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Akimaru 7-foot 6-inch 4-weight, 2-piece Bamboo Fly Rod

From Shuichi Akimaru, a master builder of bamboo fly rods, comes the “HEXA” 764, a 2-piece, six-sided (hollow) 7-foot 6-inch 4-weight fly rod.
Jim Dawson picture
Jim Dawson
June 23, 2024
Akimaru | The HEXA 7-foot 6-inch 4-weight, 2-piece Bamboo Fly Rod
product description
“This 4-weight series has been trained with actual fishing on the Henry's Fork. It is a light and sharp bamboo rod for trout and absolutely recommended for Hokkaido trip and trout over 20-inches.” – Akimaru
company ethos
“Akimaru bamboo fly rods are individually hand built by Shuichi Akimaru, who has been fly fishing in Japan and the U.S. States for the last 47 years and has built more than 700 hundred fly rods. Your bamboo fly rod should be designed around your fishing style. That is the most important matter.” – Akimaru

Japan is an exotic land of contrasts, from the serenity of a tea ceremony to the chaos of Shibuya crossing, where 2 million pedestrians cross the street every day. The differences can be vast, but hard-coded deep into the Japanese psyche is a universal appreciation for simplicity, precision and quality. 

From Shuichi Akimaru, a master builder of bamboo fly rods, comes the “HEXA” 764, a 2-piece, six-sided (hollow) 7-foot 6-inch 4-weight fly rod hand-built in Fukuoka, Japan. Aki is a true Japanese master craftsman, who for over 47 years has been perfecting, in his words, “fishing tool”–fly rods constructed of Watake, also known as native giant Japanese timber bamboo. Watake is less forgiving to craft into fly rods that its Chinese cousin Tonkin is, but when executed well, it produces an incredibly powerful fishing tool with a delicate feel that verges on the spiritual. As bamboo itself is a living organism, it’s been said that rods built from Watake maintain their own soul. This one certainly does. 

Unique to the HEXA is a 6-sided internal ferruling system, developed to minimize the rod’s weight, while extending consistent flexibility throughout the entire rod. The hand-rubbed oil finish is stunning, the wraps are expectedly precise and the overall feeling this rod imparts to one’s hand is both anticipation and serenity, strength and flexibility, yin and yang.  

Aki’s craftsmanship doesn’t come lightly. He estimates that it takes 400 hours, significantly longer than his competitors, to build a two-tip rod. Since beginning, Aki has built over 700 rods in his shop.

Bamboo Fly rods are, admittedly, an extravagance, one that finds its way to those who value the aesthetic and feel that only a rod made of grass can produce. For those who do, the feeing produced is remarkable.  

To field test this rod, I fished a HEXA 764 for three days during the cherry blossom season in Japan. We would fish extremely technical water, with dry flies, on long leaders, sight fishing for large suspicious rainbows (fish that averaged over 20-inches), trophy yamame and the odd brown trout, which we learned is considered a destructive species and not highly prized. The fishing required accurate casts, often made in the wind, at distances of up to 60 feet. To eliminate drag, we started with 14-foot, 6X leaders, which occasionally grew, due to drag, to 16-feet. 

When landing fish, the HEXA 764 performed extremely well. I was pleased with the bamboo’s crispness and the way the fly line and casting tempo quickly found the rod’s sweet spot. The rod even proved capable of landing a 10-pound fish on an emerging mayfly–providing enough pressure to efficiently land a fish of that size. The HEXA was capable of doing everything we asked on the river.

Pros

Ultimate Japanese quality in a fly rod, unlike any other you may ever see. 

This rod is aesthetically beautiful: The wraps are simple and exact, design details precise, the reel seat, hardware and cork are all perfectly executed and beautiful.

Performance: Demanding a softer tempo, this rod will make you a better caster.

Touch: The HEXA’s ability to gently place a fly beyond where you will find most fish, even in the wind.

Bamboo of this caliber is a spiritual experience to fish.

Cons

Hand-built fishing tools with this level of craftsmanship are not cheap. 

On some airlines, 2-piece fly rods can be difficult to travel with. In that case, Aki can build a 3-piece rod that’s nearly identical in feel and performance.

Pricing

All rod prices include two tips, custom bag and rod tube for $5,500.

Craftsmanship

Akimaru's HEXA rod is a progressive action, and he is a master craftsman and rod builder.

Durability

You can always shut The HEXA in a car door by accident, but aside from any mistakes like that, this fly rod is as durable as any modern, high-modulus graphite blank. The use of Watake bamboo is also stronger than comparable Tonkin bamboo.

  • Price: $5,500
  • Dimensions: 7-foot 6-inch 4-weight, 2-piece fly rod
  • Weight: 3.1 ounces
  • Construction/Materials: Watake bamboo (giant Japanese timber bamboo)
  • Guides: Snake Brand snake guides (tungsten carbide)        .
  • Reel Seat: Selected woods, nickel silver ring and cap
  • Rod Action: Medium
  • Rod Tracking: Slow  
  • Rod Recovery: Medium  
  • Warranty information: Contact Akimaru

“Akimaru’s representative original rod ‘HEXA’ has a joint part with a bamboo ferrule specification, and delicately toughening realizes smoother rod action.” [sic]

Contact Akimaru.

Upon delivery, if there are any problems with the HEXA fly rod, Aki will work closely with consumers to rectify any issues. 

It’s a good idea not to break this fly rod.

Likely buyers

When you’ve retired after selling your tech startup…

Conclusion

Certainly an acquired taste, but there’s nothing in this world that can compare to fishing with a fly rod made of grass, one with a soul, and just how the Buddha would enjoy fishing (big fly fish guy, the Buddha).

Akimaru has taken bamboo fly rod construction to an entirely new level.

Find the HEXA direct:

 Akimaru Bamboo Fly Rod, The HEXA lifestyle shot. Rainbow trout with bamboo fly rod
 Akimaru Bamboo Fly Rod, The HEXA lifestyle shot. Akimaru making rod
 Akimaru Bamboo Fly Rod, The HEXA lifestyle shot. Akimaru making rod
Bamboo
 Akimaru Bamboo Fly Rod, The HEXA lifestyle shot. Man in henry's fork River
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