July 28, 2016

DRAGONtail Tenkara Komodo rod - dry review

I was talking with Brent Auger of DRAGONtail Tenkara the other day and he asked if I'd like to borrow one of their new Komodo tenkara rods. The Komodo has been around for a little while but he stated they there had a been a few adjustments to the rod and he wondered if I'd like to take a look at it. I told him that I would love to, but I couldn't fish with it since I just had surgery and was still convalescing. With that, here is my dry review.

DRAGONtail Tenkara has a nice line up with rods covering small creeks and streams to large waters with large fish. Their products are well thought out and unlike some entry or intermediate level rods out there, DRAGONtail Tenkara has made sure that their rods are unique and unlike any others. In other words, their rods are not the usual "I'll take 500 of those but change the paint and stamp my name on it" type of rod.

Known for good quality rods at an affordable price and stellar service, DRAGONtail Tenkara has been selling many hundreds of rods per month satisfying customers all over the country.

The Komodo is DRAGONtail Tenkara's answer to small stream or creek fishing. It is a zoom rod, with two fishable lengths, 275 cm and 320 cm. The blanks are matte carbon with a terra-cotta colored accent on the lower segments.

The handle is a camel or gourd shape and has acceptable quality cork. There is one ring of cork composite next to the rod butt. The winding check is blued metal and fits tightly to the cork handle. The handle is 26 cm long.

The rod designation is simple but clean and attractive. None of the usual warning stickers are on this rod -- you know, the ones stating that the rod is an excellent conductor of electricity.

The zoom mechanism is the usual butt cap post with O-rings combined with some friction tape at the tip of the zoom segment. It's really well executed and the zoom segment fits snugly when nested, without any play or rattling. The zoom segment can be withdrawn through the handle segment for cleaning and drying; that's much better than another small stream rod I recently reviewed.

Friction tape section of zoom segment.

The tip plug is wood with rubber post. It fits well in the tip of the zoom segment. There is a loop of maroon colored lilian provided, which aids in not losing the plug, as well as field repairs, if needed. The butt cap is black anodized metal. It has a post with two O-rings which receive the zoom segment. No knurling or coin slot is provided, but the cap is thick enough that it's easily removed.

The lilian is red and is attached using the usual cheap micro swivel so common to many Chinese tenkara rods. The glue joint is well done but too big for the tip segment (1st segment) to be withdrawn through the 2nd segment.

Here are some measurements:

Fully collapsed: 56.5 cm
Fully extended: 276 cm / 320 cm
Weight (without  tip plug): 80.0 g
CCS: 23 pennies / 25 pennies.
RFI: 8.3 / 7.8

RFI comparison chart -- click on chart for larger view.

As far as casting, this is a pretty stiff rod. This is predicted by the high RFI numbers. Does this hamper the rod? Maybe a little, but likely not that much. It just means that you need to use a heavier line and don't expect to feel the rod load and unload the line as you cast. Due to its stiffness there is very little "feedback" from the rod during casting. It gets the job done, but not with any pleasurable feel. That stiffness, however, can be an asset when fighting an energetic trout in close quarters. This rod should have backbone in reserve!

I used a #3.5 fluorocarbon level line to dry cast the rod. It threw the line just fine, but again, with very little loading of the rod. I did not use a furled line, which would be heavier, and maybe load the rod better.

Conclusion: This is a solid small stream rod. It's not for me though, because its too stiff. I prefer my small stream or creek rod to have an RFI of 5.5-6 -- stiff enough to fight fish in tight little streams, but just soft enough to load the rod using a level line properly. A short rod with these measurements is hard to find!

But all in all, the Komodo should be great for someone not wanting to lay down a lot of cash on a short rod. It's built well, looks good, and performs well enough to be considered. It's also got DRAGONtail Tenkara's rock solid customer service behind it!

Disclaimer:  My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod then make up your own mind. 

I borrowed this rod, in which is will be returned, and have no formal affiliation with DRAGONtail Tenkara or Brent Auger.

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