July 06, 2015
"The right gear matters." I'm sure you've heard this time and time again, but it so true. Having the right gear for a number of scenarios you wish to implement while out on the water is crucial to your success. One minute the bass are chasing spinnerbaits down the bank, the next they are shut off and won't take anything but a shakey-head or some sort of finesse setup.
When the fish turn off the moving baits, its time to pick up the finesse rods and get to work.
The Game and Fish staff have reviewed five different spinning tackle setups and have put them to the test.
Check them out and discover what you have been missing. Now more than ever is the time to get your hands on of these rods before its fall and the bass are on top waters once again!
Team Lew's: HM85 Million Graphite Series
Team Lew's claims their HM85 graphite blanks are "constructed using Lew's proprietary Advanced Performance Technology (APT), which adds to their balance and sensitivity." When I read something like that, I think, "Sure, sure, whatever."
But after field-testing their 7-foot fast-action medium-power spinning rod, I have to conclude that Lew's is on to something. It's a very nice rod: balanced, sensitive and strong enough to throw baits well. This model is rated for 6-to 14-pound test and 3/8-to 5/8-ounce lures.
I tested it with a Senko and was very impressed with how responsive the rod was on twitch retrieves and how well it communicated what the bait was doing. The rod had backbone, cast accurately and had real cork handles.
I'd have complete confidence in it for any spinning-rod application within its ratings for presenting baits to bass and sticking them with a good hook set.
Skeet Reese: Victory Pro Carbon
Wright-McGill has come out with three spin models of a new rod, the Skeet Reese Victory Pro Carbon rods. They all use 40/36 carbon with a new taping material that produces 78 percent increase in tensile strength. The rods also have newly designed reel seats, one-piece guide frames, lighter handles and standard and drop-shot hook keeper options.
The rod I tested was the 7-foot drop shot/Senko rod.
This particular model has a noticeably flexible tip, most suitable to bass fishing situations where the hook being set is small and odes not require the angler to cross the res of the fish. the rod casts light boats quite well (it's rated for 1/8-to- 1/2-ounce terminal rigs and 6-to 12-pound test).
I threw 4-inch Yum Dingers on it to see if the rods were sensitive enough to allow me to stay in touch with a soft plastic bait being switched back after a long cast.
With practice, it was. My overall impression was that this is a good rod for drop-shots and a usable rod for shakey-head and Senko applications it was designed for. I thought it would also make a good trout rod-the softness of the tip seems perfect for species with relatively soft mouths.
Cabela's: Tournament ZX
Cabela's partners with Daiwa to offer a bunch of ZX Tournament baitcasting and spinning rods at a price less than $99. We used the ZX Shakey Head. It's an incredibly light rod and feels like its a in a class by itself. The butt section is longer than most rods. I found the extra length good for making two-handed casts.
Others might find it catches on clothes or is awkward when reeling in. I wondered about the backbone and how tough it would be when setting the hook or if inadvertently dropped it on the deck.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to catch some of the biggest bass of my life on ZX rods. They held up and had the power to control the hogs. Another feature of the ZX is the Winn Grips. They are just tacky enough but don't grab on clothes and make it difficult to adjust your grip. The 6-foot, 10-inch spinning rod was well built for shaky-head, drop-shotting and casting small crank baits and jigs.
It's rates for 1/16-to3/8-ounce lures. Cabela's could have charged a lot more for these rods.
Quantum spinning rods rarely disappoint. So, too, with the new Smoke spinning rod. It now has a new Fuji MicroConcept guide system. This rod gives you 11 guides; eight of them, including the tip, are micro guides.
That's more micros than any of the other rods tested. Each has an aluminum oxide insert. Also new this year is a pretty keen line-weight indicator that you set yourself. Call it a confidence builder: It's cool to reconfirm you are fishing with what you think you're fishing with. But the most startling feature of the new Smoke is what's not there: it is light.
The rod we used was rated for smaller lures than the others (1/8-to 1/4-ounce), but still it was remarkably light and well balanced, too. The HSX70 Graphite blanks are extremely sensitive and are excellent for shaky-head and drop-shot fishing. The tip is slow, just right for drop-shots. This model was 7 feet long, rated for 8-to 14-pound test.
MSRP: $ 149
Abu Garcia: Veracity
Bobby Lane trusted an Abu Garcia Veracity and he got second in this year's Bassmaster Classic. It apparently worked for him. He caught a few bass using drop-shot rigs in that frigid weather. He used a similar rod, the 6-foot, 9-inch, rated for a little heavier lures, from 1/8- to 1/2-ounce, and 6- to 10-pound test.
The rod tip was billed as fast, and the power was a medium-light, but we found it more like true medium. We find that Abu rods seem to be faster and stiffer than most rods. Of course, that comes in really handy when you need backbone for a brute.
Truly, the Veracity has high-quality graphite, and that ensures it's one sensitive stick. Micro guides with titanium inserts mitigate any guide issues with this Abu.
Lew's Tournament Pro
Testers felt the 10 1/2 ounce Lew's Tournament Pro
(TP300) was too big for the 7-foot team Lew's TL70MLFS rod.
However, the reel does have a huge arbor (170 yards of 12-pound) and casts remarkably well. Lew's makes a number of reel models, so you can get the match you want.
Lew's baitcasting reels have a good reputation for reliability, and the spinning reel seems to come out of that tradition.
CI4+ is an ultra-light reel at just 6.8 ounces.
Yet is has a beautiful balance: there was no side-to-side wobble on fast retrieves.
We dare you to flex its powerful, rigid frame. Its tight.
Abu Garcia Revo SX 30
Abu Garcia's Revo Orra SX 30
has a pretty large arbor, too, and made so intentially for easier casting and less line memory, especially since you're likely to use fluro.
It has a lower reel ratio 5.8:1, compared to the other reels, for finesse fishing.
A Quantum Energy
spinning reel seemed light and strong (like the rod) and tipped the scales at 8.6 ounces for the E30PTID.