January 4, 2018

DRAGONtail Hydra ZX390 -- part II

I was able to fish the DRAGONtail Hydra ZX390 yesterday. It was cold out, the air was 24°F and the water temperature had fallen from 40°F last week the 34°F.  Fortunately there was not breeze!

The rod covered in ice!

The rod worked extremely well. Its softer action made casting a #3 level line effortless. Since the water levels were higher than normal for this time of year, and the turbidity was up, I chose to use bead head nymphs. The Hydra ZX390 cast my tungsten bead jig hook flies easily.

The rod worked equally well in the 350 and 390 cm length configurations.

The trout I caught were browns. The largest was 15+ inches. I left them in the water, as the subfreezing temps could freeze their gills and kill them. The water flow was moderate to fast, thus increasing the demands on the rod. This rod had no issue controlling any of the trout under these conditions.

Conclusion: I like this rod! It think it is a the perfect addition to the DRAGONtail rod line up. It's much more conducive to more traditional level line tenkara techniques than have been most of their other rods. It appears to be of robust construction and yet very functional in every aspect. If you are looking for a rod that will cover most trout fishing situations, and yet won't tax your wallet, you should consider the DRAGONtail Hydra ZX390.

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 have no affiliation with DRAGONtail. I borrowed the rod and it was returned after the review.


  1. Thanks for the reviews of this rod. I purchased one along with accessories to make a starter kit during the introductory pricing. A favorite local wild cutthroat stream just barely dropped into a wadeable-fishable level for a couple days between storms so I got out for a first-time Tenkara outing, hiking the faint trail and a little bushwhacking along the stream for over three quarters of a mile to a favorite run. No fish hooked or sighted; not unusual on that stream under those conditions but at least I got to try out the rod. Using a 13 foot 3.5 level line I was able to feel the rod load and could easily cast #12 beadhead nymphs, landing fly first. Unweighted kebari, not so much; I didn’t feel the rod load like it did with the weighted fly and an overhead cast tended to pile up short. However a sidearm cast to get under branches where I was able to watch the backcast actually turned over pretty well so I’m guessing it’s a beginner’s timing issue. One thing I REALLY liked how EASY it was to hike in with the rod strapped to my Patagonia Sling pack. Carrying a 7 or 8 foot fly rod while hiking is a pain. Looking forward to getting out again!