I am unable to remember the origin of this concept, but it is somewhat of a mantra that we have repeated and tried, sometimes very unsuccessfully, to follow in an effort to simplify the stuff that can accumulate as we move through different homes, activities, and passions. Useful. Beautiful. When looking at a material thing, an object, stuff, we try to ask, “Is this useful? Beautiful? Or…even both!?!”

The other day, we made the leap to finally purchase tenkara fishing rods in a rush to get out of the house for a hike. We had been discussing the possibility for months but hadn’t yet bit the bullet. Trying not to jump on the bandwagon blindly and with my usual delay that comes from habitually (over)researching potential purchases, we were just talk, but moving in the right direction.

D came home after meeting a young woman who worked as a guide for Orvis. Upon learning that I would gladly spin cast with him on banks or off the boat but was less apt to reach for my license and head out the door for fly fishing, she suggested I try tenkara. Then D came home after meeting and spending some time with a gentleman actually fishing tenkara and this fellow gave it a good review and even showed D some casting techniques like a little slingshot move for tight spaces. So we were getting closer and closer. Then the day before our hike, I came across a website selling Tenkara Rod Co. rods, which seemed far more reasonably priced than other tenkara outfits currently offering goods. As a bonus the website also featured a 15% coupon for your first purchase and it’s been many years since I have lived by the wisdom, “Retail is for suckers.” It was a minimal discount but those are truly wise words from Cosmo Kramer. Then to seal the deal, these rods, especially the Cascade Rod that I was interested in for its compact size (just 8ft), simply looked awesome. It was…useful (not that we didn’t have other rods that can hook a fish). It was…beautiful (we certainly didn’t have any rods that looked like these). Useful and beautiful. A double threat. Something we could surely welcome into our lives, right? So they were bought in a rush out the door Monday morning and today they have arrived!


I opened the box right away and pulled mine out, but will wait and let D unveil his upon his return on Sunday. It was almost as pretty as I was hoping. Some of the paint job is a little chipped but under the clear coat so hopefully it won’t get worse. The end cap on the rod tube also isn’t glued on well – you are supposed to unscrew the end of the cap to get the rod out but the whole cap comes right off revealing the dried glue hiding underneath. Otherwise, from what I can tell in my cursory investigation, this rod is awesome. It is so compact which will be great to tuck in a backpack, really easy to extend and collapse, feels light (though I can’t say I am experienced enough to compare weights), has a great reading warranty, and is this wonderful not-really-neon blue. We are on our second dreary day of rain, mostly just the kind that tinks and trips on our roof mixed with some heavier fallings but no real downpours of the cat and dog variety. I am, however, still comfortable using such precipitation patterns as an excuse to mostly stay inside this evening though I did threaten to try the rod all by myself when the tracking number told us what day our package would be making its appearance. Knowing me I would get it stuck in the trees or stab the tip into an immovable object and break it while walking and not paying the recommended attention. We will definitely be getting out for a little tenkara time on Sunday or Monday at the latest. Useful and beautiful, whew!

tenkara is simplicity

can’t wait to try casting with a tenkara rod

fastening a line to your tenkara rod looks so easy I think even I can do it


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