Daiwa’s Kenzaki range of boat rods is one of the best selling across the UK. Des Westmore serves up his opinion on the three sectioned 12-30 model, a rod that is indeed made for braid.
The Daiwa Kenzaki Braid Special SKZB12-30, which despite being three-piece, is not meant to be an out-and-out travel rod although it certainly has its uses in that department . While it will appeal to travellers, this rod along with the 20-30 and 30-50 siblings in the three-piece range is aimed at the angler who simply wants the easy convenience of a good three-piece rod.
The 12-20lb Kenzaki measures 7ft 8ins overall, but breaks down to three pretty much equal sections with a maximum length of 32ins. Daiwa have been generous as ever with the amount of rings, and nine three-legged Zirconium rings are fitted along with matching a tip guide. I always say I like understated rods but even for me, the Kenzaki is a bit unassuming. The whippings are black as is the blank, with only the lowermost ring and a bit of whipping near the first joint tipped with a gold highlight.
The blanks are made from what Daiwa term MM35M carbon. I work with carbon fibre every day of the working week and this designation means nothing to me… but I am sure it is good quality stuff. Duplon grips are fitted either side of a genuine Fuji seat which is fitted the correct way round for most people. The upper grip is triangular in cross section. According to Daiwa the reel seat has been “specifically positioned for maximum leverage”. This translates to positioning around three inches higher than the majority of boat rods around. For me it is too high and fits me about as well as a skirt! But it works well enough for other people so I am not going to dwell.
Joints are the plug-in style. And I am reliably informed by Daiwa consultant Steve Souter that considerable work and time went into smoothing the joint transitions. It was time well spent as there is no interrupted curvature and they are pretty much impossible to spot when the rod is loaded up. The rod has a very sensitive but not soft tip and loads up very progressively down to butt. If you are used to soft tipped rods you might not like this or may have to spend a while getting used to it. It works well though as the rod is supple enough for dealing with braid, which it ought to be given the name, but has enough resilience in the tip to control a reasonable amount of lead. It has easily coped with 10oz of lead while wreck fishing in the spring with shads and jellies. It has also proved itself very capable for a spot of speed pirk jigging too.
The Kenzaki is very light to hold which belies the amount of power in the blank. For me, the action is more toward the 20lb area of the rating spectrum but I am used to softer tipped rods without the inherent extra mid blank stiffness symptomatic of an extra rod joint. The length of the rod is good and combined with the forgiving nature of the blank should prove popular with anglers both new to the sport or more experienced anglers trading up. Price is the same as the two-piece rods at £129. I would expect to find it cheaper than that by shopping around, and the Kenzaki represents great value as it is one of the best multi-piece, multi-purpose rods that I have used.
For details of the full range of Kenzaki Braid Special boat rods contact Daiwa.