Fixed-Line Fly Fishing Rods Tenkara

ESZ Rivermaster Z2 4.5m (15′) Tenkara Rod

Recently, Tenkara Angler introduced the ESZ Rivermaster Z2 3.9m (13′) Tenkara Rod. With its smooth flex action, pleasing balance and excellent price point, it appears to be an attractive rod for those wanting a longer tenkara rod designed for larger trout.

But some people see the need for even longer tenkara rods, over 4 meters. To answer the call, ESZ has released a 4.5 meter (15′) version of the Rivermaster Z2. It has the same overall appearance as the 3.9 meter version, so I’ll refer you to that rod review for the details.

Description

As mentioned, the Rivermaster Z2 4.5 meter has the same features as its shorter sibling, namely a nested length of 70.5 cm / 27.8 inches, a straight cylindrical handle of 22.5 cm (8.9 in.) in length, a butt cap invagination that will hold the tip plug when it’s not in use, and  anti-stiction rings to reduce jammed sections. Sitting side by side, it’s hard to tell the difference between the 3.9 and 4.5 meter version, excepting that the 4.5 meter version looks just a little beefier.

ESZ Rivermaster Z2 4.5m (15') Tenkara Rod - Tom Davis - Tenkara Angler

Measurements

CharacteristicMeasurement
Segments:8
Fully Extended Length:452 cm / 14′ 10″
Nested Length (with cap):70.5 cm / 27.8 inches
Weight (without cap):92 g / 3.2 ounces
CCS:20.5 pennies
RFI:4.5 / 6:4 Moderate Mid Flex
Rotational Moment:9.1
For more on CCS, RFI and Rotational Moment, watch our YouTube video on the subject.

Performance

Casting the Rivermaster Z2 4.5 is nice, but it is a long rod! Its balance is quite good for a 4.5 meter rod, but because of its length, it has noticeable wind resistance as it slices through the air. I love the fact that it weighs only 92 g (2.9 oz.)! For a 450 cm tenkara rod, that is excellent.

Because of its length and softer action, it does have a little mid-rod wobble if you don’t have your casting stroke matched to the dynamics of the rod. It feels like this rod doesn’t like to be pushed. Rather, if you let the rod do the work and don’t force it during the cast, it loads and unloads without any griping. The action is relaxed enough to be fun, yet powerful enough to be useful. Its RFI is at the lower end of the 6:4 range, making it a softer option for the 4.5 meter length class of rods. Although it’s length shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s still fun to cast.

I fished the rod with a 15′ #3.5 fluorocarbon level line, with 3′ of tippet added. Again, I had to get my timing matched to the rod, but when I did the line sailed out straight and true. I didn’t catch anything of any size, but I’ve been assured by Ethan at ESZ that the Rivermaster Z2 4.5 meter can handle trout of a respectable size. He says, “ESZ wants to show our customers our tenkara rod is not only for small fish, our rod’s performance can totally handle something like 24 inch rainbow trout.” I’ll have to trust him for now, as it will likely be a while until I can target trout of that size.

Conclusion

I like this rod. It’s difficult to make a well behaving 4.5 meter tenkara rod, and I think that ESZ has done a good job. I appreciate its low weight, reasonable rotational moment, and pleasing flex action. It took me a little while to match my casting stroke to the rod and get my level line performing like I prefer, but I’m a Neanderthal when casting. You’d probable catch on and adjust quicker than I did. I’d like to take up ESZ on their challenge and test this rod on a 24″ trout, but I doubt I’ll be able to do so anytime soon. More realistically, I will be interested to see how it controls moderately large trout, 40-46 cm (16-18″), in fast flowing water. Maybe after run-off I’ll get a chance to do that!

Disclaimer: My opinion regarding this rod is just that, my opinion. Your opinion may differ.  Also, your rod may not have the same length, issues, or functionality as my rod. There are variations between rods, even in the same production run. No description can fully tell you how a rod feels or fishes. For this, you must personally hold, cast, and fish the rod, then make up your own mind.  I was given the Rivermaster Z2 4.5 meter to test and review. Despite this arrangement, there was no expectation of a positive review.


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1 comment

  1. Thank you for another excellent review Tom. Your description of the casting ideosyncracies mirrors my experiences with the Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 53 (in my case, I probably have a 20% success rate making good casts). The discussion begs the question: has any thought been given to finding a good, objective measure of a rod’s wind resistance?

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