Reviewing fishing rods makes for one of the more interesting parts of this job. Not just because I’m a fan of all things fishing. But I’m probably a bigger fan of technology. You get to see a lot of technology in the design of rods. Especially in the last few years where manufacturers have found new technologies. One of those rod lines really showing off new technologies is the revamped and expanded Megabass Orochi XX rod line.
We talked briefly about their rods a while back. But since that time, they have worked tiredlessly with their American pro staff to develop a line of rods that brings in some of the most advanced technologies and blends them with current practices to give anglers some of the most high-end enthusiast, technique-specific bass rods for around or under $300.
If you’re a fan of technology, you’ll want to check out the following things in these rods that I think make them special:
- 6 axis blending of materials
- Unsanded blanks for uniformity
- Blended glass graphite
- Stinger tip
- Removable handles
- Improved sensitivity
- 6 new rods in lineup to cover bases now
More than just a blank
Megabass puts a lot of effort into design. They have a rich history of making products that push the envelop of performance. What they’ve learned is that you have to find a balance between performance and durability. You can make the most sensitive rod on the market, but it probably won’t hold up long to the rigors of abuse it will see from most anglers. It’s a battle all rod manufacturers wage.
So Megabass took to adding carbon layers to its rods along multiple axises, or directions, to give the rod increased sensitivity, lightness and strength. They craft the blanks from super low-resin carbon on a vertical-axis core wrapped with a 2-axis XX-Micro Carbon layer, followed by an additional vertical-axis carbon layer. Each blank is then finished off with a 4-axis carbon wrap that goes from the butt section to the mid-section, for a total of 6-axis.
When you look at the rod you can see the multiple axis layers because they also don’t sand their blanks. By design, they avoid sanding the blanks to maintain uniformity and structural integrity to the blank. Have a lot of the same rods that broke on you. Chances are they sanding created a weak point along the spine of the rod that made it much more susceptible to breaking. Megabass Orochi XX rods avoid that by leaving the blanks unsanded.
This design also avoids blank twist and adds power to the backbone without adding weight. It is very noticeable when you hold the rod in your hand. They are light, balanced but very strong. Almost surprising strong. The more sensitive a rod is, the more I typically worry about “swinging a fish” or setting a hard hook. I can talk about it but the CGI drawing probably describes the multi-axis construction better than I can explain it.
Blending for better performing rods
Megabass blended some cool technology into their rods on a few of their new rods for 2015. The F5-72XXG, codenamed Swingfire, and the F5-711XXG, codenamed Launcher both feature a blend of graphite and glass fibers. This unique blend gives the rod the best of both worlds. It has a strong backbone, but it also has the forgiveness you often need with a bass hooked on treble hook lures.
Several rods have blended graphite and glass before. But what I found interesting is you can’t really tell it by the weight or look of the rods. The blend is seamless. The weight is still very light and the rods load and cast amazingly well. The Launcher will absolutely heave a big deep diving crankbait. And the Swingfire has a sweet roll cast around isolated targets but still loads well on a bombing cast. It pitched square-billed crankbaits on short casts around laydowns and docks really well.
They also blended the new F3st-610XXS, Stinger Shot, dropshot rod. This rod features their latest revision of their Stinger tip. This is another technology borrowed from their ultra-high-end Japanese rods that featured a solid core carbon fiber tip. This new rod has a version of that tip that functions as a strike indicator for light biting bass with finesse techniques. The rod tip will actually start to load before you even feel the bite sometimes. It gives the angler an added reaction time and way to detect bites on the tough days of fishing.
But again blending the rod in this manner gives you a rod with a lot of backbone to be able to fight the bass while still being able to enjoy the advances of the technology they have proven to work for finesse applications in Japan.
Handle system on longer rods
On the Launcher and the F10-80XX, Leviathon rod, they developed a very cool system that allows the angler to remove the handle from these rods so that they will stow in boats whose rod lockers might not be able to accommodate 8-foot rods. It’s very unique and a solid system that is incredibly snug when assembled. There will never be any issue with slippage. But with minimal force you can separate the two without damaging anything.
I was pretty blown away by how sensitive the rods were. Feeling the pulse of a crankbait or chatterbait, and then knowing the second a blade of grass changed the vibration told a lot about the rods. But feeling bites on weightless lures, feeling bites in 25 feet of water, I was very impressed with the sensitivity they got out of these rods and these designs.
They use tangle-free KWSG, KR-H and small caliber Fuji guides that further improve sensitivity, custom cork grips with custom Fuji reel seats, a patented ITO Head Locking Reel Seat and a custom rubber/cork composite end cap. Each rod came with a Megabass zippered rod sleeve in my testing.
Good lineup now
It took a bit to flesh out their lineup in the Orochi XX series of rods. But now they’ve got a lot of rods to cover the main fishing techniques in bass fishing. This year they are adding 6 new rods. The Swingfire, Launcher, Stinger Shot and Leviathon I referenced earlier as well as the Diablo Spec-R (F5-72XX) multipurpose rod for lipless cranks, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged and weightless plastics and the Ronin (F4-68XXS) spinning rod perfect for jerkbaits, weightless worms, flukes and shaky heads.
I came away very impressed with the 6 new rods in the lineup. I was able to borrow and fish with them for several months through several different windows and techniques. I ran the gamet on lures and found that they cast as well as any rod I’ve fished, and they are way above average on performance, sensitivity and aesthetics. Little things like double foot guides that will resist wind knots and tangles to big things like reverse facing feeder guides for better performance to the ultra smooth grips with spongy butts that stick to your ribs when you set a hard hook. The rods fish so well. I loved the stinger tip on the drop-shot rod. So neat to see it fold down before you feel the bite.
Now they have 17 rods in this lineup, all geared towards your favorite specific lures and techniques. I like rods whose actions, tapers, powers and materials yield very individual tools for fishing. My lures vary from 1/8 ounce to 4 ounces. So I like rod lines that offer a lot of variety and not just a run-through of action, power and taper combinations without any thought to what lures will be on those rods. The Orochi XX rods were built to fill very specific needs to fill out a lineup for anglers that travel all over the country and fish a lot of techniques on a lot different bodies of water and have to produce results to earn paychecks.
You should be able to order the new Orochi XX models on Tacklewarehouse.com by the end of December 2014. The rods will run between $275 and $325. These rods borrow technologies from $800 to $1,000 Japanese Domestic Market rods and marry them to current rod building practices to produce some of the best rods I’ve ever seen at that price point. I hope to own one of these rods in the near future, but I still certainly appreciate the technology, thought and work that went into designing a new line of rods that brought some of the high-end technology down into lower price points than where they began to make them more accessible to more anglers.