Kasugo-4209 review; part 1

by Tom Davis
(Inkom, ID, USA)

I recently purchased a Kasugo-4209 Tenkara rod and I thought that I would post a review. I bought the rod, not out of need, but out of curiosity. I have fished with two excellent Tenkara USA rods: Iwana-12 and Amago. It is upon these rods, as well as the Kasugo-4209 fishing experience, that I am basing my review.

My Kasugo-4209 was purchased from Allfishingbuy.com. The rod cost $106.62 plus shipping. I ordered it on February 4th and received it on February 9th. It came in a crush resistant triangle tube via the USPS.

The rod comes in a carbon fiber rod tube, and this in turn in a synthetic fabric sleeve. Both the rod tube and sleeve have Kasugo printed on them. The rod tube is light and well made. One end has a faux wood slip-in plug, while the other end has a black plastic screw on cap. This design mimics the rod itself. The tube is large enough in diameter that the rod with EZ-Keepers can easily fit inside. The fabric sleeve is longer than the rod tube and can be used to cover the rod itself or cover the rod tube. The sleeve has ties at one end.

At first glance the Kasugo-4209 is a handsome rod. My rod weighs 102.6 grams (measured on my analytical scale - 3.62 oz) and is 165.5 inches (420.4cm) fully extended. Fully collapsed it is 27" (68.6 cm). It is rated a 6:4 "slow" action. The rod has a faux wood plug in the telescoping end and a black plastic screw cap on the handle butt. My faux wood end plug was a little loose, but this was easily adjusted. The black plastic screw cap unscrews easily, but when in place adequately secures the butt end of the rod.

The cork handle is 12 inches in length. The handle has a gentle turning reminiscent of a reverse half wells, but with accentuated and elongated curves. The cork appears to be of good, not excellent, quality with many filled defect. I would appraise the cork as "AA or CG3" or worse. My Tenkara rods are "AAA or CG2" for comparison.

The finish of the Kasugo-4209 is a non-glare graphite. It has burgundy and gold banded accents on the lower 7 of the 9 segments. On mine, while all the segments are smooth, segment 7 of 9 and segment 8 or 9 (the tip segment is number 9) have a somewhat rougher spiral surface. I am not exactly sure why this is. The lillian is black and glued to the tip. The lillian has a small gold paint accent where it joins the tip section.

One thing I noticed about the Kasugo-4209 is that when it is fully extended it feels lighter and less tip heavy than the Amago. I was a little surprised at this initial impression since the Amago is actually shorter than the Kasugo-4209 and also weighs less. This "heaviness towards the rod tip" is called the "cantilever effect". This effect is important in casting fly rods as it helps determine the fulcrum arc when the rod is in motion. I assume that this also applies to Tenkara rods (although Tenkara has a shorter 10-to-12 cast motion and fewer false casting strokes than western-style fly casting). The cantilever effect impacts on how much energy has to be used by the fly fisherman to balance the cast: the more tip heavy a rod is the more counter balance energy used in casting or fishing the rod. This can make a rod more fatiguing after a day on the water.

So to test to see if my initial impression was correct I built a crude tool to measure the amount of weight needed to overcome the cantilever of these two rods. Mind you, this is not that accurate since the rods are not the same length, but it should give a rough estimate and tell me if my impression is correct. In theory, the Kasugo-4209 should have a larger cantilever effect (or in other words it should take more weight on the butt end to counter the effect) than the Amago since the Kasugo-4209 is longer (and weighs more).

The tool consists of a box with a notch in one end and a ruler taped vertically to the other. I extended to rod to maximum and placed the handle into the notch at the handle's mid point. I then added weights to the end of the rod until the rod was raised to a point that would be very close to a 30 degree angle. I then repeated this for the other rod and then compared the weights. Crude? Yes, but a reasonable estimate of the cantilever difference between the rods.

The results: The Kasugo-4209 took 466.8g to raise it to 30 degrees. The Amago took 571.2g to raise it to 30 degrees.

So, my impression was correct. The Amago took more weight (104.4g more) to correct the cantilever effect than the Kasugo-4209, even though the Kasugo-4209 is longer. Interesting. What does this mean? Design? Materials? Well...............I don't exactly know; except for the fact that the Kasugo-4209 may be less fatiguing to fish. I guess I will see. That is for the next post.

Coming up: Kasugo-4209 review; part 2 -- How does the rod fish? After all, isn't that actually what we all want to know anyway!!??

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