I hereby nominate the Daiwa Expert Seiryu as the official rod for everyone who has been more than a little put off by the admonition that tenkara is only for trout and only for mountain streams.
Daiwa describes the rod as an "Adult Play" rod that you can use anywhere from the headwaters to the ocean and for anything from micros to mebaru (small sea bass). In our cancel-culture society, thinking outside the box or marching to the beat of a different drummer, which once was encouraged - even celebrated, is now shunned. Well pish and tosh on that!
Last I checked, most of America is between the headwaters and the ocean. Wherever you fish, it falls within the rod's description. Whatever you fish for is fair game (as long as it's appropriate for 5X to 10X tippets).
The Daiwa Expert Seiryu rods come in five lengths, ranging from a 3 meter rod that would do well for micro fish or for trout in micro streams, up to a two-handed 5.5 meter rod suitable for keiryu fishing. Given its 10X tippet capability, its even suitable for "zero" fishing, that niche within keiryu fishing that uses extremely light lines, extremely small split shot and light hooks in an attempt to add nothing (zero) that would affect the natural drift of the bait.
Daiwa has a number of videos showing the rods used for tenkara fishing, keiryu fishing and float fishing - from the mountains to the sea.
The map above shows a rough sketch of the "mountains" and "notmountains"
in the continental US. Pretty easy to see that most of the US is
"notmountans," which makes it a little easier to understand why so many
people thought the "Only in the Mountains" argument might be reasonable in
Japan but not in the US. Consider also, that all of Japan would pretty much fit in the lower two-thirds of what is labeled Appalachian Mountains above.
I really wonder if Daiwa watched the sometimes bitter online
confrontations here between the tenkara and nottenkara camps and
realized two things: 1) there are people, potentially lots of people,
who will use tenkara rods to fish for fish that aren't trout and in
places that aren't mountains, and 2) that presents a large, completely
untapped market, but only if they don't call the rods "tenkara" rods.
They can't call the rods "mountain stream" (keiryu) rods either, at
least not if they hope to sell them to guys fishing for gobies or
shrimp or small crucian carp. I'm sure they weren't thinking of the US market, but even in Japan there is a market for fixed line fishing gear that doesn't fall neatly into any pre-defined niche. [Well, maybe not. Daiwa has discontinued the Expert Seiryu rods.]
Calling the rods "adult play"
rods is not just thinking outside the box, it's thinking outside ALL the
boxes into which the various Japanese fixed-line fishing styles get
pigeonholed. Daiwa defined a new category, one that is not limited to geography or species. Well played, Daiwa, well played!
When I first learned of the Daiwa Expert Seiryu rods I ordered one of the 3m rods for evaluation. Before it came, I also ordered one of the 5.5m rods, thinking that way I could get a sense of the full range of models.
After receiving both, I then ordered the other three lengths. This year being the absolute mess it has been, I never got the rods onto the website. An astute customer, though, asked if I knew anything about the new Daiwa Expert Seiryu rods. Upon learning that I actually had them in stock, he immediately bought the 3m rod. Shortly after he received it, he then purchased the 3.5m rod.
Daiwa may call them "play" rods but Daiwa was not playing around when they designed them. The Daiwa Expert Seiryu rods share many features with the Expert Tenkara rods.
Start off with the quality cork grip, which no other seiryu rod has. Of course, this isn't really a seiryu rod. Seiryu rods are just for small fish in Japanese "clear streams" (which is what "seiryu" means). The grip may seem a little short but it's about the same length as on the Nissin Air Stage Fujiryu Tenkara rods, designed by one of the reknowned masters of tenkara, so it's obviously not too short - and it's not a "tenkara" rod anyway - it's an ALLROUND rod (says so right on the box).
The tip section is Daiwa's MegaTop, which is a carbon solid in which
fibers and resin are evenly dispersed. That allows a consistent bend in all
directions. It also dramatically increases the strength compared
to ordinary solid carbon rod tips. This makes it possible to create a small
diameter, flexible, highly-tapered tip. That, in turn, makes the tip more sensitive with respect to both seeing and feeling strikes.
In addition to the conventional structure, which has carbon fibers oriented at 0° and 90° relative to the rod tip, the Expert Seiryu rods also incorporate Daiwa's original bias cloth, which orients the carbon fibers at + and - 45° relative to the rod tip. The 45° bias prevents twisting and increases both power and sensitivity.
At each joint, rod sections overlap. For most rods, that overlap creates a hard spot. Daiwa uses its original bias cloth in the joints, which allows a smooth bend and increases power and sensitivity
"High-density HVF carbon" reduces the amount of resin and increases the density of carbon fiber, producing the best material for rods. Combining Toray Industries, Inc. Nano Alloy® technology with Daiwa's original manufacturing method further increases the strength to weight ratio.
Daiwa machines rings into the male ends of the rod sections. The rings form a layer of air at the joints that substantially reduces the likelihood of getting stuck sections. Only Daiwa rods have this feature.
Play is to be encouraged - especially among adults who somehow think that play is only for children, something you give up about the time you stop going barefoot. Adults are much, much too serious. You know, "planes to catch and bills to pay" (Cat's In The Cradle, Harry Chapin, 1974).
Stress kills. Play relieves stress.