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Kabuto 7033 - new build

Colt Johnson

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I just finished building this Kabuto 7033 in white. I'm very impressed with the quality and action of this blank. One of the nicest rod blanks I've handled. Of all of the white Kabuto builds that I've seen two stood out as being the most attractive: Matt's build with pale yellow wraps and antique gold accents and Vlad's build with gold wraps and red accents. I thought long and hard about my options and decided to follow one of these two color schemes.


I was originally going to go with Vlad's color scheme and use antique gold wraps tipped in red. I turned an osage orange insert amongst a few others, and I had difficulty matching a wood insert with my test wrap.


Then I happened upon a nice piece of spalted box elder burl that I really liked. I turned it and immediately knew that it would match the pale yellow wraps that Matt used on his build.


I finally settled on the following components:


SEAT: Lemke down locking darkened nickel silver slide band

INSERT: Spalted box elder burl

GRIP: REC cork rings


GUIDES and TIP TOP: black nickel snake brand

THREAD: 3/0 YLI Pale Yellow tipped with 3/0 YLI Antique Gold

FINISH: PacBay two part epoxy finish. One coat.


Here are some photos with a few different reels.













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This blank is kind of tough to get a hold of. It is made in Japan by Yasuyuki Kabuto (Kab). It is actually translucent. The website is here: http://kabutorods.com/


Kab is pretty active on the fiberglass fly rod forum and his blanks have made quite a splash in the fiberglass fly rod community. He is well known for producing high quality fiberglass blanks, but his waiting list is usually between 2 and 6 months. About twice a year he will sell a handful of blanks. A friend of mine on the ultralight fly fishing forum bought one a year ago and decided not to build it. I eagerly jumped on the opportunity to snatch it up when I caught wind that he was not planning on building it.


This particular model is held as the "gem" of the series. It is rated for a 3wt. line but I've heard that the rod favors a WF 4wt. line. I'm planning on trying both.




P.S. What day's do you usually work at BPS? I'll try to stop in some time when you are there.

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I think the rod would be much more attractive if the blank were truly white ala the old Shakespeare glass rods instead of that wierd, ghostly non color.

That's what makes it unique. I've used light gray or white thread on my wraps before so they become transparent upon finishing but then the smallest of non symmetrical bends in my single foot guides became very apparent but your snakes look great.

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Ronk: I can see a rod this exotic not meshing with everyone's palate. However, I think this rod will really shine (pun intended) in the sunlight. I've seen photos of Kabuto's rods (both yellow and white) that just GLOW in the sunlight.


For example, check out these photos of both Kabuto's yellow and white blanks. For my aesthetic preferences, the translucence is one of the coolest parts of this rod.






And Rob G.: Excellent point about being able to see the flaws in the guide feet. I anticipated the guide feet really showing since I used such thin silk thread and I used a pale yellow (almost white) color on a translucent white blank. So I opted for snake brand black nickel guides. The snake brand guides have really nice quality feet and they do not require any grinding (they are preground). So you don't incidentally remove the nickel silver coating from the feet (leaving them marred up) since the feet do not require filing.

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Sunlight sure does make the rods look great.Trouble is fishing's usually better in low light,ie early/late in the day,with cloud cover or in shade on sunny days.What does the yellow rod look like in less light.The yellow reminds me of those Eagle Claw glass rods of days long gone.

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Sunlight sure does make the rods look great.Trouble is fishing's usually better in low light,ie early/late in the day,with cloud cover or in shade on sunny days.What does the yellow rod look like in less light.The yellow reminds me of those Eagle Claw glass rods of days long gone.



Here is a photo from Kab's facebook page of one of his factory yellow blanks. It appears that it was taken indoors:




There are quite a few other yellow fiberglass blanks to choose from right now that would better resemble the Eagle Claws (and are less expensive) if that is what you are looking for. I would be happy to provide you with a list of makers. They still make the bright yellow eagle claw glass rods as well. As far as translucent blanks go, Fred Paddock (F.H. Paddock Fly Rods) offers a more pale yellow translucent blank. I had one of those and they are nice rods. They are pretty quick for glass though. And some of the older amber colored Lamiglass blanks are still floating around. A friend of mine who builds rods in Montana just bought six of them. They are pretty nice looking and they are translucent as well.


As for sunny days vs. cloudy days, well.....I fish when I fish. I don't think I would consider it troublesome if it was cloudy and my rod did not glow. : )


But I will have to let you know what my rod looks like on a cloudy day. I have a feeling that the blank is effected mostly by natural light (whether through cloud cover or on clear skies). I'm guessing that the rod just changes shades depending on the time of day and amount of cloud cover.


Here is a photo of some test wraps (with thicker silk thread) that I took on my back deck on a cloudy winter morning. I decided to go with as thin of silk as possible after doing these test wraps.



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Colt, just curious if you have any idea what those Kabuto blanks weigh? Also, how do you think they compare to other standard glass blanks like a comparable Lamiglass blank as in taper or rod speed?


I will let you know on both counts. I cannot weigh my blank anymore, but I can shoot Kab an email or PM him on the fiberglass fly rod forum. As for the action, I plan on spending some time on my dock (even though there is some ice on the lake) this weekend just to cast the rod.


