In late 2005 I ordered a “glass” fly rod from Japanese custom rod builder Yasuyuki Kabuto. The wand in question was a model 7033 – a 7 foot, 3-piece, 3-weight, with a stacked bamboo slide-band reel seat.
Six months passed before the rod descended on my doorstep. Understandable given that Connecticut and Japan are half a world away, and on top of that Yasuyuki is a one-man band. But hey, anyway you cut it, the wait was well worth it. I was impressed with the rod; its a quality build, no question. Done with great care and attention to detail. Naturally I described the rod in a post shortly thereafter. Following it up with a casting report. (I’ll have more to say on casting in a minute.)
Regrettably, back then I was unable to fish the rod very much. How come? Well I moved to Florida and spent the intervening years fishing the flats. Ton of fun that. This summer I’m in New England, however, and fishing this “glass” rod often. Hence the time is ripe for an update on a Kabuto fiberglass fly rod.
Here’s the Kabuto at work on Connecticut’s Salmon River. If you look closely, on the right third of the photo just below the foam line, you’ll see a rainbow trout with its head down, boring for the bottom. No, its not huge fish, a foot or so, but a fun fish on this “glass” rod.
The Kabuto 7033 tips in at 3.35 ounces, reasonably light. The blank is unsanded. The finish is Spartan and yet impeccable, clearly the work of an artisan. A single agate stripping guide adds grace. All wraps are transparent, tipped in a few turns of yellow. There is no hook keeper. The grip is nicely shaped and made with some of the highest quality cork I’ve ever seen. It measures 5 5/8″. As the photograph above reveals, it is a tad short for my mitt. Still it might fit your hand just right. The photo also show the rod’s progressive action. Which is uniform down to and a bit below the stripping guide. Beyond that, the butt has oodles of reserve power.
OK…lets talk turkey..I mean casting. Back when I first tested this rod I didn’t have a 4-weight line to try. But given how the 3-weight Kabuto handled a 5-weight line, I realized a 4-weight was undoubtedly an option. Now I have a 4-weight – a Cortland 444 DT – and have been using it extensively. Honestly, in my hands, the 4-weight out performs the 3-weight by a long shot. I’m just telling it like it is. With a 4-weight line, the rod simply loads better, responds better, and feels more comfortable. Obviously your mileage may vary.
You can’t go down to your local fly shop and wiggle one of these things. So I was taking a chance on this rod. But I’m glad I did. I’m very pleased, and plan to enjoy this rod for years to come. It casts smoothly, roll cast well, and can chuck out serious line if needed. Did I mention it’s also a great looking rod? You’re damn right it is.