January 27, 2014

Turn Two rods into Four - Experiments with the Try series of rods

I recently did a review on the Tenkara Times Try 390 7:3. I also did a formal review of its shorter sibling, the Try 360 6:4. As you have probably figured out, I own and use both of these fine rods.

Well, the other day, after a communication from Oleg Stryapunin of Tenkara Times, I started playing with them and seeing what options I could come up with by interchanging their respective parts.

Here's what I have come up with. If you have both the Try 360 and the Try 390 you can exchange the segments and come up with four different rods!

The first two are the original rods, and they come from Tenkara Times.  These are great rods just the way they are! The Try 390 has a Common Cents System (CCS) of 19 pennies and a Rod Flex Index (RFI) of 4.8. This puts it in the 6:4 range. The Try 360 has a CCS of 13 pennies and a RFI of 3.6. This puts it in the 5:5 range.

Original rods side by side

The third rod is a rod using the Try 360 handle and the Try 390 segments, all except its handle and the next largest segment. This combination gives you a slightly stiffer rod that comes in at 350 cm. It still is really lightweight, but it has a faster tip and casts tighter loops. This rod has a CCS of 16 pennies and an RFI of 4.6. That moves it from a 5:5 to a 6:4 action range. This gives you a slightly shorter rod with a stiffer action.

Try 360 handle and Try 390 segments 

The fourth rod is a rod using the Try 390 handle and next smaller segment with all of the segments from the Try 360. This gives you a 407 cm rod that is softer than the original Try 390. It too is very lightweight for such a long rod and it casts a #2.5-3 level line beautifully. This rod has a CCS of 15 pennies and an RFI of 3.7. That makes this rod a 5:5, taking it down from a 6:4.  This gives you a rod with a longer reach and a softer action.

Try 390 handle and next smaller segment and then the Try 360 segments

I keep my Try 390 and 360 segments differentiated by having placed a small dot of white paint on the Try 390 segments. That way I don't get them inadvertently mixed up.

White dot for the 390

White dot on the 390 segments

So there you go, four rods out of two! I suppose that you could also mixed up the segments completely and make yourself a custom rod, but I'm pretty impressed with both rods versatility as they are already. Anyway,  carry these two rods with you and you can have four different rod/action choices on the water as your situation dictates!


  1. Interesting experiment. As more Japanese style telescopic rods become available or on used market I expect we will see more experimenting and adaption of rods into new rods, as done in Japan already. Two years ago on TUSA forum Eddie posted that you could make a too soft rod into a stiffer rod by cutting 2 inches off the tip and reattaching a new Lillian. Tip sections for some rods are low cost. Trying that might be a worthy low cost experiment. You'd only be out a few bucks and 5 cm shorter rod. DW

    1. That would be an interesting experiment!

    2. Before doing any cutting or ordering any tip sections I suppose you could test this by seeing how or if the CCS penny rating changes by moving the penny bag back 2 inches from the Lillian.

    3. Not trusting my memory I looked up the original post. To test the idea Eddie suggested you try casting the rod with the tip section removed. I suppose you make a substitute Lillian temporary attachment. In general he found removing 4 to 8 inches ( 10 to 20 cm) from the tip created the desired increase in stiffness. But suggested you go at it in 2 inch (2.54 cm) steps. BTW - the suggestion was posted twice.D

  2. Very interesting post! I have never thought about mixing segments of different rods and wonder the results I would get with my own rods.

    1. Hello Christophe, the two Try rods work well this way as they come from the same manufacturer and their segments are very close in length and taper to each other. However, I have replaced the top two or three segments on other rods with segments of different bend characteristics from different manufacturers and have had some success as well. You just have to make sure the fit is appropriate.

  3. I loved the idea so much that ordered a Try 360 handle section (plus tip and bottom plug) alone
    to transform my Try 390 into 2 rods.
    This sencond rod made with the 360 handle and 390 sections (a faster 350 cm rod) will be my mangrove outfit.
    Thank you so much Tom for this great experiment.

    1. Hi Carlos, it should be fun to hear how you like the "new" rod.

    2. Yes, i'm really curious about how it will feel in my hand.
      My idea was to buy a 360 rod with a faster tip to fish the mangrove.
      The Try 390 has an action that fits that purpose but it is a bit to long and sometimes i hit the mangrove branches with its tip.
      The Next has the right size but is a bit too soft and in wind condititon it lacks the precision that is so important for me in that environent.... Hope that this "new" Try 350 6:4 fills that gap!

  4. OK. I'll be honest. I really LIKE your idea of giving away a rod. I don't NEED another rod. As a result of watching your blog and other Tenkara blogs, I am deeply sucked into Tenkara -- not the religion of having a cork handle, but the joy, simplicity and effectiveness of zoom rods. I have bought 2 Daiwas and have another one (Oni) on order. I haven't even been able to go out and fish one yet! So why would anyone want to give me another rod?

    I want to experience yet another rod. With the exception of yourself, and guys such as Daniel, Chris Stewart, Jason Klass, Erik Ostrander and a handful others, few of us really KNOW Tenkara. Experience with different rods is the only way to understand the design and practical tradeoffs. We all fish differently, and in different waters. What works for one person may not work for another. With that in mind, I want to own your rod for a couple of fishing outings, and then offer it to somebody else through your blog. Pay it forward. If I break a part, I will pay to replace it. I will pay to ship it to the next winner. I hope the next person will be inspired to do the same, but he/she doesn't have to. It is your rules, not mine.

    Doing that kind of thing fits your site. As I mentioned to you in a previous email, I think the richness of information (stream flows, temperature, wind speed, kind of rod, rigging, kind of flies, where you cast, and where the fish took etc) provided by your site is educational and puts it in the class of a Khan Academy f(khanacademy.org) or stream fishing. I have books on fly fishing, and though I've enjoyed them all, they don't evoke the visceral experience as one gets from video. I have learned a lot from your site, and gotten a lot of pleasure seeing the beautiful places in Idaho. Trying out a different rod completes the educational/visceral/tactile/practical experience -- if not for me, then definitely for other watchers of your site.

    Thank you for your patience with my ramblings.

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