September 10, 2013

Tenkara Times Try 360 6:4 Rod -- review

Just the other day I received a new rod from Oleg Stryapunin of Tenkara Times. It is their newest rod offering: the Try 360 6:4 tenkara rod. I have fished with one of Tenkara Times rod before, the NEXT 360 5:5, so I was anxious to get this new rod out of the water. BTW, Jason Klass has reviewed the 390 cm 7:3 version of this rod.

According to Oleg, the Try series of rods are "are noticeably stiffer than the Next 360 5:5 rod. It is better for casting when breeze and with heavier lines and flies. The same time it is one of the lightest tenkara rods worldwide. The most amazing thing about casting the rod is that you can easily feel the rod loading as you make the cast: the stiffer tip sections transmit the feel of the cast so much better. Also it gives the best sensitivity to feel the takes that is so important for fishing classic Japanese wet kebari flies. It gives you all the precision in casting you could want and sufficient backbone to handle larger fish in smaller quarters. Also it gives the best sensitivity to feel the takes that is so important for fishing classic Japanese wet kebari flies. Even the rod is optimized to cast level lines sizes #3-3,5, it casts sizes #2-2,5 very well and do not overloaded with size #4,5. We recommend to use the tippets not stronger than 5X." With rod in hand, I wanted to see if these claims were true. But first, I need to give you the rod description and specifications.

The rod comes in a transparent polycarbonate tube case and includes a black stretch rod sock. This rod sock is similar to what is now being offered for high end Japanese tenkara rods, such as the Shimano 34-38 ZL. An aluminum rod tube case is available for an extra fee.


The rod has the classic features of Tenkara Times rods, that is, a flat graphite grey finish with Pantone 254 C accents. The handle is 27 cm long and has a pronounced camel-back or double hump shape. The lower portion of the handle is a larger diameter then the upper portion. This allows many handling configurations to be entertained by users with different palm sizes. The cork is an excellent quality with little filler. The winding check is glossy black, and fits tightly against the top end of the handle.

What is amazing about this rod is how light and well balanced it is. When you first pick it up you will notice that it is pretty much lighter in hand than any other 360 cm tenkara rod (defined as a cork handled rod designed for tenkara, not keiryu or seiryu) you may have fished. It is even lighter than my beloved Nissin ZeroSum 360 7:3! Whether this lightness compromises the rod's durability remains to be seen. Without the tip plug the rod weighs 62 gm. Collapsed, the rod is 58 cm. Extended, the rod is 366 cm.

The lilian is red, glued into the 1st section's tip, and is quite long compared to other tenkara rods I have used. There is no knot in the lilian, but there might as well be since the tip section can't be withdrawn through the 2nd section -- the lilian-glue profile is too large in diameter. The tip plug is wood with a rubber insert plug and fits snugly into the rod. The butt cap is anodized metal, has a foam dampening insert, and does not have a drainage hole. It does not have a knurled edge so removal may be difficult with wet or cold hands. There is a coin slot to aid in removal, however.

Long lilian on the Try 360 6:4 (middle). TUSA Ayu II (top) and Daiwa LT36SF (bottom) for comparison.

Tip plug

Butt cap with foam insert.

Butt cap coin slot

The Try 360 6:4 has a Common Cents Scale of 13 penny. This give it a Rod Flex Index of 3.6. This give it very similar characteristics to the Tenkara Times NEXT 360 5:5 rod. But there is a subtle difference between the two rods. Even though they have similar numbers, the Try begins its inflection point further up the rod than does the NEXT. This is what gives it the 6:4 designation (although it acts like a 5:5 rod), while the NEXT has an inflection point more mid-rod, therefore a 5:5. In my hands, casting them side by side with the same line, they feel really similar. But when you anchor the line (hook something) and begin to impart a bend in the rods then you can see that there is a difference in the bend profiles of the rods. Subtle but real.

RFI comparison chart

Casting the Try 360 6:4 is a pleasant experience. It has a smooth casting arc with just a hint of tip over shoot. The tip dampens quickly and there is no appreciable oscillation. I cast the rod with various lines of 12 feet (plus 3 feet of 5X tippet) and it seems to load best with lines in the #3-3.5 range. A #4 line seems a touch too heavy with the rod griping a smidge. A #2.5 line was pretty manageable but when a slight breeze came up you had to push the rod a little to get the line to fully extend.

I took the rod to a standard mountain stream in my geographical region. I caught trout ranging from 8 inches to 14 inches. The stream gradient this time of year is modest due to lower water levels. It has some deep pools, but mostly pocket water. I used a 12 foot #3 line on the stream; 3 feet of 5X fluorocarbon tippet.

As expected from the initial impression, the rod is balanced wonderfully, even better than the NEXT 360 5:5. No arm fatigue is noticed after many hours of fishing. Targeting is precise; the tip action is crisp but not stiff. Throwing the kebari into small plunge pools or under overhanging limbs was easy accomplished.

Hookups were straight forward, and fighting fish was without issue. I did hook one rainbow that shot upstream so fast the my tippet-hook knot broke but that was not the rods fault. My tippet was worn and I was too lazy to replace it. I did replace it after the rainbow broke off.

Here is a video of the rod in action:

Conclusion: I like this rod. It has a pleasant balance point and hand weight. Even though it did have a slight tendency to gripe with a heavier line, with the #3-3.5 it cast effortlessly. I really like the flat, non-glare finish and I wish more rod manufacturers would incorporate that into their designs.  Sure, the rod won't win any beauty contests, but it's not on the water to look pretty -- It's there to do its job: place the fly where you want it to go. I also really liked the handle shape. For my hand it is very comfortable.

I'm not sure what the name "Try" is supposed to mean. Personally I don't think this rod is designed for beginners, as in "try this rod and see if you like tenkara", there are other rods for that. Rather I like to think that it stands for a try, meaning, a goal or score in rugby (a.k.a., touchdown in American Football). So, with that in mind I think this rod scores big and makes a goal for Tenkara Times! GGGGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!

If you would like to "try" this rod, go to the Tenkara Times rod shop.


  1. Tom, i've ordered the Try 390 7:3 Jason reviewed.
    It is at customs clearence now and shall come to my hands soon.

    The word about it that caught my wallet was "lightness". I'm really a bit addicted to that.
    Reading your and jason´s review give me a sense i will love this rod.

    About the name "Try" i gess it is just about the trial and error work Oleg submited this series after finding the perfect one. He streesses this on his blog:

    1. Hi Carlos,

      That should be a nice rod! I agree about light rods; I've been spoiled!


  2. Another nice video! I had two questions if you don't mind. What kind of cutts? It is too hard to see in the video what they are. And how warm are the streams getting with the low water? thanks

    1. Hey C,

      I believe they were Yellowstone. Beautiful fish. I didn't take the water temp but it felt pretty cold; I was downstream from some springs.


  3. Sorry, I wasn't thinking and shouldn't have asked that. I was just looking at the fish and not paying attention to much else. The different patterns on the various species cutthroat fascinate me. I love catching the wild natives on small streams with light equipment.