February 1, 2014

Tenkara-Fishing Pure Line 350 6:4 tenkara rod -- review

Tenkara has seemingly blossomed over the past few years with more and more fishers seeing its intrinsic value for fishing mountain streams and other watery venues. A few fishers have been there the whole way, from the beginning, and one of those is Paul Gibson of Tenkara-Fishing.

Tenkara-Fishing is a tenkara outfitting company based out of Mountain Home, Idaho and has been providing tenkara rods and equipment for enthusiasts since 2011. This is not a sudden start up company. Paul's commitment to tenkara is proven and has stood the test of time.

Paul is an accomplished tenkara fisher. From classical mountain streams to high mountain lakes, from small trout to monsters, Paul has hunted and caught them all. He knows what he is doing and he knows good, practical gear.

Paul with a large Oregon brown taken on one of his Pure Line rods. (Images used with permission)

He knows what he's doing when it comes to tenkara!

I first met Paul at the Salt Lake City Tenkara USA Summit. I sat on the back row with him and Chris Stewart of Tenkara Bum. It was fun -- two foundational tenkara fishers for me to get to know. Paul is active in the tenkara community through various forums and is always helpful in sharing his knowledge and products. His company, Tenkara-Fishing, is part of a larger outdoor equipment company that he runs, Arrowhead Equipment.  Through Arrowhead Equipment you can purchase camping and hiking gear such as hammocks, hammock accessories, camping odds and ends, etc. All of these will make your "hanging" adventure more comfortable and pleasurable.

Bushman Hammock Chair from Arrowhead Equipment.

I bought a Pure Line 350 from Paul, as I wanted to see how well it stood up to some of the other tenkara rods I have used.

The Pure Line is made by Gokupse, designed in Japan and made in China. Here is what is stated on the Tenkara-Fishing website: All of our rods are made from high quality 98% Carbon Fiber.  They are each designed in Japan and manufactured in one of only a handful of factories in China that produces Tenkara rods for the world market.  Made with high grade carbon fiber, high grade cork grips, machined aluminum butt caps with drain holes and foam section dampener this series of rods mark a substantial upgrade in our line of rods.

The rod came with a rod sleeve, but no tube. It was package well and was protected in shipping. The rod has a flat dark graphite finish with glossy magenta accents on the ends of the larger segments.

Rod designation

Magenta accents

The handle is cylindrical. It is modest in diameter and should fit most palm sizes comfortably. My extra large palm size still fit the rod handle well. I fish rods that don't have cork on the handle, so fishing this rod is no problem. The cork appears to be of good to very good quality with little filler. There is a small section of cork composite at the upper end of the handle and a gold colored metal ring on the lower end. There is no winding check.

The lilian is attached directly to the 1st segment and the glue coating is small enough to allow passage through the 2nd segment. The tip plug is black nylon and fits snugly. The butt cap is purple anodized aluminum. It has two drainage holes but no internal rubber bumper.

Lilian and lilian attachment

Tip plug

Handle butt and butt cap

The rod is 340 cm fully extended. Fully collapsed it is 61.5 cm (with tip plug). The rod weighs 83.9 g (with tip plug).  This rod is 24 pennies on the Common Cents System scale.  That puts the rod in the 7:3 range with a Rod Flex Index of 7. The tip section is solid, making it more flexible and sensitive.

Extended length
Rod Flex Index comparison chart

Casting the rod is easy. It loads well, but best with a heavier level line, like a #4, or a furled line. I used both a #3.5 and #4 level line and both cast just fine. The rod throws a tight loop for use with standard kebari, but it will also throw a beadhead fly as well. I recently used beadheads of modest weight and this rod didn't even care.  No griping, no complaining. It just cast the beadhead exactly where I wanted it. Targeting is excellent and fighting fish is easy, as this rod has nice backbone. A 14 inch brown in fast current was easily controlled.

In my last post I showed a video of me fishing this rod. Small fish were fun; I could feel the takes very easily. Larger trout were even funner. Although the rod is a smidge on the heavier side for a 340-350 cm rod, it balances really well in your hand and the weight is not even noticed.

This brown is not a large as Paul's --but then again, he's a better fisher than I am!

Conclusion: This is a solid rod and would make a great rod for someone looking for a shorter 7:3 rod. It also would be a dandy entry or backup rod. It is relatively inexpensive, but has some nice features. I like the flat finish and the fish fighting backbone. Although it is a little short in overall length you still have plenty of reach on most all but the largest of waters. The best thing about the rod is knowing that it has been selected by Paul, and that you have his excellent support. Give it some consideration if your in the market for a stiffer rod of this length.  Advanced tenkara fishers like Chris Stewart and Rob Worthing have used Paul's tenkara rods and given testimonials. That's some pretty good credentials. And just a note, if you want to buy one of these rods and you go to Tenkara-Fishing but see that the rods are "out of stock" do not fret. Paul will be getting a new shipment soon, just contact him.

Also, if you are looking to get into hammock camping, or if you're already experienced in this great way to sleep, check out Arrowhead Equipment.


  1. The Tenkara-Fishing 350 was my first tenkara rod. It has handled some fish that are not your typical tenkara size- a 24" channel cat and a couple of 20" browns. My two young daughters (5 yrs and 8 yrs) love fishing with it. When I had owned it only a short while, I broke the tip section through my own rough handling of the rod. Getting a replacement was quick and easy. Paul has a great product and backs it up with great service.

    1. Yes, Paul has excellent service. I've had to use it once and he was quick and responsive.

  2. Tom, thank you for your usual comprehensive review of the 350! I would like your opinion on the following! I'm looking for a rod with stiffness and length similar to the Tenkara USA Yamame, rated 7:3. You rate this rod a 7:3, although Paul on his website refers to it as a 6:4. Do you consider it's stiffness roughly equivalent to the Yamame? I like to use weighted/beaded nymphs occasionally up to size 12 from time-to-time, which requires some stiffness in the rod.
    Thank you, Lew

    1. Hi Lew,

      The Yamame will be stiffer than the Pure Line 350. The Yamame is a 30 penny rod. That gives it a Rod Flex Index of 8.3. The Pure Line has an RFI of 7. That said, the Pure Line will easily throw a weighted #12 beadhead. I was using a #14 tungsten beadhead on the video of using this rod (from my prior post). Just make sure you throw an open loop when casting. This rod will do that really well. It is stiff enough to handle your flies (even a tandem).

  3. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks to Tom for the very detailed and very comprehensive review. Thanks for the support and recent orders, they are greatly appreciated Tom. When you come up to the Wood River at the end of the month Tom I will set you up with a 16-18' #3 line for it....I think you will like how it loads and casts with a longer lighter line in the wide open Wood.


    1. Thanks, Paul. I'll see you at the Wood later this month!!


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