I’ve always been drawn to reasonably priced bass fishing gear. It wasn’t long ago when I was a college angler using only my local tournament winnings to pay for new rods, reels and lures; so I can certainly relate to the budget-minded angler. This sport can become downright expensive in a hurry.
For the past several months, I’ve had an opportunity to test the new $79.99 Berkley E-Motion Performance Series Casting Rods. After using these rods on big lakes, small ponds and even during larger tournaments, I think they’re an excellent option for anglers looking for quality performance at fair price point.
I’m a little paranoid about rod durability lately. I’ve been through a string of bad luck this year with my fishing rod collection—I’ve had several of them snap like a twig on hooksets. Needless to say, I made a point to put these rods through a lot of abuse before publishing this review.
After more than 6 months of testing, I’ve been quite impressed by the durability of the Berkley E-Motion Performance Series Casting Rods. I’ve used them with squarebills, Texas rigs, frogs, big worms, jigs, walking topwater lures, lipless crankbaits—anything I could get my hands on, really—and have experienced absolutely zero issues in regards to durability.
The blanks have proven to stand up to multiple hooksets, fish catches and a lot of boat flipping without any of those dreaded “cracking” or “popping” noises. Whether I’m executing a sweeping hookset on a Carolina rig or a powerful shallow-water jig hookset, these 100% carbon fiber blanks have performed excellently. I’ve driven through lots of rough water with these rods in my lockers and even tossed ‘em into the bed of my truck for the occasional pond fishing trip, so I certainly haven’t babied them by any means.
The hybrid line guides have also withstood lots of abuse. They’ve been stepped on by numerous guide clients and I’ve yet to have any inserts become dislodged, cracked or damaged. They might bend a little, but I’ve been able to slowly bend them back into position without any loss of structural integrity.
You’ll feel what’s going on
Sensitivity is another major aspect to consider when purchasing a new fishing rod. It sounds pretty basic, but let’s face it—you won’t catch many fish if you can’t feel ‘em bite. So again, I made a concerted effort to test the sensitivity of the Berkley E-Motion rods.
I was actually surprised by the sensitivity these rods offered at a $79.99 price point. When using bottom-contact presentations such as Texas rigs, jigs and Carolina rigs, I was able to feel very slight changes in bottom composition without much guess work. I could feel my baits sliding over individual limbs of brush piles and even detect changes in the size of rocks and gravel.
Bite detection was also simple. I’ve missed a few fish here and there, but for the most part I’ve enjoyed a very high bite-to-catch ratio throughout my testing.
Hybrid guides are a nice touch
There’s a lot of debate about the effectiveness of micro guides in bass fishing—some folks swear by them while others steer clear in favor of traditional guides. Personally speaking, I like micro guides, but they can be irritating to deal with at times.
I really like the addition of the Berkley Hybrid Guide System on the E-Motion lineup. They’re smaller than traditional guides, but they’re larger than most micro guides you’ll find on the market. Throughout my testing, this translated to excellent casting accuracy and minimal line slap without having to break out a magnifying glass to re-line one of my combos.
The larger micro guides have also proven to be advantageous when using any type of leader. For instance, I like to use braided main line with a monofilament leader when fishing walking topwater lures and the line-to-line knot passes through the guides easily with minimal damage or fraying.
Comfortable to use
Everyone has a different preference when it comes to the “feel” of a bass fishing rod—factors such as hand size and hand positioning can play a large role. In my opinion, however, I’ve enjoyed the feel of the E-Motion rods.
They’re not the lightest rod on the market and they’re just a tad tip-heavy, but for a $79.99 rod I can’t complain about my experience. As earlier stated, I’ve used these rods a lot and they’re quite comfortable to use for an extended period of time.
The EVA split-grip handles provide a nice resistance to fish slime and wet hands while the enlarged butt adds plenty of cushion to your ribs whenever you’re setting the hook. It should be noted, however, that these larger EVA foam butts are too big for many of the co-angler rod storage systems in today’s bass boats.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced rod series that can cover your bases for multiple techniques, be sure to give the Berkley E-Motion series careful consideration. They’re available in 7 very practical lengths and actions that can cater to your preferred fishing style and simply put—they’re a solid fishing rod.