While there are some great advantages to a two-piece spinning rod, the obvious engineering challenge in making one is that segmentation in a rod never improves the rod’s action. Generally, there’s a trade-off between efficiency of the rod’s action and the benefits of being able to break the rod down for transport and storage.
I recently field tested one of Fenwick’s two-piece Elite Tech River Runner spinning rods, and if there’s any compromise in the rod’s action or feel, I didn’t notice it. The first time I picked it up, I thought, “Huh. This feels good.”
I didn’t change my mind during the field test and, incidentally, I wasn’t alone in that initial assessment. As I was writing up this field test, two other editors separately came into my office, where the rod was leaning in the corner. Neither editor knew I had been field-testing the rod. The first one picked it up and said, “Hey, I like this rod.” The second editor picked it up and said, “This is a good-looking rod. Nice.”
The River Runner series includes six models, ranging from a 5-foot, 8-inch ultralight to a 7-foot, 6-inch light rod. They are rated to throw lures running from 1/32 ounce to 5/8 ounce.
The model I tested was 6 feet, 8 inches long and was rated for 3- to 8-pound-test line.
Fenwick is marketing these as trout rods. That makes sense. The River Runner would be ideal under any situation in which the angler needed to pack in to get to fishable water, or needed to store the rod in a small boat or canoe heading to and from fishing and who would be throwing finesse baits once on the water.
But if anything, Fenwick is selling itself short here: I strung my rod with 8-pound test and went bass fishing with it on a small, walk-in pond early in the season. The rod handled Trick Worms and Senkos easily — as well as the largemouth I caught.
In casting, the rod loaded well; though the action is light, the rod had enough power to provide for a decent finesse-rod hookset.
In other words, though this rod’s specialty may be presenting lures to backcountry trout, I think it’s versatile enough to use for any casting presentation to panfish, and for a decently wide range of finesse presentations to black bass.
I’d use this rod anywhere that access or travel to the water I was fishing would be made easier with a two-piece rod. And if you’re the kind of guy who keeps a rod in his car or truck “just in case” an unexpected chance to go fishing comes along, the River Runner is a fishing rod for you.