September 6, 2014

Allfishingbuy Shibasu 3010 -- review

I have owned three different Allfishingbuy tenkara rods, and although they are not fancy I find them to all be quite good rods. Of the three, I like the Hirame-ML-3909 the best. I still have this rod and use it frequently.

Recently, while perusing the Allfishingbuy website my attention was drawn to the Shibasu line of tenkara rods. These are advertised as 7:3 rod that collapse to a very compact length for travel. I have a couple of very compact rods, the Shimotsuke Kiyotaki and the Shimano Kozuka being the most compact. These rods are only 37 cm long when fully collapsed and thus make excellent rods for travel or day hiking. They are both quite stiff; the Kiyotaki 27 having a Rod Flex Index (RFI) of 7.4 and the Kozuka 33NT a RFI of 8.5. I was curious if the Shibasu was just as stiff or not so I purchased a 300 cm version -- right between the Kiyotaki 27 and Kozuka 33NT.

The Shibasu-3010 comes in a short rod tube with black sleeve.  These are good quality and would protect the rod well during travel. The rod is dark charcoal with a flat matte finish. It has dark blue accents on the tips of the sections (except the tipward two). The package is $84.10 USD.

The handle is a reverse half wells type, although the curves are more pronounced. The cork quality is good but not great. The handle is 28 cm long. The winding check is blue anodized metal and fits tightly against the cork.

The tip plug is the standard wood with rubber insert and fits tightly into the handle section. The butt cap is black plastic and like most of the Allfishingbuy rods I have owned screws onto, not into, the butt of the handle. There is a rubber bumper and a drainage hole.

The lilian is dark brown and is attached to the tip section with a micro-swivel. This attachment is well executed with the micro-swivel being straight in line with the tip section. The tip section can not be retracted through the second section.

Rod specifications: Collasped, the rod is 41 cm (16 inches). Fully extended it is 298 cm. The Shibasu weighs 73 g. Its Common Cents System (CCS) rating is 23 pennies. Therefore its RFI is 7.6. This is in the 7:3 range (as advertised) and puts it between the Kiyotaki 27 and Kozuka 33NT in stiffness.

As I stated above, I was curious about this rod mainly because of how short is collapses. Although it is the most compact tenkara rod I have used, it is not as compact as the Sakura Kongo 30, which comes in at an amazing 14.17 inches (36 cm).  Interestingly enough, the Kongo 30 is also a very stiff rod with a CCS of 27 pennies and a RFI of 9. There must be something about short rods being so stiff -- maybe it's all those joints between sections as well as the blank taper that makes them stiff.  I have yet to see a fixed line rod that is both compact and highly flexible -- say an RFI of 5.

RFI comparison chart
Top to bottom: Oni type III, TUSA Rhodo, Daiwa LT36SF, AFB Shibasu-3010, Kiyotaki 27

As far the rod's portability, it sure is portable! It fits very well in any day pack. Heck, it will fit in your glove box of your car or truck, I bet! The action is stiff, as you would expect from its RFI score. This, as a characteristic, is a two edged sword. Firstly, it is an excellent rod for holding larger trout out of the snags inherent to small, tight streams and creeks. When you hook a larger than average trout in these streams you quickly find out that there is very little room to fight the fish. Also, you have less than one second to control the fish and keep it out of the snags. In one second the fish can easily traverse the entire width of the stream. It panics and wants dense cover fast! A rod with good "backbone" is needed to control the run. Too much flex in the rod, and you loose the fish to the snags. Rod power is great but there is a downside.

With that power comes loss of rod loading and "fun" in fighting small fish. One of the finest feelings that comes with using a tenkara rod is the feeling of the rod loading and unloading as the line hurls through space over your head. Also, catching small fish is awfully fun with a 5:5 tenkara rod -- you know it is. This is not the feeling you get catching a small fish on a 7:3 or 8:2 rod. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. Apparently you can't have it all. Compact, flexible, powerful, light weight; they seem to be somewhat mutually exclusive. The Soyokaze 27 is about the best small stream rod I've found. It is very light weight, has plenty of power for bigger fish and has a very nice, flexible tip. It's just not that compact (but not that bad either).

Still, this is a fun rod. It casts well but there is some oscillation of the tip -- it doesn't dampen as quickly as other rods I have. All this means is that you must not force for forward casting stroke. Even though it's a 7:3 I use a #3 or 3.5 line. It does just fine with these lines. If you used a #4.5 level line or a furled line it might not have the tendency to gripe as much.

Here is something you need to be aware of. Although the replacement tip sections for this rod are inexpensive they are not the same as the originals that come with the rod. I bought the three top sections and found them to be stiffer and without the micro-swivel. I contacted AFB and the initial response I received was that they were the same but the micro-swivel was left off to reduce cost. I remeasured the CCS with the replacements in place and it is definitely a stiffer rod. Listen, if you're going to use a stiff rod you at least need to have a flexible tip section or you will not be able to throw a level line very easily.

I contacted them again with my findings and let them know that most every one I was aware of would like replacement parts that were OEM to the rod itself. I also made it aware that I would inform the readers of my rod review that the parts currently offered were not the same as OEM. I received a reply that they had contacted their rod manufacturer and they would now make available OEM replacement parts as well as the less expensive ones. So now you have two choices.

Here is a video of a few fish I recently caught with the Shibasu-3010. Nothing fancy, just a quick outing.

Conclusion: I mostly like this rod. The price is nice, the materials seem good and the action is what I would have expected by its CCS and RFI numbers -- I wish it had a slightly more flexible tip though. It really shines in its compact size; a great back up or travel rod. It doesn't dampen quite as quickly as other rods I have but it's not that bad either. I don't know how the longer versions of the rod handle as I only purchased the 300 cm version. I'll leave that the one of you to find that out and then give us a report.

Want a tenkara rod that is very short when collapsed? Then this rod may just fit your bill.


  1. Interesting little rod. Hadn't given much thought to Allfishingbuy in a few years. Nice to see they're still trying new things.

  2. Nice review, thanks Tom.
    I wish they had the hirame in shorter lenghts...
    Have the 360 7:3 and simple love it.

  3. Thanks for advocating for better quality and service from Tenkara dealers!
    Your reviews are always helpful and I keep adding new gear to my Wishlist.


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