Fountainhead Tenkara Fly Fishing

A stick, some string and a fly



  Let us know what you think -


  • Super fast shipping.  I was very happy with the look and feel of my new rod, can't wait to try it out.  Thanks!
  • Exceptional fit and finish.  Was not expecting such a well made rod for the price I paid.  Will be ordering another, soon
  • Been fishing almost every day for the past two weeks with my Tenkara rod.  Been having a blast.
  • Thanks for providing a great rod at an affordable price.
  • Love the look and feel of the rod.  Am ordering one for my wife so I get a chance to fish with my own.
  • Lovely rod, shipped like lightning. Perfect!!!
  • I bought this rod as a backup/beater. Decided to cast it before I threw it under the seat in my truck. Liked it so much, now use it as my regular rod.
  • Most fun I had fishing in a quite a while.
  • Lighter and more responsive then I thought, very pleased. Thanks
  • I used the Tenkara last weekend and caught about a dozen fish.  I'm going to need to start carrying my net again.  Nice rod!
  • First a little background.  A couple weeks ago I had emailed Chris Stewart (the TenkaraBum) asking him about the All Fishing Buy tenkara rods, specifically the Wakata.  I have been fishing with my TenkaraUSA 12' Iwana since this past May, and recently my dad, who has never fly fished in his life, got interested in tenkara fishing with me.  So I asked Chris about the Wakata rods, so my dad could get into tenkara cheaper than the TenkaraUSA rods.  He emailed me back saying to check out the Fountainhead rods.  By the time I got the information to my dad, he had already ordered a 12' Wakata.  The day after it arrived, I emailed Chris again with a few issues about the rod, and he said our best option was to return the rod and order a Fountainhead.  Reading and following his site,, I have come to trust his recommendation.  So on Monday around mid day my dad ordered a rod from you, and it was on his doorstep Wednesday.  That is great service!  Especially since we leave this Sunday for a week long trip.  Looking at the rod yesterday, and comparing it to the Wakata he has yet to return, your rods are far superior.  The 6:4 12' Wakata felt too light (in a cheap quality way), and far slower casting than my Iwana or the 12' Stone Fly.  Really as far as quality and just waving the rod with no line attached, I think your rod is at least on par with the TenkaraUSA rods.  At least the action is right, compared to the Iwana.  The Wakata was nowhere close in casting.  And compared to the Wakata, 7 sections versus 9 on the Stone Fly, the handle section on yours having a much bigger diameter shaft, which to me means more backbone and better quality.  The cork grip on yours is very nice, the Wakata is full of crevices, and is very long and thin.  It doesn't fit in the hand as well as yours.  Sunday we leave for a week long trip to Oak Creek, and I am looking forward to tenkara fishing with my dad for the first time, and using both the Iwana and Stone Fly side by side to see how they compare.
  • Article by Morgan Lyle published in the Daily Gazette on Oct 21, 2010

    Fly-Fishing: New player arrives in tenkara tackle scene

    by Morgan Lyle                                                                                                                                                                          Oct 21,2010

    A second company has been launched selling tenkara tackle — those long, telescoping, fixed-line fly rods that some people, myself included, have really taken a liking to.

    The brand is called Fountainhead, based in Michigan, and it represents an opportunity to try the game for a low price. Fountainhead rods are even less expensive than the tenkara tackle that was prev­iously available, and compared to conventional rod-and-reel setups from Sage or Orvis, they’re dirt cheap.

    A quick review: Tenkara is a Japanese style of fly rod that first appeared in the U.S. a year and a half ago. Made of feather-light black carbon fiber, they telescope out to anywhere from 11 to nearly 14 feet in length. No reel is used, and there are no guides — just a light line attached at the rod tip, about as long as the rod itself plus a couple feet of tippet.

    Casting distance is obviously limited, but if you can sneak up on a good lie, a tenkara rod is a great tool for fishing dry flies, wet flies or nymphs. You can hold your whole line off the water, which permits perfectly natural drifts, and the rod casts tight loops just like a regular fly rod.

    Tenkara USA of San Francisco introduced tenkara to the American market in April 2009. Fountainhead is its first real competitor, although at least one specialty rod seller has offered tenkara rods as part of its business.

    Paul Szymusiak, founder of Fountainhead, is a lifelong fly-fisher who started out by selling furled leaders and got into the tenkara rod bus­iness within the past year.

