Isn’t it funny how the bad dude is always cloaked in black on those dramas on television, his face obscured, dark and ominous? I think it made black kind of cold and unfriendly. Apparently a bunch of folks in the fishing rod business saw that too and started making rods in every color in the rainbow besides black. We have white Duckett Rods and white Abu Garcia Veritas rods. There are purple St. Croix Mojo rods and orange Carrot Stix for anglers who fancy a rainbow of rods on their deck.
But there’s just something about a good looking black rod that we like. We got our first look at one of those new black rods two years ago at the Classic in the Pure Fishing booth when Mark Sexton showed us one of the new Villain rods they were developing. Then last year at ICAST, we got to see some working prototypes.
Since that time, we’ve been chomping at the bit to get our hands on the rods and put them under the strain of some 5-pound bass. As luck would have it, we got several models to test late this past winter and have been putting several different baitcasting and spinning models through the paces. Today, we review one of those models – the Abu Garcia Villain 6-foot, 10-inch Medium Spinning Rod.
We’ve had this rod for three months and have made a point to put it on the deck, run it down the lake and fish with it on every trip through every set of conditions possible. We wanted to test not only the performance of the $179 rod but all the durability and how the wear of everyday use affected the rod.
For our test we paired the rod with an Abu Garcia Revo Spinning Reel. We tested the rod with both 8-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon as well as 10-pound Seaguar Kanzen braid with a 7-pound Sunline Sniper FC fluorocarbon leader.
Several aspects of the rod make it unique and very performance driven. The rods first feature a blank constructed with 40-ton graphite composition and their Low Resin Content (LRC) construction to remove most of the weight from the blank. The blanks are small, strong and showed no signs of spiraling or cracking after three months of heavy use.
The rod features a unique reel seat that floats the reel off the blank resulting in increased sensitivity for the angler. They call this design their C6 Total Exposure reel seat. The floating reel is locked into place with a machined aluminum fore nut that really cinched the reel down tight without a constant need to keep tightening the nut as you fish. The handles also consist of a high density EVA foam that is light, comfortable and very durable. The grips still look like new after hundreds of bass and three months of heavy use in rain, snow and more.
The rod has a medium power and somewhere around a 35/65 taper in the blank. It loads very well under strain and we were able to get good hooksets at distance with both the braid and fluorocarbon on even smaller bass that aren’t able to resist as much to allow for better hook penetration. The rod is well balanced and looks great with the black base and silver etchings. It loaded well on the back cast and gave us increased distance on our light offerings.
The guides are Titanium with Ti inserts reducing weight while adding strength and durability. The tip seems especially durable and strong. The guides seem like they will last an angler a long time without much hassle. Our Alberto knot flowed easily through the guides on long casts with a fluorocarbon leader.
We’ve landed bass to nearly 6-pounds on the rod and felt in control of the fight the entire time. We’ve done everything from fish Rapala Shad Raps in cold shallow water to drag shaky heads in deeper warmer water. Every time we fish, we’re more comfortable and more at home with our new black beauties from Abu Garcia.
The rods retail for $179.95 and are available at TackleWarehouse.com as well as other retailers near you. If you’re looking for one solid spinning rod to handle everything from drop shots to small crankbaits, then you should definitely consider this rod in your choices. It looks and performs extremely well without having an extremely high-end price tag. As you can tell from our photos this rod wears very well and should make an angler’s investment stretch for many years of fun fishing.