On December 10, 2013
Comments (17)

New Tenkara Rods - triple length zoom tenkara rods

Our newest tenkara rods are now in! ***

RHODO – Triple-zoom 8’10”/ 9’9”/10’6” (270/297/320cm), with “Keep your Plug™” system (patent pending) – $215

SATO – Triple-zoom 10’8”/ 11’10”/12’9” (330-360-390cm), with “Keep your Plug™” system (patent pending) – $215

***Ship date: Friday, December 13th for North America orders; Friday, December 20th for European Union orders.


With several years of experience designing tenkara rods under our belt now, and with a lot of great customer feedback over these years, we have been able to develop two of the nicest tenkara rods we have designed to date. Whether you’re an experienced tenkara angler or just about to give tenkara a try, we wanted to give you the best possible tenkara rod anywhere.
The Sato and Rhodo are very lightweight – in actual weight as well as feel – something people have been asking for.  And, because sometimes you will want to get a couple of feet closer to the fish without spooking it; and sometimes you will want to stay away from the pesky trees above, we designed them with the innovative triple-zoom system which allow you to fish either rod at 3 different lengths. These rods also have two patent-pending features: a new and more durable system to lock in place the zoomable sections and the innovative “Keep your Plug™” system which allows you to store your tenkara rod plug in the rod while not in use.


Rhodo tenkara rod Detail

Despite its beautiful flowers sometimes anglers find themselves losing flies to the overreaching branches of the rhododendron. We developed the Rhodo, a tenkara rod that can be fished short when things get tight, or longer when the stream opens up. Since we began Tenkara USA people have been asking for a sub-9ft tenkara rod. We felt that a short rod could come in handy in some cases but for the most part anglers would miss the advantage that comes from fishing with a long tenkara rod. So, for years we  have been working on developing a rod that could be the best of both worlds: short when you need it, long when you want it!


Sato tenkara rod detail

The Sato rod is named after Mr. Ernest Satow, an avid mountaineer who was the first person to make a written record of tenkara. The Tenkara USA Sato is a compact and lightweight tenkara rod. At its shorter length it is perfect for tighter streams, and at its full length it will be ideal when the stream opens up again or when you find a bigger pool to cast your fly. The average length for a tenkara rod is 12ft long, we like to recommend rods that are closer to 13ft, yet many people are intimidated by such long lengths for rods intended for smaller streams. So, we felt a rod with the 3 most common lengths would be an easy choice: short to ease you into tenkara, long to give you a taste of the advantages presented by a long tenkara rod.


Tenkara rod Plug "Keep your Plug" system

After hearing that no one has ever been able to keep their tenkara rod plug for longer than a year we decided we should find a solution for you to never lose your plug again. We designed the “Keep your plug”™* system (patent pending).

Although it is a very simple solution, Tenkara USA is the first to have designed and incorporated this into its tenkara rods. Next time you go fishing, remove the plug from the top end of your rod and insert it into the hole at the bottom of your rod.

EARLY REVIEWS and Testimonials:
Tenkara Talk review: “The new Sato and Rhodo rods from Tenkara USA are real game changers. With a higher modulus graphite, they are strong, yet incredibly light in the hand with a highly responsive action that casts like a dream. And the 3-way zoom allows you to dial in exactly the right length for whatever situation you might face—everything from small, brushy brooks to larger streams and rivers. I own and have fished every rod Tenkara USA has ever produced and can say that, hands down, these are the finest and most advanced rods they have ever designed.” – Jason Klass
Teton Tenkara review: “Conclusion: I really like both of these rods!  They are beautiful in appearance, sound in construction, light weight in hand, having quality materials and some innovative features. Since they are triple-zoom rods they are both versatile and each can adjust quickly to a variety of fishing situations. I like their moderately soft actions and I, of course, greatly appreciate their Tenkara USA heritage — bullet-proof warranty and outstanding customer service. …So there you have it. Two excellent new rods from Tenkara USA. It was a bit of a wait, but I think it was worth it!! Congratulations to Daniel and the Tenkara USA team!!!”
Discover Tenkara review
Tenkara Magazine™:
Tenkara Magazine CoverI’ll do another writeup about this shortly, it deserves its own post since it is the first of its kind in the world. But, if you may be getting one of these rods, you may also want to include the new Tenkara Magazine with your order. It is so hot off the press we burned our fingers on it. It just arrived in the warehouse this morning and has awesome essays, how-to’s, philosophy ramblings, and photography. It is 112 pages of pure goodness in a printed format that will look great in your coffee table.

