It’s been a few years since Tenkara USA released a new rod model. This recently changed with the release of their latest rod, the Satoki. The next in the line of their popular adjustable 3 way zoom series, the Satoki’s name is derived by combining a prior rod, the Sato and a popular fly pattern, the Oki kebari. We’ll focus on all that Tenkara USA Satoki has to offer in the following rod report and review.
The Tenkara USA Satoki rod fishes at three lengths – 325 cm, 370 cm, & 415 cm (10.7, 12.2, & 13.6 feet) – pushing it beyond the Sato’s upper limit of 390 cm. If the Rhodo is the small stream rod and the Sato their most versatile, the Satoki leans toward slightly larger waters and bigger fish.
YouTube Rod Report
Before we continue with this article, we also created a YouTube Rod Report on the Satoki. It not only covers all of the information in this post, but also includes additional visuals, including some on-stream footage from a recent outing in Tennessee.
Now back to the article…
Unboxing & First Impressions
First impressions of the Satoki… this is one handsome rod. In typical Tenkara USA fashion, they came out with a rod with super clean cosmetics, with a bit of flair that really elevates the overall look. What I’m referencing is the visual carbon fiber weave on the rod blank that is atypical for Tenkara USA rods. I believe the last model they did with that look was the (now discontinued) Ayu II. However, this is not uncommon in higher end Japanese rods, such as the Zerosum and Royal Stage from Nissin. Add to that a subtle red tint to the glossy finish that truly presents itself in bright light, and all I can say is well done!
The Satoki comes with a standard Tenkara USA hard rod tube and stretch rod sock. As far as the rest of the hardware, if you’re familiar with the Rhodo or Sato, there’s nothing particularly unique. There’s a small wooden & rubber tip cap, with a loop of lillian material strung through. The end cap is rounded and black plastic with stages to allow for the 3 different lengths. It also has a hole to house a spare tip cap. The winding check is a anodized red metallic material that matches the tint of the rod blank. The lillian is red, of adequate length, glued directly on to the rod tip, and comes factory knotted.
The length of the 3 zoom sections are clearly denoted on the rod in both centimeters (325/370/415) and feet (10.8/12.2/13.7) toward the end of the base section for each length. This is a nice touch and something I’d like to see adopted by more companies that make zoom rods.
The grip is made of primarily of firm, black foam. The main barrel is accented with two sections of gray foam that include an engraving of a kebari and the Tenkara USA logo. This grip may look familiar, as it’s the same configuration (although with inverted colors) as the Tenkara USA Hane. It’s also a bit longer than the Hane at slightly over 8 inches long.
The grip’s 3.1 inch circumference feels great in hand and has two, gradual camel-style humps making it easy to handle both in the upper and lower positions.
Tenkara USA provides some measurables on the rod, however I prefer to take my own, simply to see how accurate the are in comparison. I would say in this case that the specs printed on the Satoki are fairly honest. Additionally, the weight of the Satoki came in at 3.4 ounces, which in my opinion isn’t too heavy for 3-way zoom rod that extends out to almost 14 feet.
I also took measurements such as Common Cents, Rod Flex Index, and Rotational Moment in order to give you an idea of how the rod might feel, or compare to others. This rod grades fairly consistently in its penny rating across all three lengths (24/25/25), making the Satoki a fast, tip flex rod (7:3) at its two shortest lengths and a moderate, mid flex rod (6:4) at its longest. The center of gravity of the Satoki at its longest length is 84cm, making the rotational moment 8.1.
|Fully Extended Lengths||325 cm / 10.7 feet|
370 cm / 12.2 feet
415 cm / 13.6 feet
|Nested Length (with cap)||57 cm / 22.4 inches|
|Foam Grip Length||30 cm / 11.8 inches|
|Foam Grip Circumference||8 cm / 3.1 inches|
|Weight (without cap)||96 g / 3.4 ounces|
|RFI||7.4 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex|
6.8 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex
6.0 / 6:4 Moderate Mid Flex
|Center of Gravity (at 415cm)||84 cm / 33.1 inches|
|Rotational Moment (at 415cm)||8.1|
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Satoki in Tennessee chasing some stocked rainbow trout. I was hoping that I might be able to run into a “big one” to really put it through its paces, but I wasn’t successful in that pursuit. Instead, I was able to bring quite a few fish in the 12-16″ range to hand, something that the Satoki handled with ease, yet still allowed fish smaller than 10″ to be fun.
In terms of the various lengths, I really enjoyed the first two (325cm & 370cm) for what I was doing, which was fishing a mix of unweighted and weighted kebari. The rod is fast at those lengths, casts crisp & true, and feels well balanced. I really had no complaints. Using both 3.5, and later 3.0 level line, it did exactly what I asked it to once I figured out the proper casting tempo.
I will admit, I did not spend much time fishing the longest, 415cm length. The area I was fishing was open, but did have occasional overhanging trees, so I only fully extended the rod when I had good casting lanes. I found the longest length to be a bit softer, heavier, and just felt a bit “looser”. It was probably my least favorite of the 3 lengths. However, that could just be a personal bias of mine, as I happen to love 11′ rods. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing in the scope of evaluating this rod, just know that the longest length does in fact behave differently.
So those were my initial thoughts on performance, take them as you will. Fortunately, Anthony & Jason also spent a little time with the Satoki. Here is some of their feedback, albeit a bit more brief.
“I’m really impressed with the look of the Satoki, it’s a pretty rod. It usually takes me numerous outings on different types of water with different rigging to really assess a rod. I don’t have lots of stream hours with the Satoki yet but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I can’t wait to put it through its paces on some bigger fish.”
“Like many others, my first rod was the Tenkara USA Iwana. I have very fond memories of my time with that rod. After a few hours of the water with this new Satoki, I can see how it will find it’s way to a loyal following as well. On the Tellico River, my casting stroke was loading the rod easily with an unweighted #12 GnarlyFly on 16 feet of #3 level line.
At full length, it seemed very nice, but I don’t typically like longer rods. I think the length and weight on your line would have impact on how it feels for you, however I didn’t take the time to “dial in” a proper rig. I spent my time shifting between the two shorter lengths. Nesting the rod was simple and snug. I really liked the feel of the weight point for the rod. A good balance point is important so the rod doesn’t get heavy feeling through the day. I think Tenkara USA did very good job in this detail.
The rod also has a grand sense of power. Seriously, this rod feels strong and capable without adding bulk. At 3.4 ounces, it feels like is has the backbone to tackle really big fish. Since this rod was designed for that purpose, they nailed it here as well. I spent that afternoon hooking and landing 13″ fatty rainbows and found the new rod to be a lot of fun.”
How Do I Get One?
The Tenkara USA Satoki rod is currently available on the Tenkara USA website with an MSRP of $230.
Tenkara Angler also lists the Satoki in our curated Gear Shop alongside other Big Trout rods should you want to get a broader view of what is currently available.
Tenkara USA has put out a new rod that is very much in line with their prior models. If you are a fan of Tenkara USA rods, you’ll find the fit, finish, and fishability of the Satoki to be on par with, and even potentially better than that of their previous rods. Personally, I love the elevated carbon fiber weave look, and the crisp action of the shortest and middle lengths. I do think the rod feels a little heavy at the longest length, but from a performance standpoint, has plenty of backbone to handle larger than typical trout. If you already own a Rhodo and/or Sato, I would not hesitate adding the Satoki to round out your Tenkara USA rod quiver.
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