December 2, 2022

DRAGONtail HELLbender Tenkara Rod - review on Tenkara Angler


The DRAGONtail HELLbender Tenkara Rod has been around for a while, and since it has secured its place in many an angler's quiver, I thought it would be a good time to look at it in more depth. Here's my review published in TENKARA ANGLER

November 30, 2022

Joining Forces With Tenkara Angler


I have joined forces with Tenkara Angler as a member of their team. With Mike, Jason, Matt and Anthony making up the editorial board, and representing the eastern and midwestern US, I'll add my voice and cover tenkara in the western and intermountain US. My rod and equipment reviews, as well as fly tying tutorials will be posted on that extensive tenkara-related site. I'll continue to post on Teton Tenkara, but it will be my personal tenkara journey and fishing journal. 

I hope you'll continue to join me at both places, and we'll be able to enjoy our tenkara experience together! Here we go!!

April 1, 2022


These are my current favorites, as of April 2022. Yes, I have other rods and products that I really like, but these are what I currently prefer above all others. Red lettering indicates a hyperlink.

Rod Comparison/Characteristics References:

Rod Flex Index - I use this table to compare rods to each other, and to categorize rod flex action. 

Rotational Moment - I use these data when the rod is ≈4 meters in length or longer. 

Favorite Small Creek Tenkara Rods:

DRAGONtail Mizuchi - All around. Tight canopy. Larger fish. 

Nissin Air Stage Fuijryu 330 5:5 - Finesse fishing. Smaller fish.

Shimano Pack Tenkara 31-34 ZW - Pack rod. Backup rod. 

Favorite 360 cm Tenkara Rods: 

TenkaraBum 36 - All around. 

Anglo & Co. Wasabi 36 - All around. 

Nissin Air Stage Fuijryu 360 5:5 - Finesse fishing. Easy to pack. 

Nissin Air Stage Fujiryu 360 6:4 - Larger fish. Easy to pack. Contact nymphing. Windy conditions. Faster currents.

Favorite 390-400 cm Tenkara Rods:

TenkaraBum 40 - All around. 

Tanuki XL-1 - Finesse fishing. Similar to the Oni Type-I, but I find it fights fish better, at least in my hands.

Tenkara Prim Professional 400 - Contact nymphing. My favorite rod for la pesca a mosca Valsesiana. 

Oni Type-I - Finesse fishing. The best casting level-line tenkara rod I've ever used. Although it casts wonderfully, I find fish larger than 14 inches are harder for me to control with this rod, particularly in faster currents. 

Favorite 450+ cm Tenkara Rod:

Gamakatsu MultiFlex Suimu EX 5.0 - Large fish. Large waters. 

Favorite Contact Nymphing Rods:

Nissin Air Stage Fujiryu 360 6:4 - Easy to pack. Favorite contact nymphing rod. 

TenkaraBum Traveler 39 - Modest sized fish. Modest sized waters. Travel rod. 

Gamakatsu MultiFlex Suimu EX 4.0 - Large fish. Strong currents. Heavy flies. 

Favorite Large Fish Tenkara Rods:

DRAGONtail Hellbender - Large fish. Strong currents. 

Gamakatsu MultiFlex Suimu EX 4.0, 4.5, or 5.0  - Large fish, Strong currents. Rod length depends on river size. 

Favorite Line:

Dual Color Level Line - I mostly use a #3 fluorocarbon level line, but will occasionally use a #3.5, or #3.5-#3.0 80:20 tapered level line, if windy. 

Favorite Tippet:

TroutHunter Fluorocarbon 5.5X - used most of the time. I change to 4.5X when larger fish possible.

Favorite On-stream Line Management:

Snap-On Line Winders - Used most of the time. When they don't fit the rod, then I use a spool

Favorite knot for tippet to fly:

16-20 Pitzen Knot - I use now more than my old standby, the Clinch knot. 

Wading Staff:

T-top Wading Staff - My most important fishing accessory. I can't fish without it. 


Simms Freestone Wading Boots - I've used these for years. Basic boot, but they work. Rubber sole with Alumibite Star Wading Cleats.

Simms Men's Guide Guard Wading Boot Socks - I prefer wet wading, when possible. These keep my feet warm enough. 

Wader Gaiters - I use these to protect my knees and legs. 

Lost Creek Men's Xti Wader Pants - When I do wear waders, I prefer these wader pants. 

Chest Pack:

Zimmerbuilt Tenkara Strap Pack - It carries what I use. 

Favorite Fish Release and Net:

Ketchum Release Tool - Used most of the time now. Doesn't fit large bead head nymphs without changing tool size, which can be a bit annoying. 

DRAGONtail DAMO Tenkara Net 30 cm - when I use a net, which is not very often anymore, I usually use this one. 

Favorite Flies and Kebari:

Flies and Kebari Collection, Volumes 1 & 2 - These are the flies and kebari that I use on most of my creeks and streams.