Review of the Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

THEY'RE BACK! My first premium rod was the Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63. I have been planning on doing this review for some time, and now I am doing it right after Chris introduces a new premium spinning rod. I can't help that they are back in stock at the same time Chris introduced a new rod. In my opinion this rod has a similar curse to the Suntech Kurenai HM30R. I own both rods, so I can speak from experience. What they have in common is a special balance. The Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63 and the Suntech Kurenai HM30R are my two smoothest rods as well. They have a silky progression. I now own several premium rods, these two are my standouts when it comes to smoothness. The Sawanobori 63 to me is the big brother of the Kurenai HM30R.

The Sawanobori 63 is a two handed rod. The handle is the nicest Keiryu (no cork) handle I have experienced. I fished this rod like a Tenkara rod the first 9 months that I owned it. The first time I fished with it, I caught over 20 largemouth bass in less than an hour using size 3 level line and a size 8 wooly bugger. The rod has such great feel, I was making very accurate casts after about 5 minutes of fishing. It was also helpful that there was no wind, and the pond I was fishing had no obstacles to worry about. The bass put up an awesome fight. The rod never felt like it couldn't handle the fish. That said, this rod has always given the feeling of being directly connected to the fish. Having 6 meters of leverage really increases the fun factor.

Four days after having fun with largemouth bass, I headed over to one of my secret spots on the Snake River near my house for smallmouth bass. It was a little windy, so I used level 3.5 line. I used a 6 meter line to start with, and I was fishing a fairly heavy crawfish fly. In the first 40 minutes I only caught two fish. I then made up a longer line, nine meters and the same 18 inch tippet. It cast the longer line very well! I was able to get into more fish and had a "many" fish day.

The following week, I went to the tail water section below the Owyhee Dam. This water is managed for trophy brown trout. I caught my largest to date trout on fixed line that day with a size 22 blue wing olive. It was a 23.5 inch brown. I am not sure how long the battle was, but it seemed to be shorter, but it was way more intense, than on a fly rod! That is the day I really got hooked on fixed line fishing! The Sawanobori handled that fish with finesse. It was almost like I could feel which way the fish was going to go, so I could put just the right pressure on it! I was fishing the Owyhee during the busy season, and couldn't believe the stares I was getting from many of the fly fisherman. None were curious enough to come and ask. One guy said to his partner, "What the H is going on, that guy has caught 7 nice ones, and I haven't even gotten a bite!" When his buddy walked by me to the next hole, he did ask, "What fly are you using." I said, "A size 22 BWO." He said, "That is what we are using." Fishing dry flies with this rod was a dream!

Last winter was a disaster, and I didn't get to fish the Sawanobori 63 on the South Fork of the Boise like I wanted to. Spring arrived and the Sawanobori 63 proved itself on Sunfish and Crappie. I used flies and worms. It also works well ultralight worm fishing rod.

In June, I fished the Sawanobori 63 as a Keiryu rod using 2 pound test line, markers a split shot and both worms and salmon eggs with yarn markers. It fishes well as intended. I found Keiryu fishing in higher water to be a blast. I had several smallmouth and trout adventures using this method.

July found me up in the mountains fishing the Sawanobori 63 in high mountain lakes and meadow streams. I had several adventures where part of the day found me in restricted waters fishing the Kurenai HM30R, and fishing a meadow stream with the Sawanobori 63.

If you are looking for a well balanced, versatile, beautiful and smooth longer rod, you should consider the Sawanobori 63 or 53 rod.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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