I had the great fortune of testing the Badger Tenkara Classic Rod in the birthplace of Tenkara, the mountain streams of Japan! It has proven to be a capable rod and has become my favorite Tenkara rods. I have brought to hand numerous Yamame, as well as Rainbow and Brook Trout. One of the largest fish I have ever caught, a 17” Brook Trout, was with the Badger Tenkara (BT) Classic rod. The sensitivity of the rod, as well as its durability, is exceptional. I have fished the Classic Rod on many rivers in Japan, from the flanks of Mount Fuji to the Kanto Mountain Range east of Tokyo.
Photo by Cameron Kline
I tested the rod with both furled line and 3.5 weight fluorocarbon line. I have come to prefer the presentation and feel of the 3.5 weight line over furled line with the BT Classic Rod. To me the presentation felt sloppy with the furled line/BT Classic Rod combo During the early fishing season, when the fish were staying deep, the Classic Rod could easily lob bead head midges with impressive accuracy. Conversely, it was a blast to cast size 26 flies on 6x tippet with the Classic rod as well – once the fish started to rise later in the spring.
I compiled my own rod flex experiment and determined that the Badger Classic is the softest in my quiver. Interestingly enough, while the Classic Rod has the softest flex out of the rods I’ve tested, it’s not the most sensitive. I was not setting the hook on every leaf floating down the stream that bumped my fly or line. However, I did catch several 4” Yamame with the Classic Rod, so for me, it was in the sweet spot for sensitivity. Even subtle takes were felt but not a lot of false positives, as I have experienced with other rods. This could have been partially due to my switching over to the 3.5 weight fluorocarbon line, though, as hypothesized by Tenkara Bum.
The Classic Rod comes with a nice case and cloth sheath. The threads on the case were a little hard to work from time to time, though two or three drops of bike lube fixed this problem. The case is a nice color green and opens from both ends – a feature that I particularly liked. The handle is constructed from high quality cork and even has a solid metal end-cap. The handle fit well in my hand and was easy to grip. The balance of the rod was spot on, too.
Overall, the Badger Classic Tenkara rod is an exceptional rod at a great price. It is light, sensitive (but not too sensitive), durable, well-made and a blast to fish with. It’s definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a Tenkara rod.
Weight – 91 grams (3.2 oz)
Length (extended) – 358 cm (11’9”)
Length (collapsed) – 53 cm (21”)
Author’s Note: I would like to take the opportunity to thank Cameron Kline at Film Shooters Collective for his expert photography while on my many fishing trips while testing the Badger Tenkara Classic rod for this review. Be sure to check out his work here.