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17 Responses to NEW TENKARA RODS SATO and RHODO Triple-zoom with “KEEP YOUR PLUG”

  1. David says:

    Wow, a print magazine and two rods too. Initial impression of the rods is very positive. The two models compliment each other very well. One picks up where the other leaves off. They address the different types of stream cover we have here, especially on eastern streams. The rounded butt end it very nice for anyone who wants to use the end hold grip as shown in your latest casting video. And a competitive light weight. However, I have to confess, I have never lost a tip plug. I hope they are the success for you that they appear they will be. ; – )

  2. Dale H. says:

    I can’t wait to order the Sato. The rod lengths fit my style perfectly.


  3. Adam says:

    The Rhodo is a really nice solution to my favorite type of problem, steep headwater streams with canopy. Super excited to use the Sato, both great rods and good names. Looking forward to reading the new magazine too! You knocked it out of the park. Thanks for the stoke.

  4. I have been fortunate enough to be one of the field testers of these two rods.

    I test and evaluate a lot of rods from Japanese tenkara rod manufacturers and I am proud to say that Tenkara USA has come up with not one but two great rods that rival anything produced by the big rod companies in Japan. They are versatile, forgiving, precise, and good looking to boot!

    If you are looking for your first tenkara rod, don’t waste time beating around the bush trying to decide which model of Tenkara USA rod to purchase. If you fish very small streams with low tree canopy get the Rhodo, if you fish more open streams, get the Sato. Don’t over think it just get one or the other, or better yet get both and cover all your bases.

  5. Rosie says:

    So …
    8 foot and 9 foot rods are now considered “Tenkara”?
    Seems to me the “standard” was a rod no less than 10 foot.
    There was a lot of discussion and consternation about this in the past.

    • Rosie, that’s why we went with the zoom design. That will give people who may really need a short rod what they wanted while keeping open the option of having a longer tenkara rod when they get used to the length. We decided to stay away from sub 10ft rods long ago as I don’t think there is a reason for them.

  6. Mark says:

    I wish I had a style to justify ordering one of those …

  7. Tim says:

    Daniel & TJ, Im really so sorry to post this, but, in anticipation and from the “hints” that were posted by Jason, TJ, Anthony and others i was so pumped about your announcement but, like MANY others of the Tenkara community I went WHAT? Thats it? There are many 3 type telescoping rods, hole in the end to plug the wood cap in, easily duplicated. YEARS of development? Come on!!! Extra lilian tied on the plug, REALLY? Check Jason Klass”s blog on “Purple Cows’, lots of great, inexpensive ideas. Sorry, but im not contributing to your extracurricular hiking and water activities.

    • Tim, believe it or not it has taken 2 years of working and prototyping and going through several iterations of prototyping to develop these rods. The features you think are simple to create and implement into a rod are not always as simple or inexpensive as they may seem. We have been listening to the community and implementing as much of their feedback as possible. 3-way zoom rods were requested, lighter rods were requested, a way to not lose the plug was requested. There is way more to creating products and then taking them to manufacturing than you could imagine. Also, I’m not sure about the last part of your comment, but we’re currently responsible for the direct employment of 6 people and nearly direct employment over 12 people in the United States. Though I share my “extracurricular” activities on Facebook with friends, I’m also working my butt off to create opportunities for people, introduce more people to a simpler method of fishing that hopefully will add something to their lives and somehow trying to add value to the tenkara community by creating products and releasing the first tenkara magazine ever created.
      If you don’t see value in it that’s fine, albeit sad to me, but please don’t make assumptions on how easy some solutions are to implement or how much work we have to put into Tenkara USA to make it all happen.

