I've tested hundreds of bass fishing rods throughout my career and to be blunt about it, this is one of the most impressive ones I've held in my hands. I've fished with it on big lakes and thrown it in the bed of my truck to fish remote farm ponds; it handles both situations perfectly. With practical lengths, powers and actions in the Expert lineup, there's no finesse technique this rod won't handle.
In the next few slides I'm going to highlight the most impressive characteristics of this rod. If you're looking for a spinning rod in the $199 price range, I'd strongly recommend putting one of these in your hands. I'm sure you'll agree with me.
It may be the lightest rod in my collection
If it's not the lightest, it's certainly one of the lightest rods I currently own. These blanks are actually made from Japanese carbon, which feature multiple layers of cross-directional fibers. Not only does this result in a stronger rod, but it also requires less resin and material, which creates an extremely lightweight bass fishing rod.
I have buddies come into my shop all the time and rummage through my stuff while we hang out and talk fishing. Every person who has picked up this rod has immediately said, "Wow." A few have even offered to buy it or trade for it, but that'll never happen.
Although it probably goes without saying, the Falcon Expert Spinning Rod is a pleasure to fish with for an entire day. The weightlessness of it allows for super fluid casts and unbelievable accuracy.
Super thin blank is very strong
I felt like this was the only way I could illustrate how thin the blank of this rod is. Again, it's probably the thinnest blank that I own, but that actually worried me a bit when I first unboxed it. I've had a few really thin blanks that have snapped over the years, so I made certain to carefully test the durability before writing this review.
In short, it has passed with flying colors. I've made myself nervous by boat-flipping some 3-pounders and even one 4-pounder, but there has been no damage to the blank whatsoever. No cracking or popping noises and it has held up to the abuse wonderfully.
The blank is much more powerful than I thought it would be. The tip is quite sensitive, but it transfers nicely to a really impressive backbone. I've been skipping finesse baits under boat docks quite a bit and I've had no problems getting the fish out.
Blank-thru Fuji reel seat
Not only is the tip sensitive, but the handle of the Expert Spinning Rod is sensitive as well. The blank-thru Fuji reel seat allows you to keep constant contact with the blank throughout your entire cast, which helps you feel even the most subtle bites.
Funny thing is, I've actually started using 8-pound monofilament with this rod. I don't mess with straight fluorocarbon or braid-to-fluorocarbon. This rod is so sensitive that I don't need all that stuff. I can feel everything with simple monofilament.
Although the blank of this rod says "finesse jig", don't be fooled into thinking that's the only thing it can do. I've been using it for floating soft plastics more than anything so far. I've also tested it with shaky heads and Neko rigs and it has simply been fantastic.
I love fishing a floating worm this time of year and I have fallen in love with this rod for the technique. It has a snappy tip to it, but it doesn't pull the worm towards you too much. I can keep the worm in a very small strike zone and almost twitch it in place.
A lot of times you won't feel the bite on a weightless soft plastic, but again, I've felt the large majority of my bites while testing this rod. Even when the bass pushes my bait towards me, I'm able to feel the change in tension and set the hook quickly.
Lightweight and durable guides
I've had a lot of problems with the durability of guides on spinning rods. I guide fishing trips and I feel like there's always someone stepping on them or breaking tips off. Last year along I probably had a dozen spinning rod line guides break or become damaged.
These guides are tangle-free K frames with Fazlite rings. They're very lightweight but most importantly, they're durable and can take a beating. I've had this rod accidentally stepped on while on my front deck and you can't even tell it happened. Although I'm looking forward to seeing how well it holds up over the next several years, the guides have performed well thus far.
Reel seat tightens from the bottom
Although small, I really like this feature. I'm sure it's a personal preference, but I think there is much less torque on the bottom of the reel seat. When it tightens from the bottom, there's a smaller chance of your reel seat loosening while fighting fish.
You're going to have a tough time getting this rod out of my hands. It has all the features I look for in a spinning rod and it has a very unique blend of weightlessness and durability that's difficult to find. I may buy another one this summer; it's that good.