DAIWA SUPER KENZAKI FS Review

DAIWA SUPER KENZAKI FS | RRP: £150

The original Super Kenzaki rods were the first equal length, two-section boat rods that I can recall, and over time the product has evolved and the choice diversified writes Dave Barham.

These latest incarnations are nothing short of superb, with new ranges of boat, travel and fixed-spool rods to suit all manner of fishing situations, both here in the UK and abroad.

To kick off with I’m going to start with a look at the fixed-spool rods. Because more boat anglers are turning to fixed-spool reels, especially in lighter line classes, Daiwa has kept up with the times and produced three ‘FS’ models under the Super Kenzaki banner.

 THE RANGE

Sporting a 7ft 6in blank, the ringing on these rods differs to that on the boat rods in order to accommodate the line corridor from a fixed-spool reel. There are three rods in the FS range, all of which measure 7ft 6in long and are priced at £150 each.

The 6/12lb-class weighs a mere 250g and is absolutely perfect for all manner of boat fishing applications, such as working lures for bass and pollack, or drifting for plaice, fishing at anchor for black bream and wrasse to downtiding for bass, smoothhounds and small rays.

Next up is the 12/20lb-class rod, which weighs 255g. This blank has a bit more beef in the butt, as you would expect, and is particularly suited to working larger lures over reefs and wrecks for larger pollack, cod and big bass. It also lends itself to downtiding for rays, tope and small conger eels.

Last but not least is the 20-30lb class blank, which weighs in at only 270g. This is the real powerhouse of the bunch and one that I am intending to take to Norway next year in search of monster halibut. It’s a lovely rod to fish with, and matched with a suitable reel loaded with 30 or 40lb braid, you’ll have no problems stopping a big blue shark or hefty conger eel with this rod.

 QUALITY FITTINGS

As with all Daiwa rods the build quality is nothing short of superb. This, coupled with the quality fittings, provides exceptional value for money. Because the rods are equal length sections, they lend themselves to a push-in style joint, which makes it very easy to assemble the two halves and twist to get the eyes lined up correctly.

I love the subtle unground carbon finish with the snazzy blue and silver graphics – it’s very Daiwa. I really like the oversized EVA foregrips too; they’re slightly formed to give a rounded feel to them and they sit really well in the hand either side of the reel seat.

Daiwa never scrimps on fittings, using only the best Fuji products on their rods. All of these FS models feature Fuji ‘O’ ring guides – 10 on each blank including the tip. All the reel seats are Fuji DPS, and the rather innovative Fuji GRC butt caps complete the Fuji fittings used in the range. These butt caps have a gimbal fitting cut into them in such a way as not to be uncomfortable when jamming the butt into your groin for leverage. I really like them and it does away with the need for those nasty push-on butt caps that we all end up losing after a couple of trips afloat.

 THE VERDICT

If, like me, you enjoy your fixed-spool sea fishing afloat then this range of FS Kenzaki rods is well worth a look. I’ve already mentioned just a few of the applications that these rods can be used for, but there are so many more. I can’t wait to get hooked up to something a big bigger on the 12/20lb-class model to see just how much power it has.

I’ll be reviewing more rods from the Super Kenzaki range in Sea Angler soon.

Features

Powerful carbon blank

V-Joint

EVA Fore and Rear Grip

Fuji ‘O’ Ring Guides

Fuji DPS Reel Seat

Fuji GRC Butt Cap

Price: £150 each

 

For more details on the FS rods and others in the new Super Kenzaki range, visit: www.daiwasports.co.uk

 

DAIWA TOURNAMENT INTERLINE

DAIWA TOURNAMENT INTERLINE

RRP: £165

Tournament Interline

  • Length: 2.13m/7ft
  • Sections: Two
  • Rating: 8-15lb
  • Grips: Premium EVA
  • Reel seat: Fuji DPS
  • Butt cap: Fuji gimbal
  • RRP: £165
  • Other models: 15-25lb and 25-40lb

Ringless rods, where the line runs through the centre of the blank, are nothing new, but for some reason they have never really caught on in the UK.

Throughout the years, while fishing aboard various charter boats around the country, I have not infrequently come across anglers using what are known as ‘interline rods’ and, invariably, those anglers absolutely love them.

