What Size Tenkara Rod Should I Get?

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Choosing a rod for Tenkara fishing can be particularly confusing and tricky. This is especially true if you have no prior fly fishing experience, considering that Tenkara rods are available in different sizes and actions. This leads to the number one question that anglers have, what size Tenkara rod should I get?

What Size Tenkara Rod Should I Get?

The 12-foot Tenkara rod is the most common and recommended length of Tenkara rods for beginners. High-quality 12-foot Tenkara rods are an excellent choice for those who like to fish in a variety of places and situations with the goal of catching any type of fish.

A man wearing a black jacket and brown pants using a black rod for fly fishing in the stream

For the most effective results, it is best to use the longest rod you can get. In addition to increasing your casting distance, a rod of this length has the distinct advantage of enabling the angler to reach across currents and cast precisely into small pools. Another advantage is that it also allows for greater precision while working the fly.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tenkara Rod

With several options of Tenkara rods to choose from in terms of size, length, and brands, choosing the right Tenkara rod can be difficult. Here are a few recommended factors you should consider to help you determine the right Tenkara fishing rod for you:

  • Fishing locations
  • Adjustability
  • Action
  • Fish size

Fishing Locations

Where you plan on fishing can influence the choice of Tenkara fishing rod you choose to go with. While it is advisable to go with the longest rod you can get because of the reach and control it offers, you might have to settle for a slightly shorter rod in certain instances.

If you would be fishing in relatively smaller streams or in locations with very low, overhanging branches, a very long rod might be quite difficult to use. In an instance like this, it would be fine to settle for a slightly shorter rod. A fishing rod between 9 and 11 feet should work well in this kind of scenario.

Longer rods are more versatile and give you more reach. So if you want to have a rod to use in different scenarios, you can still get a longer rod and hold it above the handle. You can even go ahead to pair it with a short line. You will be surprised at its effectiveness even in smaller streams.


If you will be Tenkara fishing in different locations and conditions, getting an adjustable rod would be a great idea. These types of Tenkara give you increased flexibility with your choice of fishing locations and the type of fish you go for.

Getting an adjustable rod would benefit beginners who may be unsure of the specific length of rod that works best for them. However, you should keep in mind that adjustable rods can be quite stiff.


When it comes to the action of a Tenkara fishing rod, it is all a matter of personal preference.  There are anglers who prefer to use softer rods, while there are those who prefer to use stiffer rods. It is not a matter of right or wrong, just personal preferences. Generally:

  • Softer rods are a lot easier to cast and they offer increased levels of protection for your tippet.
  • Stiffer rods, on the other hand, offer more precise casting when it comes to shorter distances. They also tend to have more backbone which allows them to put pressure on large fish.
A man wearing a gray t-shirt and gray pants fly fishing using a black rod in the lake

Fish Size

The size of fish you are out for would also influence the size of Tenkara rods you would choose. Generally speaking, Tenkara rods were designed with small fish in mind. These fish are usually about 8 to 18 inches in size.

Occasionally, they can handle some large fish above 20 inches. However, if you are targeting fish that are typically over 17 inches, then you might want to go for longer rods that have more backbone.

Related Questions

Why Are Tenkara Rods So Long?

The extended length of Tenkara fishing rods helps fishermen cast over a wide region without drawing attention from the fish they are after. Casting a longer rod also aids in precise fly placement. The long rod doubles as a shock absorber, eliminating the need for a reel and line management.

How Do You Choose the Length Of a Tenkara Line?

Most Tenkara anglers prefer to cast with a line about as long as their rods. This is the length that can be used for the widest variety of streams with Tenkara fishing. When you need more space, you merely need to move closer to the fish.


With your gained knowledge of how to select the ideal Tenkara fly fishing rod for your fishing habits, you can now properly plan each of your next fishing trips. Find the best rod for your needs, and then invest in learning how to use it properly.