February 6, 2012

Amago review

Today I decided to go back out to the Black Canyon of the Bear River, near Grace, ID, to use my newly acquired Tenkara USA Amago. So far my Tenkara trips have all been with the Iwana 12ft; I was excited to give this longer rod a try. Tenkara USA states on their website "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."  The rod is advertised at 13' 6" (mine is exactly 13' 6") with an attractive black matte finish (I really like this matte finish). Its advertised weight is 100g (mine is 97g).

Tenkara USA Amago

Iwana 12' (left), Amago (left-center) handle comparisons

The first thing that struck me when I opened my Amago is that this is a more substantial rod than my Iwana-12, although when you lay them side by side they actually appear quite similar. The cork on the Amago is lighter in color than my Iwana and appears to be about the same quality . I would appraise my Amago cork handle as "AAA or CG2" --  that is, it appears to have had small voids and a little need for cork filler. I would appraise my Iwana-12 cork at "AAA or CG2" as well. The Iwana-12 has a gracefully turned shape to the cork handle reminiscent of a reverse half wells, while the Amago has a cylindrical turning through most of the handle with a "bulb" of cork at the butt end. My hand grip is large to extra large and I found the Amago handle quite comfortable.

I headed into the river on another cold 25 degree day with a slight downstream breeze. At first I used a 10' HiVis Cutthroat furled line (I will give a separate review on this line/leader in a future post) but changed after a while to a 10' 6" Tenkara USA 3rd Generation traditional furled line. Rio 6x fluorocarbon tippet was used.

Cutthroat Leader Tenkara line

Casting the Amago was a little different from the Iwana-12. The Amago rod loading was not as readily evident as the Iwana-12 and the fulcrum point was more spread out during casting than with the Iwana-12. I attribute the later of these to the longer length and increased mass of the Amago, thus increased cantilever effect. Don't get me wrong, casting the Amago is quite easy and control is effortless, but it has more inertia than the Iwana-12. This is not a problem -- the Amago is just a more substantial rod, as per its design.

Casting precision with the Amago was perfect. Especially with the Tenkara 3rd Gen line, the Amago put the fly right where I wanted it to go. Yes, the breeze did mess with some casts, but all-in-all the targeting was very easy to control. Also, with its extra long reach, line control was wonderful.

I caught fish varying in length from 7 inches to 12 inches. The Amago was a delight with all. Every fish I caught could be felt to the handle. Even the smaller fish where very fun on the line; their movements were transmitted to my hand, similar to the Iwana-12.

CONCLUSION: I found the Amago to be a very enjoyable rod to cast, easy to control the line, and fun in fighting small-modest size fish. Although a little heavier and with more casting inertia than the Iwana-12, it was not fatiguing over a few hours of steady fishing. I look forward to pursuing larger fish under more challenging circumstances with this rod (wind swept Idaho spring creeks).


As for the day, I fished for 2 hours and caught 10 fish --  the last 9 fish being taken over about 20 minutes. It took me a little while to find a pod of feeding trout, but when I did they cooperated quite well. Once again the BWOs were emerging so I used  #18 olive Bunny Dun (see post Black Canyon 1_27_12). However, this time I also added a #18 clear glass-bead olive RS2 as a trailing fly off the hook bend of the Bunny Dun with 7x fluorocarbon. Fish took both the Bunny Dun and the glass-bead RS2.

#18 clear glass-bead olive RS2

While walking up the river, watching for rise forms, I misstep right into a 5 foot deep hole! That was a wake up!  You can see the "blooper" at the end of the video. BTW, my hands got so cold that I was having trouble holding the trout for the camera; I dropped over half of them. This is not my usual method of releasing fish; I try to be much more gentle. I think next outing I will have to use Glacier Gloves!

An updated impression of this rod, and other rods I have used can be read HERE.


  1. Those wide-angle lenses make the action look so far away. How far off were fishing from where you were standing?

    When you review the Cutthroat leaders, it would be interesting if you would compare them the the T-USA furled leader Gen.3 and to a comparable Streamside Leader (also furled thread, like the Cutthroat).

  2. This week I should be out on the river on Friday. I will try narrowing the FOV and mounting the camera on my head for a different view angle. Hopefully I won't step in a hole over my head!


  3. Love the Amago! Next to for me it would be the Daiwa Sagiri 39MC from Chris at TenkaraBum.