The vast majority of interlines that I have seen have been manufactured by Daiwa. The latest model produced by the company is the Daiwa Tournament Interline, which has been built using their X45 carbon. This two-piece rod has an overall length of 2.13 metres (7ft) and features a high-quality Fuji reel seat.

The rod I tested was rated for use with lines ranging from 8-15lb, I’d say a traditional 20lb-class, and is perfect for a wide range of situations typically encountered in the UK.

One of the biggest concerns many anglers express when talking about interline rods is the problem of threading the line, especially braid, through the blank.

DSC_0063 2.jpg

The rod comes with two steel wire ‘bobbins’ that are used to thread the line, by tying one of the bobbins to the end of the line and dropping it through the single bottom ring. Certainly, this would be a bit of a ‘kerfuffle’ (I’ve been waiting to use that word in an article for ages) on a pitching charter boat. 

That said, almost always I pre-rig my boat rods before leaving home. Of course, you will ask what happens when, or if, you get snagged and have to break your line? That happens, but rarely does the line part between the reel and the rod tip, so with just a little care you should not have to rethread the blank.

This was actually my first time fishing with an interline rod, and I made the mistake of using a monofilament leader of around 12ft of 20lb attached to the 20lb braid mainline. The problem was that even though I had tied a small and neat knot, it jammed each time it had to pass in or out through the rod tip. Next time I shall probably dispense with a leader.

I used the rod on a day’s reef fishing off the Cornish coast, catching a variety of small to medium-sized fish. Bite detection was excellent, and I actually enjoyed using this simplistic yet functional rod.

I’m not sure that I am prepared to make a total conversion from using traditional rods fitted with rings, but certainly I have had my eyes opened to the advantages of using an interline, which has no additional hardware to get damaged.

The Daiwa Tournament X45 Interline rod retails for £165, and is available from all Daiwa stockists.

DAIWA TOURNAMENT FOUR-PIECE TRAVEL ROD

DAIWA TOURNAMENT FOUR-PIECE TRAVEL ROD

RRP: £195

At a glance

  • Length: 2.29m/7ft 6in
  • Sections: Four
  • Packed length: 64cm (2ft)
  • Rating: 15-25lb
  • Guides: Fuji K guide alconite
  • Grips: EVA
  • Reel seat: Fuji DPS
  • Butt cap: Fuji gimbal
  • RRP: £195
  • Other models: 25-40lb (£195) & 30-60lb (3-piece £190)

Some fishing rods can fool you. It certainly happened to my friend Terry Thomas. Let me explain. As we set off on the long drive home, I asked: “So, Terry, what did you think of the new Daiwa Tournament four-piece travel rod?” To which he replied: “What travel rod? I wasn’t using a four-piece rod.” Yes, he was!

The fact that Terry didn’t even know is surely a great endorsement for this rod.

Rated for use with lines from 15-25lb, I’d rate the blank in the 20/30lb-class range. The new Daiwa Tournament travel rod has an overall length of 2.29 metres (7ft 6in), yet packs down to just 64cm (2ft), meaning it can be carried easily and safely in your check-in luggage.

The blank is built using Daiwa’s X45 torsion-resistant carbon, which the company describes thus: “Conventional carbon fibres are always layered in a 90° angle, while the new X45 material features a 45° angle, and is combined with 0° and 90° layered carbon fibres, making the blanks stronger and more distortion-proof.”

The action of the blank is noticeably crisp, with a beautifully sensitive tip that blends smoothly into a progressive mid-section, before finally merging into a strong butt section. Bite detection is excellent, and while we were unable to substantiate the rod’s undoubted high build quality with any large fish, on one or two occasions when the terminal rig became snagged the rod proved to be plenty powerful enough to pull free.

The rod is furnished with Fuji fittings, consisting of a high-quality reel seat, nine K guide alconite rings and gimbal butt cap.

This would be a fine travel rod for anglers fishing in Norway, and one I’d happily pack for trips farther afield when seeking tarpon, sailfish and numerous other species. Travel rods are often better than you think.

The Daiwa Tournament X45 Travel Rod retails for £195, and is available from all Daiwa stockists.

