Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO

The Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO is the softest of Suntech's three new FMX Keiryu rods. In addition to the ZPRO, the rods come in stiff and extra stiff versions. The FMX Keiryu ZPRO is soft enough to protect tippets as light as 10X. That said, the rod is also rated for 6X tippets and has enough muscle to handle nice fish.

Suntech rods are known for being very high quality. Most also tend to be a bit more tip flex than many other rods out there. The Keiryu ZPRO is the high quality people have come to expect from Suntech, but it is not a tip flex rod!

I got one in for evaluation a while ago and after fishing it a few times decided to carry it. The Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO comes in 5.3m and 6.3m versions, and I now have both in the shop.

I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for soft rods, but I really like the slow, smooth cast of a long, soft rod. It may surprise people, but a long, soft rod is really quite effective at tiring a good sized fish, while at the same time protecting light tippets. So far, I have caught several 16-17" fish with a 7X tippet without any problem. I've also had a couple break off with 8X, though, so there are limits. I don't know how big the fish were - I never saw either one and the breaks came very quickly.

17 incher on 7X

Lest anyone think that with the light tippet you have to play a fish to death, that is just not the case. The 7X tippet is plenty strong enough to put pressure on the fish and land it quickly. The soft rod just provides sufficient cushion that there are no quick jerks to break the tippet. With 8X, a large fish will break the tippet on its first run, so it will get almost no stress at all. If you can stop the first run there is no reason to go easy on it. I would only use 10X when I did not expect to catch anything over about 7" anyway.

Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO will cast a size 2.5 tenkara line nicely, with either an unweighted fly or a lightly weighted nymph. It also does very nicely with a single BB shot and very light keiryu line - or a tungsten bead head nymph and a light keiryu line. Even though the rod is very soft, it is long enough that when you raise the rod to set the hook you move enough line to get a good hook set, even when fishing with a BB shot several feet deep.

The 7 inchers are fun, too

I found out a little while ago that it also does quite nicely for ultralight worm fishing, a technique I discovered a few weeks earlier. Basically, ultralight worm fishing uses a soft rod, a very light tenkara line, a very light tippet, a small hook and a red wiggler. Use no split shot in a shallow stream and no more than a pair of #10 shot for knee deep water. With a soft rod and a smooth cast, you can cast the unweighted worm quite nicely and it won't come off the hook.

I shouldn't say I "discovered" the technique. People have been fishing worms with a fly rod for about as long a there have been fly rods. Several of the classic 19th century fly fishing books covered worm fishing as well as fly fishing, including The Practical Angler, wherein WC Stewart wrote "Fishing with a worm is not usually held in such high estimation as it deserves; a circumstance entirely owing to its being but imperfectly understood."

Stewart also maintains that "The rod should be at least four feet longer than that used for fly. A double-handed rod should be used on all occasions, and in all waters, whether large or small." He states that "The rod should not be shorter than from fourteen to sixteen feet." I think he would have quite liked the Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO.

He also argues strongly against the use of split shot. It think it is pretty clear that I did not discover ultralight worm fishing. Reinvented the wheel perhaps, but WC was there a good 160 years ahead of me!

In any event, I ended up catching several small brookies and salmon parr, and a slightly larger rainbow using the technique. That is one other benefit of a long soft rod. Even though it can tame much larger fish, very modest fish still put a good bend in it and are a lot of fun to catch.

And for those anglers who wouldn't even think of fishing with a real worm, the technique also works nicely with a pink chenille Overhand Worm. The chenille worm will not sink as fast as a real worm, so you may wish to use a single #10 shot, although I have caught a number of fish without shot.

The rod also does very nicely with a Killer Bug or a kebari. It has the length to keep a lot of line off the water, it is soft enough to fish a light line, it is light enough to fish with all day without getting tired, and every single fish will put a smile on you face.


Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO 53
Length extended – 17’ 6”
Length collapsed – 22.75”
Weight with tip cap – 3.4 oz
Weight without cap – 3.0 oz
Sections - 11
Tip Diameter – .65mm
Grip Diameter – 21.8mm
Tippet rating – 10X-6X
% Carbon – 99
Pennies - 16


Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO 53 - $220

The Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO also comes in a 63. The 63 is 3' longer and just over an ounce heavier. As a two-handed rod it is not heavy, though. Even though it is a soft, full flex rod, I have not had problems getting hook sets.

Suntech FMX Keiryu ZPRO 63
Length extended – 20’ 8”
Length collapsed – 22.75”
Weight with tip cap – 4.7 oz
Weight without cap – 4.2 oz
Sections - 13
Tip Diameter – .65mm
Grip Diameter – 22.9mm
Tippet rating – 10X-6X
% Carbon – 99

FMX Keiryu ZPRO 63 - $265

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