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Getting Bent 2: Zenaq Bass Rods

Zenaq Plaisir Answer vs. Snipe

Zenaq Snipe vs. Plaisir Answer

Zenaq have existed as a Japanese rod-building brand for 60 years. I was always aware of their products but believed the price to be one step further than most British anglers could justify. However, I know that some folks will always just want the best, and that’s why Zenaq exist and do what they do. So the time has come… With the likes of the Apia Foojin’Z range demonstrating why a high-end rod can be worth the money at £600+, in 2023 we finally started bringing Zenaq to the UK. As a quick disclaimer: these rods are all £700+, with some breaking the £800 barrier. They are undeniably expensive, but unashamedly so.

In October last year I post about my “first impressions” when they arrived. I’ve since fished with most of them but never yet had the chance to follow it up with a report. It’s always interesting to fish with a rod, make an assessment of what it’s doing and then see that represented in a chart. Since the theory does typically align with what I create with these, it’s proof that building these curves is worthwhile as they do accurately represent what the rod will do.

For our own business – which is very bass and LRF oriented – there are only a few rods in the Zenaq range that suit what we do. The two ranges are Plaisir Answer (Seabass) and Snipe (Allround). The two are very different. Plaisir being more traditionally glassy and Japanese, while the Snipe rods are fast and steely. All rods we have measured are unique the “RG” guide versions (see here). The guide system will make a negligible difference to the rod action.

You can view our first post in this series here for more information on how and why we create these curves: Getting Bent 1: Apia Foojin’RS Lure Rod Analysis

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Rod bending curves plotted: 500g weight
Zenaq Plaisir Answer vs. Snipe
As with our first post and every bass rod post past this point, we use a 500g weight to make our standard comparison. For rods that will handle it we then follow up with a 1kg test.

Snipe S76X

The lightest of the Snipe rods, the word “wand” doesn’t do it justice. They are a very tippy rod which powers up really nicely through the bottom of that tip section. I’ve seen a few pictures of some really nice bass landed on this one. Though it’s not a rod for a big lure. Having said that, the power level really surprised me and you can see it on the charts. Given that the tip feels so light, the fact that the butt has enough in it to make it comparable to many 30g rods makes it a quite special and unique rod.

Snipe S78XX

Zenaq use an “X” system within their names. The single X on the 76 means a lighter action. The XX on the 78 we have here gives an obvious step up in power that you can see on the curves. The extra tip diameter is immediately noticeable and being only 7’8″ it’s a really stocky little rod. I can imagine it being absolutely brilliant with larger surface lures or any closer quarters fishing in the estuary where you have the possibility of some decent fish in front of you. The 76X would worry me a little bit if I was hooking 60cm+ fish, while the 78XX has everything you’ll ever need in the power stakes. It clearly still has that nice fast action, and is insanely well balanced, but the power level will cope with anything around our coast. It’s almost too good a rod to take wrasse fishing, but it’d be incredible there too.

As you’ll see with the Plaisir rods below (and the chart will show it too), this is another rod from the Zenaq range that could probably have been rated higher than the numbers suggest.40g may be a reasonable expectation.

Snipe S86XX Longcast

This is the rod that will likely define Zenaq in the UK. Fast (f), Crisp (c) and super steely (s), it’s a rod that plugs directly in to the trends and preferences that I saw in the shop every day. Considering the Snipe range has actually been about for quite a few years, I’ve never seen a rod of this style (fcs) that I would rather own. For anybody wanting a quality topwater lure rod, this is it. But it’s far more of a rod than that. I’ll review it individually later on at some point, but I think anybody who picks one up will be hard pressed to find fault.

Anyway, the curves I can see above describe it exactly as I’ve felt it. It’s fast but not with a soft tip. It actually has a similar tip to the Apia Foojin’RS Lynx 93M (42g) but with less length and a less solid section around the base of the tip section, it’s both better balanced and just feels like it’s blended – power wise – even better. Which is saying something given what the Lynx can do.

Plaisir Answer PA89 - Technical Surfer

The Plaisir Answer range is, as I said, an intentionally different range. You can see this in the curves.

To start with the 89 makes absolute sense given that we’ve just done the Snipe 86. When you look at the curves above these two are quite closely matched. The Plaisir is only rated to 28g (the Snipe 40g), so their closeness is the first thing to note. Given that I feel the Snipe’s rating is quite accurate (I’ve cast a 40g Seeker happily enough, though admittedly not in to the wind), it’s another example of why I make these curves. The 28g rating on the Plaisir should probably be 35g. When you compare it to our benchmark Tailwalk Hi-Tide SSD 90ML (35g) as well, it’s close.

Power aside and on to action – again to compare to the Snipe 86 – you can see that the Plaisir is lighter in the middle, dipping earlier than the Snipe and having a more progressive curve. You certainly feel a little more elastic in the tip when fishing it – thanks to this middle section having a little more give.

Plaisir Answer PA93 - Cast Master

Like the 89, the Plaisir 93 should realistically cast a bit more than it says. Rated to only 25g you’d be forgiven for thinking the 93 was a light, specialist rod. Far from it, it’s just a blissful, light action bass rod. By no means too soft, it’s about the equivalent of a more typical 30g rod – handling all of the normal bass lures we use. The curve itself isn’t a long way away from that of the Apia Foojin’Z Urban Dino 90ML that we will get to in a future post. That rod is rated to 32g, so again gives you an idea of where the Plaisir 93 sits.

Compared to the other rods here is is obviously the longest, but also the most progressive action of them all. This is a typical Japanese bass rod. Not designed to be tippy. It will bend, but that’s what makes it a nice rod to fish with too. As soon as I can these (I had a shallow diving plug on at first) it felt exactly tuned to fish that type of lure. As you can imagine the designers doing in some lovely looking Japanese estuary. Likely stood in the dark. It just felt incredibly at home.

The Getting Bent Summary

The curves for this post in the Getting Bent series highlight nicely the differences between the Snipe and Plaisir ranges. With the Snipe you get tippy and incredibly crisp actions. They’re not the lightest rods on paper but they have amazing balance. The Plaisir Answer rods on the other hand are more forgiving and share the more Japanese features of so many rods we sell.

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