I’ve always been quite picky about my bass fishing rods. There’s nothing worse than forking up a bunch of hard-earned cash for a rod, only to have it snap like a dry twig the first time you use it. After this happened to me a few times, I vowed to be a lot more selective when adding to my rod collection.
For the past several weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to test the new 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 Casting Rod. The original Omen Black series was nothing short of impressive—I still use it each time I’m on the water—so I made a concerted effort to get my hands on the second generation while comparing and contrasting various design and performance features.
Here’s what you need to know about these rods.
- Wonderfully balanced
- Sensitive and powerful
- Practical details
- Great price point
Many anglers overlook the importance of a well-balanced bass fishing rod. Once you have an opportunity to use one, however, you’ll immediately notice and appreciate the difference. Poorly balanced rods lead to unneccessary fatigue throughout the day, awkward casting motions and inefficient presentations in many situations.
When I first picked up the 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 Casting Rod, its near-perfect balance was the first thing that jumped out at me. The butt doesn’t sag down when you lift the tip, but it isn’t tip-heavy either. I have two of these rods—a 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy and a 7-foot, 3-inch heavy-action—and I’ve paired them with various casting reels throughout my testing. Regardelss of my reel selection, I’m able to balance these rods with my index finger placed directly above the EVA foregrip.
The balance of this rod has proven to translate into a very “natural-feeling” fishing rod and a comfortable day on the water. I’ve been using my two rods for shallow-water jig fishing and deep-water worm fishing and both have been excellent. I’m able to fish for 8 to 10 hours at a time without any forearm fatigue or hand cramps whatsoever.
While this isn’t the lightest rod in my collection, its balance certainly makes up for any additional weight.
A blend of sensitivity and power
Fishing rod manufacturers face a delicate balancing act between sensitivity and power. A sensitive rod is great, but if it doesn’t have enough power to wrench a 5-pounder away from a brush or rock pile, the angler is at an immediate disadvantage. Likewise, rods that are too powerful often lack the appropriate amount of sensitivity an angler needs to detect bites.
I’ve found the 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 Casting Rod to have a unique blend of both elements. Bite detection has been effortless throughout my testing and I believe two design factors make it possible. The 30-ton Japanese Toray blanks have something called Poly Vector Graphite Technology, or PVG. Essentially, this allows for a tighter graphite composition and, in turn, more sensitivity. In addition, the reel seats allow your ring finger to stay in constant and direct contact with the blank throughout your entire retrieve. I’ve had no problems feeling changes in bottom composition or those “mushy” bites for which lethargic summer bass are known.
In regards to power, I’ve been extremely impressed with this rod series. I’m catching the majority of my fish lately on deep brush piles and I’ve been able to get the fish away from any snag-inducing cover quickly and efficiently. The fast tip quickly translates into a powerful blank and when the rod is under a heavy load, I’ve heard absolutely zero “uh-oh” sounds such as popping, creaking or crackling.
Small details that make sense
I feel like 13 Fishing put a lot of time and effort into making small—but practical—improvements to their first-generation Omen Black series. I’m sure there’s a lot of technical lingo I could use to expand on this, but let’s stick to the two design features I think anglers will most appreciate.
One of the most obvious changes I’ve noticed is the full-length cork grip. I’ve never been a giant fan of cork grips due to their eventual pitting and decay, but this particular cork is actually hand-selected 3A Portuguese cork. From what I’ve researched, it’s the highest-grade cork you can find. It sounds nice and fancy, but what it basically means is that the cork is super comfortable, it resists pitting over time and from what I can tell thus far, it’s quite stain resistant.
Another really cool addition is the snagless hook keeper you’ll find above the foregrip. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken my line, hook keeper—or both—on large, bulky hook keepers. You’ll be flipping or pitching around docks and without knowing, your line slips underneath the keeper. When you set the hook, something is bound to break.
This design feature does an excellent job at taking the hook keeper out of the equation when you’re fishing. You don’t really notice it’s there until you need it.
The 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 Casting Rods start at $99.99 and to be honest, I think it’s a steal for such a quality rod. These rods fish much better than some of the $250 rods in my collection.
Also worth quickly noting is my customer service experience thus far with 13 Fishing. One of my rods was damaged in shipping, so I took a photo of the damage and sent it to the company. Within an hour, I had a kind response and a return shipping label in my email inbox. I sent the rod back to them the next morning and by mid-afternoon, I had a brand new, undamaged rod sitting on my doorstep. They must have overnighted it from Tampa.
The next day, I missed a few phone calls from an unknown number and quite frankly, forgot to return the call. The number called a bit later in the afternoon, I finally answered and it was the Warranty Manager for 13 Fishing, just calling to confirm I received the rod and to make certain I was happy with their service. Totally and utterly impressive.
For $99.99, this is a stellar rod that will make a lot of budget-minded anglers very happy over time. It has been a joy to use and c’mon, man—that customer service was unreal. I think you’ll be glad you gave this rod a shot.