Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 6:4 Review and Rod Giveaway!

Rod Details:
Tenkara Times Gear Shop (www.tenkaratimes.com/tenkara-gear-storefront)
Cost to US = $79 USD Please note that The Tenkara Times has told me that US customers are refunded the Value Added Tax (VAT) so that the final price will be $79 – not $95 (it is a bit confusing on their site)
Shipping to US = $9 USD

If you buy more than one rod, then the second and the following are shipped free.
The rods are manufactured in China with Japanese materials.


Length: 365 cm (12′)
Closed length: 56.5 cm (22.3″)
Weight: 79 grams (2.8 oz.)
Handle length: 28 cm (11″)
Number of segments: 8


I’m a small stream guy – for the most part. It’s what I like. So that’s where I fished this rod. I’d like to report on how it handled fish upward of 2o inches – but I can’t. I just don’t usually fish where I can catch trout like that. The biggest fish I landed was a fairly fat 12″ stocker – which was of course no problem to handle with this rod. My challenge is usually the small stream cover and the stealth required for small streams, rather than landing large fish.

fish 02

The Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 6:4 is the Tenkara Times “starter” rod. But as I mentioned in other reviews don’t let that throw you. The more that I think of it, the name “1st Step” is actually a genius name for a tenkara rod. I like to think of my own tenkara experience not as a destination – and not even as a journey – but as a series of “first steps”. What I mean is that I try not to think of any destination at all – or even of the journey as a whole – but I try to stay in the moment. And the name “1st Step” is a great reminder of that – take each step like a first step, full of wide-eyed, childlike wonder.

According to the Tenkara Times description:

With a very gradual transition from the softer tip sections to the stiffer mid and butt sections, you will find casting stroke is remarkably smooth. . It has certain additional strength to reduce the risk of harm which can be inherent in beginners. This rod is optimal for casting level lines #3.5-#4 and light-weighted 3,6 m furled lines. In windy conditions it will not find itself overburdened with the  #4.5 size or heavy-weighted furled lines.

So what’s that all mean? Well here’s what I found. I did the common cents testing – hanging bags of pennies off of the rod ( read more about it and see a nice database of evaluated rods at the TenkaraBum site)  – to get a sense of overall stiffness and flex profile. Some people put stock in it – some don’t. I think that it can be useful in comparing rods, especially when coupled with an evaluation of the flex profile. So the 1st Step 360 6:4 tested out at about 19 pennies. This is somewhere near the middle, trending to “soft” for 6:4 tenkara rods. But that can be deceiving and is only part of the story. The other part of the story is where that deflection occurs on the rod length. Theoretically two rods can have the same “penny rating” but one may have most of the deflection in the tip and the other rod may flex more over the full length of the rod.  As a result they can be quite different rods to cast and fish with.

The 1st Step rod is the of the latter type – it flexes smoothly over much of the rod. So, though it is in the low-middle range of penny rating for 6:4 rods it is not “tippy” and the result is a fairly slow casting stroke with a good “feel”. That tactile feedback can be comforting – especially to the beginner.

At least that’s what I get out of it. To test out the tip flex, and get an idea of it’s all around range, I put on a wooly bugger with a split shot snugged up to the tip and swam it through some downstream pools. Very soft tipped rods will not deal with this well and when you try to pulse a weighted bugger you won’t get much response in the fly. The 1st Step 360 handle this well – and fishing a small weighted bugger downstream against a bit of current was not a problem.

I fished with #2 and #4.5 level lines (all about 10′ long) as well as with a Moonlit Fly Fishing Ronin furled line – the 1st Step worked fine with all of these. I didn’t fish longer lines (no room) but I yard cast longer lines up to 18′ with good results. Though I found the #2 line quite castable, I suspect many might prefer a heavier line – especially when using a short line. As I expected the Moonlit Ronin furled line was a dream to cast – and if you haven’t tried light furled lines – especially with dry flies – you really have to give them a try.

A few last words – at 2.8 oz it’s fairly light in this price range. Also it’s collapsed length is slightly longer at 22.3″ than some other 12′ rods – the result is a rod with 8 segments rather than the 9 that many others have.

I like the flat black finish of the Tenkara Times rods – personally I think all rods should have a flat, no-glare finish. The fit and finish is very good. The screw-cap has the rubber damper to prevent annoying clacking. The tip-cap has fluted rubber edges to allow you to easily keep the line out while the cap is on. The cork handle is a double contour style, with a slim long tapered upper profile – unique to the Tenkara Times rods. The rod comes in a utilitarian plastic tube with slide on caps- it will protect the rod from but it’s nothing fancy (optional aluminum tubes are available). The rod sock is very nice – it’s a stretchy knit fabric (like a sock) with a side opening. No flaps or tie strings to mess with.







So…how about that rod giveaway? The rod in question is of course a Brand New Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 (not the rod that I fished with to review but a brand spanking new one). Let’s make it fun and simple – make a comment below and make it clear in the comment you want to try for the rod by starting the comment with “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”  – your comment must also include a fishing related Haiku Poem to be eligible. I will have my kids choose the winner from among the poems – so make sure it’s kid friendly if you want a chance to win. If you haven’t commented on Casting Around previously, your comment will need to be moderated – that may take a few hours or so, but don’t worry I’ll get to it. All entries must be in by midnight eastern standard time on Saturday May 3rd, 2014. If you comment prior to that deadline but it hasn’t been cleared by the moderator yet – no worries you will still be eligible.

 disclaimer: I purchased the Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 for review at a discount.


