I just love it when new technology comes along that makes a real and measurable difference. This, for me, occurred with the introduction of the Tairyo Nano series of rods, a series of rods that uses nano-technology to provide rods that are light, strong, responsive and, as I found out in the field, have unexpected tapers.
I say that last part because like everyone, even though I know it doesn’t prove a thing, I did the wiggle test on the two rods tested (Nano King TNK691S and Nano Speed Plus II TNP702S-2) at the AFTA Trade show in August last year. These rods felt crisp and fast and just perfect for my favourite fishing styles, namely chucking plastics at flatties and smaller lures at whiting and trout. Because of this crispness I went for light rods in the respective ranges, namely the 1-3kg Nano King and the 2-4kg, 2 piece in the Nano Speed Plus II because I had a few sneaky ideas floating around in my head about lightening everything up.
To the Nano King rod I attached a Daiwa Freams 2000 loaded with 4lb Berkley Trilene braid and to the Nano Speed Plus II I attached a Daiwa Freams 2000 loaded with 6lb fluorocarbon straight through. These two outfits would hopefully perform different tasks.
The Nano King rods are the top of the line in the Nano series and everything about them speaks quality.
Nano King Rods are handcrafted with high-modulus graphite, and have a carbon scrim that is reinforced with super high-modulus graphite for added weight reduction. The addition of the Nano resins is the real secret of these rods and enables them to be strong, light and highly advanced in a very competitive field.
I rigged this rod with braid because I wanted to toss jighead rigged plastics at flathead on it, but lighter weighted jigheads with smaller plastics and finer hooks. The most common head weight was 1/4oz and I chose a PML Jigheadz and a 4” Old Bayside Shadlyn. This combination was stunningly successful on the first trip out with the Nano King TNK691S with a string of good flathead falling to the outfit before an 84cm beast jumped all over the lure and provided a first up highlight.
While the results were good, the interesting part for me was that once the rod was rigged and ready to go, the crisp, wiggle test action had gone and a softer, more parabolic working bend replaced it. This was a little disconcerting at first as I am used to fast taper, slightly heavier rods, but once I got used to it, well the results really spoke for themselves.
By the end of that first trip I had altered my casting from punching the jighead out to a more relaxed, lob-style cast and I found myself not working the jerkbiat plastic so hard, finding more success on a softer, sliding-type presentation.
Hook-ups were simple as the PML Jigheadz use fine hooks that penetrate very easily. But the real benefit of this softer action came in the retention rate of hooked fish. The softer, slower action bent with the fish as it shook its head underwater and at no time have I felt that a hook pull was because the action of the rod and near zero stretch of the braid were just too sharp.
It was a fantastic introduction to a rod that I have come to absolutely adore when fishing slightly lighter and smaller jighead rigged plastics. Some might say I am fishing with more finesse but they wouldn’t have fished me because finesse aint my strong point!
Since that initiation the rod has trolled for flatties, cast poppers for whiting and even been subbed in to do some whiting fishing with bait, a task that it handled incredibly well and was as surprising to me as anything. I really feel this rod is now one of my allrounder type rods for the lighter estuary stuff I do
Priced around the $600 mark, the Tairyo Nano King TNK691S is a fantastic light stick that has the best of everything, and can even catch me some mighty decent fish!
The Nano Speed Pluss II TNP702S-2 is a similar rod to the Nano King, however it is a little longer and a little softer, one line rating heavier and also a little cheaper. But don’t let the price deceive you, this rod is a fearsome competitor in a market flooded with options.
I chose to use straight though fluorocarbon on this stick because I wanted to reduce the number of dropped fish I was experiencing on the troll, especially flathead. The Gold Coast Flathead Classic saw me lose some clearly large fish because of little to no stretch in the system and having hooks pull. Seeing how it would be impossible for me to say that it was poor angling on my behalf, I spoke to some of the bream gurus and they all suggested fine hooks stick better in fish when there is stretch in the system is used. So fluorocarbon straight through and a softer rod were my immediate responses – the Nano Speed Plus II was an obvious choice.
Being used to feeling just about everything, including when a toad fish breathes on your trolled lure, and then going back to a stretchier, softer outfit was difficult at first. However I soon got used to how the lure felt as the rod sent good messages down the blank to my hand. This allowed me to know when the lure was fouled with weed and I could clear it easily. The big difference came on the first strike. A standard Gold Coast flathead of around 50cm nailed the Lively Lure Micro Mullet and instead of the heart starting thump, I felt a more gradual loading of the rod. As I struck, the fish did all the things a flathead would normally do during the fight and without much fanfare the flatty slid into the net.
At this point thing became interesting because the very first flathead was hooked on the outside of the mouth, with just one hook point though its skin on the top lip. A heavier and less stretchy outfit would have pulled that hook for sure. I’ll admit I did go easy on the fish as straight though fluorocarbon is a little daunting to an avid braid fisher, but the thing was the soft action rod nailed that fish and allowed it to be landed. I was stoked. All those conversation with the bream fishers was pretty much shown to be true on the very first fish.
This rod is now my preferred flathead trolling rod and I am finding I gain in confidence with it on every trip. It takes longer to land a fish (I still go probably way too easy on it!) but I am definitely losing fewer fish. I can’t wait to get this outfit onto a trout stream and see how a little Rapala sorts out some trout with it as trout are notorious for jumping off on braid outfits.
Other uses of the TNP661S have been as a bait rod and also as an ice jig rod for redfin fishing. Both applications have been fine, however you do need to be conscious of the sinker weight and the ice jig weight. I say this because the rod really is a light stick and I reckon people are at risk of expecting too much from it. Remember it’s only a 1-3kg stick.
Priced around the $500 mark, the Nano Speed Plus II is a magic rod and ideal for what I thought it might be for. I really do believe the bream gurus have got some of this stretch equation worked out after years of perfecting it, so why not transfer it into your other fishing? And yes, it does mean specific rods for specific purposes but that’s great. You don’t often tee off with a sand wedge in golf, so why do any different with your fishing rods?
Both the Tairyo Nano King and the Nano Speed Plus II are fantastic rods that have exceeded my expectations. They are not what you think when you first pick them up. They are much more and provide some really interesting options when you’re on the water.
It’s an unintentional by product that I have caught some of my biggest flathead for the year on the lightest rods I use, but is that really so? Is it that this lightening up and ‘finesse’ approach is working for me? Maybe, but without the Nano series rods I probably would be battling on with the rods I currently own.
Do yourself a favour, check these rods out and don’t rely solely on the wiggle test. Get your tackle store to rig up a rod and check out the actions when you cast and when a working bend is put through them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Check out www.anglermate.com.au for more information on these rods and the full range of Nano rods, or drop into your local stockist and check them out first hand.
Nano Speed Plus II