The Daiwa Expert Tenkara rods replace their excellent Enshou rods. Daiwa has done it again. These are seriously nice rods!
The first Expert rods I received were the Expert L LL rods (Expert L LL36 and Expert L LL45M). I think the first L stands for "Long" and the second two stand for "Level Line." The M stands for "Multi," because the L LL 45M is a multi-length (zoom) rod that can be fished at either 4 or 4.5m. The collapsed length for the L LL rods is 28.25," which is about 4" longer than the Daiwa Enshou LL tenkara rods. If you are not backpacking, though, or carrying the rod on a plane, the extra length is not enough to be inconvenient.
Besides the longer collapsed length, which does seem to make the casts
smoother, there are other changes from the Enshou rods. Both the Daiwa
Expert Tenkara L LL36 and the Expert Tenkara L LL45M have noticeably
better damping than the Enshou rods they replaced. The new Expert Tenkara LL36 has essentially the same collapsed length as the Enshou LL36SF - and seems to have about the same damping as the Enshou LL36SF.
Besides the longer collapsed length, I suspect the the layup is different. The improved damping suggests to me that the graphite or the weave or the resin (or all three) have been changed.
In any event, the Daiwa Expert Tenkara LL36 is a 12.5 penny rod, the L LL36 is a 13 penny rod, while the Enshou LL36SF was a 15 penny rod. The Expert L LL45M is a 14.5 penny rod at both lengths, while the Enshou LL41SF was a 16.5 penny rod.
The fact that the Expert L LL45M has the same penny rating at both lengths, and they are only a penny and a half above the L LL36 means that you can cover three different lengths, 3.6, 4.0 and 4.5 meters with rods that are going to feel very similar to each other.
Basic physics will prevent the 4.5m rod from feeling exactly like the 3.6m rod. It will be heavier and have more inertia. The L LL45M will feel heavier and more tip heavy at 4.5m than it does at 4m (a fact of life that can't be overcome). The multilength function does allow you to fish the rod at 4m and extend it to 4.5 to aid in netting a fish, or to fish the rod at 4.5m only when the stream is so wide that you want the additional length. Thus, you are never burdened with the added inertia and moment of a 4.5m rod except for when you really want the added length.
The Expert Tenkara L LL45M replaces the Enshou LL41SF. The Expert L LL45M is a multilength rod (what most Americans call a zoom rod). It can be fished at 4 meters or 4.5 meters. The design to hold the zooming section tightly when the rod is at the shorter length is the best I have seen from any manufacturer.
There was a recent blog post by a very highly respected Japanese master saying that zoom rods did not cast as accurately as single length rods. The zooming section for the Daiwa Expert Tenkara L LL45M is held very snugly. I am confident no one with less experience and ability than that particular master (about 40 years) would be able to notice it. I am no master, but I do not notice any loss of accuracy.
The newly introduced Daiwa Expert LT rods include the LT 33, LT 36 and
LT 39. The LT stands for "Level or Tapered," indicating the rods are
designed for use with either level or tapered lines, and also with
Daiwa's new floating tenkara lines.
Daiwa calls their floating lines "Tenkara Fly Line" and suggests that the use of long floating lines fuses the good points of Western fly fishing and Japanese tenkara. The Daiwa Tenkara Fly Line comes in 4,m 5m, and 7m lengths.
The LT rods will also cast the Nissin PALS SP Pro lines well. For level lines, I would choose a 3.5 most of the time. Particularly wind resistant flies or particularly windy days will require heavier lines. The rods will easily handle size 4.5 lines for those conditions.
As with the Daiwa Expert Tenkara L LL rods, the penny ratings of the LT rods are a bit lower than the Enshou LT**SF rods that they replaced.
Additionally, there are two new LT H rods,
the LT H36 and LT H44 in which the H stands for "Hard." These rods are
stiffer and are designed for fishing with longer lines, including
Daiwa's 7m floating line. If you want to fish a floating line, this rod is designed to do just that. If you would prefer a level line for the LT
H44, I would suggest size 4, although a 4.5 would not overburden the rod a bit. The penny rating on the LT H44 is a bit higher
than on the Enshou LT44SF.
For years, I have felt that the Daiwa Enshou LT44SF was the world's best "big fish" tenkara rod. Well, the world's best "big fish" tenkara rod just got better. The Daiwa Expert LT H44 is a more capable rod than the Enshou was. I truly believe it is the world's best tenkara rod for bass.
The Nissin Zerosum Oni Honryu 450 has gotten a lot of interest in the US, but the Daiwa Expert LT H44 is a substantially more capable rod (35 pennies vs 20 pennies).
The Daiwa Expert LT39 is also quite capable (and is the world's second best tenkara rod for bass). Most people will probably use it for trout, and it is a great rod for big trout. The following video was shot by Erik Ostrander of the Tenkara Guides in Salt Lake City. The angler is Rob Worthing, also of the Tenkara Guides. The rod he used was the Daiwa Enshou LT39SF, which was the predecessor of the Expert LT39. The Expert LT39 has a very slightly lower penny rating, but is more than adequate for fish like the one Rob caught.
The grip shape is the familiar "camel" two humped grip that it seems most tenkara rods now feature. The grips on the Daiwa Expert Tenkara rods are longer than most, though, providing a wide range of gripping locations. Holding the rod at the extreme front end of the grip, with your index finger up on the blank, or holding the rod with the extreme back end of the grip cradled in your palm gives the rod a very different feel and also changes the effective length of the rod by almost a foot.
The Enshou rods were almost spartan in their appearance. The new Daiwa Expert Tenkara rods still have very little "bling" but the winding check and logo are a nice touch without losing the understated elegance.
The model name is printed where the clear coat shows the graphite weave.
A little further up the blank, the clear coat fades to black.
The grip screw cap for both rods is metal with a coin slot for removal or tightening. The screw cap for the LL45M has a ventilation hole. The screw caps for the LL36 and the LT rods do not. For any of the rods, I would still recommend complete disassembly between uses to allow the rod to dry thoroughly.
The lillian is surprisingly short but it is long enough to tie a knot in it if you wish. The lillian is attached with a swivel that will easily slide through the #2 section. The tips of the LL rods are hollow, which gives you the ability to throw tighter loops, but they are less forgiving than solid tips (and more expensive to replace). If you are careful putting on and taking off the line, and careful around low tree branches, you should experience only the benefits.
Weight (w/o plug)
13'2" - 14'9.5"
14.5 - 14.5
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Weight (w/o plug)
|The LT H44 is one fabulous big fish, bigger lure/fly rod.
I must admit, both the LT 39 and especially the LT H44 way outgun the TUSA Amago, and have a distinct edge over the Badger Tenkara Wisco II (still an excellent rod though and my 3rd fave).
If guys are going to be serious Tenkara smallmouth fishers, I would really suggest the LT 39 and the LT H44 to them.
Robert L, Illinois