There isn't a fishing trip that goes by where I don't throw a treble-hooked lure for hours at a time. Everybody has their confidence techniques in bass fishing and the large majority of mine revolve around treble hooks. Whether I'm throwing a handmade balsa bait, a squarebill or a deep-diving plug, I have six rods on my front deck totally dedicated to treble-hooked lures each time I put my boat in the water.
With my affinity for these kinds of lures comes a bit of frustration when trying to find suitable fishing rods. There aren't a whole lot of rods out there that are specifically designed for treble hooks but I finally found one that fits the bill. The affordable price point makes it even better.
I've been able to test the newest generation of Abu Garcia Winch Casting Rods lately. They have proven to be quite impressive and they're an absolute joy to use when you're using treble-hooked lures. I'll explain what I've enjoyed the most about this particular line of rods.
Each rod in the Abu Garcia Winch lineup has a moderate action and a custom composite construction. That might just sound like a bunch of technical talk but essentially, the moderate action allows a slight delay when a bass bites your lure. It's hardly noticeable from a "feel" standpoint but you'll quickly notice a fairly drastic increase in your hookup percentage.
A lot of rods allow you to feel the bite almost too quickly which often results in either you pulling the bait away from the fish too quickly or inadvertantly tearing the treble hooks out of the fish's mouth. Especially with all of the low-stretch line options out there these days, it's important to choose a rod that will give you a little bit of play with treble-hooked lures so that fish can fully eat the bait before you react.
I've had an excellent hookup percentage with these rods. They absorb the initial bite very nicely which allows the trebles to fully penetrate the fish and keep 'em pinned without any issues. I've also found this rod to handle those sketchy boat-side surges with ease as well. I've lost some good fish over the years when a bass dives underneath my boat before my drag kicks in, so these rods have given me peace of mind.
The models make sense
For the last year or two, I've been testing some really odd LPAs (length, power and action) for some reason. They've been decent rods, but some of them just didn't make sense and I couldn't find a certain application for them.
Abu Garcia really didn't try to get cute with the seven different Winch options which I really appreciate. I'm a big believer in simplicity in regards to bass fishing (and life in general, for that matter) and man, these rod models are totally practical and easy to match up to your favorite technique.
I've really enjoyed the jerkbait rod which is the 6-foot, 10-inch medium-action model. The rod is just short enough that I don't constantly slap the surface of the water as I work my jerkbait back to the boat. It's also long enough, however, that it doesn't feel like I'm using a kid's rod. The length has also been a big help for making precise casts around shallow cover and dock posts. I've gotten into jerkbaiting a good bit over the past two years and this is certainly one of the best jerkbait rods I've come across so far.
A poorly balanced rod just feels weird in your hands; it's almost like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It just doesn't feel right. Not to mention, after a long day on the water with an unbalanced rod, you're probably going to feel the effects of it the next day. It can cause oddly sore muscles and undue fatigue.
I'm happy to say, however, that the Winch rods are all very nicely balanced and feel great in my hands. I can work a jerkbait for 8 hours and not experience any forearm or elbow fatigue at the end of the day. I've used a bunch of jerkbait rods that just hurt after a while but this makes the technique a breeze. I can focus more on fishing instead of giving my left arm a break.
The quality is apparent
For a $150 fishing rod, you'll certainly be impressed by the obvious quality of this rod so don't let the affordable price tag fool you. Some of the features include stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts, cork and high-density EVA grips, and a Fuji reel seat.
I've swung some fish into the boat that I probably shouldn't have while testing this rod and the rod gave no indication that it couldn't handle the extra stress. You won't hear any snaps, crackles or pops when it's under a load and I think you know what I'm saying when I say that it simply feels solid.
If you like shallow crankbaits, mid-range crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwater lures, you might want to take a very close look at these rods; treble hooks call for different qualities that many rods lack. You won't break the bank with 'em and they're an absolutely solid option for a myriad of techniques and situations.
The Abu Garcia Winch Casting Rod is available at the following retailers: