Once upon a time, Tenkara USA used to sell a rod called the Ebisu. Some of you that have been around the tenkara scene for a while probably remember it, if not own it. But for the newer folks, it was a 5:5 flex, 12 foot tenkara rod that was a pretty nice "do it all" rod.
But that wasn't what made it unique among rods widely available in the US. Rather, what set it apart (literally) was the wooden handle that accompanied it. Some folks loved it for the extra sensitivity, others hated it for the feel in hand, but you couldn't deny that among the initial offering of domestic tenkara rods, this sucker was unique.
|Woody goodness of the Tenkara USA Ebisu|
Unfortunately, for those with an affinity for wooden handled rods, there really hasn't been a readily available alternative on the market since. Now that's not to say they aren't out there...I've personally fished a Sakura Seki Rei, and have seen others write about their Nissin rods with wooden handles...but they're typically pricey and harder to find, although there's nothing wrong with spending a little bit extra and waiting a little bit longer for premium equipment.
|A photo from my test drive of the Sakura Seki Rei|
So when I saw an Ebisu available the other week on a used rod page, I snatched it up, well, just because...
|Lightly used Ebisu in a new home|
But heck, wood isn't the only alternative out there. There's also been a rash of foam grip handles lately, and I'm not talking on cheapo rods, these are premium rods, like the Tenkara ZL from Shimano....
|EVA foam grip on Shimano Tenkara ZL|
Anyway, the real point to this post is to propose the question that if a wooden handled rod was brought back out on the market again by say a Tenkara USA, Tenkara-Fishing, or someone along those lines, would you buy it?
Or if it's not wood (or cork), what's your ideal handle made of...foam, rattan wrap, tennis racket grip-tape...or perhaps you'd prefer to feel the graphite in hand without covering?
Just curious...I like options, and I bet many of you do too...
(Although I honestly don't expect very many comments/answers on this topic)