Ark Essence Rod Review

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Today we’ll be looking at the Ark Essence Casting Rod. Amidst the myriad of baitcasting rod options on the market, the Essence Series comes in a little below the middle of the pack when it comes to price (~$179), while certainly matching the quality of most other rods in the $150-$250 realm. The Essence Series separates itself from 95% of other rods on the market in one specific way…but let’s not give it all away right off the jump. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty first.

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I’ve had one of the Ark Essence Casting Rods for about a year now. For transparency’s sake, it came in a shipment of Ark rods and reels that the company sent out for me to test back in April/May of 2023—free of charge. You can read the reviews I’ve already done on the Ark Cobb Series Casting Rod as well as their Ark Catalyzer Casting Rod, and the Ark Gravity 3 Baitcaster Reel.


Over the last couple of decades there has been a constant effort to decrease the weight of rods while simultaneously preserving their strength and durability. There’s an ultra-fine line to toe here, as removing too much from the rod blank weakens the rod. This has led many companies to cut weight elsewhere, by swapping over to EVA foam grips or removing a section of the handle entirely by replacing a one-piece handle with split grips.

This has been a welcomed change for many anglers, at least for those who prefer EVA split grips to solid cork handles. There is a market out there for rods with a more traditional feel—I know because my dad is a member of it.

Dad likes the old-school feel of a solid, full cork handle. However, there aren’t a lot of rods like that on the market anymore, especially not high quality rods. Ark offers one in the Essence Series though. Thanks to the latest advancements in blank construction and component materials, they are able to do so without compromising on the weight of the rod, offering a fantastic old-school feel with all the benefits of a new-school tech.

ark essence rod


Ark chose to incorporate a more traditional style guide system with the Essence Series as well, steering the rod away from the micro guides that the majority of the industry has moved towards. This trend of using smaller guides in recent years has been another effort at lightening up rods as a whole. Thanks to modern materials, larger guides are lighter and stronger than ever before.

The Fuji K-concept Tangle Free Guides with Fazlite inserts Ark uses with this rod pair well with the full-cork handle to complete the old-school feel that many anglers over the age of 40 still prefer. This isn’t just a rod for the old heads, or those like myself getting precariously close to that demographic. The Essence Series makes a great rod for any angler, especially the relative newcomer looking to level up their gear from an entry level rod to a higher quality piece of equipment. The larger eyes are easier to work with and the full cork handle has a sturdy feel to it, as does the rod as a whole.


I’ve been pleased with the Essence Series rod. It’s not one I would have picked out from the lineup of Ark products myself, since I prefer the feel of some of their other designs like the Cobb Series and Tharp Series. However, for the angler looking for a more traditional feel, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better rod than this.

The Essence Series comes in 14 different casting models ranging from a 6’ 8” medium light with a regular action to a 7’ 11” extra heavy with a fast action. There’s something here for every technique you could need a baitcaster for. Ark also offers three spinning rods options in the Essence Series as well. All 17 rods are priced at $179.99.

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