January 23, 2014

Tenkara Times Try 390 7:3 rod -- review

This past year I posted a review on the Oleg Stryapunin's Tenkara Times Try 360 6:4 rod. I like that rod so much that I bought a Try 390 7:3 to see if it would live up to the benchmark of the Try 360. Here is my review of this tenkara rod.

The Tenkara Times Try 390 7:3, like its sibling, comes in a clear plastic rod tube. The tube is not fancy but it dose the job very well. You can purchase a more sturdy aluminum rod tube from The Tenkara Times, but for general use this is not needed. A black stretch rod sock is included as well.

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.

Rod designation (I added the white dot)

Winding check and flat graphite finish of the blank

The Try 390, like its 360 sibling, is amazingly light weight. This is a true 390 cm rod and yet it only weighs 72 g. Collapsed the rod is 58 cm. Fully extended it is 392 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 There is no knot in the lilian, but there might as well be since the tip section can't be withdrawn through the 2nd section -- the lilian-glue profile is too large in diameter.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.

Tip plug

Butt cap with coin slot

The Try 390 7:3 is a 19 penny rod on the Common Cents System. This gives this rod a Rod Flex Index score of 4.8. This places the Try 390 in the 6:4 rod flex range, on the slower end of the 6:4 continuum. Once again, like many rods, the advertised flex (in this case 7:3) does not bear out in the measurements. This is not an issue really; I like the rod's action where it is at. You would easily feel the difference if you could compare the action of the Try 390 to a true 7:3 rod, say the Daiwa LT39SF.  The Try 390 is obviously softer. It loads faster than the LT39SF and it casts a lighter line than the LT39SF as well.

Rod Flex Index comparison chart

Casting the Try 390 is a joy. I have run out of superlatives for Oleg's tenkara rods, as each that I have used is wonderful. The Try 390 is no exception. It balances well, casts effortlessly, does not oscillate, and has no overshoot. Being so lightweight it does not fatigue your arm either. It really is a fun rod to use.

I've fished the Try 390 many days on streams ranging from small spring creeks to classic mountain streams to large open rivers. By adjusting the length of line you use you can effectively fish all these types of waters with this rod. Although this rod is advertised as a 7:3 it casts a #3-3.5 fluorocarbon line beautifully. Unweighted kebari are placed right where you want them and even beadhead flies are no problem. In fact, on my trip today I fished a New Zealand dropper system with two headhead flies. Still the Try 390 cast them wonderfully!

On the water.

A nice rainbow

Another. Measured against the rod, he comes in at 18 inches.

Conclusion: I really like this rod. Just like the Try 360 6:4, I think the Try 390 7:3 is a well designed and though out rod that bears looking into if you are in the market for a lightweight 390 cm tenkara rod.
I have grown to really appreciate this rod and what Oleg has done for tenkara both in Europe and the US.
Coming up in a future post I'll show you how you can get the most out of your Try tenkara rods if you are lucky enough to own both the 360 and 390 like I do.

Jason Klass of Tenkara Talk has also reviewed this rod.

Here is a video of me using the rod and catch a couple nice fish. This day was slow, but still it was nice to get out on the water.


  1. Very nice Tom. Perhaps i do have this rod i was longing for your review on it.
    I agree with every single word .
    It's really lightweight and accurate at casting.

    Now a side note;
    i noticed you have reviewd some numbers on your RFI table.
    The try 360 has a ccs number (13) lower than the Next 360 (14).
    In a previous table i remeber those numbers were higher.
    Is that right?

    1. Hi Carlos

      My previous numbers for the 360 and NEXT we're incorrect. I redid the measurements this week and that is why you see a change in the chart. I don't know how I got those other numbers but they were incorrect.

    2. Hmmm, i was about to order a Try 360 now i'll reconsider it.
      i have a Nissin pro-spec 7:3 (RFI 4 at 360 ) and it just don't feel at home casting in the wind here.
      ... Can you tell me if, when casting, the Try 360 has faster tip action than the prospec 7:3 at 360?

    3. I think that the Try 360 and the Pro Spec 7:3 feel pretty close. However, if you do get a Try 360, to get a stiffer rod substitute the Try 390 segments for the 360 ones (all except the 360 handle) and you'll have a stiffer rod. This will be pointed out in my next post.

  2. Hi Tom, Andrew here, another great post, the red arrow/circle is great. Quick question on fishing in the cold, at what temp. do you think it gets dangerous for a tenkara rod? I have the shimotsuke 3.6. Thanks

    1. Hi Andrew, I'm not sure if I have an answer. I've fished in temps as low as 3 degree F and have the rods do fine. Temps like that are more harmful to the fish than the rods. But I'd guess that breakage rates may increase as temps drop. I just don't have any data.

  3. Nice review and video again, Tom. My biggest water/fish rod is a Nissin Zerosum 360 7:3 (18p?) and I am thinking about getting a 380-390cm rod with fighting ability about equal or a little better. I think the Try 390 7:3 is at the top of my "thinking about" list. Thanks.

    1. The Try 390 would definitely fit those goals.

  4. Tom, thanks for reviewing this rod. I ordered one in Dec when Oleg had the price marked down. It feels wonderfully light. I was concerned it might be fragile, but the 2 fish you landed show that shouldn't be a problem if I handle the rod correctly. I haven't fished with it yet, only cast it a few times in the stream in front of my house. Your scale is more accurate than mine. Most of the time my scale measures 70g, occassionally , 71g. Its probably just under 71. That gives a Moment of 6 and CG of 84.7. The CG is longer than than the Ayu2, yet it doesn't feel tip heavy as the M value indicates. DW

    1. "the stream in front of my house"...you lucky guy!!

      I've been really impressed with this rod. When I need a 390 cm rod I've been fishing this rod exclusively. It works well with my type of tenkara.

  5. The power of words Tom. Stream paints a prettier picture than creek. The two primary reasons I decided to give the Try 390 a go were Rob W's review and comments Oleg made, here and there, that told me he understands rod design. It was nice seeing your review reenforced those. Looking at the position of rods I already own on your Flex Index table, the T390 falls in an empty spot. It will not be duplicating what I have and should compliment them. Kind of my goal or project lately, to try rods with different characteristics and different lines, to expand my techniques. D