Japanese lure fishing has deep traditions. Rivers of Japan are characterized by their relatively short lengths and considerably steep gradients due to the narrow and mountainous topography of the country this has carved a unique outlook on tackle and the process of trout fishing. Precise, sharp casts require finesse gear. Among top tier manufacturers one of the most established and sort after is Ito craft.
The Expert Custom 56ULX rod is designed for trout fishing in heavy flowing mountain streams. The rod is 5.6 feet, two part. Built on a baron graphite blank, accompanied by Fuji K series rings. A 230mm cork grip is custom made by Ito craft. The real seat is made from Japanese hardwood – Zelkova which combines beauty and robustness. Metal custom bearings, real screws and a custom rod end finishes off what can only be described as a masterpiece. All this beauty adds up to 93g.
The rod is recommended for 1.5g. – 9g. lures. Considering the length casting distance suffers at the lower range, but results may be inconsequential if fishing in smaller rivers. A 6 gr. the lure goes where I want it. Upon cast the rod has a delicate top half bend, when fighting fish the rod becomes an extension of your arm absorbing tugs and runs with ease. The short length and larger rings makes casting faster, sharper more precise. I found myself checking potential areas rapidly. Also tangles are less of an occurrence. The rod shines when using minnows between 4 and 7cm in length.
All in all a very luxurious, premium feel throughout. The rod looks super clean, nothing needs to be added or taken away, every part looks harmonious to the next. A Shimano 2000 size reel is an ideal pairing.
Construction/Quality: Have not held anything built better than this rod – 10
Performance: Does a great job for what it was built for – 8
Price: New around 550eur. Not always available, only possible to purchase in Japan – 5
Features: Quality parts, throughout – 9.5
Design (Ergonomics): Clean, luxurious design – 9.5
Application: Due to its specificity not the most versatile rod. Great for minnows – 6
Total Score: 8
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
Pros and Cons:
+ Clean design, exclusivity – Not the most versatile rod
+ Great casting for its length – Price and availability
+ Build quality unmatched
Ito Craft Expert Custom 56ULX
Length (cm): 170
Closed length (cm): 85
Lure wt (g): 1.5 – 9
Line (lb): 2 – 7
Rear grip length (mm): 230
Rod wt (g): 93