However, please don't mistake this post as a product review. I haven't fished this rod yet - it was about 6:30 PM, pitch black, and 25 degrees outside when I got home - these are merely some visual first impressions of this new stick. I'll be using the Tenkara USA Iwana, the rod I've fished for the past year (& have a serious crush on) as the benchmark.
|Tenkara USA 11' Iwana (top)|
Fountainhead 11' Caddis (bottom)
I will say this, in person, the Caddis is a very pretty rod. Unlike the Iwana, which has a clear coat where you can see the or carbon fiber or whatever it is beneath, the Caddis has a solid glossy, almost metallic blue finish. Yeah, it's only paint, but it's really quite striking in person, which is odd for me to say, considering my taste in rod color usually runs more towards traditional shades of olive or brown.
|Dimensionally, they are virtually identical|
Laid on a table side by side, they're dimensionally pretty much the same. The blank tubing appears to be the same diameter & the cork grips are the same length. One noticeable difference, besides the fact that the grip of my Iwana is getting grungy from 12+ months of Valley Creek battles, is that the Caddis grip is a bit thicker. The cork is also noticeably "cheaper," it's just not as soft or supple as the Iwana. It's not uncomfortable by any means, but if you've used a lot of fishing rods, you know what I'm talking about.
Both screw-off butt caps are silver, but that's where the similarity ends. The Caddis looks like chrome-colored plastic. The Iwana's is some sort of mystery metal, although I don't know what it is. Clearly a better made cap on the Iwana if that carries any weight with you.
[Note: Chris Stewart, aka "TenkaraBum" did some surgery on the butt cap of the Caddis and found it to in fact be metal, so I wanted to set the record straight. See his notes in the comments of this post. I will stand by the notion that the Iwana's looks much, much nicer. It's more refined and doesn't look "cheap" in my opinion.]
|Caddis cork is thick & hard, Iwana is dainty & soft. |
Interpret that however you'd like you perverts.
As you extend the rods, again are both pretty much the same dimensionally, with the end segments of the Caddis maybe a hair thicker. One thing that I didn't realize is that the two end sections of the Caddis are black, not metallic blue like the rest of the rod. The Iwana is black carbon throughout, with painted rings at the top of each segment. I don't know if the Caddis uses a different material in it's last two segments or if it's just lacking paint, but it's different. Not bad, just different.
|Crappy picture to attempt to show differences in end segments|
Finally, and probably the most important (& controversial feature), the Electrocution Warning Label. Yes, there was actually a thread on the Tenkara USA forum once upon a time about how folks felt it necessary to peel this label off, it ruins the aesthetic, etc... I enjoy the NASCAR look, so they're staying on my rods.
Ok, you got me. The electrocution sticker isn't the most important feature, but it's something to take a picture of. The Iwana has a white sticker with a bold graphic and largish type. The Caddis has a silver hologram sticker with a smaller graphic and undecipherable small type. Whatever...
|"Do NOT touch sources of electricity...DUMBASS"|
Okay, that's it. How's that for some totally meaningless first impressions? At least it gave me something to write about today. Since I haven't even had a chance to cast in the backyard yet, all the good stuff you really want to read will need to wait for a bit...maybe this weekend. My next trip to Valley, Stony, or wherever (whenever it is) should feature the Caddis getting a really good test drive.