    Fountainhead rods retail for $70 to $80. Eleven-, 12- and 13-foot models are available, with actions ranging from 5:5 (slow) to 7:3 (fast). Add another $14 for a furled line (or just use a length of 15-pound fluoro­carbon). Another line of rods, to be a composite of carbon fiber and fiberglass, is in the works.

    Tenkara rods are inexpensive to buy because they’re inexpensive to make: no guides to wrap on, no reel seat, etc. But simple doesn’t equal primitive. Tenkara rods are exquis­ite fishing tools, and have made good impressions on fly-fishing gurus, including John Gierach and Ed Engle.

    “Many ardent fixed-length-line fly anglers, like myself, are very experienced fly-fishermen,” Szym­usiak said. “Tenkara presents seasoned fly-fishers a simple but engaging new way to enjoy their sport.”

    I use my tenkara rod (a Tenkara USA 12-foot Ebisu with 5:5 action) more than my Thomas & Thomas conventional rod these days. I’ll bring the five-weight to large rivers like the Delaware, but it’s almost always the tenkara rod on the small streams I fish most. On Sunday, I used it to catch five trout, including a few small ones, a fat 14-incher and a good one that broke me off, plus a small, yellow perch with bright orange fins.

    The website for Fountainhead rods is

  •  -  Tenkara Trip Report
  • Tenkarabum Review  -  Chris' review of the 11' Fountainhead Stone Fly Rod
  • Tenkarabum Review  -  Chris' review of the 12' Fountainhead Stone Fly Rod
  • TenkaraBum Review  - Chris' review of the 13' Fountainhead Stone Fly Rod
  •   - Troutrageous review of 11' Fountainhead Caddis Fly Rod
  • Tenkarabum Review - Chris' review of the 11'and 12' Fountainhead Caddis Fly Rods
  • I have ordered three different lines from you and a Caddis Tenkara rod. I own other brand Tenkara rods and I believe your Caddis is the best value out there!! Good job and keep up the work.
  • City Of Allen Blog - City of Allen Fountainhead Caddis Rod Review
  • Squidoo Tenkara Summary - Nice Summary of Tenkara information sources
  • Flyfishinado - a interesting flyfishing blog with some good tenkara content
  • Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy the rods.  This is a blast!  I really didn't see the need to immediately head up the mountain to our smaller streams.  I figured if Tenkara had any adaptive qualities I'd just cut to the chase and take it to the tailwaters of the South Holston.  Technical tailwaters is a good challenge for any fishing technique.

