I’m extremely picky with my fishing rods. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s quite difficult to find the right combination of weightlessness, strength and balance when making a purchase. I’ve tested just about every model on the market and only a select few earn a permanent spot on my front deck.
I’ve spent a lot of time using the new Team Lew’s Pro Speed Stick LFS-X5 casting rods this season. There has been a lot of time and effort spent on the development of these rods and after fishing with them on both big and small waters, I think they’re going to make a huge impression on the angling community.
Lightweight and comfortable
I make hundreds of thousands of casts per year, so using an ergonomic and lightweight rod is a major priority for me. Poorly designed rods cause a lot of undue strain on your elbows and shoulders over time and not to mention, they will hinder your mechanics as well.
The Team Lew’s Pro Speed Stick LFS-X5 is one of the best-feeling rods I’ve had an opportunity to use thus far. The graphite blanks are lightweight and the graphite skeletal reel seat allows for a comfortable grip regardless of the technique.
I’ve also become a big fan of the handles on this rod. They’re A-grade cork with an EVA and Duracork inlay, so not only do they look great, but they provide a solid grip even with wet or slimy hands. I’m able to unhook a fish, release it and get right back to casting without constantly wiping my hands on my pants. You’ll also notice a small swell in the grips which translates to a more comfortable experience for long days on the water.
While it may be just a matter of personal preference, this swell-grip design also feels like it gives me more control on the hookset. I can wrench on a big bass as hard as I can when using this rod without feeling overpowered at any point in the fight.
Strength and power
I commonly run into one major problem when testing lightweight rods: They lack the necessary power for my shallow-water power fishing preference and they have a tendency to break. Ask anyone in this company—I break a lot of rods in my testing.
With the lighter-action Team Lew’s Pro Speed Stick LFS-X5 rods, such as the 7-foot, medium model, I’ve been impressed by how quickly the soft tip—essential for crankbaits, jerkbaits and smaller topwater plugs—transfers to a powerful backbone on the hookset. It’s plenty of tip to allow for a delayed hookset with lightwire treble hooks, but you’re still able to put the heat on ‘em to manipulate big bass away from boat docks and other conspicuous cover.
The heavier rods in this lineup, such as the 7-foot medium-heavy or the 7-foot, 4-inch heavy-action models are big-time meat sticks; I’ve felt like I was in total control of every fish I’ve hooked. But perhaps most importantly, the taper on these rods is intelligently designed to allow for pinpoint pitches and skip casts. A lot of these heavier rods have a little too much backbone that result in cumbersome casts, but I haven’t experienced that issue with these rods. The rod still loads well on the back cast so you can put your jig or Texas rig into and underneath tight spots, but it’s all business when it comes time to set the hook.
You can’t catch bass if you don’t feel ‘em biting. I believe that anglers—myself very much included—would be shocked to know how many bites go undetected throughout a year of fishing. Hence the importance of using a sensitive rod.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I can feel with this rod. Whether I’m cranking, flipping or dragging a Carolina rig, I’ve been able to detect very small changes in bottom composition with the Team Lew’s Pro Speed Stick LFS-X5. Without any guesswork, I can feel the difference between shells and pea gravel, softball-sized rock and basketball-sized rock and even different species of submerged vegetation.
There have been very few “maybe” hooksets throughout my testing—there’s usually no room for doubt when I get a bite. Even on post-frontal days when the bites have that weird mushy feeling to them, this rod allows me to detect them quickly and set the hook before the bass spits out my bait.
I haven’t been easy on these rods and I still haven’t been able to compromise their structural integrity. I’ve bent a few of the guides by accidentally stepping on them, but have easily returned them to their original position without any breaking to speak of.
When the rod is under a load, you don’t hear any cracking or popping whatsoever. This has actually been a common theme in a lot of my testing over the years, but this rod seems to be built remarkably well.
Fishing isn’t a fashion show to me, but I still think it’s worth quickly mentioning the good looks of this rod. I’m a young guy with old-school taste and I really like the classic and clean look of the Team Lew’s Pro Speed Stick LFS-X5 rods.
They’re not flashy, but they look—for lack of a better term—sleek and sexy. Any gray or black reel looks great on them and the unique combination of cork and EVA gives them the perfect amount of “pop” in my opinion.
If you were to hold this rod blindfolded, you’d probably think you were holding a $300 rod. This is a very impressive high-end addition to the Lew’s rod lineup and if you’re looking for some rods in the $200 price range, be sure to put one in your hands before making a final decision.