34 Comments on Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 6:4 Review and Rod Giveaway!

  1. Tenkara rod giveaway

    From heaven
    Happy place

  2. Gregory Jensen // April 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”
    Wind lifts my line tight,
    The tree raises leafy branch,
    I sigh in acceptance.

  3. Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    Beautiful landscape
    Fly, gently lands on water,
    Splash! Broken silence

  4. stuart roberts // April 29, 2014 at 4:23 PM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway
    casting a level line
    load the line graceful perfect stroke
    look for line it’s pink

  5. Robert Olson // April 29, 2014 at 5:47 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    A flick
    A splash
    A slurp

  6. David Taylor // April 29, 2014 at 5:50 PM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”

    Morning sun
    Fog burns away
    Tricos dancing above the water

    Rod raised, line tight
    Sakasa Kabari pulsing
    Rainbow caught

  7. Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    Roses are red and violets are blue
    May I win with a rhyme instead of a Haiku?

  8. Pete weaver // April 29, 2014 at 8:44 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway
    A newcomer to the scene
    Experience oneness with the trout
    Tight lines

  9. Gadsden Merrill // April 29, 2014 at 8:51 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    Extend each segment
    Flick the fly to the perfect pucker
    Gaze like a heron

  10. Lynn David // April 29, 2014 at 9:11 PM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”

    Santeetlah gurgles
    With Huckleberry Knob fogs
    A tug on the line

  11. David Taylor // April 29, 2014 at 9:36 PM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”

    Morning sun
    Fog burns away
    Tricos dancing above the water

    Rod raised, line tight
    Sakasa Kebari pulsing
    Rainbow caught

  12. some good entries so far – keep ’em coming folks!

  13. Gilbert Tafoya // April 30, 2014 at 12:34 AM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Givaway

    cool, the fishing in morning
    kabari, casting wet in the small river
    catch, trout in the tamo

  14. Yves Lepine // April 30, 2014 at 9:42 AM // Reply

    “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”

    Get up early, it’s a sunny day;
    Head out to the river, hope there’s no mosquito in the way;
    The water is rushing, like traffic on a freeway;
    Trow a fly in, let it drift away;
    Get a strike, the fish breaksaway;
    What is caught doesn’t matter anyway;
    For Tenkara, is how we play.

  15. Martin (Hillsboro, OR) // May 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    no more fish with reel
    tenkara is a good way
    to fish small stream

  16. Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    No School No Homework
    Lazy Day On the river
    Yum Fish Dinner

  17. Tenkara Rod Giveaway
    Flicking a fly
    A gasp as its grabbed
    Fighting the fin
    What better way to waste a day

  18. Rick Zieger // May 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway
    Bluegill, crappie, bass
    Occupy my dreams and my time.
    Is there hope for me?

  19. Sam Hammett // May 1, 2014 at 8:55 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    Mist on the water
    Trout gently rising to food
    Tenkara in my hand

  20. I’m having fun! I’m really digging the poems folks – I’ll have to get some other giveaways going and come up with other creative ways to enter…

  21. Tenkara rod giveaway

    Children should have fun
    Tenkara brings them delight
    Always be a kid.

  22. I like tenkara
    Tenkara is for me yeah
    Tenkara fishing!

  23. Tenkara rod giveaway

    I like tenkara
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    Tenkara fishing!

  24. “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”

    A Kebari drifts,

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    An innocent smile.

  25. Tenkara Noob // May 2, 2014 at 10:58 PM // Reply

    Tenkara Rod Giveaway

    Fishing with my Dad
    I’ve never tried Tenkara
    If I win I will

  26. tenkara rod giveaway

    fishy fishy here
    fishy fishy there
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  27. “Tenkara Rod Giveaway”
    The midnight oil burns
    I’ve ruined fishy lives
    I really should learn

  28. Alright, the contest for the Tenkara Times 1st Step 360 is over – it will take a few days to decide on the winner – as the judges are all going on an overnight field trip for school. So look for the winner to be posted on this coming Wednesday.

  29. Your math is off a bit.. Their website says 69 Euro = $95 USD – NOT – $79. Granted only another $16 but…

    • Mike, good question. Sorry for the delay. The Tenkara Times refunds the VAT to US customers. Therefore you’ll get $16 refunded. It is a little confusing. So in the end it will be as stated.

  30. Hi Anthony
    Thanks for your review. I just ordered this rod where a Sunline Buttobi tenkara level line size号3,5 (fluorocarbon mono dia 0,310 mm) is included, but as I can see from different guides it is advised to both have furled and level lines to see what fits you. Since Tenkara times currently are out of stock of furled lines – Do you have a suggestion for a furled line for a beginner (although I have fished a small bit with western fly fishing).

  31. Peter, I get mine from: http://www.streamsideleaders.com/TENKARA%20INFO.htm

    Special the kevlar ones

  32. Tenkara Noob // May 8, 2014 at 11:37 PM // Reply

    Ah…the anticipation. :)

what say you?