Bass fishing can get expensive in a hurry. Most anglersâand probably their spouses, tooâwould be shocked if they added up the cost of their fishing gear collection. But the industry has made a noticeable shift towards more affordable products and I’ve been quite impressed after testing many of them.
For example, I’ve spent a lot of time recently testing the new Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod. It’s designed for high-end performance, but its price starts at just $49.99. The cosmetics of this rod are what initially grabbed my attention this summer at ICAST, but after fishing with it for a considerable amount of time, I’m equally impressed by its on-the-water performance.
What you will like about it
This rod may not have the flashier components of more expensive options, but it’s been hard to tell throughout my testing. I’ve been using the 7-foot, medium-action crankbait model and it’s ridiculously lightweight for a rod at the $49.99 price point and it’s also balanced fairly well. It’s just a bit tip-heavy, but I don’t necessarily mind that characteristic in a crankbait rod. I retrieve my crankbaits with my rod tip close to the water, so it has actually been quite comfortable and natural-feeling for this application. It’s worth mentioning, too, that I’m really picky about my cranking rods.
The Abu Garcia Vengeance loads excellently, both on the back cast and when a fish bites. A too-stiff crankbait rod will often prematurely rip the hooks away from the bass, but this particular rod has a great spongy feel to it, which is what you want in a cranking rod. When you get a bite, the soft tip allows for a very short, split-second delay in your hookset and results in an excellent hookup ratio. It also absorbs strong, boat-side runs during the fight without yanking the trebles out of the bass.
The split-grip EVA handles are also a nice addition. They repel water quite well and they allow for a solid grip after heavy fish handling. I’m able to catch a fish and release it without needing to wipe my hands or anything of the sort. No slipping or loss of grip to speak of.
At such a reasonable price point, durability is going to be a major question for many consumers and I totally understand. I’ve thrown this rod in the bed of the truck for a quick pond fishing trip and used it extensively in my bass boat without any loss of structural integrity. I have had absolutely zero breakage issues thus far.
My experiences with it
As earlier mentioned, I’ve done a fair amount of shallow crankbait fishing with this rod. I’ve used it for flat-sided balsa crankbaits, 1.5 squarebills and 2.5 squarebills and it has been really effective with all three.
It has enough whip to facilitate some surprisingly long casts with lightweight finesse crankbaits and it provides a fair amount of sensitivity throughout the retrieve. I can feel each wobble or shimmy of the crankbait and most importantly, each deflection off a piece of cover. It’s quite easy to “worm” a shallow crankbait through cover with this rod.
This rod can certainly be used with larger 2.5 squarebills, but it can become a bit laborious on a long cast with a quick retrieve. Remember, the tip is very spongy which allows for an excellent hookup ratio, but a giant squarebill can be a little “much” for the 7-foot, medium-action model. For larger shallow crankbaits, I’d probably recommend a 7-foot, medium-heavy model.
I think this is a really nice rod for anglers on a budget. It’s tough, it feels good in your hand and it provides enough sensitivity for easy bite detection. It also doesn’t hurt that it looks pretty awesome, too. Try it out if you’re interestedâI don’t think you’ll be disappointed.