May 29, 2013

Suntech GM-R Special 36NP -- review

A few weeks back I received a long mailing tube in the mail. Chris Stewart sent me a rod to evaluate. The rod was the GM-R Special 36NP by Suntech.

I have fished with other Suntech rods (Field Master, Suikei, Kurenai) so I had some idea what to expect in this rods overall appearance and design. What I wasn't ready for was how much I liked the rod.

The GM-R Special comes in a larger and longer than usual plastic carton. This is because it comes with two tips. The second tip is not a true spare, but rather, it is a second tip that is slightly shorter than and slightly stiffer than the first tip. This allows the rod to be converted into two slightly different rods.

Second tip in small plastic tube

The lower section of the rod is gold, but the other sections are flat graphite grey with gold accents. This is a nice feature that I wish was more common in the tenkara rod world. I'm not sure if the glossy finish so common to tenkara rods really does scare fish, by causing reflections,  but I'd like to think that flat matte rods are more stealthy.

Matte finish (from Tenkara Bum)

The rod designation

The lilian is red and is attached using a micro-swivel.

Like all of the Suntech rods I have used, the handle is without cork but has a very effective anti-slip coating that works well both dry and wet. On the GM-R this coating is clear -- sort of interesting.

The butt cap is nylon plastic, black, with a rubber bumper to reduce rattling from the collapsed sections. There is a small drainage hole.

The tip cap is a Fuji KTC-12 universal cap. It fits nicely and would be very unlikely to spontaneously fall off.

Handle with clear coating and butt cap
KTC-12 universal tip cap (from Tenkara Bum)

The overall specifications for the rod are:

Rod type -- Seiryu
Extended length -- 350 cm, 360, cm (remember, two tips!)
Collapsed length -- 69 cm.
Weight (without tip cap) -- 47 g.
Common Cents Scale -- 350 cm = 23 p; 360 cm = 18 p.
Rod Flex Index -- 6.5; 5, respectively.

Rod Flex Index chart

On the water:

This rod is special, just like its name says. When I was dry casting it I thought that is would be too stiff overall for many folks, sort of like the Field Master, but when I got it to the stream I could immediately tell that this rod was a winner. I mainly used it in its 360 cm configuration. I used 12 to 13.5 foot, #3 and #4 level lines. It cast both well but the days I used it there was a breeze so I went with the #4 mostly. I fished with unweighted kebari-type flies.

Interestingly, most of the rod is quite stiff. When I say most of the rod, I mean the lower sections. But the upper two sections is where all the flex is. This creates a rod with very precise casting. Instead of the whole rod loading, the lower sections store the energy then transmit it to the tip sections. Loops are tight and targeting is very precise.

I fished a small mountain stream so I didn't hook any monsters; most of the fish I caught were 8-12 inches. It certainly handled these fish without griping; I'm confident this rod could handle a 14-16 inch trout in pretty good current. The rod is so light there is no fatigue from casting 3-4 hours.

360 cm tip with 10 inch cutthroat on the line

Conclusion: This is a nice rod. It is somewhat specialized for someone who wants a very light rod capable of casting tight loops yet able to handle the occasional larger trout. The two tips makes it versatile in usage. The flat matte finish is wonderful. The collapsed length is a bit on the long side but that shouldn't stop anybody from really enjoying this rod!

Want one? Contact Chris at Tenkara Bum.


  1. Do you (did you) tie an overhand knot in the lillian? If the lillian is knotted can you change between the two tips?

    1. Hi David,

      No, I don't use a lilian knot. If there is a knot you can't change the tip. I don't use a girth hitch to attach my lines so a lilian knot is not required.