Daiwa Tournament Uptide review

Daiwa was, I believe, the very first major tackle manufacturer to produce a purpose-made range of uptiding rods when, in the early 1980s, it launched its groundbreaking Sea Hunter range.

Daiwa Tournament Uptide

  • Length: 8ft 6in
  • Sections: Two
  • Rating: 3-7oz
  • Guides: Fuji K guide Alconite
  • Reel seat: Fuji DPS
  • Grips: Premium EVA
  • Butt cap: Gimbal
  • RRP: £185
  • Also available: 5-10oz, £185

Web: www.daiwasports.co.uk

 

The three blanks were rated 2-4oz, 4-6oz and 6-8oz respectively, and immediately established a blueprint for uptide/boatcasting rods. Each rod had an overall length of 9ft 6in and consisted of a short butt section and a longer top section. 

Characteristics included a responsive tip for bite indication, a forgiving yet gutsy mid-section to facilitate casting and playing fish, and a poker-stiff lower third for applying maximum power when it was required.

Over the subsequent years, Daiwa has introduced several new ranges of uptide rods, all of which have conformed to the aforementioned formula.

FIRST REACTION

The most recent Daiwa boatcasting rod, the Tournament Uptide, is vastly different, though. My first reaction when I took the two equal sections out of their bag and put them together was:
“That’s not an uptider!”

The rod has an overall length of just 8ft 6in and is rated for use with 6-15lb lines and to cast 3-7oz. There is a 5-10oz version too. The rod is manufactured from X45 carbon and features a high-quality Fuji reel seat and alconite rings.

I used the rod on a day’s fishing aboard a private boat in the fast-flowing water of the Bristol Channel, exactly the sort of conditions the uptiding technique and uptiders were developed to fish. It very soon became apparent that the 7oz maximum casting rating was, at best, on the ambitious side. It’s far better at the lower end of its suggested casting rating. 

I tackled up using a reel loaded with the maximum rated 15lb monofilament, but with a 5oz lead weight. To be honest, who actually uses 6lb line afloat when uptiding?

TECHNIQUES

Throughout the day the rod performed very well and, yes, it could be used to cast from a boat, although I prefer a rod with additional length because I’m used to it.

We were fishing in depths averaging 50-70ft on a neap tide, pretty gentle conditions for the channel but, even so, I felt the rod was beyond its limit. However, the blank proved to be noticeably more powerful than my first impressions indicated, the bite detection was really excellent, and the finish and build quality were certainly first class. 

I concluded this was indeed a very nice boat rod, certainly a superb all-rounder for fishing lures and baits on the drift over reefs or wrecks, downtiding and, under certain conditions, uptiding.

One of the boat’s co-owners, Andy Samuels, who also used the rod, summed it up perfectly. “It’s the perfect rod for casting leads in the 3-4oz range in shallower water, a beautiful rod to have aboard any boat, a rod which can be used for a wide variety of different techniques under a range of different circumstances.”

The Daiwa Tournament Uptide has a recommended price of £185.

HTO nebula lure rod

HTO nebula lure rod RRP: £99.99 - £134.99

HTO Nebula.jpg

There are five models to choose from ranging from 2.1 metres to 2.7m in length, with casting ratings of 5-22g, 7-28g, 12-42g, 7-30g and 7-35g.

They are versatile outfits and all feature Fuji VSS reel seats and Fuji ‘K’ spinning guides. Watch out for an in-depth review coming soon in Sea Angler.

For your nearest stockist, visit: www.htolures.com 

DAIWA TOURNAMENT HT SURF and DAIWA EMCAST SURF

On occasions, a regular frenzy of activity happens from shore anglers who are willing to hand hundreds of pounds across the tackle shop counter for a rod that will probably never suit them...but I reckon some could do themselves a big favour if they just stopped and re-assessed for a moment, before quickly parting with their cash.

Rather than following the crowd and opting to buy the current trendy poker that so many suggest is the best money can buy, it may be an idea discovering what other blanks are stood in the shop’s rod rack. For instance, a company that still offers some fantastic beach rods that appeal to all levels of the sport is Daiwa.