  8. Tim says:

    Tim Plunkett
    Mike W., Jason and all. I thought blogs and forums were places where we could be honest and open, passionate and express our opinions in coolness or the heat of exchange? I don’t believe any of us are intentionally trying to hurt or offend anyone. Sometimes in the “heat of battle” some of us go a little overboard and for that iam truly sorry. For my part it seems there are so many awesome ideas and innovations out there, im having a hard time understanding why its so difficult to employ them. And it seems to take forever! Cookie-cutter cows we have a lOT of, but so few purple ones, sigh. Mike, maybe i will take that hug now. Im truly sorry if i hurt anyone in the Tenkara community. Some have unfriended me on FaceBook, i was not intentionally trying to offend anyone. :(

    • Tim, I appreciate you replying.
      Blogs and forums are great places to exchange ideas. But, I felt that some of your comments were a bit personal and some were just based on the fact that we didn’t make exactly what you wanted. I’ll try addressing what I can.
      In your comments in Jason’s purple cow post, you say “To one as i, uneducated into the design and manufacturing of rods,etc it may not be clear to me BUT…it does seem rather straight forward to me.” I suffer from that too, often when I think of something that should be easily implemented on our website in a few minutes actually requires a week of work as I’m barely educated in the workings of coding; other times I think something should be easy to do in a product but it is not easy to translate that into the manufacturing process (e.g. making a mold for something). The suggestions you offered sound great, but sometimes when it comes to implementing them they are often a compromise that would affect the rod in other ways,are difficult to manufacture, complicate things, reduce the flexibility of the user, add weight, are not at the right time for release. It is a bit like telling Apple that their iPhone should have multi-tasking feature, or more buttons. These can be done, but are compromises and have impacts on many levels from design to manufacturing to usability.
      I should say that these are not the last rods we will release. I have been working on other designs for the last few months that may not come to fruition for who knows, a year, two years, three years? It is a work in progress for us. I invest our profits heavily into things that add value to the community or can help us ensure our long-term viability. I brought in a product designer earlier in the year, we have been working on concepts and designs for one of our simplest products, the line holder, for almost an entire year now. We could have released something a few months ago if we wanted to, but we have no rush and want to make something that will solve problems and that will add value to its user. Trust me, I could have sat on my butt and just focused on selling the Iwana since I started and I would probably be a little richer for it, but that would not be good in the long term. I could have also released a new rod a month by telling factories in China to just add a new color scheme to them. There is no value in that. Or, we could be wrapping line holders all over the rod for you, but they would look like crap. There is a LOT more to creating a business, running it, and creating products than those “uneducated into the design and manufacturing of rods” or in the workings of a small business usually imagine.
      About Facebook, I had friended you on Facebook and given you a glimpse of my personal life where I may go hiking, or enjoy other outdoor activities. I feel that you crossed a line when you decided to use what you saw to say you’re not contributing to my extracurricular hiking and water activities. To me that was personally hurtful. You bet I pay myself and enjoy the outdoors. That is first and foremost what drives me and what allowed me to discover tenkara and show it to you and create content for you.
      These are not the last rods we will release, and are not a silver bullet that has every possible feature you may want. We took the best we could from feedback from users and ideas and our own capabilities and took a risk in developing these and putting them out. They are superb rods and I feel very proud of them.

  9. Tim says:

    Daniel, im very sorry, i apologize.

  10. I think it is vital to point out that -even without any zoom facility at all – these would be the best tenkara rods outside of the very best available in Japan. Period. That this casting performance has been achieved AND also preserved at all 3 length settings is unbelievable. I was worried that the features would have distracted the designer from the fundamental utility if the rods – and I was way, way wrong on that one. So it seems that some of the qualities of these rods might well be a case of ‘pearls before swine‘…Just think how difficult it is to make a blank simultaneously narrow enough and strong enough (with near parallel/equivalent stiffness) over the different zoom segments at the handle end to preserve the same crisp casting action at three different lengths. If you don’t understand the implications of that – i.e. what would happen if each extended butt section was more steeply tapered and/or with a more pronounced step down in rigidity with each zoomed out section – then you are simply unqualified to pass judgement. It takes around two years to design and test any new top level tenkara rod, simply to ensure that the various sections actually give the correct progressive curvature without flat-spotting (whilst damping out oscillation after the stops in the casting stroke – oh and being as light as a feather).

    • Paul, many thanks for the comment about this. I’m happy you understand the implications and ramifications of design decisions and that you appreciate the fact the rods are designed to fish at all 3 lengths as similarly as we could make it.

  11. […] Release of two new rods, the Sato and Rhodo triple-zoom rods: After 2 years of working on 2 rod models, we were finally able to release them. Very proud of […]

  12. Jerry says:

    Help me decide Rhodo or sato

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