Karasu 400

Anybody have one?


What does it do really well?

I like 4m class rods.

A friend is lending me one to check out, I’m interested.

What kind of lines?

What’s the lightest?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that rod and possible comparisons to other rods in that length.

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I’ve successfully cast 5.5m of #3 nylon on it (the only length I have so couldn’t test longer). #2-#4 FC in any length casts really well. It’s definitely a more tip flex rod, which I think is a good thing for a rod that is probably best suited for honryu tenkara.

Long lines, bigger flies, big manipulations, and bigger water is what I prefer using the Karasu 400 for. It’s still capable of delicate presentations, tho.

@itsjaywhatsup thanks Jay, I take it you have one.

I’m just not a fan of a foam handle.

Foam is an insulator, it can also be used for vibration dampening. I’m about theory however I operate in reality and practically.

I can see myself taking a razor and cutting a line down that foam and peeling it off and replacing it with premium cork rings.


But I want to use it as it’s made and see if I like it as is. When I fish in a big river (primary target is the Colorado River in Glen Canyon) tactility (feel) elevate to top reasons in liking a rod. I know cork and the honryu rods I’ve used have all been corked. Not against foam, cork is a preference.

Let me check my notes on the 360.

Ok, I fished it for a few hours at Oak Creek and noted it was sensitive, good!

I enjoy 4m class rods. I like building on that type of tenkara style. Before I meet Go Ishii, I was using the 410 Fuji Nissin with the Hinoki (wood) handle. I loved this rod because I enjoyed the attributes of keeping the line up and high. Now that I’ve fished with Go quite a bit, I have some similarities to his wants in a tenkara rod. That Fuji rod is super sensitive and I used it extensively in the cienega streams of the White Mountains (Rosgen E-type) that demands pin point accuracy. The fish in those streams are numerous and small. I never got to catch fish consistently in the 18”+ range with it and declared that rod as a delicate small fish rod and I was wrong! It is a big fish rod too!

I’m thinking the 400 Karasu may be a versatile fixed length tenkara rod very capable at catching those alpine stream flying fish as well as the pigs in bend below the dam.

I don’t know if I’m going to like it but it sure sounds like I will. Wether I like it or not, I bet it’s a really nice rod.

It’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m stuck in a decision I made, a good stuck and I’m allowing myself to cast other rods than my limited quiver. If I really like it I’ll buy it. I may just keep the fuck shut up about it though. The rod we fish doesn’t matter.

What matters is the skill.

A good angler can take a broomstick and make it work.

If I decide to own and operate one, it isn’t because of that.

I’m looking at advancing my skill level till I can’t fish any longer. Might be nice to have a rod that many discriminating anglers have and compare notes with them.

As I recall, the foam that the grip is made from is as hard as cork, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, that doesn’t change personal preference. People who like cork, like cork.

I have spoken to only a few people who have fished the Karasu 400 and the TenkaraBum 40 both, but of those I have spoken to, everyone preferred the TenkaraBum 40. The sample size is certainly limited and could be biased, but you might want to borrow both before you choose to buy either.

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Who actually makes the Karasu? I know DT had it made but I don’t recall hearing what company makes it.

Thanks @CM_Stewart.

I’m actually not shopping for a rod.

What material I’ve read and watched from the DT guys is good. I liked the 360 so I want to see what the 400 is all about.

The handle shape is nice, foam composition is not my preference.

I’m not planning on buying it although if I like it, I will.

It’s through a small custom shop in Japan. I believe NDA’s prevent them from disclosing that information but if you read through their website, when discussing rods they mention a small custom shop/maker. That’s a good place to look for an answer.

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I pretty much agree with @itsjaywhatsup. For me personally, #2.5 fluorocarbon is the sweet spot. Though, anything up to #4.5 works well too. I’ve used 6.5m of #3 nylon and it casts well. Lighter tippet works better for me with this rod. I usually use 6.5x FC.

Depending on conditions, 5m of line with about 1.5m tippet is what I use. It is able to cast bead heads and big flies without an issue. For me, I think a size 10 fly is perfect for this rod, but really anything in the size 8 - 16 is great.

For how I fish, 4m rods are perfect; I had four but just sold one. It’s the length I always gravitate towards. I also I have one 3.6m rod (also a Karasu) for small streams and one 4.5m (a Daiwa).

I like both the K40 and the K36, but feel the action is a bit different. The 36 seems more delicate to me, yet with the ability to land decent sized fish.

This Greenback was 18" (~46cm) and caught on the 36.

This brown was just under 19" (~48.5cm) and caught on the 40.

