Best Place to Buy: DRAGONtail Tenkara
Alternative Purchase Location: Amazon
Length: 386 cm (about 12 feet)
My Rating: 9 out of 10
*Quick disclaimer, I ordered the rod with the rod sock for $84.99 but I also ordered the rest of the kit. This kit included the rod and sock as well as a hard rod tube, 13′ of furled line, a roll of 4x tippet, a few assorted kebari flies, and a line holder for a grand total of $114.99. I wanted to test all of these products for quality and effectiveness. I paid full price and was not paid to write this review.*
The DRAGONtail Tenkara Shadowfire 365 – Product Review
Every sport and hobby has competition for the best products and equipment. All of these companies claim they offer the best gear but who’s right?
Tenkara is the same as other sports in this aspect. Luckily there is less competition in the industry, making it easier for us to find what we are looking for. Today I want to introduce you to arguably the best entry-level to intermediate-level tenkara rod, the DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365.
What Makes The Shadowfire 365 So Great?
In comparison to western-style fly fishing, tenkara is a lot less expensive to get into, but this rod will save you even more of your hard-earned cash. The Shadowfire 365 is VERY affordable, coming in at less than $90! I don’t know about you but for me, that’s a tank of gas!
Now I know what you must be thinking, “Tevah, since this rod is so inexpensive, what will I be giving up?” and the truth of the matter is you won’t be giving up ANYTHING of consequence. DRAGONtail did not cut corners to bring you this rod. The construction of this rod is impeccable. Starting with the high-quality, comfortable cork handle, going to the swiveling lillian at the tip, this rod will not let you down!
When I first purchased this rod, I will admit that I had low expectations due to the low price. The first thing that stood out to me was that it arrived at my doorstep ONE DAY after I ordered it! (For reference, I live in Idaho) When I opened the box I could tell that time was taken to ensure my rod was not damaged in shipping.
Once I unboxed the rod, I was pleased to be greeted by the stunning quality and appearance of the rod. The ergonomics of the handle were very comfortable and the rod construction was exquisite. I really appreciate a rod that is enjoyable to use and to look at.
The next thing I noticed was the fact the lillian was able to swivel freely of the tip of the rod. This is a feature that is not available in most inexpensive tenkara rods but one that is very helpful. This feature keeps the lillian from getting tangled on the tip of the rod and will help the rod to load properly when hooking into a fish.
How Does The Shadowfire Preform?
I’ve shared how the company is a great one to work with because of the steadiness of their shipping, the affordability, and the visual aesthetics of the rod but all these are but worthless if the rod doesn’t work. Luckily, the rod works great!
As I mentioned earlier, I had low expectations when I bought this rod. After some time of using it, I am almost tempted to send an apology letter to DRAGONtail for previously doubting this rod! I have tried cheap amazon rods before and this rod may be cheap but it’s in a different class than the other cheap rods.
When casting this rod, you feel as if you have a $200 rod in your hands. It has a very soft action, the action is 6.4, but this rod is a joy to cast. The furled line lays out carefully and accurately places your fly on the water. Because of the soft action of the rod, you can easily feel bites and eats making it easy to set the hook.
Another part that I really enjoyed was the line holder that came with my rod. The line holder is soft foam and can easily slide over your rod when moving locations. This allows you to keep your line attached to the rod after the rod is collapsed. The rod cap also has slots on the side so you can put the cap in even while the line is still out.
Side note, if you end up breaking a section or sections of your rod, DRAGONtail sells replacement parts for everything from the case to the rod cap for very reasonable prices.
What I Disliked
This is hard for me to pick parts that I didn’t like because of how pleased I am with this rod but I found a few things. I think the biggest thing was the rod socks that DRAGONtail sells. I don’t like how they look for one, and I don’t really like how you use them.
As for the appearance of the rod sock, it reminds me of a knitted sock monkey. I know this won’t affect the way it works, but I don’t like the way it looks.
I also think that the socks are too small for the rods. They aren’t hard to put rods in but it does take some pressure to insert the rod. Once inserted, the tip pushes on the sock quite a bit and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ripped in the future.
Other than that, I don’t have any complaints!
It’s Decided, This Rod Is Amazing!
We have looked at all the different aspects of the DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 and I can confidently say that this is the BEST rod I have ever used in this price range! The quality and useability rival that of rods that cost twice as much!
I hope that if you have been thinking about getting this rod I was able to provide you with the information necessary to pull the trigger. You will not be disappointed with this rod! In fact, if I ever lost this rod or broke it I would definitely buy another one!
If you want to see an even more affordable rod, check out my review of the Goture tenkara rod.
Please, if you still have questions or doubts about buying this rod, please reach out! I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions!