May 9, 2013

Gamakatsu Ryokei 360 -- review

I recently received a rod from Chris Stewart to review. He thought that due to this rods casting profile that I'd like it. I must be pretty transparent because he was right! I do like it!

The Gamakatsu Ryokei 360 is a seiyru rod, not a tenkara rod. So. Is this a problem? Not as far as I'm concerned. It makes a great tenkara rod! Coming in at an incredible 46 gm it is beyond light. Remember, that is for a 360 cm rod, not a shorty 240 cm rod. When you pick it up you say "Wow"!

The rod comes in the typical Japanese plastic carton with a rod sock. There is nothing fancy in the packaging for sure. But I suspect that people don't buy this rod for its packaging. They buy it for its performance.

Dacron loop not included

Without tip plug

The rod is glossy black with red accents. The handle is cork-less but has a very efficient non-slip coating. This coating works well both when dry or when wet. The handle has a comfortable diameter as well. The rod is modestly long at 62.5 cm when collapsed (including tip plug). It is 360 cm when extended.

The tip plug is wooden with a fluted rubber insert. It fits snugly into the end of the rod and, I think, would be unlikely to just fall out spontaneously. The butt plug is plastic with rounded rubber terminal portion. There is a rubber bumper to dampen the noise of the collapsed segments; there is also a drainage hole.

Tip Plug -- Dacron loop not included

Butt Cap

The lilian is attached with a micro swivel. The lilian is red, and like all the Japanese rods I have, there is no knot.

This rod has excellent in-hand balance. There is no tip heaviness and casting is effortless. I used a 12 foot, #3.5 line with excellent cast targeting and line control. I used the rod with dries, unweighted kebari and weighted beadhead flies. It casts all of these without discrimination. The casting arc is smooth. There is no tip oscillation as the rod dampens quickly at the end of the casting stroke.

The Ryokei has good lower section stiffness and therefore easily controls moderate sized (12-14 inch) trout in fast water. It never felt out of control at any time. The tip is quite flexible. The Ryokei has a Common Cents Scale rating of 19 pennies. This gives it a Rod Flex Index  (RFI) of 5.3. This shows that the Ryokei is a little more flexible or "slower" than the Tenkara USA Iwana 12 foot, which has a RFI of 6.4.

Conclusion: I really like this rod. I like the weight, handling, casting, and overall construction of the rod. I wish it had a non-glossy finish, but oh well, I guess you can't have everything! I'll see how it holds up over time, but I suspect it should do well.

If you would like this rod, or one in its 330, 390 or longer lengths please contact Chris Stewart at Tenkara Bum.

Here is a video of some fish caught with this rod:


  1. That line of rods doesn't get over 3 ounces until you go above 6 meters.

    I wonder what Gamakatsu's "moment" measure is. They say it is: "moment = standard weight of (kg) × pole ass pole of." At least that is the Google translation. Though I think "(cm) length to the center of gravity" may have something to do with "moment." I think the English translation of that statement got "tangled." Moment may be weight (mass) in kilograms times length to center of gravity of the open rod - from the handle end? Moment is usually mass times velocity.

    The moment (in kg-cm) of the 3.6 rod is stated as 3.4. It's weight (mass) is .044kg. Could the center of gravity then be 3.4(kg-cm)/.0044kg? Or 77.27cm? So is the center of gravity 77.27cm from the handle end when open?

    1. Very lightweight rods. Yet, they have some serious backbone that I didn't expect. I'm not sure what "moment" means when it comes to this rod. It's funny how the Japanese to English translation come out!