After years of dalliance, tenkara is finally catching on in the US — Yvon Chouinard, that high prophet of fly-fishing, has even cowritten a book on it — with several manufacturers offering a dizzying array of options that run the gamut in quality, beauty, transportability, and price-point. To be sure, tenkara rods have their limitations: they excel on tight, narrow streams and pools with mid-size fish, and definitely not on big water with, say, a five-pound bass in your crosshairs. But they can be a refreshing break from the standard western rigs, as well as a great learning tool for aspiring anglers at a fraction of the normal costs of a rod and reel — a kind of gateway drug offering beginners a more accessible and affordable entry point. Here are five of the best American-made tenkara on the market today.


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