April 1, 2017

Three Rivers Tenkara Confluence 2-Way Zoom tenkara rod

(FYI, even though it's April 1st, this is NOT a April Fool's post)

I recently received a new rod from Anthony Naples at Three Rivers Tenkara. It is his new Confluence 2-Way Zoom tenkara rod. He loaned it to me for the purpose of putting it through its paces. All of my rivers are high and off colored due to spring run off, so I will do a dry review here, but that should still give you some useful information.

 The rod was a collaboration between Anthony Naples at Three Rivers Tenkara and Oleg Stryapunin of Tenkara Times. Both of these anglers have years of experience fishing tenkara for both cold and warm water fish species. Oleg's rods are some of the nicest I've ever fished and Anthony is about as knowledgeable in the ways of tenkara as anyone in the US. It turns out this collaboration was a good one.

Here is what Anthony told me in a recent email: "I worked with Oleg to make this (I have no problem deferring to those with more experience). So it's based on his 1st Step rod - but made into a 2way zoom. It's features my grip design and cosmetics. 

The idea was to fill in a hole with the rods that I sell - that is a nice quality all-around zoom that won't break the bank.  Folks that wanted to start in tenkara would ask me what to start with - or at shows they would ask and I found that I wanted a better answer than what I had. 

Just like the TT 1st step, it's made to be an easy entry point ... I think that it ... has casting feel and accuracy of some more expensive rods - and it's not a broomstick."

The rod comes in a clear plastic rod tube and with a very nice padded stretch rod sock. The rod has a glossy finish and is a dark graphic coloration with black accents on the handle section as well as the tip-ward portion of the six lower sections.

The handle is 30 cm in length; it's black EVA foam and has a slight camel shape - similar to an Oni type I rod. It is full in the hand and comfortable to hold. The winding check is black anodized metal and fits tightly against the handle.

The tip plug is wood with a rubber insert. It fits snuggly into the handle section. The butt cap is black anodized metal and is similar to the Tenkara Times Try series rod's butt caps. The butt cap has a coin slot and slight knurling to aid in removal. It also has a simple post, covered in rubber, which captures the zoom section. The rod sample I borrowed held the zoom section tightly without any rattling, yet extended smoothly. I really like this simple but effective design. There are no O-rings to break!

The lillian is red and attaches to the tip section via a well executed glue joint. The tip section can be withdrawn through the second section allowing for complete disassembly of the rod (for cleaning and drying). My rod sample had a lillian knot in place and this had to be undone to allow complete disassembly.

Here are some measurements:

Fully nested: 58.5 cm
Fully extended: 321 cm, 368 cm
Weight: 90.8 g
CCS: 18 pennies @ 321 cm, 20 pennies @ 368 cm
RFI: 5.6 @ 321 cm, 5.4 @ 368 cm

RFI comparison chart

The rod's action is tip flex, but not too stiff. As Anthony stated in his email, this rod is not a broom stick. The Rod Flex Index of the rod places it squarely into the 6:4 flex action range. I believe this was the goal. The rod is designed for those new to tenkara and a slightly stiffer action allows a more familiar feel for those who are used to western fly rods --  but allows them to get used to the "tenkara rod feel" without freaking out. It also allows for a more forgiving rod; less likely to break if inappropriate pressure is applied to the blank.

This 6:4 action requires a quick casting action. I used a #3 level line, which the rod cast just fine, but I believe that the Confluence 2-Way Zoom rod would be better matched with either a #3.5-4 level line or a furled line. Both length configurations cast the line equally well.

Conclusion: I think this is a really nice rod for those looking to enter the tenkara fishing world, or for those looking for a functional multi-length tenkara rod that has a lower price point. For $125.00 USD I don't think you could find a better thought out rod. It has a rich heritage, yet it won't break the bank.

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 Three Rivers Tenkara, but this does not imply a favorable review of their products. I was loaned the rod and it was returned to Anthony Naples.


  1. Hi Tom, nice review. When you cast the rod, did it feel any different in the 368 position, versus the 321? Also, when fully extended, was there any oscillation and did it feel tip heavy?

    1. It casts very similar in both length configurations. No oscillation. Not very tip heavy when extended -- about like other 360 cm rods.