As you can see in the picture, my 12’ 6:4 Iwana rod can be taken completely apart, so I thought it may be a good idea to break down the Iwana rod for you.
The name Iwana means “fish of the rocks” or char. A char is a species of fish that is very close but not the same as a trout. In the US, the most common char is the brook trout. In Japan there is a similar char species that is called the Iwana, so it is this fish that the Tenkara USA rod must be named after.
The Iwana rod like other Tenkara USA rods is made of high quality carbon fiber material. It is broken down into sections as seen in my photo. When put all together in its normal form, the rod is capable of telescoping to a length over 11’. I have measured mine fully extended, and it measures to about 139 ½ inches from the end to where the attached lilian bends. The lilian is a piece of (red on my rod) braided line that is attached to the end of the last rod piece. It is here that you can attach a braided or level line. I have used both and prefer the gentle casting of the braided line.
To attach the braided line, a hitch knot is formed on the end of the braided line and looped to the lilian- as seen in the photo. Always leave your rod tips in the handle section when attaching a line to help protect from breaking the delicate last section of your rod. After you have pulled the hitch knot tight, you may start to extend your rod. Pull them out gently near the lilian and a bit harder as you work your way down the rod. To undo the hitch knot, gently pull all the sections back in the rod handle, and while securing the lilian, pull the tag end of the hitch knot and it comes undone.
It’s a good idea to clean your Tenkara rod after every few uses. To do this, unscrew the cap at the back of the handle and take out all the sections. I use a well diluted dish soap and cotton rag to clean each section. Wait for the sections to be completely dry before putting everything back together.
In the case of a 6:4 rod, the 6 refers to the rod having 6 stiff sections and 4 flex sections. Some rods are built to be more delicate like a 5:5, and some are designed to be stiffer like a 7:3. A 7:3 would be for larger fish and a 5:5 would be for smaller trout. The Iwana 6:4 as stated on the Tenkara USA website states that “If you are going to streams where 12 inch trout are trophies this is the rod”. I have caught fish up to 18” on my Iwana, but you have to be prepared for a good challenge in tight water.
I would say that my 12’ Iwana suits me for the streams that I fish. With a 10 1/2’ braided line and tippet, it is delicate enough and it allows me to reach far enough to catch plenty of weary fish.
Here are some final tips that should be mentioned. When you are first setting up your rod, you must remove a little plug to allow your rod to extend. Always put this in a safe spot, so you don’t lose it. A net is a very helpful tool in landing fish with a Tenkara rod. Never use any tippet greater than 5x to help protect from rod tip breakage.
Some more info:
Closed length: 20 ½”
Weight of closed rod: 79g or 2.8oz with cap in end
If you are thinking about getting a Tenkara rod, a 12’ 6:4 Iwana is a good place to start. This rod is easy to learn to cast, and it allows you to catch some nice fish.
A special thanks and credit should go out to:
The Book “Tenkara: Radically Simple, Ultra Fly Fishing” by Kevin C. Kelleher, MD with Misako Ishimura,
and many other websites with information that helped me learn to fish Tenkara.