I took the 7033 Kabuto out late Sunday afternoon. I chose that time as the sun was just beginning to set....hoping that I might be able to see the rod blank in some interesting lighting. The lake was frozen (barely as we may have 1" of ice) and I was casting off my dock.
Having heard from some that this rod likes a 4wt. line, I brought three reels with me: An Orvis Battenkill LA lined with Sage WF 3wt. Performance Taper line; Orvis Lightweight with Scientific Angler Supra 4wt. DT line, and a Sage 3100 lined with a 1/2 Rio LT 3wt. DT line.
I started with the WF 3wt. line. The rod was easy to cast and loaded equally well at 20' and 40'. I was able to shoot the line 50' feet (probably around 60') which was pretty good for a 7' glass rod. The loops were tight and consistent. I was very satisfied using the WF 3wt. line and I began to conclude that I like this rod with a 3wt. line. With the WF 3wt. line the rod flexed mostly in the tip and a bit into the mid section. For awhile there was about a 10 to 15 mph breeze (guessing). The WF 3wt. line could cast into the breeze, but I would guess 30' was about my limit.
With some reluctance, I next tried the SA Supra DT 4wt. line. The WF 3wt. line cast so smoothly I was fairly certain that the DT 4wt. line would be too much for this rod. I was wrong. The rod handled the DT 4wt. line beautifully. I was able to load the rod much deeper and using the DT 4wt. line the rod flexed mostly in the mid and a bit into the butt section. It did take a little more concentration to keep my loops tight with the DT 4wt. line. When I did keep my loops tight the rod shot line much better than with a WF 3wt. line. The rod topped out about the same, maybe 55' or so. But if I was in tight quarters, the DT 4wt. might be a good choice as the rod could shoot line much better with just a short amount of line in the air. I also found that the mass of the DT 4wt. line scored me an extra 10' or so when casting into the wind. With the DT 4wt. line the rod felt a lot closer in action to a few McFarland yellow glass rods I have built recently. Particularly I had a 7'6" 5wt. 3pc. McFarland that I built for someone which flexed deeply with a DT 5wt. line. I think the Kabuto felt similar with the DT 4wt. line. Both rods really let the caster feel the line loading the rod which is a cool part of the experience casting a glass rod. Since I was casting over ice, I couldn't really test the rod's roll casting abilities. There is no resistance to load the rod properly. But I have a feeling the rod would roll cast with the DT 4wt line very smoothly in close.
Last I put the Sage 3100 with a DT 3wt. line on the rod. At this point I was not sure what to expect. This combo was probably my favorite. The DT 3wt. line was a great compromise between the WF 3wt. line and the DT 4wt line. It was fairly easy to consistently produce tight loops (like the WF 3wt. line) yet I was able to shoot line fairly well (like the DT 4wt. line). The rod cast into the wind as good as I would expect. The ability to keep my loops tight consistently allowed me to be accurate more frequently. Keeping in mind that the rod reminded me of my McFarland builds with a DT 4wt. line, with the DT 3wt. line, the Kabuto reminded me of my Orvis Superfine Touch rods. The rod loaded in the tip and a bit into the mid section, short casts were easy and accurate, and the rod could be pushed if needed. Since I only had 1/2 a line, it was very easy to measure the distance I was casting. I could easily cast all of the line which I believe is 40 ft. of line plus about 8' of leader/tippet. So 50' casts were no problem with the DT 3wt. Rio LT line. (I probably could have gotten another 10' of line if I had a full line rigged up).
And the rod looked pretty nice to boot. As far as aesthetics and balance, surprisingly I think I favored the Sage 3100 reel the most. The rig felt very light for glass and the black reel was a nice contrast to the white blank and light colored wraps.
I am expecting the arrival of an Abel Creek LA 1 with an older brown trout fish graphic today. I bought the reel new for less than the cost of a standard gloss black version. The Abel Creek could trump the Sage 3100 as far as looks are concerned. Time will tell. I am confident that the Abel Creek will balance the Kabuto more towards the middle of the grip. The Abel Creek LA weighs 3.8 oz. empty and the Orvis Battenkill LA I that I rigged up first weighs 3.9 oz. empty. The Orvis Battenkill felt fine, but I do think I preferred the balance point at the very front tip of the grip as with the Sage 3100.
I am a bit curious how a WF 4wt. line would perform on this rod. But for now I anticipate using a DT 3wt. under most circumstances. I will update as I receive and try the Abel Creek LA 1 vs. the Sage 3100.