Since a few years now I am the proud owner of a Tenryu Red Dragon Express fishing rod. The Red Dragon is manufactured and assembled in Japan according to the specifications of the most experienced French Bass Anglers. They ( - Ultimate Fishing -) now have manufactured several models to hunt any kind of predatory fish around the world. The commercial trademark of all of these rods is they’re airbrushed in an almost Ferrari like red colour.
The specifications of the Red Dragon Express rod are as follows:
The overall length is: 290 cm
Folded length: 148 cm (in two sections)
Guides: 8 Fuji SIC guides*
Weight: 197 grams
Lure weight: 20-60 grams
Reel seat: Fuji
Grip: 2 piece foam butt grip*
This rod is, or was, the big daddy of plugging for me (check out this comprehensive review from 2008). The rod is capable of conquering strong winds and heavy seas. A fast actioned rod, perfect for hard lures like the Megabass Zonk and the heavier IMA lures like the Sasuke 140. A lot of big bass ultimate has found their master.
* The newest (2012) model is fitted with the Fuji K-series Anti Tangle guides and a one piece foam butt grip.
But what happened? A new kid on the block arrived.
Recently I visited the website of “Cloud Nine Tackle” in Japan and an advertisement of Tenryu draws my attention. It concerns the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Tenryu Swat 2012 SW97ML (exceed of distance). This rod is one model out of five who has just been released on the Japanese market. After a night sleep and several considerations I decided to buy the above mentioned rod. I wrote to mr. Yu (Jed) Tokutomi, if he could send me this rod just for the start of our bass season; which of course, he did. The delivery took about a week and my rod arrived save and sound.
The specifications of this rod are as follows:
The overall length is: 290 cm
Folded length: 149 cm (in two sections)
Guides: 8 Fuji K guides
Weight: 161 grams
Lure weight: 08-35 grams
Reel seat: Fuji VSS17 + SKSS/ASH (Down Lock) – attached on the grip
Grip: 2 piece cork and foam butt grip
There are two major differences between the rods: first is the weight of the rod itself, and second the casting weights. These are the main reasons why I bought the new SWAT. It filled the gap in the (bass) rods I already own at the moment.
The Swat has a firm blank with a rather stiff body and a sensitive tip. It feels very good, it has the looks and it really, really casts like a bullet. It’s phenomenal how easy and how far this rod is capable in casting the lures. This rod doesn’t have the commercial reddish Ferrari looks as his European brother the Red Dragon Express. The Swat however is more discreet, almost modest! It’s more like a Volkswagen but equipped with a Ferrari engine, and a dragons heart…
The Red Dragon Express is the ultimate rod for fierce and brutal conditions in which this rod stands firm in casting the heavier hard lures far, far away. The Swat is however more fragile, has a sensitive tip, is also capable of casting the heavier lures but preferably in rather calm weather conditions. This rod also has the potential to cast light weight lures and soft plastics in the far distance. This is really amazing. Buying The Swat gives you 1 rod with the best capacities of those 2 and for the price of 1. But bear in mind to keep it at home in stormy weathers.