All are totally user-friendly and built with quality components. A shore rod from Daiwa certainly deserves more than just a mere fleeting glance, in my opinion.

Read between the lines of my thinking and you’ve probably guessed the point I’m attempting to make. Hopefully, you’ll suddenly realise that the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best. 

No matter what level or ability you may think your shore fishing is at, the range of beach rods available from Daiwa pretty much covers all the relevant bases. Whether you’re a match angler at the top of your game, a travelling specimen-hunter, or simply a day-fisher who chooses to venture out only a few times a month; a peek at Daiwa’s range of beach rods will most certainly reveal a quality outfit that suits you.

I recently took a couple of models that differ in price for a day’s pleasure fishing on a North Norfolk shingle bank. Actually, the pair are miles apart in price, but, performance-wise, I was really impressed.


DAIWA EMCAST SURF

RRP: £85 - £95

TECH SPEC

  • MODEL: Daiwa Emcast Surf
  • LENGTH: 13ft; 14ft & 15ft
  • SECTIONS: Three
  • GUIDES: Aluminium oxide
  • RATING: 3-7oz
  • REEL SEAT: DPS-style fixed screw-winch
  • BAG: Yes – protective travel case
  • RRP: £85; £90 & £95

TOP FEATURES

  • Premium grade carbon blank
  • Perfect ring spacing for fixed-spool reel
  • Aluminium joint rings for increased joint strength
  • Stainless frame guides with oxide rings
  • Ergonomic shaped EVA rear grip

I really liked this three-piece outfit, and if you’re fishing to a tight budget, I reckon you will like it too.

For less than a hundred quid, you certainly get a lot of rod for your buck. Okay, it’s not graced with premium components, but don’t let that put you off because this rod performs exquisitely on the beach.

It loads up slowly and progressively when casting, and it’s not the quickest blank I’ve ever used, but it does come through incredibly well and fires a baited rig smoothly.

There are three models to choose from at 13ft, 14ft and 15ft – I used the 14ft model. It offers a decent casting rating at 3-7oz, but I think you’ll find it much more manageable using a 5oz sinker with bait on the beach.

Finished impeccably, it’s lined with aluminium oxide guides that are perfect for using a fixed-spool reel loaded with mono or braided mainlines. The reel seat is a DPS screw-winch fixed version, positioned perfectly for powerful casting styles.

If you’re a first-timer to shore fishing, this rod is absolutely perfect and will definitely help you to progress to the next level. I thoroughly enjoyed using it and, at the price, you certainly won’t find any complaints from me.


DAIWA TOURNAMENT HT SURF

RRP: £300-£315

TECH SPEC

  • MODEL: Daiwa Tournament HT Surf
  • LENGTH: 14ft & 15ft
  • SECTIONS: Three
  • GUIDES: Lightweight alconite
  • RATING: 3-6oz
  • REEL SEAT: Fuji fixed screw-winch
  • BAG: Yes – protective travel case
  • RRP: £300 & £315

TOP FEATURES

  • Hybrid tip design
  • High Volume Fibre Carbon – HVF
  • V-Joint carbon joins
  • X45 carbon technology
  • Japanese shrink wrap

As soon as I removed this three-piece outfit from its protective case, it was apparent just how extremely well made it is. From its ultra-lightweight feel, pleasing-on-the-eye cosmetics and colour-coded livery, you immediately feel its quality.

There are two in the range at 14ft and 15ft, and I went for the 15-footer. Both are equipped with hybrid tips that are designed to be incredibly sensitive for spotting those all-important bites that could be otherwise missed.

Rated to cast loads of 3-6oz, the blank is lined with lightweight alconite guides. These guides are perfect for using with light mono, or even braided mainlines. A genuine Fuji winch reel seat is located and fixed in the up position, making it ideal for using with a large surf fixed-spool reel.

From the first cast, the power in the blank is immediately noticeable. Performing powerful, overhead-style casts, it loads up beautifully and incredibly easy. I certainly didn’t experience any twisting during the cast, unlike many three-piece rods I’ve used in the past that do suffer from this.

