TESTED: Dakau Drua MH Kayak Snapper Rod

AFTER dropping way too many good reds in 2008 with an ultra fast, high modulus softbait flick stick, I asked premium rod builder Rohit Lal to explore the merits of a dedicated Dakau ’yak snapper rod. Dakau is a boutique rod brand based in Sydney, NSW. They offer a set range of high performance fishing rods based on selected blanks manufactured in the US and Japan, including some models built to our specifications. Rod handle configurations are tailored to individual requirements and some thread colour choices are available. This rod, a Dakau Drua MH, measured 6ft, was full of power in the back end, and a bit friendlier up top. I anticipated these features would allow for headshake compensation on big snapper or dealing with boofing tail slaps of jewfish while running a 2500-4000 series reel.

Because this stick wasn’t a production model, Rohit researched the latest innovations in rod blank technology and meticulously assembled the components allowing for the best on ‘yak castability of jigheads within the 1/6th to 1/4oz range. These were for depths between eight and 20m. Other kayak specific considerations included a slightly shorter butt section gripped for a snug fit in a flush mount rod holder. The blank also required the type of load curve you’d normally associate with a jigging rod to better match my evil high sticking habits. As our discussions progressed we chose to steer clear of the obligatory lanyard attachment on this particular occasion. Any safety lines would impede casting pleasure while endlessly flicking soft baits. When the masterfully bound Alconite guided composite stick finally arrived, it weighed in at 190 grams and sported a Fuji Reel Seat, Fuji MN frames and Dakau’s signature rod build bling. The Drua was matched to a 2500 size reel and put through five months hard labour running 20lb braid, thus doubling the rod’s standard 4-6kg line rating. Adding insult to injury, this prototype was partnered with a ‘yak that’s often bounced around in heavy surf transits.

As the season peaked then tailed out, I was privileged enough to land about 50 snapper on this rod with the largest specimen from the kayak weighing 8kg. This rod also accounted for five school jewfish to 8kg and a mixed bag of random species.

I believe this stick offers ‘yak anglers a higher hookup to landing ratio compared to many of the stiff but highly responsive premium snapper products. At rest, the Dakau’s rod tip slowly loads up, then fully bends over into regularly solid hooksets. This connection on the take reminds me of the way baited circle hooks imbed on a smooth set drag when left undisturbed in a rod holder. I believe the stiffness of high modulus carbon rods, coupled with braid, creates a spring-like effect to the jighead when hit by snapper which potentially forces the hook to bounce out of their mouths on the initial strike. It’s possible that the extra softness in the Drua’s taper gives snapper more time to properly connect to the softbait before they turn and run. Casting this rod is a highly enjoyable experience and I consistently meet most of the inshore water depths I work on a single cast, without manually feeding extra line. Generally the depths I try and match on the cast are anywhere from 8-25m and I’d prefer to use initial casting power to match the depth rather than open the bail arm after the cast.

As snapper run deep, softness in the rod tip provides extra absorbency on slackening lines while the butt section gives exceptional leverage and more than enough clarity of feel to experience the fight. From the initial hectic bursts to the end of the battle, the Drua provides excellent line transparency through the blank.  When I reflect on my 2009 soft bait exploits and gear up with heavier casting equipment for the upcoming pelagic season, I can honestly say my prototype of the Drua MH has been my #1 favourite (and most successful) ‘yak snapper rod.


By Dan Bode

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