Wasatch Tenkara is a relative newcomer to the tenkara scene. The company has made its mark releasing several models of seemingly unbreakable rods out of what they call “premium reinforced carbon fiber.” What all of the Wasatch rods had in common was that they were generally 12 feet long (or bigger), making them great all around options, but a bit constrained and possibly overbuilt when it comes to fishing tighter, more intimate waters. Their first attempt at addressing that void is the Baby Rodzilla.
The Wasatch Baby Rodzilla rod is advertised to fish at three lengths – 240 cm, 270 cm, & 300 cm (8.0, 9.0, & 10.0 feet) – making it considerably shorter than the rest of the rods in the Wasatch lineup. It’s a rod suited for small blue lines, but as they put it, with “traditional tenkara feel.”
YouTube Rod Report
Before we continue with this article, we also created a YouTube Rod Report on the Baby Rodzilla. It not only covers all of the information in this post, but also includes additional visuals and narrative. It’s worth checking out!
Now back to the article…
Unboxing & First Impressions
Knowing that this was a Wasatch Tenkara rod, I had some preconcieved notions. I figured it’d be big, heavy, and just a shorter version of the burly Rodzilla. I’ll tell you what, I was wrong. Baby Rodzilla is light in hand, actually made of fairly thin diameter carbon fiber blanks, and cosmetically, kind of attractive, if that retro look is your cup of tea. It also came with one of those clip-on line holders. I’m not certain if that’s standard, or Ruben just tossed that in for the heck of it. It’s not advertised on their website.
The Baby Rodzilla comes with a hard tube and felted rod sock with velcro closure. The hardware is metal, and complements the rest of the cosmetics nicely. Somewhat inconspicuous writing on the blank reveals the branding, as well as the 3 triple zoom lengths. There’s a small wooden & rubber tip cap, but it does not have the extra length of lillian strung through. The lillian on the rod tip is of adequate length, not factory knotted, and is attached to the tip with a microswivel. The rod can be fully disassembled for cleaning and drying.
The grip is made of what looks like cork, with a farily average amount of filler. For being a shorter rod (less than 20 inches when nested), the 8 inch grip length is adequately comfortable in hand. I’m sure there’s a name for the type of grip (Half Wells?), but I’ll describe it as having 1 and a half humps. The upper hump is full, the lower is abberviated by the end of the rod. As someone who likes to grip rods from the bottom position, it just feels a little “off.” The grip’s 3.2 inch circumference does feels great in hand at the upper position and it does not suffer from “short rod, skinny grip” syndrome.
Wasatch Tenkara provides some measurables on the rod, however I prefer to take my own, simply to see how accurate they are in comparison. Fortunately, most of my measurements were right in line with what is posted on Wasatch Tenkara’s website, give or take a centimeter or tenth of an ounce. The only main difference I found is that Wasatch advertises this as a 6:4 rod, whereas according to the calculated Rod Flex Index (RFI), it scored a 7:3 at every length. I wouldn’t call this bad or good, just a discrepancy. I took some pictures (with the aid of the beer fridge in my garage) if you want to actually see the flex profile at each length.
|Fully Extended Lengths||239 cm / 7.8 feet|
273 cm / 9.0 feet
304 cm / 10.0 feet
|Nested Length (with cap)||49.5 cm / 19.5 inches|
|Cork Grip Length||20 cm / 8.0 inches|
|Cork Grip Circumference||8.2 cm / 3.2 inches|
|Weight (without cap)||78 g / 2.7 ounces|
|RFI||6.7 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex|
7.0 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex
7.6 / 7:3 Fast Tip Flex
For more on Rod Flex Index and the other measurables mentioned in the table above, check out our article and video about the topic.
At the end of the day, the numbers mentioned above mean nothing if the rod doesn’t cast and handle fish well. I spent an afternoon in a warmwater setting with Baby Rodzilla and it did just fine. Some panfish and bass tested, but didn’t strain the rod and it cast both unweighted and weighted flies on a 3.5 level line without incident. Nothing particularly stood out in a significantly positive or negative way. Baby Rodzilla might not be the first rod I choose to pick up, but I wouldn’t toss it aside either. It just gets the job done.
Knowing other anglers have far more experience with Baby Rodzilla, I reached out to a few to provide their thoughts on this rod.
“I fish most of the rods in the Wasatch Tenkara Rods lineup and Baby Rodzilla is among my favorites. It’s lighter in the hand than their other offerings, but doesn’t sacrifice any of the durability that defines the brand. I would love to see an 11 foot version of this rod.”
“What strikes me though about Baby Rodzilla is how it casts. I use it at all lengths with a 9’ 2.5 level line and about 2.5-3’ of 5x tippet. The rod has such a nice way of loading and then delivering that line. Slow and easy. I have to admit I was stunned casting it the first time. To me that quality stands out. The rods are definitely designed with purpose and I feel Ruben is really emphasizing that and their actions.”
“Some nice healthy browns put up a great fight on this rod, it handled them like it was nothing. I prefer Baby Rodzilla for the smaller streams. I love the sensitivity and could even feel fish hit my fly in heavy riffles. The paint and the finish of these rods are next to perfect I’d recommend them to absolutely anyone.”
“Smooth like butter! Not only does Baby look amazing, it fishes even better. When fishing this rod at any of the three lengths you will not be disappointed. Some zoom rods I’ve fished lose accuracy at the shortest length however Baby does not. Bow and arrow shooting is extremely accurate as well at any length.
This rod is a softer action that will keeps the pressure on those small mountain brookies which equals more fish in the net. Baby has become my “go to” rod when fishing smaller streams. Don’t let the small size, light weight, and soft action keep you away from those bigger fish either. I’ve landed a few trout in the 17-18” range. There’s power hiding in this rod to handle larger fish!”
How Do I Buy One?
At the time of writing, the Baby Rodzilla is listed with an MSRP of $165 on the Wasatch Tenkara Rods’ website. It is also available locally through an expanding network of dealers in states such as Utah and Pennsylvania.
Wasatch Tenkara has kindly provided a coupon code for all Tenkara Angler readers!
Save 10% off your purchase at their website using code tenkaraangler10
Tenkara Angler lists the Baby Rodzilla in our curated Gear Shop alongside other small stream rods should you want to get a broader view of what is currently available.
As a relative newcomer to the tenkara scene, Wasatch Tenkara initially made their mark through building strong rods meant to handle the largest, baddest freshwater fish. With the addition of Baby Rodzilla, they’ve now created a shorter 3-way zoom rod that will find itself more at home in a remote mountain stream than a wide, roaring river or lake shoreline.
While the Wasatch Tenkara Baby Rodzilla may not be the most delicate or refined small stream rod on the market, fans of the brand’s offerings will find it to be a rod they can use in the tighter confines of off the grid waters. Baby Rodzilla can make small, wild fish enjoyable to catch, yet not be overmatched when encountering the occasional larger fish. The retro colorways and styling should also catch the eye of the nostalgic angler.
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