Tenkara Grasshopper Central

Trip Preparation Tenkara Style Part 1

Trip Preparation Tenkara Style Part 1

by January 22, 2017 2 comments

Tenkara is about the technique not the gear. Yet, when it comes to trip preparation, it is all about the gear!

As a tenkara angler there are a number of considerations we must make during trip preparation.



What tenkara rod will be best for this trip?

Knowing the waters we will be fishing helps with our rod selection. If we are going to be on bigger waters we will want a longer rod to accommodate for this. Also knowing the size and strength of the fish we will be targeting will also help in the correct rod selection.

Tenkara Grasshopper Go To Rods

For me, at least currently when it comes to trip preparation, my go to rod is the Tenkara USA Sato rod. I like the Tenkara USA Sato rod for most of my trips because of its construction as a zoom rod. The Sato begins at 10 feet 8 inches long with a mid length of 11 feet 10 inches and topping out at 12 feet 9 inches. These three lengths in one rod give me the chance to fish almost any size water with only one rod.

If I know the fish I am going to be targeting are going to be on the beefier side, my rod of choice is the Tenkara USA Ito. The Ito was Tenkara USA’s first zoom rod starting at 13 feet and maxing out at 14 feet 7 inches. With a heavier backbone than the Sato, the Ito can handle some truly large fish.

Choosing the right rod during trip preparation might make or break a trip. But it is not just the rod we need to consider.


What is the best line for a specific destination?

This is one of the eternal tenkara trip preparation questions I am always trying to answer myself. Check out my posts on furled lineslevel lines, and the most recent offering in the Tenkara USA product line, the tapered line.

Choosing the correct line is important during trip preparation as line selection is not about just grabbing a reel. Line length gets a little confusing when we are using a zoom rod like the Tenkara USA Sato or Ito but it is still possible. In a previous post I covered just this topic and you can check it out here.

Selecting a line also involves selecting the proper tippet. I typically grab spools of 5x and 6x tippet as these are the sizes recommended by most tenkara rod manufacturers. In some cases I have been known to grab a spool of 4x tippet. This is not something I do often but being a former Boy Scout I follow the motto of “Always Be Prepared!” I also find it advantageous to carry a spool of 7x tippet when tying on very small flies and around very spooky fish.

Tenkara Grasshopper Go To Lines

I am currently using the Tenkara USA Tapered Line because of its amazing versatility in varying conditions. During my trip preparation I typically spool up both line lengths to cover multiple conditions when I am fishing tenkara.


Quality trip preparation will also lead us to selecting the right kebari or western patterns for our fly box. If an angler follows the “One Fly” theory, choosing a pattern will be fairly simple. But, if one follows the “Match the Hatch” theory, filling the fly box can be a bit more difficult. There is an increased level of difficulty in filling the fly box, but there is also an increased level of excitement.

Tenkara Grasshopper Go To Kebari and Western Patterns

With infinite possibilities of kebari and western patterns to choose from .I do not really have a go to pattern or patterns. My pattern selection comes down most times to my destination.


A net is something that I feel every angler should have. Using a tamo when landing a fish lessens the stress on the fish and also keeps handling of the fish to a minimum.

Just like my American Express card, I never leave home without my tamo.


Selecting the right gear is more than just basic trip preparation. It is preparing for all eventualities we as tenkara anglers run into.

Tenkara Grasshopper Trip Preparation Go To Gear List

  • Tenkara USA Sato or Ito Rod
  • Tenkara USA Tapered Line
  • A Full Kebari Fly Box
  • A Tamo

In part two we will cover the non-tenkara gear to make a trip even more successful and enjoyable.

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2 Comments so far

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  1. Jon
    #1 Jon 22 January, 2017, 19:42

    Hey Graham, this is some great stuff, no one really thinks about all of the fine implements and components , to make a successful fishing trip, generally you realize everything you didnt bring , on you way to your location or when your confiendient you be brought everything for sure..but your in the water, and mean up to your waist in it, and you realize ya ain’t got it!

    Graham what fail proof system have you used to come up with this short and very well thought out numeric system, that puts you right on point of what a necessity is and to bring, and the dangers of over packing backup gear, and then lugging around unnecessary crap?

    Graham your a helluva resource!

    Reply this comment
    • Graham Moran
      Graham Moran Author 22 January, 2017, 20:35

      Jon, thanks for your reply to this post. I have came up with this post because I have encountered just the situations that you bring up in your comment. I get very frustrated when I am out on a trip whether it be a guide trip or a personal trip.

      I have been fishing tenkara long enough that I am have learned what I need and don’t need for a successful day on the water. I have been able to decrease the dangers of over-packing as well because again I have learned the hard way. I used to be a western fly fisherman with the ever present fishing vest typically overloaded with more stuff than I would ever need in a day let alone a week.

      I am glad that you found this post useful. I will be posting part two of this series which will cover those items that you should have on you at all times while fishing that are not tenkara related.

      I want to let you know that I also appreciate your commenting here as I want to have this site also be a community of tenkara anglers. I hope you will share this post with your friends and let them know that they can leave comments here as well.

      Tight Lines and Tenkara!!!!

      Tenkara Grasshopper

      Reply this comment

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