From what I have read about this particular rod, I think it is going to be fairly crisp with decent recovery for glass. Obviously nothing compared to most all graphite, but my experience with the honey colored Lamiglass blanks I think the Lamis are a bit slower and bend a little deeper than the Kabuto. On the other hand, I previously had a FH Paddock 7'10" 3wt. and it was even crisper and faster than the Kabuto seems. I also have experience with a Steffen Bros. S-glass 2/3 wt. 7' 3pc. My initial impressions of the Kabuto seem similar to the Steffen Bros. except with more power in the butt section.


I'll try an ERN on the rod (maybe tonight) and see what number I get. I built a 4wt. 7'6" McFarland E glass rod for a friend in Australia and I spent a few hours casting it before mailing it off. I feel a lot of similarities in the action of the Kabuto and the 4wt. McFarland I built. I've heard several people comment that they prefer this model Kabuto with a 4wt. line. We'll see. I have a Rio LT DT 3wt., Sage Performance Taper WF 3wt. and a Sci. Ang. Supra DT 4wt. that I plan on trying on the Kabuto.


I do believe the Kabutos are E-Glass which (as a generality) is lower modulus than the S-glass and has the tendency to be slower and deeper bending.



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I took the 7033 Kabuto out late Sunday afternoon. I chose that time as the sun was just beginning to set....hoping that I might be able to see the rod blank in some interesting lighting. The lake was frozen (barely as we may have 1" of ice) and I was casting off my dock.






Having heard from some that this rod likes a 4wt. line, I brought three reels with me: An Orvis Battenkill LA lined with Sage WF 3wt. Performance Taper line; Orvis Lightweight with Scientific Angler Supra 4wt. DT line, and a Sage 3100 lined with a 1/2 Rio LT 3wt. DT line.


I started with the WF 3wt. line. The rod was easy to cast and loaded equally well at 20' and 40'. I was able to shoot the line 50' feet (probably around 60') which was pretty good for a 7' glass rod. The loops were tight and consistent. I was very satisfied using the WF 3wt. line and I began to conclude that I like this rod with a 3wt. line. With the WF 3wt. line the rod flexed mostly in the tip and a bit into the mid section. For awhile there was about a 10 to 15 mph breeze (guessing). The WF 3wt. line could cast into the breeze, but I would guess 30' was about my limit.




With some reluctance, I next tried the SA Supra DT 4wt. line. The WF 3wt. line cast so smoothly I was fairly certain that the DT 4wt. line would be too much for this rod. I was wrong. The rod handled the DT 4wt. line beautifully. I was able to load the rod much deeper and using the DT 4wt. line the rod flexed mostly in the mid and a bit into the butt section. It did take a little more concentration to keep my loops tight with the DT 4wt. line. When I did keep my loops tight the rod shot line much better than with a WF 3wt. line. The rod topped out about the same, maybe 55' or so. But if I was in tight quarters, the DT 4wt. might be a good choice as the rod could shoot line much better with just a short amount of line in the air. I also found that the mass of the DT 4wt. line scored me an extra 10' or so when casting into the wind. With the DT 4wt. line the rod felt a lot closer in action to a few McFarland yellow glass rods I have built recently. Particularly I had a 7'6" 5wt. 3pc. McFarland that I built for someone which flexed deeply with a DT 5wt. line. I think the Kabuto felt similar with the DT 4wt. line. Both rods really let the caster feel the line loading the rod which is a cool part of the experience casting a glass rod. Since I was casting over ice, I couldn't really test the rod's roll casting abilities. There is no resistance to load the rod properly. But I have a feeling the rod would roll cast with the DT 4wt line very smoothly in close.




Last I put the Sage 3100 with a DT 3wt. line on the rod. At this point I was not sure what to expect. This combo was probably my favorite. The DT 3wt. line was a great compromise between the WF 3wt. line and the DT 4wt line. It was fairly easy to consistently produce tight loops (like the WF 3wt. line) yet I was able to shoot line fairly well (like the DT 4wt. line). The rod cast into the wind as good as I would expect. The ability to keep my loops tight consistently allowed me to be accurate more frequently. Keeping in mind that the rod reminded me of my McFarland builds with a DT 4wt. line, with the DT 3wt. line, the Kabuto reminded me of my Orvis Superfine Touch rods. The rod loaded in the tip and a bit into the mid section, short casts were easy and accurate, and the rod could be pushed if needed. Since I only had 1/2 a line, it was very easy to measure the distance I was casting. I could easily cast all of the line which I believe is 40 ft. of line plus about 8' of leader/tippet. So 50' casts were no problem with the DT 3wt. Rio LT line. (I probably could have gotten another 10' of line if I had a full line rigged up).






And the rod looked pretty nice to boot. As far as aesthetics and balance, surprisingly I think I favored the Sage 3100 reel the most. The rig felt very light for glass and the black reel was a nice contrast to the white blank and light colored wraps.




I am expecting the arrival of an Abel Creek LA 1 with an older brown trout fish graphic today. I bought the reel new for less than the cost of a standard gloss black version. The Abel Creek could trump the Sage 3100 as far as looks are concerned. Time will tell. I am confident that the Abel Creek will balance the Kabuto more towards the middle of the grip. The Abel Creek LA weighs 3.8 oz. empty and the Orvis Battenkill LA I that I rigged up first weighs 3.9 oz. empty. The Orvis Battenkill felt fine, but I do think I preferred the balance point at the very front tip of the grip as with the Sage 3100.


I am a bit curious how a WF 4wt. line would perform on this rod. But for now I anticipate using a DT 3wt. under most circumstances. I will update as I receive and try the Abel Creek LA 1 vs. the Sage 3100.

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