Used as Designed: Karasu Tenkara Rod Reviews
6 CommentsThursday, 10 August 2017 | PG
So just one day before the close of the launch promotion for our nail-biting, rollercoaster leap into producing our own, premium Japanese Tenkara Rods...
The thing that I was least prepared for (given the calibre of the development team in Japan and the final results when casting the most demanding level line tactics), was a slightly lukewarm review of the Karasu 400. Of course, it is part and parcel of the whole process and I truly thank all the people who have been kind enough to offer their time and attention to testing the rods. Thank you.
As just one of the folks who I need to thank, here's Russ giving his considered feedback.
I know it is a cliche - but anything that you sweat to create...once that is released into the world it doesn't only belong to you any more. And that is super frightening and super exciting at the same time. It has been a true privilege to see the joy in the faces of the earliest customers who have actually been able to try these rods.
But here's the conundrum, when folks have to try to decide from a distance whether they will like a rod, there is quite a leap of faith to take. The next layer to that (when your rod now belongs to the tenkara public) is that you have no idea if people will use them for what I can only call their "destiny tactics" - or not. Neil gives a flavour of the 360 and 400 having slightly different destinies...
What I really mean by destiny tactics are the Pure Sweet Spot Presentations and Specialised Rigs that each rod needs to be matched with to Truly Shine.
Of course we tried really, really hard to teach some of our most successful skills in the 3-lesson series - because as well as upping your catch rate; it would also show exactly what each rod should be used for.
BOTH cast light lines and so allow you to reduce "drape otsuri" to an absolute minimum - as well as slowing down the final delivery of the kebari so that it just kisses down with great delicacy. This is especially important to the Karasu 400 - as its extra length is there for the prime purpose of extending reach. Including the softness needed to do that in a longer rod is incredibly important...and to do that with #3 nylon level lines up to 9-metres long is a massive challenge - especially when you want to retain some lower down power for casting big lines and getting hook-sets at range in hard-mouthed fish...
That ultralight long-line casting is what is missing from rods I've seen the Karasu 400 compared to (that just means those other rods have different purposes by the way). It also keeps it suitable for small fish - it is a delicate rod which becomes more powerful when you ask it to.
As we said ourselves, it was that casting performance when combined with the reserves of power for smoothly rolling out a long #4.5 fluorocarbon level line and large fly (or hook-sets) that defines what the Karasu 400 was "destined to do".
You can see Alan demonstrating delicacy and some long line fishing here (notice his good skill that Go Ishii always emphasises - to always back up away from where you hooked the fish before you do anything else, if you can):
So, I suppose what I've taken from this experience (as well as the obviously satisfying responses when people love the rods) is just how difficult it is to ask someone to review a rod blind.
We are so near the beginning of learning the range of simple, but highly refined tactics used by the best anglers in Japan. It is really quite unreasonable of me to ask for reviews of rods for those tactics, when they are not yet practiced outside a small handful of folks (who all contributed to the development of and approval for the Karasu).
Viewed like that - the 360 is designed for what are largely much more familiar tactics - so of course it has a good chance to shine when someone uses it in that role.
It is also natural that the 400 (used in essentially the same role) would have less opportunity to show what it is about. A bit like that elite mountain leader out on an easy stroll in the park on a sunny afternoon...
You only really get to see what makes her great with a storm approaching on Everest... :)
Thank you once again to every single reviewer - and thank you for reading my own thoughts this far!
Remember the big special offer (shown below) finishes tomorrow at midnight...so if you fancied a big early Xmas present while the trout season is still at it's prime, you know what to do: