The bite has been pretty darn tough around here lately. It has been taking about 15 to 16 pounds to win some of the biggest tournaments around here, which is definitely not normal. A bunch of rain, erratic weather and a lot of wind is to blame, in my opinion.
When the fishing gets bad like this, I tend to reach for a spinning rod. While finesse fishing isn't necessarily my favorite thing in the world, I consider myself a fairly decent angler with spinning gear in my hands. I've tested a bunch of different finesse gear over the years and I've noticed something on a regular basis: Really good spinning gear is freakin' expensive. I've seen some combos that go for over $700 and I'm not going to spend that much money on a rod and reel. That's just me, though.
For the past few weeks, however, I've been testing an especially affordable spinning rod that has impressed me in several ways. It's priced at $99.95 and it has the same feel and characteristics of much more expensive rods. It's a dang good rod that simple folks like you and me can use without breaking the bank.
Hang in there for a minute and I'll explain why I've liked it so much.
You shouldn't worry about breaking it
A lot of folks are fans of the Veritas lineup. One of the best anglers I know had a front deck full of them for many years. They're known as being sensitive and affordable. But if there was one complaint I heard, it was that they tended to break at times.
I'll say confidently, however, that the newest iteration of the Abu Garcia Veritas Spinning Rod is built like a tank. It's manufactured with 30-ton carbon fibers that are coated in 3M Powerlux resin to increase the blank's strength by at least 15 percent.
Now, I didn't do any math equations while I was testing this rod. But I have definitely been made a believer of its newly improved strength. I have boat flipped bass up to 3 pounds with this rod and it has held up wonderfully to the stress. I've also thrown it into the bed of my truck to hit a ponds on the weekends and it has held up remarkably well. This is a huge "plus" in my mind and was one of the things that stood out the most to me throughout my testing.
I didn't expect this much sensitivity
I honestly expected half of this sensitivity for a $99 rod. But I'm telling you... this rod is one of the more sensitive ones in my boat and that's no fib. If you were to blindfold me and let me fish with this rod, I'd guess that it costs over $200.
When I do finesse fish, I don't get too carried away with all the trendy techniques. But man, do I sure love to fish a wacky rig. That dang rig catches 'em when a lot of other stuff fails. When I twitch the wacky rig on slack line, I can actually feel the stick worm undulate as it falls to the bottom on total slack. I can feel it rock back and forth and glide on the fall.
Lots of your finesse bites are going to come on the fall and it's tough to feel 'em sometimes. I have felt, however, every bite on this rod with ease. If you disregard the lower price point, you'd think you're fishing a much more expensive spinning rod.
Custom reel seats and direct blank contact
This is a surprisingly lightweight and ergonomic fishing rod. It's not tip-heavy and it's not butt-heavy. Instead, when paired with a reel, it's quite well balanced and a pleasure to fish with all day long. It's one of the more lightweight rods in my current lineup.
I really like the reel seat because it allows my hand to have direct contact with the blank throughout the entire retrieve. This creates incredible sensitivity which is an absolute must-have when it comes to finesse fishing. Whether you need to feel subtle changes in bottom composition or those weird, mushy, hard-to-detect post-frontal bites, this direct blank contact is an enormous help.
I will say, however, that I'm not a huge fan of the white color of the grips and reel seat. Like I said earlier, it's a super comfortable rod so it has nothing to do with the "feel" of it. But these grips and this reel seat will get dirty over time. It's certainly not impossible to clean but after a long weekend of fishing, especially if you're catching a bunch, you'll definitely have to take some cleaning spray to it.
If you want to add a new finesse rod to your lineup without dumping a bunch of cash, I highly suggest getting one of these. It's $100 and it feels awesome in your hands. I'd fish a tournament with this rod any day of the week without any second thoughts. I am incredibly impressed with the updates Abu Garcia has made to the Veritas series and I'm certain you will be, too.