all of the lines provided (2.5, 3, and 3.5) with 3-4 feet of 5X tippet. All casted very well, very accurate with no oscillation. (placed a piece of 1’x1′ plywood in the grass about 20 feet away, hit it every time).
Second day I hit a local pond. Slight wind, but no issues casting (fished the 2.5 line with 4′ of tippet). Second cast I hit a nice bluegill that gave the rod a “decent ” bend. The action on this rod is fast, could feel every bump on the fly (size 14 bead head gnat). While I didn’t hit anything large, I’m sure this rod would have handled anything in this pond without a problem. Looking forward to the rod hitting the market, will purchase one the day they are available… more
Jay Johnson, Arizona
July 11, 2016
It’s pretty cool being able to test out a new rod before it is released. Thank you, Tenkara Tanuki for giving people the opportunity to get their hands on your latest creation. Here are my thoughts on the Tanuki 275 prototype:
Casting: I wanted to test the rod the way I normally fish, so I didn’t try the rod with the lines that were sent in the package. What I used was an Oni 2.5 level line with a section of Rio two-tone 1x indicator tippet with 3-5ft of tippet. The LL + two-tone tippet was a handle’s length less than the full rod; addition of the tippet extended the total length beyond the rod…more
Robb Chunco, New York
July 5 , 2016
This past weekend, I had a chance to get out with the Tanuki 275 prototype and really put it through its paces.
I set it up with just shy of a rod’s length of size 3 Oni level line and roughly 3′ of 6X tippet. Casting unweighted flies (kebari, dry flies, soft hackles) is incredibly accurate. With both a full casting stroke and from a dead upright or sideways stop (no back cast).
Sidearm casts (L-R, R-L) were accurate as well. No tip oscillation to be noticed. Feel is softer than I’m used to, but was quick to get used to. I’d say the action is somewhere between an 8:2 and a 7:3, but It’s got a great “elastic” feeling quality to it at the same time…more
Rob Gonzalez, Texas
June 30, 2016
I had the pleasure of testing the Tenkara Tanuki 275 prototype the last couple of days and here’s my review. At 9′ long and weighing in at only 2 oz, this prototype has plenty of punch. It’s tip section is very thin, but don’t let that fool you – it has plenty of backbone. It’s a fast action rod with very accurate casting and no oscillation. The delivered test level lines were sizes 2.5, 3, & 3.5 at 3m. I added 3′ of 5X tippet and it had no difficulty with any of them…more