June 12, 2015

Tenkara Times WaterShed 330 6:4 -- another short rod to consider.

I recently published a post on rods for smaller, tighter waters. At the end of that post I wrote that I would be reviewing a couple more rods which were in the 270 cm length class. I received one the other day, the Tenkara Times WaterShed 330. It's this rod that I would like to introduce to you today.

I have fished with a number of rods from Tenkara Times. I have been impressed with all of them but I can tell you right now that I'm really going to enjoy fishing the WaterShed 330. Like all of Tenkara Times rods, it is well built, handsome and functionally excellent. It will likely be my go to rod for smaller streams due to some of its characteristics.

The rod comes with a carbon fiber rod tube. The metal ends on my rod tube were loose but they readily glued back on using Super glue. The rod also comes with a black stretch-type rod sock.

The finish of the rod is graphite matte. Although I don't have any direct evidence that matte rods scare fewer fish it just makes sense that they would be more stealthy than a shiny rod. This however, could be one of those urban legends that has been passed down from generation to generation and from book to book. Still, I like the matte finish. There are fine silver accents on the tips of every section except the top two sections. The rod designation section is glossy and well done. There is an accent ring on the tip-wards end of the rod designation that comes in useful when fishing in certain situations. More on that later.

Rod designation

Accent ring

The WaterShed 330 is a zoom rod. In its shorter configuration it is advertised as 263 cm. Fully extended it is advertised as 306 cm. The zoom section is easy to extend but is not too loose. There is no rattle when the zoom section is collapsed.

Zoom connection

The handle is good quality cork sandwiched between rings of cork composite, one at the winding check and one at the butt. It is 22 cm in length. The shape is similar to other Tenkara Times rods, but just more pronounced. The butt portion is full diameter, filling your handle nicely. The tip-wards part of the handle is thin, thus allowing you to easily choke up when needing to cast in tighter sections of the stream. I really like this handle and its many functional hand holds.

The tip plug is black plastic and fits snugly into the rod. It has a loop of bright chartreuse green tube material, making the tip plug easily found if dropped into the stream side vegetation. The butt cap is metal, is slightly knurled and has a coin slot. There is no air hole. The zoom post receives the zoom section perfectly, as mentioned above.

The lilian is classic red and is glued onto the tip section. The glue joint is nicely executed; a small and clean profile. The tip section can be withdrawn through the second section for complete disassemble for cleaning and drying.

Here are some specifications:

Fully collapsed: 52.5 cm
Extended (short): 265 cm
Extended (long): 307 cm
Weight without tip plug: 52.9 g
CCS/RFI (short): 11.5 pennies/4.3
CCS/RFI (long): 12.5 pennies/4

Short configuration

Long configuration

RFI rod comparison chart

The action of this little rod is relaxed and smooth. It allows rod loading even with a #3 level line no longer than seven feet in length. Sling shot casts are easily performed, as well are modified roll casts. I really like the action of this rod and found that it handled trout in the 8-10 inch range very well -- even in fast, high gradient waters.

As I mentioned above, this rod allows two different fishing lengths, 263 cm and 306 cm. But the way the handle is designed it also allows you to choke up quite a bit, effectively turning the rod into a 240 cm rod. This of course can be done with other rods, but I found that the small accent ring at the tip-ward portion of the rod designation allows you to accurately place your hand, even without looking. This makes adjustments of rod length very quick and efficient.

Choking up on the handle to turn the rod effectively into a 240 cm rod.

8 inch cutthroat

10 inch rainbow

Conclusion: I really like this rod! Until I find some thing better, this will be my go to rod for small streams. It is very lightweight, yet appears robust enough for small stream trout. It casts beautifully in tight quarters. It is very functional allowing a small stream tenkara fisher to quickly adjust to any stream situation that might be encountered. All in all, its a great rod! Now that said, we'll see if my enthusiasm for it lasts over time.

If you are interested in trying this rod out you can purchase one from Tenkara Times or Three Rivers Tenkara (although at the time of this publication the WaterShed 330 is not listed on Three Rivers Tenkara).

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same characteristics or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod then make up your own mind.


  1. Thanks Tom...
    Another one to my wish list!

  2. Hi Tom, Thank you for the most informative rod review; I really appreciate all the excellent work that you do.

    I Have noticed that Tenkara Times has brought hollow tip rods in their stiffer tip action rods lately, is the 330, 6:4 Zoom rod that you reviewed above also one of those?

  3. Mr. Klavon, thats an interesring question...
    Up to now I only know of one rod in their line up thas has a hollow tip, is the Motive 390, TT big fish rod.

  4. New to Tenkara this year, Thanks for your awesome reviews. I also enjoy fishing small remote streams in the PNW that vary from open with the riparian zone vegetation scoured by high meltoff to moderately closed in canopy and brush with some bushwhacking required. I purchased the DT Hydra after reading your review and found it's length excessive under a canopy and with my lack of finesse, hookset has a tendency to launch dinks out of the water. I also purchased the TT 300Z after reading this review. The 300Z is so light and responsive it feels like a toy compared to the Hydra; much like my 7 ft Pennington bamboo rod with a DTF3 compares to my 9 ft - 5 weight, and I really like it! Paying strict attention to a 12-10 casting stroke, pausing at 12 I can feel a distinct “tic”; I believe as an unweighted fly loads the tip? With no wind a hard stop at 10 causes a 10' 3.5 line to dart forward, then the tippet and fly turn over marvelously and gently drift down onto the water in a straight line about 13 to 15 ft away. As I gain casting skill I will go to lighter lines. Also a dink take is felt much more readily and a 6” to 8” fish's take is very pronounced. I found the rod has been able to quickly turn 8" fish darting for a root ball and undercut banks in fast current on a narrow stream. I believe the 300Z is a great compliment to the Hydra for me. A question though about the 263 CM length; the washers on the end plug are minuscule and the rod doesn't have as pronounced an indication that the #8 section is seated to use the shorter length like the Hydra does. Do you notice that, and is there anything you do about it?
    Thanks again for the awesome reviews.

  5. A follow-up to my question... The O rings on my end plug are clearly not as large as those in the photo from your review. Their diameter does not extend beyond the diameter of the leading edge of the zoom post, and is just even with the middle section of the post. It doesn't sound like you had to do a DIY replacement. I'll contact TT, but do you know the size of the O-rings?

    1. I don't know the size of the O-rings. I would probably just go to Home Depot and do a trial and error with different sizes. But that is just me! Contacting TT would probably be the best.

  6. First let me thank you for excellent, comprehensive revues that have been the main cause of "wallet shrinking" at my end. Anyone knowing of what I have accumulated in my "quiver," would call the Funny-Farm wagon and "siccum" on me.

    It would seem that through slovenly inventory control, I have a couple of rod duplicates and several rods which do not seem to serve my purposes.

    May I have have your permission to quote extensively and reproduce images from your blog for these rods when selling on Ebay, with attribution, of course?

    Barry Kustin


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