The Daiwa Keiryu-X is an improvement over the Kiyose SF series of rods. The Keiryu-X appears to be more of a makeover than a completely new model.
The grip section is noticeably different, with graphite tape wound in a distinctive "X" pattern for the length of the section. Daiwa says the X braiding reduces twisting, which can reduce power. I suspect it also adds to the stiffness of the grip section. The grip section of an SF rod is pretty stiff to begin with, but the longer Keiryu-X rods have higher penny ratings than their SF counterparts. You can feel the tape under the nonskid finish on the grip itself, so it also adds a bit more texture for a better grip with wet hands.
The stats show little change from the SF rods - which is good. The Daiwa Kiyose SF rods have been a top choice for backpackers and fixed line Czech Nymphers since 2012. Although there are now other rods to tempt a backpacker (the Nissin Pocket Mini or the Tenryu TF39TA) or a Czech Nympher (the Suntech Genryuko or Genryu Sawanobori), the new Daiwa Keiryu-X offers a much more robust rod than the Pocket Mini at a lower price than the Suntech rods (and a much lower price than the TF39TA).
As with the Kiyose SF rods they replace, the Keiryu-X comes in lengths ranging from a petite 24 to a beefy 45. I've had people ask me for a rod capable of handling surprisingly large fish in surprisingly small streams. I received an email from a guy who is catching trout that are too big for his Kiyotaki 24 in a stream that is too narrow for a TenkaraBum Traveler 27 (actually, they might even be a little big for the Traveler).
The Keiyru-X 24 will be perfect for him. As Robin E says, it is for "hefty fish in overgrown streams where you want to keep them away from the snags and roots." And don't think just trout. The Texas Cichlid shown above fights well above its weight and some live in streams where you just can't use a longer rod. Short rods are NOT just for micros!
I've also had people who wanted a rod that was capable of throwing big ugly streamers to big ugly browns (and when the browns get that big, they do indeed get ugly) or pike (which are ugly to begin with). The Keiryu-X 45 is for them.
Please note: Until I can get some photos with the new Daiwa Keiryu-X rods, most of the photos on the page will be Daiwa Kiyose SF rods.
The middle length Kiyose SF rods have been the most popular among
backpackers and Czech Nymphers. They are very light (about 2 ounces) and very compact (just over 15"), making them
easy to throw in a pack. Although they're a bit stiff for casting a
light line, they are truly excellent for fishing with weighted nymphs. The Daiwa Keiryu-X rods are not too stiff to protect a lighter tippet, though. The rods are rated for tippets ranging from 5X to 7X. The 26" brown shown above was caught with a Kiyose 33SF and 6X tippet.
Although the rods are quite capable of landing surprisingly large fish, they'll still bend with a smaller fish on the line. You'll feel every head shake, as the rods are very good at transmitting everything that is going on at the other end of the line. You can feel your nymph hit rocks and you can feel fish hit your nymph.
The Daiwa Keiryu-X 42 and 45 are pretty clearly outside the realm of ultralight backpacking. They're for a world of wide rivers and large fish (and at least for the 45, two handed casting). The rods are big and beefy. They have the ability to cast a heavy fly and subdue a heavy fish.
The people who tell
you a big river is just a series of small streams side by side are
wrong. Most small streams aren't 4-6' deep with heavy current. Most
don't hold many fish over 20". In a big river, if there isn't a hatch
going on, you may have to fish deep to catch anything. With
current, if you are going to fish deep you'll need weight. You'll also
need a rod that can handle the hook sets and the fight of a large fish in
current. The Daiwa Keiryu-X 42 and 45 are meant for that kind of fishing.
To get the full potential of the Keiryu-X 42 or 45 I
think you will need a heavy line (assuming you are fishing flies). I would use a size 4 or even 4.5
level line or a Nissin PALS SP Pro 4.5m line. To use the rods as keiryu rods, I'd use the Sunline Tenjo line, 4X tippet as a main line and 5X tippet for the hook length. See the Keiryu Lines page for details.
I can see these rods being used to cast mouse flies at night for big
browns, or bugs for carp or big deceivers for schoolie stripers. I don't
think they're steelhead rods, but I don't know. I've never tried. For steelhead I would want a longer rod, but if you need big fish capability in a 42 or 45 length rod, particularly one that collapses to a short, convenient length and doesn't break the bank, these are the rods you want.
As with other keiryu rods, the grip is a widened out section of the blank itself, coated with an effective nonskid finish.
The tip plug is a simple rubber cap that fits very securely and will not fall out when you least expect it. The grip screw cap is knurled for easy tightening or removal, is beveled for comfort and has a ventilation hole.
One of the nicest features, and one found only on Daiwa rods, is the series of rings machined into the butt end of the rod sections. The rings do two things: they reduce the hard spot in the bend profile caused by the two layers of tubing where sections overlap and they make it much less likely that you will ever get a stuck section.
*Weight without tip plugDaiwa Keiryu-X
Rods made in Vietnam
I wanted to send you a thank you for a few things; stocking the Daiwa Keiryu-X rods, your “one fly” fishing kits, and your inspiring blog post on tying with the Spring Creek clamps. I had such a blast tying those flies and a great time catching rainbows and browns on them too! What a great introduction to fly tying that is. As for the rod, it’s pretty rare that I have a vision of how something is supposed to work out and the reality matches up, but the 36 I bought feels like I hoped it would (a great nymphing rod). Thanks for your passion for all things Tenkara and for sharing that with others.
Dan S, Colorado
Couple of small points of contention - you've misled me.
The new Daiwa 43M is not similar to the old 43MF, its MUCH, MUCH better.
I'm also concerned that the new Keiryu-X are similarly superior to the older SFs. They look fantastic. If they perform like they look I'll be junking the old ones. I'll get around to testing them and may have to buy more as spares.
You devil. You should update your site and include warnings on how good they are.
Craig P, Victoria, Australia