By Walker Smith
Make no mistake about it—picking any new fishing rod is tough. With the seemingly infinite options that anglers have to choose from, buying a new rod can quickly turn into an overwhelming and expensive endeavor. You work hard for your money, and you need to make sure you will get a sufficient return on your investment.
The task seems to become increasingly daunting when shopping for a new crankbait rod. Because crankbait fishing success is heavily dependent upon rod performance, anglers often find themselves spending hundreds of dollars on the “latest and greatest” in cranking rods. Before you turn your wallet upside-down and are forced to start hiding receipts from your spouse, you owe it to yourself to check out the Lew’s Tournament SL HM60 Micro Crankbait Casting Rod.
At first inspection, it’s impossible to overlook how shockingly light this rod is. There’s nothing more frustrating than to be on a special fall cranking bite and have your old friend, the massive hand cramp, pay you a visit. The premium HM60 graphite blank makes it a dream to fish with all day, even with bulkier plugs. We have used it with big squarebills, flat-sided medium runners and everything in between with absolutely zero fatigue. If you love to fish a crankbait as much as we do, you understand how important a lightweight rod really is.
With the release of their new BB-1 Speed Spool reel, Lew’s has proven that they are serious when it comes to unmatched sensitivity. Fortunately for diehard anglers, they have implemented this philosophy into the Tournament SL HM60. With an exposed blank at the reel seat, you are going to feel every single move that your crankbait makes. Many of us have several special crankbaits that “hunt” throughout the retrieve, and the exposed reel seat allows anglers to feel every time the plug changes directions.
The Tournament SL HM60 also features hard aluminum oxide micro guides, allowing for long casts, increased accuracy and noticeable weight reduction. Whether you’re casting into a stiff wind or roll-casting a squarebill underneath a dock, all anglers will enjoy seamless casting with the Tournament SL HM60. I have always been fairly indifferent regarding micro guide use for cranking applications, but I’ll be the first one to admit—the micro guides on this rod make a huge difference, especially when it comes to accurate casting.
We tested the 7-foot, medium-action rod and have been extremely impressed with its sensitivity and bend. As the water cools and the bass become a little more lethargic when hitting crankbaits, this rod has been a lifesaver in many situations. With many of my other cranking rods, I’m forced to do several “test” hooksets throughout the day— when something feels funny, and it’s a toss-up between being a sluggish bass or a rouge limb. Lew’s proprietary Advanced Performance Technology takes the guesswork out of cold water cranking, as it allows the angler to feel even the slightest nudge from a cautious bass.
Throughout testing, I have landed a lot of crankbait fish that have been barely been hooked by the back treble. With many other less sensitive rods, these fish would have most likely been chalked-up as a loss, but the Tournament SL HM60 turns slapping bass into caught bass. With enough bend in the tip to ensure a solid hookup with the bass and the perfect amount of backbone to swing 3-pounders into the boat, Lew’s has upped the ante for affordable, quality cranking rods.
If you’re looking to replace a few of your old cranking rods this year, we recommend checking out the Lew’s Tournament SL HM60 Micro Crankbait Casting Rod. Reasonably priced at $119.99, this rod offers some serious high-end performance for a reasonable price.
To view the entire line of Lew’s Tournament SL HM60 Micro Crankbait Casting Rods, please visit TackleWarehouse.com.