  • The tenkara rod was a real joy.  I had tied up a 11.5 foot line/leader for it and tried it for about 45 minutes on the Davidson River.   What a lot of fun.   I hooked up with two big browns and brought one all the way to hand before he snapped the tippet (6x).   It looked to be about 20 inches.   The other one was as big or bigger and I had him on for about 5 minutes before he threw the hook.  He swam up to my feet several times but I was not abuot to grab the leader with him so fresh.  Both were large enough to have been a real problem to land even with my regular rig.  I've gotta try it on some smaller trout! Thanks again for great products and super fast service.
  • Love the rods...Been just whacking fish...Sent several people your way...Folks down here in Appalachia are loving it!
  • I've fly fished with conventional equipment on and off for over 30 years.  In a joint purchase with a friend, I recently obtained a Fountainhead 330 Stonefly Tenkara rod from you.  The rod is a delight to use, and I am simply astounded at how effective Tenkara can be on the small to mid-sized rivers we have here in Vermont.  Since receiving the rod, I've been out with my new 11' Stonefly 4 times.  Of those four times, my catch numbers have come up significantly over conventional fly equipment, but most notably, the SIZE of the fish I'm encountering has gone up exponentially.  The first day out on a local river (which can produce good fish, but is average fishing, generally), I was immediately into two muscled 12" browns and a bunch of more common 6"-7".  The next morning, I cast into a deep plunge pool, and connected with a monster 20" brown on a 6x tippet (the largest trout I have EVER had on a fly rod).  I was a bit overexcited, so was not successful in landing him (but it was a close fight!).  The third afternoon again produced two largish 12"+ fish (one brown, one brookie) and a number of 6"-9", and two days ago I ventured onto one of Vermont's premier unstocked, wild trout streams which gets a fair amount of fishing pressure, noted for producing large but wary browns.  An hour and a half of fishing that stream produced four average browns (6"-7") plus their three hefty brethren in the attached photo below, the smallest of which is 12", and the largest just shy of 16," and took nearly 20 minutes to coax into the net (and he was delicious, too!).  These three larger trout came from three successive plunge pools/riffles, and this is at the end of July!  I can't wait to see what fall fishing produces with this technique...I am totally hooked on Tenkara, and really appreciate the amount of time, effort, and information folks like you have put out there to provide folks like me access to this sublimely simple form of fly fishing.  Now, if only I could figure out how to fish instead of work.... :) Just wanted to share my newfound enthusiasm...  PS - kudos to Chris Stewart (aka "Tenkarabum") for his reviews of your rods.  It is his favorable reviews which prompted us to purchase from you.
  • I took my new 360 caddis rod to the local pond today & caught some sunfish on it WOW that was loads of fun with your rod I can't wait till I get a few trout on it.
  • The rod arrived this afternoon in good condition. I put some cheap fly line I had on it and a few foam spiders I'd tied yesterday (my first attempt at fly tying) and took a walk to the nearest body of water, a canal right down the road. Within a few minutes I brought in a good sized smallmouth and over the next hour a few smaller sunnies, including one beautiful pumpkinseed who put up nearly as much fight as the smallie, for all that he was half the size. Not bad for a spot that's normally hard to catch anything (it's right next to a state park parking lot, so it gets a lot of traffic and the fish are generally pretty wary there). I'm new to fly fishing, and found out about tenkara while searching for lightweight fishing setups that I could take on bicycle trips. While I hope it gets to see some use in the trout stream, I can definitely see my new Fountainhead rod replacing my spinning rig for a lot of the local warm water fishing too.
  • Thanks so much. I taught my 7 year old daughter to fly fish on you rod and she loved it!
  • Still enjoying the Stone Fly rod. My 12 year old son on his second time fly fishing caught and released 14 brookies on my 360.
  • I purchase a few rods from you a little while ago.  They are doing great.  I love using the Tenkara rods and swing soft hackled flies mostly.  They are very effective on our trout streams.  I am not much of a nympher and use soft hackles 99.9% of the time and the presentation of the flies with the tenkara rods are awesome.  Last weekend we were catching trout up to 20",  my best was 18" caught on BWO soft hackles.   Fighting 16 - 18" feisty trout is an excercise in excitement for sure when there is no reel attached....
  • I am a strong believer in your product and the rods are not only great for us avid fly fisherman but the Colorado backpackers and day hikers as well. I hooked two clients up to some nice rainbows on the south platte river down in Deckers this weekend on your 360 stonefly rods.
  • I finally got to fish my new FountainHead rod today on the ABC section of the XYZ River.  I was able to land four browns in an hour with the largest just under 12 inches.  Needless to say, I am very happy with the rod.  It works very well as a late season nymphing rod and I can only imagine how well it will work as a summer dry fly rod. Thanks again for getting me the rod so quickly and all of the information you shared prior to my purchase.  Don’t be surprised if you get a couple more orders from both me and my clients.
  • I purchased an 11' Caddis Tenkara rod last year and I LOVE it. I took it to the Smokies and caught more fish in the first hour than I had caught the last five years altogether! It so effortlessly allows me to control placement of the fly in pocket water and by keeping the line off the water I can keep the fly in the strike zone without drag. Frankly, the first book I ever read on fly fishing as a kid was the compleat angler - and this perfectly recaptures those first experiences of trying to follow Cotton's instructions. Decades and many regular fly rods later, I feel like I have returned to my roots, and Tenkara made it possible. So I wanted to thank you for helping make this possible.
  • How's life in Michigan going? I am writing to show you a pic of the 18" rainbow trout I hooked a client into on your 7:3 stonefly rod! She killed it that day in the Rockies and is stoked for the Tenkara rods! I am dealing Tenkara rods as well now from a different distributor, but I still like your rods better.
  • Been fishing as often as I can with the Stonefly 360 and it is like money in the bank. The rod and fishing it is so great that I have to remind myself to be ready, even on my first cast, since a few times as soon as the fly hits the water I get a strike.
  • Just wanted to let you know I received my Stone Fly 390 today.  Thanks, it looks like I'll enjoy this as much as I've enjoyed my Caddis  Fly 330.  I'm telling everyone I can about your rods and the great value they are.  So, if you start getting more orders from around Butte Montana, you'll know why.