Originally Posted by yonder
Let's say I have a ten foot rod, and then I decide to leave the main stream and fish a tributary with alot less room to cast, etc., such as a rhodo tunnel. Is it possible or practical to collapse the bottom section to make a shorter rod? Will I need to change the line/leader? Is it a good idea to carry multiple lengths of leader for different situations? Honestly, I have never given much thought to tenkara, but now, after the previous discussion and debate, my interest has peaked. I am trying to consider the pros and cons of tenkara from a blueline backpacker's point of view. Thanks in advance.
A ten foot rod is already on the short side and you don't have many choices if you want to go even shorter.
It is possible to collapse the bottom section to make a shorter rod. If you do so, I would suggest also choking up on the rod so that your index finger is above the grip section and presses on the first extended section. If you don't do that, the rod will be loose, will rattle and will not give you nearly the sensitivity it does when fully extended. I suspect that in streams so small that this is necessary, you are unlikely to hook a particularly large fish. However, if you did, you now have a hard spot in the rod where the section is collapsed so the rod cannot form the full arc it was designed for. To be safe you would have to extend the rod fully, which then risks getting the tip caught in the canopy. I guess the bottom line is you can do it, but you have to be very careful if you catch a fish of any size.
You do not have to change the line length, but in fact you might want to change to a shorter line before you mess around with the rod length - depends on whether the problem is lack of room for a back cast rather than lack of room to swing the rod.
I would highly recommend carrying different line lengths and weights. Different lengths for the situation you outlined, and different weights for dead calm, slight breeze, etc. The lighter the line the easier it is to hold off the water's surface, which is what gives you the improved presentations. On a dead calm day you can cast a very light line (softer rods to this better than stiffer rods).
If you find that you often fish places where a rod of a different length would be better, you might want to invest in a second rod. Tenkara USA does adverstise a replacement grip to shorten its Iwana, but similar replacement grips are available for many rods - they're just not advertised. When buying a rod, ask if a replacement grip is available.
From a blue line backpacker's point of view, consider also the length of the collapsed rod and the weight. There are huge differences among the available rods.