The yellow rods were everywhere at the 2010 Bassmaster Classic. It seemed that every direction scanned, there was a black and yellow rod sticking up out of someone’s bag, cart, hand or on an end cap for sale. The common perception was that at an $89 price point, an angler won’t be to mad if a rod isn’t up to all the hype. Well, that intrigued us into doing some on-the-water testing of the rods.
First, a rundown of the rods themselves is in order. Besides the signature colors of the Skeet Reese brand, the rods sport several interesting features. The first is the Tri-Gressive S-Glass materials. Basically what that means is they have a specialized glass laid horizontally, then a middle meshing layer and then a third vertical layer. The three layers are laid directionally apposed and bonded using a hydantoin resin that is not only environmentally friendly but enabled the manufacturer to reduce a great deal of weight while maintaining an unparalleled strength and S-Curve throughout the blank.
The next feature of interest centers around the grip. There is a section of rubber below the reel seat but above the split blank design that is a newly developed rubber that adds a sure grip and increased sensitivity. The handle is extremely comfortable with a low profile reel like the Pflueger Supreme reel used in testing.
The rod features an increased number of rod guides over most standard baitcasting rods. This was done to Skeet’s specifications in what he determined cut down a lot of line slap between guides on the rod and improved casting distance and accuracy. The guides feature Zirconium inserts for improved casting distances. The number of guides did add a little bit of weight back into the rod.
Even the hook hanger is extremely functional with the bottom hoop open for hooking large crankbaits quickly and easily.
Available in two models – a 7-foot model and a 7-foot, 10-inch model – the former proved a worthy test. The rod was matched with an older Pflueger Supreme reel with 10-pound Sufix line and a Jackall MC/60 MR crankbait or a Rapala DT6. We chose an older used reel because we didn’t want a brand new high-end reel skewing the results.
The rod loads beautifully during the backcast and a snapping forward motion really launched the crankbaits, even in a stout headwind. At a slow retrieve, the action of the crankbait was very noticeable on the tip. You could feel the rhythm of the bait down to the butt of the rod and see a noticeable cadence at the rod tip.
A few casts into the testing, the first bass bit and after a brief fight was in the boat. The rod loaded very balanced and bowed through the length of the rod, but still had a great deal of backbone to be able to lean into the fish and turn its head easily. The rod does a good job cushioning some of the head thrashing of fish. In fact, while it’s hard to prove, it actually appeared that several fish that were just biting the back treble hook came to the boat with the front hook stuck somewhere else on the outside of its head. Typically when fighting crankbait fish that happens around the boat. But these fish were getting hooked like that during the head thrashing. A testament to tension mixed with flexibility in the fight.
The rod is a breeze to cast with all day long. I heard some remarks before our testing that people were disappointed in the weight of the rods. I did not find the weight to be an issue. Comparatively speaking, most glass rods are much heavier than these rods and didn’t offer the same fluid action and comfort that these rods did.
Our conclusion: This is a cranking stick that lives up to the hype. Durability still remains to be seen because the rods are still so new to the market. This rod has already landed more than 20 bass and we can assure you it’s going to land a lot more before it’s retired. At the remarkable price point, we find it to be worth every penny.
To read more about these rods, visit wright-mcgill.com
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