Sato and Rhodo -- review Early in November I received a package in the mail. Daniel has hinted that a new rod or rods was going to be released soon, but no hint as to the design. We have not known if the rod s was going to be a new design altogether, updated version of an existing TUSA, or a resurrected version of a previously offered rod. I did not know, but I was excited to see. So, with the unabashed enthusiasm of an eight year old on Christmas morning, I opened the package and saw not one, but two rod tubes! One tube was longer than the other. I got them out and hurriedly opened the shorter of the two.
Inside was a rod, a beautiful rod, unlike any other rod I have ever seen. I stood there without moving, having a shocked looked on my face, until my wife asked if anything was wrong. There was nothing wrong; I was just caught way, way off guard! The Sato is a triple-zoom rod that can be fished in , , and cm configurations. The Rhodo looks like its little sibling - its "mini me". It too is triple-zoomable and can be fished in , , and cm configurations. The zoom feature of these rods is being filed for patent by TUSA. Both rods are very beautiful with a glossy black finish and deep cherry red accents. At a quick glance, they look similar to my Nissin Zerosum 7: In what appears to be a departure for Tenkara USA, these rods are very light weight. The Sato and Rhodo can compete with the best of them in gross weight. These rods are less beefy in appearance than previous Tenkara USA rods. They are more refined and svelte looking. As with all TUSA products the design is neat and clean. The rod tube is very similar to previous offerings but the end caps are slightly different -- no rubber knobs, just smooth rubber.
Tenkara USA Sato with rod tube and sleeve. End cap of rod tube. As mentioned above, both rods are zoom rods. I have seen this before, as it is the same with my Suntech Field Master and Suikei keiryu rods. They are triple-zoom rods also. I think this is on purpose. Recently Jason Klass of Tenkara Talk blogged about the confusion of rod flex designations like 5: Daniel mentioned in the discussion portion of that blog post that he has been rethinking rod classifications and so I think those usual designations were purposefully left off these two rods. You can see the friction tape on the two zoomable sections. Rhodo rod designation and zoomable sections. The handle on both rods is cork.
It appears to be of high quality with narrow defects and little filler. The shape is excellent. It is a double hump, camel back, or gourd shape. Again, it is very similar to my Nissin Zerosum in shape. Personally, this is my favorite tenkara rod handle shape. It fits my hand best and is most comfortable. The winding check is minimal on both rods; gold metal. Winding check and a little cork defect.
Again, the tip plug for both rods is similar, just different in size. It is wood and has been drilled and then threaded with a loop of extra lilian material. But here is the cool thing, with these rods you get two -- yes two -- tip plugs. The second is stored in the butt cap!!
If you look at the butt cap you will see a hump sticking out. This hump is drilled and threaded with red lilian material just like the tip plug. Well, if you pull on the lilian loop a second tip plug slides out from the butt cap! Now, I suspect that the real design is to leave one of the tip plugs at home, as an extra, but when you fish you remove the tip plug from the rod and stick it into the butt cap! You now have instant tip plug storage with less chance of loss!! Is that cool or what!!!
It is a trade mark system and patents have been filed. Tip plug Keep your Plug system: Butt cap with tip plug installed Keep your Plug system: Butt cap with tip plug removed. The butt cap is dampened with rubber. There is no drainage hole. The lilian is red and is attached directly, without a micro-swivel. The glue attachment point is small, neat and clean enough to allow the 1st section tip section to be fully removed through the 2nd section.
This allows the entire rod to be disassembled for cleaning and drying. There is no knot in the lilian. If you prefer to have a lilian knot, the lilian is long enough to tie one in easily. Here are some specs for each rod: Weight is 74 g without the second tip plug, but one being installed into the butt cap as this would be how the rod would be fished. Advertised length compared to measured length: Moment for Sato with tip plug installed in butt cap: It is easier to calculate than MOI. It may be an indication of how tip heavy a rod is and how fatiguing a rod is to fish over time.
It is measured by Gamakatsu for their rods. Weight is 59 g. Advertised versus measured lengths: As you can see, the Rhodo is closer to what is advertised. There is no tip heaviness in the other configurations. The Rhodo has no tip heaviness. Sato weight Rhodo weight Rod lengths bottom to top: One thing that I have found over the years is what flex action I prefer. I like a rod that is "slow" enough so I can feel the rod load, but have enough "backbone" to control the fish in various situations. Therefore, rods must be measured and actions quantified. For the Sato, it has a CCS value of 21 pennies at cm, 20 pennies at cm, and 19 pennies and cm.
This gives it a RFI of 5. For the Rhodo, the CCS values are 15 pennies at cm, This gives it a RFI of 4. These values place the Sato in the 6: The Rhodo has a split personality. At its cm configuration it is a 5: Here is is comparison table: RFI comparison chart Fishing the rods: I took both rods onto the water a number of days. I visited two different types of streams; each stream was designed to test a specific rod. To test the Sato I went to mountain streams that are more open and less confined, but still with riparian vegetation. To test the Rhodo I visited headwater streams; small and confined with plenty of overhead branches and snags, and very little room to cast.
This is just my hypothesis.
One thing that I have found with other zoom rods that I have owned is that they tend not to cast as well less control, more effort, more floppy, etc in their longest length configuration than in their shorter configurations. Some people have proposed that the reason for this is that the longer configurations for these rods are really to aid in landing the fish, but casting them is generally supposed to be in their shorter configurations. Also, these same zoom rods feel more tip heavy in their longest configurations. This makes sense though as they shift more weight away from the handle when fully extended. This places the center of mass more towards the tip Because of these two previous points, when I want to initially see how a zoom rod will perform, I first hold and cast it in its longest configuration. For the Sato, it cast equally well in all three configurations. Yes, it does feel a little more tip heavy in the cm configuration but really not by much this was predicted by the calculations of rod moment, above.