Suntech 33 Rod First Impressions
My Suntech 33 Rod showed up yesterday afternoon (10/13/12) VIA US Priority Mail, and oh what a beautiful piece of work it is. Eleven feet 3 inches long, and 1.1 ounces in weight before I put a 5/8ths inch hole diameter black rubber stool foot and EZ-Keepers on it, which required picking up some 5/16 X 7/16 X 1/16 inch O-rings for fly keepers and line storage because the rod blank is too slender that the standard O-rings that come with the EZ-Keepers to work as fly keepers. The big O-ring will work fine for holding the above the grip EZ-Keeper in place. The upper EZ-Keeper will be more secure if the smaller O-Ring is used. Whether I lost the O-ring on the butt cap or the rod did not come with it I do not know, but the other small EZ-Keeper O-ring fits the butt cap grove tight enough that it can not get lost. The friction fitt rubber butt foot provides protection and a solid footing for the rod, protection for the butt cap, and some counter ballance for the tip weight. The swell of the rubber foot provides a nice place to rest the heel of your hand against while casting and a knob similar to the Amago's grip butt configuration when casting with the rod as far forward in your casting hand as you can get it.
The take down length is 23.5 inches, and the rod came with a nice tie in place blue with black trim nylon rod sock. The rod fits in the rod sock just fine with the rubber foot in place on it. The 33 is about an inch longer than the Guide Model Ebira rod quiver is deep but the rod in its sock fits in the rod quiver just fine, eliminating any possibility of loosing the tip plug in transit when the rod is carried in its rod sock in the rod quiver. This also opens up the possibility of taking two rods, either a shorter one for even brushier creeks with over head tree limb problems or a longer, stiffer rod for lake Tenkara fly fishing. There is no flute milled into the tip plug for an attached line to pass through and the plug fits the rod blank very tightly. However there is a saw cut slot for the width of the plug diameter that could be aligned with the line for clearance.
The pictures on Tenkarabum sight do not rally do the rod justice, the red paint job is more of a non fish scaring dark maroon color than a bright red to my eyes. The grip is a hair finer in diameter and considerably longer than the grip on my 9 foot Soyokaze rod is, and this rod makes the 27SR Daiwa rod feel heavy by comparison. The grip has a convex curve running from the grip diameter down to the rod blank diameter that is most comfortable and natural for the index finger forward Tenkara hand casting position, which is also a noticeable improvement over the 27SR's grip design. The line swivel looks kind of clunky in the pictures on Chris's sight but is unbelievably tiny in person, on the rod. Chris sent 12 feet of #3, FL-Green HiVis Level FC Line with the rod at no charge to me (thanks ever so much Chris!), and the rod cast the line so well I couldn't believe it. I also cast it with a 6 foot long hand-tied 10 Lb. butt, tapered line in my back yard, and a 10 foot long 12 Lb. butt tapered line as well and the rod cast all of them very well even in a pretty good wind. It handles bow-and-arrow-casts a lot better than the Soyokaze 27SR rod does, and I would classify it as a 6:4 action rod, although I will give Chris the final say on that perception. All of these stated line casting lengths do not include the preferred tippet length of your choice.
What really sold me on getting the Suntech 33 rod was Chris's description of it being a good rod for people who enjoy fishing the fine blue line streams pictured on topographic maps, which is a perfect description of most of the stream fishing that I do. For sure this is not a big fish rod but it will handle most anything we are likely to catch in a little creek, and make playing even the smallest fish a lot of fun. The rod does not have any feeling of tip heaviness or noticeable oscillations at the end of the cast. The Suntech 33 is a pure joy to cast. Clearly, this Japanese designed and manufactured rod is a piece of high quality work. I have not had a chance to fish with the rod yet. Trout season is closed here until the end of next April, which can not get here fast enough for me this year....Golden.