Sawtooth Tenkara Rod

After several months of extensive testing in the rivers and streams of Maryland, Texas, California and Japan, the Tenkara Rod Company’s Sawtooth Tenkara Rod has become my favorite go-to fly fishing rod.

First, let me say that this rod is incredibly sensitive. When a floating leaf bumped my line while drifting downstream, I could feel it in the handle! Even the most subtle strike from a fish did not go unnoticed. I landed a lot of two inch minnows with this rod because I could feel their tiny strike. Also the sensitive 5:5 action makes bringing larger fish to hand a very exciting experience.

This sensitivity soured my first impression of the rod, however, as I was not used to fishing with such a soft and flexible rod. At first, I was making a clean and quick cast with a lot of wrist action at the end of the cast. This caused the line to flop into the water about 6′ down the furled line leaving the rest of the line (8-10′ or so) to plop into the water in a big tangle. The accuracy was abysmal, and I scared more fish away than I caught. I have never used a “traditional” fly rod (i.e. a rod with a reel), so my background is exclusively with Tenkara rods, and I had never had this “problem” before. So I sent an email to Tenkara Rod Co. explaining my predicament. Tanner from Tenkara Rod Co. was very helpful and gave me some great tips to get better performance out of my Sawtooth rod.

Sawtooth Tenkara Rod

Firstly, with my stiffer rods, it was never a problem to lob six plus feet of tippet out into the river. This is not the case with the Sawtooth, and once I cut my tippet down to three feet or shorter, I noticed a dramatic increase in casting accuracy.

The other tip, and the one I felt was most essential to perfecting my cast, was to pause for a half-second on the back cast with the rod pointing at one o’clock. Instead of a one movement cast (back and then forward with a flick of the wrist at the end), I used a three movement cast (back, then pause for a half-second at one o’clock, and then forward to ten o’clock or so). This subtle change was exactly what I needed.

With these two tips, the character of the Sawtooth dramatically changed. I brought to hand numerous blue gill, Guadalupe bass and rainbow trout. The Sawtooth became my go-to everyday-use Tenkara rod!

The Sawtooth rod alone costs $129.00, but if you pay an extra $30.00 for the package, you get a furled line, three kebari flies (the Crocket is my favorite and has proven to be very effective in many different streams), as well as a nice looking wooden spool. Buying these items as a package with the Sawtooth rod will save you $5.00.

Sawtooth Tenkara Rod

The colorful finish of the Sawtooth is quite durable; after several months of expanding and collapsing the rod it looks as good as it did on the day it showed up on my doorstep. The design is glossy and sexy and the cork handle is the perfect diameter to hold comfortably in your hand all day on the river.

As Tenkara Rod Co. says: “The Sawtooth mountain range is located in Central Idaho. It is known as one of the most beautiful places in the USA. With its jagged mountain peaks and countless streams, it is truly a place you can get lost in nature. There doesn’t seem to be a more perfect location for Tenkara, so we decided to name this rod after it.” I couldn’t agree more with their thinking in the naming of this rod.

Bottom Line:

The bit of re-learning on the cast that this rod takes is absolutely worth it to experience its excellent craftsmanship and sensitive design.

Tech Specs:

Closed Size: 20 inches

Segments: 9

Handle Length: 11.25 inches

Weight: 3.2 oz

Availability: Available now

MSRP: Package price $159.00

For more from Isaac on Tenkara fishing and rods, check out his articles Dragontail Shadowfire 360 Tenkara Rod Review, Patagonia’s “Simple Fly Fishing” Tenkara Rod Review, and Tenkara – An Introduction to Simple Fly Fishing.

Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Tenkara Rod











  • Very sensitive action
  • Fun and exciting to catch fish of any size
  • Beautiful design


  • The casting may take a bit of re-learning - but is this really a bad thing?

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