January 1, 2017

Suntech Suikei TenkaraBum 40 -- the perfect rod for open streams

I recently received my Suntech Suikei TenkaraBum 40 tenkara rod and yesterday I had the chance to fish it. The punch line is: this is an excellent rod! But first, let me tell you about it.

I've fished the TenkaraBum 36 for a while now, and have found it to be a very capable rod. It handles all genres of flies equally as well: dries, nymphs, streamers, beadheads. It is a great all-around tenkara rod, but it lacks only one small thing -- length.  Three hundred and sixty centimeters is the perfect length for many streams, but on the more open streams it feels a little short. Enter the TenkaraBum 40.

The TenkaraBum 40 is not just a longer version of the TB36. The collapsed length of the TB40 is a little longer, coming in at 60 cm, meaning that TB40 a whole different rod. This also means that most of the segments are not interchangeable (the top two are interchangeable, but none of the others are). This is not an issue, just be aware.

Difference in nested lengths: TB36 (left) and TB40 (right)

The rod looks exactly like the TB36, so I won't go into any detail. It's is a very handsome rod.

The handle is EVA foam and has the signature exaggerated camel shape of the TB36.  I find the midsection of the handle to be too small in diameter for my palm, but I have to remember that this rod is sold in Japan to Japanese tenkara anglers as well, so thinner handles are a must. I also find the handle to be just a little short for a 400 cm rod. I think it would be better if it were 5 cm longer, allowing a more comfortable grip further up the handle. But given the rod's low rotational moment, it's not that big of a deal.

Here are some of my measurements:

Fully collapsed: 60 cm
Fully extended: 399.5 cm
Weight (without tip plug): 72.2 g
CCS: 19 pennies
RFI: 4.75
Rotational Moment: 5.5

RFI comparison chart -- click to enlarge

I really like how this rod is balanced and how it casts. For a 400 cm rod it is very well balanced; better than my 400 cm Nissin rods. Its light weight and balance point make casting the TB40 unencumbered. It has a low swing weight and little startup inertia.

The casting arc is smooth and modestly tip flex; not as much tip flex as the TB 36, however.  The TB36 has an RFI of 5.1, illustrating that it's just a little faster than the TB40 at 4.75. The TB40 loads easily with a #3 fluorocarbon level line. There's no oscillation of the tip or overshoot on the cast's stopping point. This rod dampens very well.

Conclusion: I like this rod. I'm not a huge fan of the handle shape (too aggressive of curves IMO) but other than that, this is a great rod! I like its slightly slower and smoother casting action over the TB36, but I also like its equally capable functionality. This rod makes an excellent addition for those looking for a longer length, lightweight, low rotational moment tenkara rod capable of fishing all types of flies in all categories of water.

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, 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. 
I receive advertising revenue from TenkaraBum, but this does not imply a favorable review of their products. I purchased the TB40 from TenkaraBum.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom,

    I fish a Royal Stage 7:3 400 and have one as a backup. For the sake of versatility, I am thinking of selling the backup on eBay and getting something hat will handle fishing heavier nymphs deeper a bit better.

    You have more experience than I do, does the TenkaraBum 40 sound like it would fit the bill for me? Any other suggestions (a) if price were no object and (b) if I preferred to get a good value that is not super expensive?

    Many thanks for your helpful posts!