December 6, 2016

Tenkara Tanuki 275 -- another wonderful small stream rod

I have a Tanuki 375, which I really like. I use it all the time on on many of my streams. I mainly use it when I plan on fishing beadhead nymphs (mostly winter). It's a great rod and is built wonderfully. It has become one of my "go to" rods.

This last year, Luong Tam, founder of Tenkara Tanuki, released the Tanuki 275. I had the opportunity to fish a prototype at the Tenkara Guides Oni School, fishing the rod on the lower Provo. I really liked the rod. But unfortunately I broke it on a 16 inch brown that I couldn't keep out of some heavy, fast current. I was pretty bummed, but Luong was very kind and didn't bat an eye when I brought it back to him in pieces.

Luong Tam, in the orange. I'm right behind him, in the brown.

Luong got input from many other anglers from around the country regarding the rod and then released a version of the rod for the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers group. Here's what Luong says about its development: "Most credit for the 275 should go to Appalachian Tenkara Anglers and many Facebook members. They have given me a lot of feedback during the development.
275 is a very first rod I designed with input directly for fishers not from a pro. It is a work of community." This special edition of the rod was produced in a limited run, had a yellow handle, and was very well received. Well, now the Tanuki 275 has been released for general purchase.

The rod is very beautiful and is somewhat akin to my Black Beauty Tanuki 375. The fit and finish are flawless. The handle is EVA foam on a two tone black/orange design. The finish of the rod is glossy black, and there are a few gold ring accents on the tip of the lower segments. On the tips of the 2nd and 3rd segments (from the tip) are some bright orange accents as well.

The lillian is red and is glued directly to the tip section. The glue joint is well done and the rod can be full disassembled for drying and cleaning.

The tip plug is plastic and gold anodized metal. It has the Tanuki motif on the top and a loop of extra lillian material attached to it. It fits snugly into the handle section and will not spontaneously fall out. The butt cap is gold anodized metal. It is knurled and has a coin slot to aid in removal. There is no air hole.

The rod is very lightweight and perfectly balanced. I feel that it's action is mid-flex. The action is smooth and rich, and the rod casts a #2-2.5 level line beautifully. There is no oscillation or overshoot of the casting action.

Because the rod is mid-flex, hook sets are not quite as sharp as a more tip flex rod. To set the hook you have to move your forearm a little more than some other 270 cm rods. This may be an issue, as it was for me, on heavily canopied small streams. On these streams a short movement, sharp hook set tends to be better in that you don't hit as many branches setting the hook. With a mid-flex rod, the rod absorbs much of the motion of the set, and you have to move your arm more to engage the hook deeply. This is not an issue on a more open canopied stream.

I also found this rod to cast unweighted flies better than weighted ones. Don't get me wrong, this rod will cast weighted flies well -- after all, it was a tungsten beadhead that took that big brown on the Provo.  But the Tanuki 275 really excels casting lightweight flies. If you fish more dries than beadheads, then this rod would be your rod.

Here are some measurements of the rod I was loaned:

Fully nested: 58 cm
Fully extended: 270 cm
Weight (without tip plug): 42 g
CCS: 15 pennies
RFI: 5.6

RFI comparison chart

Conclusion: this is a beautiful rod, both in aesthetics and function. It is perfectly balanced, lightweight, and casts a light level line wonderfully. I found it better at casting lightweight flies than heavier flies, but it did well all the way around. Due to it's flex profile it takes more arm movement to set the hook, but this is only an issue on certain, very tight streams and creeks. I'm not much into the orange coloration, but that's just me. Luong wears orange when he fishes and he catches a lot of fish. All in all, this is a fantastic rod and Luong should be given kudos for its design and manufacturing. Well done, Luong!

You can get one from Tenkara Tanuki or Three Rivers Tenkara.

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 receive advertising revenue from Tenkara Tanuki, but this does not imply a favorable review of their products. I was loaned the rod for review and it was returned to Luong Tam.

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