Buying a new bass fishing rod might be listed in one of many tackle compulsion disorders. It’s the build up to the new rod that we love as bass fishing anglers. Pulling a new rod out of that packing tube, unwrapping the plastic, cutting the tags off and then palming the grip for the first time soothes a fisherman’s soul. Anticipation and fulfillment.
Okay maybe buying a new rod doesn’t give everyone that much bliss, but it’s always fun to get a new fishing stick and see what it can do and how it compares to all the sticks you’ve used before it. The comparisons to sensitivity, durability and light weight all measure a good fishing rod against other rod baselines whether their our own or someone else’s.
One new stick we’re happy to have tested recently was the St. Croix Rage 7-foot, 1-inch MH rod. The new line of rods from St. Croix was introduced in July at the 2011 ICAST show in Las Vegas. There were a lot of new big hits at the show this year in the rod and reel categories. We have several we are anxious to test at Wired2Fish. And the St. Croix Rage Rods were high on the list.
First thing we noticed about the rods were the cosmetics. The rod is an aqua blue color with some dark grey undertones. The rage logo is emblazed in red and the stamping on the rod makes it easy to identify the action, power and length. But the most cosmetically noticeable part of the rod is the grip.
The grip is a surprisingly comfortable neoprene wrapped core. The core like everything on a St. Croix rod is precision machined. They’ve long made some of the most beautiful cork handles on the market and this new foam core and neoprene wrap gives them another beautiful notch on the belt in their precision manufacturing.
The reel seat is the Pac Bay Minima reel seat. It offers maximum rod blank sensitivity because of the large exposed area and it’s comfortable not to mention looks good on the rod. We were able to snug down our Ardent XS1000, Abu Garcia Revo Premier and Lew’s Pro Tournament reels equally well on the rod. Once the reel was in place, the rod balanced very well and was not top heavy at all, which is always the case with a well made rod.
The rod features a unique hybrid micro guide system for streaming line up the blank. The Pac Bay Minima guides feature stainless steel inserts that won’t crack, strip or break. And they are 20 to 30 percent lighter than ceramic inserts.
The stripper guide (guide closest to the reel seat) is not a true microguide. Its larger size aids in how the line is spooled from the reel to the end of the rod. Rod manufacturers are learning as micro guide concepts evolve that you can gain some castability by controlling the line slap as well as controlling the funnel effect of forcing the rapidly unspooling line into a small microguide hole.
This rod seems to be a bit unique in its microguide concepts for not just the stripper guide but also the number of micro guides and their placement, especially near the tip. The rod we tested had a whopping 13 guides. For comparison sake, the Quantum Smoke 7-foot, 4-inch Heavy action flipping stick features 11 micro guides. Our 7-foot St. Croix MH Mod action Mojo Bass rod features nine standard guides. And at the tip of the rod there are 6 guides in the last two feet or so. That seemed like a lot to us until we got on the water.
We liked the way the rod handled – from the cast to the retrieve and of course fighting bass. The rod is sensitive, loads fast and delivers great hooksets on long casts. The rod cast even small spinnerbaits and light Texas rigs well. We wanted to test a spinnerbait rod in the Rage line and we caught several fish on this rod with various spinnerbaits during our testing the last couple of weeks.
However we’d classify this rod as a jig/worm rod. From pitching to long casting on offshore targets, the casts well, delivers good hook sets, and has a great backbone for horsing fish and directing them where you want them around obstructions and into the boat. It has swung bass just more than 3 pounds into the boat effortlessly.
The rods retail for $150 and are already available at TackleWarehouse.com as well other retailers. At this price point, we think anglers will be very happy with the investment. The rod features a lot of high end options without breaking that notorious $200 barrier for good quality rods. We’re anxious to try more actions and will continue to report on what we find with the rods.