I’m not a particularly huge fan of three-piece outfits, but this rod certainly ticks a lot of boxes for me. For a start, it doesn’t fold during casting or when sitting in the tide. Although it’s packed with power, it really is delicate enough for spotting bites – even at long range. 

In its class, the price is certainly competitive, and I reckon this rod would definitely be at home in the hands of a match angler.

Sportex Silstar travel rod

TECH SPEC 

LENGTH: 9ft
SECTIONS: Five
RATING: 90-160g
TRAVEL TUBE: Yes

PAY AROUND

£89.99

This is a cracking five-piece travel rod with sections measuring around 60cm, making it ideal for travelling.
It is rated to cast 90-160g and built around a high modulus carbon blank with an exceptional quality finish and fittings to match. The German technology used in its design is superb and this rod won’t lose any performance as your fishing travels take you further afield.
The neat screw winch fitting is saltwater resistant, as are the SiC guides, while the sectioned, Duplon handgrips offer fantastic comfort.
Sportex is so confident that this rod will stand up to the test of anglers travelling to many venues, it even gives you a 10-year blank guarantee. The outfit is supplied with its very own travel tube for total protection.
Available from Glasgow Angling Centre, tel: 08717 161670
Web: www.fishingmegastore.com


VERDICT

Value for money: High modulus carbon, quality finish and fittings and a guarantee.
Practicality: This will slot straight into your suitcase.
Would we buy it? Definitely. It’s superb.

Shakespeare Tidewater 11ft 6ins bass rod and reel combo

PAY AROUND

£32

 

Get into bass fishing this season with this exclusive combo deal from Glasgow Angling Centre and Sea Angler Magazine.

The two-piece, 11ft 6in Tidewater Bass carbon composite rod is actually a bit of an all-rounder, being suitable for light surf and estuary fishing where baits like crabs have to be cast out into the surf or on to rough ground where bass hunt.

It’s finished in eye-catching dark blue with black overwhips and white ‘spot the bite’ tip and is capable of casting leads to 4oz.

Features lined guides, screw-winch reel fitting, Hyperlon handle, push-in joint and comes in a rod bag. Go for this rod and you get a Shakespeare IN2 50 front drag, fixed-spool reel filled with mono.

Abu Atlantic 464 beachcasting rod

TECH SPEC

Construction: M6 Carbon blank, two sections of 6ft 11in, reducer 1ft 6in.
Length: 13ft 8in, two sections, with reducer.
Casting weight: 6oz.
Rings: Nine Fuji Alconite black guides whipped in black edged blue.
Fittings: Sliding reel seat, rubber butt cap, Japanese shrink tube butt, reflective tip.

PAY AROUND

£159.99

The biggest breakthrough in in beachcaster design hit our shores in the 1970s when Swedish firm Abu produced the 484 Atlantic Zoom, a rod that combined casting power with fishing finesse.

This was early on in the development of glass fibre rods and never before had a manufacturer dared or been able to produce a beachcaster tip so thin and a rod taper so fast.

The 484 took the beach by storm, especially after Peter Bagnall notched up several record casts with the rod. His 'zoom' casting style gave the rod its nickname and on the beach the rod found lots of fans because of its wind-slicing casts and its bite indication. Original models had a cork handle, which many removed, then it stood out like a Ferrari in a Skoda garage.

The 484 was the groundbreaking rod. Constructed in glass fibre with a stiff butt section, its rapid taper improved lightness and power. Lightweight wire rings also added to its tip speed and it quickly became the beachcaster to own. It reigned supreme until the development of carbon fibre.

Abu Atlantic 464

The two-piece 464 really is totally different from the original and aimed at those anglers with a power alter ego.

But I say there are two sides to every argument and by producing two so different rods Abu has kept everyone happy. In fact, why not use both, then you can fish all year round whatever the conditions.

The 464 is fitted with a reducer and is designed for low reel casting that produces long-range pendulum and off-the-ground power. Its rating of 5-6oz is understated in my opinion and during testing it handled 7oz with some ease.

Like the 484, it has a full set of genuine Fuji guides that are as tough as old boots. Too many rods carry suspect rings that pop out or shatter easily.

The adjustable Grip Loc reel seat and built-in trigger is a great help when turning on the power, making this rod a genuine all-rounder and a great buy.