A fishing rod’s versatility should never been overlooked. It would be nice to have a giant collection of rods for each individual bass fishing technique, but that’s not necessarily practical for a lot of anglers. So if you’re going to dish out the money for a new rod, it’s a good idea to select one that has several uses.
I’ve been testing the 6-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy Fitzgerald Bryan Thrift Series Casting Rod for the last few weeks and I’ve found it to be an excellent and versatile choice for bass anglers of all skill levels. Regardless of your preferred fishing style, I think you’ll be able to appreciate several of its design features.
What you’ll like about it
Whether you’re a tournament angler or someone who fishes from shore, you’ll be able to quickly appreciate the adaptability of the Fitzgerald Bryan Thrift Series Casting Rod. When I first picked it up and started tinkering with it in my office, I imagined it would be a solid crankbait and jerkbait rod, but after several trips to the lake I have discovered how multifaceted it really is.
This rod handles smaller lures such as finesse crankbaits and spinnerbaits excellently. Its tip is soft enough to load easily on the back cast for maximum distance and accuracy, but it’s also powerful enough to handle strong runs from larger bass. I’ve used it a lot with Rapala Shad Raps and SPRO Little Johns and I’ve been able to feel each and every movement of the lure. The water is getting cold in my area, so the bass haven’t been biting very aggressively, but I’ve had no issues whatsoever detecting those funky “spongy” bites from lethargic winter bass.
It’s also one of the better jerkbait rods in my collection. Although I’m a tall guy, I like a 6-foot, 6-inch rod for this technique so I’m not constantly slapping the side of my boat when making sharp, downward twitches. The tip of this rod gives the jerkbait plenty of darting action and allows you to quickly give the lure the necessary slack between jerks. Even when the bass eat your lure on slack line, you’re able to feel the bite with ease.
Although I haven’t caught any topwater bass on this rod—it’s January in Georgia—I’ve made an effort to test this rod with smaller walking and popping topwater lures. It handles them beautifully and I’ve even been able to “walk the dog” with very lightweight poppers.
In regards to squarebills, the Bryan Thrift Series Casting Rod works quite well with smaller 1.5-sized squarebills. It casts ‘em like a rocket and doesn’t get overpowered throughout the retrieve. It will also work with larger squarebills, but you might get a little worn down after a full day of fishing. But if you need to make it work, you certainly can.
My experiences with it
Now that we’ve covered the different uses for this rod, let’s quickly talk about the design features of it.
One of the most impressive aspects of this rod to me was its durability. It comes equipped with American Tackle Artus HD micro guides and saltwater-gauge inserts that have held up excellently thus far. Although it’s an admittedly redneck way to test a rod’s durability, I’ve thrown this rod in the bed of my truck for weeks of driving off-road to my deer stands. I’ve bounced it to heck and back and I haven’t noticed any loss of structural integrity and the guides and inserts have held up wonderfully. I’ve also inadvertently stepped on the guides in my boat while fishing and again, there’s no damage to speak of.
The sensitivity of this rod is also worth mentioning. The sturdy reel seat allows you to have constant and direct contact with the blank throughout the entire retrieve and while fishing reaction lures, I’ve been able to feel every collision and bite without issue. The energy transfer is excellent when fighting fish and I’ve never once felt overpowered by a strong, boat-side run. I’ve felt totally in control at all times.
It’s a bit difficult to articulate via written word, but this rod just feels nice in your hands. I know it sounds generic, but it simply fits in your hand comfortably and has wonderful balance to it. It’s not tip or butt-heavy, which has allowed me to fish all day without any discomfort whatsoever. I’m also a big fan of its EVA foam handles. They give me an excellent grip, even after extensive fish handling.
If you’re looking for a versatile fishing rod that can handle a myriad of different techniques, I’d certainly recommend looking into this rod. I’ve been using it with just about every shallow-water reaction lure I can think of and have yet to find a bad thing to say about it.