May 23, 2018

Discover Keiryu Rod Co.

Hmmm, now this is something... as you know I have a fondness for obscure Japanese fishing methods.

Looks like somebody took the Tenkara USA model of "introducing a Japanese form of fishing to America" up a notch by launching the Keiryu Rod Co.

(Hope my friends in Idaho don't take offense by the name selection).

For those not in the know, "keiryu" means mountain stream in Japanese. The particular rods this company is selling is for a style of fixed-line fishing that also uses long, telescopic rods, but instead of being engineered to cast flies, they employ bait. As so much, it's not fly fishing, and certainly not tenkara, but to the casual observer, they may look very similar from afar.

Chris Stewart over at TenkaraBum has been selling keiryu "stuff" for a while now; his site has a breakdown of what I'm trying to describe if you're interested in learning more. Obviously, there's more to it, but his link will at least point you in the right direction.

I've actually only seen keiryu bait gear in person once. There was a gentleman (Craig) I became friends with on tenkara fishing forums & Facebook a few years back who invested in the system and brought it out to the Midwest Tenkara Fest back in 2015. He even put on a short presentation on how he builds & fishes his rigs.

Craig fishing Coon Creek in Wisconsin

Anyway, will be interesting to see if this catches on, fades away, or even becomes a thing. I only found out about it stumbling across a newly uploaded video on Vimeo (there's actually a few there), so my guess is there will probably be some sort of marketing push in the not too distant future. Guess we'll see...

Oh, and if you're interested in picking up one of these rods, looks like they're selling them for $170 through Amazon. "Prime" it, and you'll have it in time for the long weekend!


  1. Michael
    I've been wondering when someone would come up with the idea of fishing live bait using the Keiryu/Tenkara rods. Now if someone could perfect a way to use a cricket or red worm, using the fly rod. The kicker there, would be to make sure the live bait stays on the hook while false casting. Never heard of the mummy worm?? Thanks for sharing

    1. Hey no problem. I think tenkara is attractive to a lot of folks who aspire to fly fish because it's considered simple, streamlined, or even easier, however spinning gear with bait is so easy as-is, I'm not sure this will catch on. Guess we'll see.

  2. Hate to say it but I'd say this is "down" a notch from TUSA, IMHO. Unfortunately the guy didn't do quite enough homework and he seems to have licensed the design for a "Hera" rod for Herabuna... the signature grip gives it away. Keiryu rods have no grip, just a fatter blank with textured handle. Hera rods have that same handle that you see on many commercial Tanago rods. Good luck to the guy, I super respect his idea to not just be another Tenkara company and to help educate the market about Keiryu. Anything that opens peoples' eyes to fixed line fishing beyond Tenkara is a good thing, IMHO. That will help Americans understand more about what Tenkara is and why what we do here with Tenkara rods is mostly not Tenkara :)

  3. Hi Klags, I'm the founder of Keiryu Rod Co. and I really appreciate your comments with respect to what we are trying to do. As you know, Keiryu in Japan is much more popular than Tenkara and is a wonderful way to fish. Our journey so far has been great, we are getting lots of input and ideas form Anglers which is what we had hoped for. In terms of your comment about the Hera rod and handle, yes, I was aware of that. Our rod might look like a Hera but it was spec’d out from the ground up for Keiryu fishing, we put the RFI value on the rod to be very clear about its action. With its slimmer diameter, we felt it needed a handle. We actually tested a more traditional (larger diameter, more sections, no handle) “Keiryu” rod and the T100 with handle won out. I personally really like the handle and others did too (I suspect our testers, many of whom were Tenakra users, were used to handles?...). Of our next two rods, one will feature a handle and the other will not have a handle, ala a traditional Keiryu style. Regardless, my goal was never to be bound by strict Japanese convention. American ingenuity and creativeness is transforming the whole category which is really about the joy and effectiveness of telescoping rod fishing. As you pointed out, this has happened with Tenkara. There are now Tenkara rods that are almost Keiryu rods given their stiffness and length and the other end, there are Tenkara rods that are so light they are really Hae (Seiryu) rods. Cheers :)