Both rods handled the fish fine, but I definitely got the brown in quicker with the 40.

I fished the TB40 exclusively for two years. A great rod and I wasn’t sure if I would find another rod that I liked that much. I wanted to see if the Karasu was worth the money and the hype and with a little trepidation, took the plunge. For my style of tenkara, the Karasu fits me really well.

I know some people will think I’m crazy, but I’m pretty agnostic towards foam handles. I understand why some people prefer cork and understand why manufacturers choose foam.

I prefer the action of the Karasu, but prefer the handle of the TB. I’ve sold my TB and only time will tell if I regret that.


Hah ha! That’s cool. I fished an early version of the Oni 1 (only the Oni back then) with a foam handle, then a Shimano Keiryu (tenkara) and Hane and the new Ebisu. I prefer cork but it’s ok. I’m not bent on foam, it’s not a stay away thing but def prefer cork.

If I like the rod overall, I will own a foam handled rod (again)

It’s your skill that’s important, the rod can surely accentuate that.

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fwiw - DT shipped the Karasu line holder (a black meiho line holder) with 5m of 2.0 号 line with the Karasu 400.
Which I think might be YGK Ultra Sight line. Or maybe Line System line.

Kazumi Saigo (aka Ajari, アジャリ) Often list his tenkara tools of the day at the bottom of his blog post.
In this example 4.3m 2.0 号 line. [ YGKよつあみ 与一ULTRA Sight 2.0号 ラットオレンジ(4.3m)。]

Similar to Peder I find 2.0 号 a bit difficult to cast consistently well, at a 5m length, not to bad at 4.5 m or 4.25m, but overall find 2.5 号 a little bit easier to cast, and like to use it if wind doesn’t make a heavier line a better choice.

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I have one now and am fishing it.

It is accurate, easy to cast, pinpoint.

My first impression is impressive.

I started on the other end of the spectrum, a #4 fluorocarbon with a #3 clear tip. At 5.5m line, I could consistently hit paper plate size groupings.

The foam handle is firm and grippy, comfortable.

Looking forward to disrupting my “one rod” project with it.

I’m impressed.

I think you could actually get by with the two Karasu…

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Being curious, what two ~ 4m rods would you place the Karasu 400 rod between as a comparison?
Meaning, it’s like rod-a for these characteristics, but more like rod-b for these other characteristics.

Things such as; swing weight, rod moment, apparent weight in hand, flex profile, feel of grip texture, shape, length, casting rhythm, length, and weight & length of line you think is a good match, etc.

No rush on the answer. Not looking for a first impression opinion, more of an opinion after fishing with it 30x, two or 3 months. I’m sure with your experience / background you’d make a more accurate analysis than I could.

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I’ll answer more about the rod as I gain a few dozen fish on it. I’ve yard cast it quite a bit to know that it excels in accuracy.

I enjoy the flex profile.

It’s every much in the genre of an Oni first gen 4m in performance but a little stronger. In the same vein as a Zerosum, it isn’t heavy handed but you guys are far more keyed in on that than I am, even with my chicken wing arms…

I’m super busy with my tenkara writing time with this latest collective article. I will return to fulfill your questions.

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I think that in many ways, I would have to agree with you Adam. I’ve certainly fished with my Oni a lot more. However, I fished the Karasu almost exclusively last year. I’ve never used a zerosum, although that’s very high on my list of rods I’m interested in trying.

I’d say it’s just as accurate and delicate casting as the Oni, but much beefier. I’ve had 12" (30cm) trout in very fast water that we’re a challenge with the Oni. Maybe it was my personal skill level, I don’t know. I’m just a Luddite that tries really hard.

I’ve also had 18" (45cm) trout in heavy water with the Karasu and didn’t question it at all.


I’m not an Oni rod fan. They are nice, but not for me.

The Zerosum? Same sort of rod but I like the fit and finish.

“Feel” is so subjective…

My casting stroke likes the Karasu. I’m struggling against a purchase of the 360.

That’s enough for now.

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The Karasu fits with my casting stroke very well too. But that’s the stiffest that I go.

If we use a US penny rating as a scale (which I really don’t like, but that’s not the point of this thread) my casting stroke fits best in the 14-18 penny range. I’ve used rods as soft as 7 and as stiff as 38 (obviously at those extremes they were not tenkara rods by definition or manufactured intent), and that’s the sweet spot for me. It’s taken me 8 years and about 15 rods, fishing only tenkara, to figure it out.

Now I feel like I’m just starting to learn tenkara. Now is when I feel like my learning is beginning. Yes, I catch fish. Yes, I have fun. But I’m just a tenkara infant learning to walk.