The Daiwa Sekkei M is a stiff rod designed for lantern fishing. It excels at that short line technique, but is also a truly excellent rod for Czech or Polish nymphing.
I first wrote about the Japanese fixed line fishing style called "lantern fishing" in my 12/27/14 Trip Report. Briefly, it is fishing with a very short line in relation to the rod's length, either making very short casts or dropping a fly or bait straight down from the rod tip. I've tried it a couple times and will definitely add it to my bag of tricks. It's enough different from tenkara that it takes a bit of getting used to, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but in some situations it may be the ideal way to fish.
Lantern fishing in Japan - taken from the Sekkei M page on Daiwa's website.
Lantern fishing rods are stiff so that anglers can get good hook sets, but also so that the fish, once hooked, can be retrieved easily by collapsing the rod (the line is too short to reach the fish if the rod is not partially collapsed). Japanese anglers often seem to do this with the fish lifted completely out of the water if it is small enough. That may not be your cup of tea, but the stiffness of the rod makes it extremely effective at transmitting any tap on the line to your hand. As with other keiryu rods, there is no cork on the grip to deaden the feeling.
My first experiences with the Daiwa Sekkei M were a couple trips I took with a 36M I had borrowed from Tom Davis at Teton Tenkara. I'd have to say I didn't really want to send the rod back.
Although I'd seen the rod previously in Daiwa's catalog, I'd been put off by the 8:2 rating. Let me tell you, for a short line (Czech or Polish) nymphing rod, the 8:2 is just right. Casting one or more heavy flies is more of a lob than a silky smooth cast. Thus you don't really lose anything from not having the softer 5:5 or 6:4 action. What you gain is an extremely sensitive connection to your flies and lightning quick hooksets.
With a soft-tipped rod, the "give" in the rod tip absorbs some of the tactile information transmitted up the line from the fly hitting rocks or a fish hitting the fly (as does a cork grip). With a stiffer rod tip, you feel it instantly; and you have enough rigidity in the rod to set the hook quickly. Much as I love soft rods, for short line nymphing where you are relying on feel rather than sight, they are not what you want.
Czech and Polish nymphing are polar opposites from the Japanese "Zero Tension" fishing style. The theory behind the Zero Tension style is that fish will spit out even live bait if they feel tension on the line. Zero tension rods, like the Suntech ZPRO 54, are extremely soft so the angler can see the strike, but the fish doesn't feel anything until the hook is set. The theory behind Polish nymphing in particular is that with constant tension on the line and a stiff tipped rod, the angler instantly feels the take and can set the hook before the fish can spit it out.
For heavy, bead head nymphs fished deep in current, I think the tight line, stiff rod technique works better. If you don't have a tight line, you will not feel the take and the fish will instantly tell that a hard bead head nymph is not real. In a race that lasts a split second, the fish has the advantage. The Sekkei M evens the odds.
The Daiwa Sekkei M rods are quite a bit stiffer than the Daiwa Kiyose SF. The photo above shows the Daiwa Kiyose 33SF and the Daiwa Sekkei 36M at its shorter 32 length.
The 10 pennies I use for all rod comparison photos do not even come close to showing the penny ratings of these rods. The Kiyose 33SF is a 34 penny rod, while the Sekkei 36M at its shorter 32 length is a 43 penny rod. The Kiyose 42SF is a 41 penny rod, while the Sekkei 45M at its shorter 42 length is a 46 penny rod.
The Kiyose SF rods have already won a reputation for being great nymphing rods. The Sekkei M have two distinct advantages over the Kiyose SF: they are lighter weight and they zoom.
Please note: The Daiwa Sekkei M is a rod for lantern fishing or lobbing heavy nymphs. It is not a rod for casting (unless you are casting two handed). It's just too stiff.
Like the Kiyose SF rods, the Sekkei M rods have rings machined into the joints. These serve two functions: they significantly reduce the chance of getting stuck sections and they allow the joints to flex a bit more, giving you a smoother bend when you have a fish on the line.
This is one of the nicest features about Daiwa rods, and one that no other rod company has. It's not for show - you can't even see them unless you take the rod apart. They work though! I've never had any problems with stuck sections on Daiwa rods.
The lillian on a Sekkei M rod is attached with a micro swivel, which reduces line twist. The rod cap is secure and takes less space in your pocket or pouch than the longer Fuji KTC rod caps.
Fuji EZ Keepers will not fit on the Sekkei 45M. Tenkara Line Holders are recommended instead.
The Ebira K rod quiver almost fits. It will hold the entire rod, but the drawstring will not close beyond the end of the rod.
The following information is for the Daiwa Sekkei 45M, other lengths are 36, 39, 53 and 60. Each rod zooms, with the shorter length being 40cm shorter (32-36, 35-39, etc). All are out of stock at TenkaraBum and are quite likely out of stock at Daiwa as well.
Daiwa Sekkei 45M
Length extended 14' 1", 15' 2"
Length collapsed 16 7/16"
Weight (with tip plug) 3.8 oz
Weight (without tip plug) 3.4 oz
Tip Diameter .8mm
Grip Diameter 23mm
Tippet Recommendation 5X-7X
Pennies 46 at 14' 1", 47 at 15' 2"
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| Holy cow this rod is beefcake! Seriously. This is not a small mountain stream rod. This rod is awesome. I asked for a very stout rod and this thing delivers.
To say I am pleased with this rod would be an understatement. It's beefy, collapses to a very short length, it's stiff throughout, zooms, has a swivel and looks really nice. It makes the 43MF looks like a child's toy.
It swings a long line and a massive streamer with authority! And the control I get over a big fish is pretty amazing. She does bend more than I expected for an 8:2 of 49 pennies.
Jason B, Oregon