Tailwalk Fullrange and Speaky Review.  Wayne Petherick, YHQLD

The black and gold tones of the rod are pretty stunning and will look great with the pairing of many reels though I can't help but think this rod is designed to pair with the new Speaky range which comes out in a pretty sweet stealth black.

Fullrange Spinning Rod

Tailwalk is a Japanese fishing company that import, export, and sell fishing rods, reels, and accessories.  Their new 2020 range includes a bunch of new goodies but in this edition we will be looking at the Fullrange spinning rods and the Speaky spinning reels.

These are not widely available though some outlets are carrying stock now (Bait Tackle at Underwood and Nerang are two that have stock on hand and they are the sole Australian distributor for Tailwalk).  The Speaky reels will follow these rods around June/July of this year.  The Fullrange rods are available now and come in a few flavours, but more about that in a moment.

Buying a rod, reel, or combo is yet another aspect of fishing/kayaking that is deeply personal and subject to a number of factors including accessability, price, skill, and others.  Some will spend big bucks on their gear and others will be content to grab a bundled combo off the shelf at their favourite tackle store.  Some will argue the virtue of more expensive gear while others will tell you there is not a lot of difference.  There are other considerations to think about when picking gear that costs big bucks like the possibility of dropping some of it overboard (trust me, I recently lost a $500 combo and it hurts, a lot).

My experience is that my more expensive gear is better and that tranlslates to a better fishing experience.  When I say more expensive I am not necessarily talking about Stella reels and custom rods with torzite guides, I am referring mainly to gear that costs a little more than you would pay for good quality kit at many chain stores.  In some cases, this kit has cost about the same as some of the upper market stuff at these chains stores so comparatively the money spent is negligible.  I also prefer gear that is not "stock" and what I mean by that is I like stuff that is different than what's available pretty much anywhere (that's why I love shopping at Bait Tackle, these guys have a lot of gear that others don't have).

It was during a recent trip to Bait Tackle Nerang after losing one of my beloved Yellow Rods overboard because I felt a need to fill the hole that now existed on my rod rack.  I had looked online at the Tailwalk stuff a couple of weeks earlier and was impressed by what I saw.  But on this shopping day I found the guys had some of the rods in stock.  They had a light, medium-light, medium, and heavy in the Fullrange series (more stock of these and a few other products are coming).  Most of my gear, and my preferred fishing style, is light with most of my rods in the 1-3kg range and my reels are all 1000s except for one which is a 3500 (attached to my heaviest rod, a 2-5kg on a Neritica blank).  So of course I checked out the light, to be specific, the S67L, with the full specs below:

Length:               6' 7"
Pieces:                 1
Weight:               95g
Lure Weight:      1/16-1/4oz
Line Weight:      2-8lb         
RRP:                    $349

The first thing that struck me when I picked the rod up was the weight.  They weigh about the same as many other rods in the same range but the weight feels different.  They feel somehow lighter.  After a couple of uses I figured ot what it is about this rod that makes it feel this way, and that is because the weight is distributed evenly across the whole blank.  Picking up my other rods, many feel heavier at the back end around the reel seat which is completely understandable as this is where the thicker part of the blank is as well as your other hardware.  So why would this rod feel lighter?  It probably has something to do with the fact that this blank is 99% carbon and 1% glass rather than being graphite.

Carbon and graphite are essentially the same material but they are arrived at through different manufacturing processes.  Graphite is pure carbon with its atoms arranged in sheets of hexagonal rings whereas carbon fibres are a polymer with atoms all connected to each other in a chain.  The process of production is what makes this happen.  Chemistry lesson aside carbon is typically lighter than graphite and I suspect this is what resulted in the different feel.

Carbon is also well known for its sensitivity.  This means that even the slightest of nudges from an interested fish will likely result in a touch being detected which will increase your hookup rate as you are not missing the curiosity nibble you can change to a reaction bite with a well timed twitch of the lure.  Having used this rod for about 16 hours now I can safely say without reservation or doubt that this is true.  Every.  Single.  Nibble.  All come through the rod into the angler's hand.  You can literaly feel everything.

The rod has a really nice arc to it when loaded up, covering a good two thirds of the blank to the top of the butt hardware.  This means that there is a lot of power down low in the butt with the top doing a lion's share of shock absorption.  According to Tailwalk's website, the action is fast which usually means that the first third of the rod is doing most of the bending, but I found the action to be closer to fast-medium.

These are an incredible rod with an incredible feel and they cast like a dream.  If you want to check out the range, stop in and see the boys at Bait Tackle.
Speaky Spinnings Reels

Sadly I didn't have the opportunity to do a hands-on review of the Speaky reels as of this writing though I hope to do a follow up review. The specifications certainly look impressive with the 2000HGX having 6+1 bearings, a 7kg drag, and carrying 130m of PE2 line on a spool.
The Speaky reels come in a 2000HGX, 2500HGX, 3000HGX, and 3500HGX. Pricing is not definite at this stage though it looks like you will pay about the same as an FL Stradic at full price placing these somewhere around the lower middle of the market.  This will likely be money well spent based on their specifications which includes rug free felt washers and a carbon drag washer in the heavier models, machine cut aluminium gear, carbon reinforced plastic body, and others which make these a well spec'd product.  Word is the drag is silky smooth.

The lower rated reels come with a flat handle and the higher rated reels with a ball style handle.  There is no news yet as to whether you will be able to buy the ball style handle for fitting to the lighter reels though one could assume that spare parts would make that possible.  It may also be possible to use third party handles but again until release the specifications of the fittings will not be available.

If baitcasters are more your speed, they do have a range of these which are already currently in stock.  Now these I have played with and they are quite a nice reel, feeling heavy and solid in the hand.  There is a Fullrange series of BC reels which will pair nicely with the Fullrange BC rods.

So where can you get your hands on one of these rods or reels?  So far the only place I know that is carrying these and who will have the Speaky reels available is Bait Tackle at Underwood and Nerang.  What if you don't want a Fullrange but one of their other series?  In time Ivan and the boys will likely carry a greater range but they can always do a custom order for you too. 

And don't forget, if you are part of the Yak Hunter's Members Program you will get a discount at Bait Tackle on your gear!
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