Spotlight: Tenkara Rod Co.
Drew Hollenback of Tenkara Rod Co. introduces us to Tenkara style fishing, a simpler way to fish.
Give us a brief history lesson on Tenkara fishing.
Tenkara style fishing began in Japan hundreds of years ago. Japan is such a narrow country that most of the rivers and streams run quickly from the mountains to the ocean. So in order to catch more fish the anglers would hike up to the source with their Tenkara rods and artificial flies. These fishermen were very skilled and could be known for catching hundreds of fish a day using this method. We have adapted this style of fishing to the rivers and fish of the US while still maintaining the simplicity.
Tell us about how Tenkara Rod Co. got started?
I grew up in Japan and first saw that style of fishing there as a young teen. Then several years ago began fishing that style here in the US because of how fun and simple it was. Me and a couple friends decided it would be fun to make our own style of rods and give them to family and friends (and whoever else wanted to buy one) so we launched a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise a few thousand dollars for production. We ended up doing over $90K and said to ourselves "well dudes it looks like we started a business."
What sets Tenkara Rod Co. apart from other companies out there?
We have just tried to adapt the traditional style of Tenkara to the waters we fish in Idaho and surrounding states. So our rods might be a little thicker, stiffer, and work well with these waters while still maintaining the simplicity. But mostly we just try to put certain design elements into our rods that make them beautiful and make people want to fish them.
If you could describe your product in one word, what would it be?
In your opinion, why would someone choose Tenkara fishing over western methods of fly fishing?
Tenkara is simpler. Someone can pick up a Tenkara rod and be proficient at casting after less than 10 casts. While western fly fishing methods can take countless hours. By eliminating the reel and the varied lengths of casting you focus on putting the fly where it needs to go. And in my opinion you end up catching more fish because that is your main focus.
Are there any limitations in terms of where you can fish, and the size of fish that you can catch?
Tenkara style fishing has a few limitations. They are not made for bigger fish like steelhead or tarpon. And you wouldn't be able to cast 70 feet with a Tenkara rod. That being said, these rods can handle fish anywhere from a couple inches to 30 inches. So most of your trout fishing fits in this category. And most of the rivers and streams in the continental US will be extremely fishable with these rods.
What is your favorite place you've fished with a Tenkara rod?
What I really love about fishing is finding a place that you have never been to before and figuring out how to catch a fish there. Then when you start landing them and figure that spot out its the equivalent to finally landing a skate trick.
What are some exciting things we can expect from Tenkara Rod Co. in the future?
We have some really fun collaborations with other brands that we are working on and definitely working on a bunch of new videos and content so people can see what these rods are capable of and how fun they can be.
Lastly, if Tenkara Rod Co. could create a Broquet, what would it be?
If we could create a Broquet it would be called the End of the World Fishing Kit. It would include a Tenkara setup, a hammock, some bacon, and a water filter.
Interested in trying out a new style of fishing? Then check out our Tenkara Fly Rod Set by Tenkara Rod Co. This kit features everything you'll need to get started (rod, line, spool, flies, and rod case). Now go catch some fish.