Whenever quality meets affordability, I think that’s what the majority of anglers out there are looking for these days; and most likely not just anglers but consumers in general. If I can get a quality product for a reasonable price, I’m pretty happy. Well that pretty much sums up the product we’re going to be reviewing today.
The Halo Fishing XD III Pro Series Casting Rod is a quality rod that fits most any budget. For a rod in this price range, this thing is legit. Honestly, I can’t tell a dime’s worth of difference between it and some of the $200 to $300 rods I’ve used in the past. It’s a solid rod for a solid price, so you can already see which way this review is trending. But let’s go ahead and dive into some of the specifics about the rod that make it a good buy.
Lightweight with good actions
When you make your way down the rod price scale, you’ll often find the more affordable rods are a good bit heavier. That’s not the case with the XD III Pro Series. For the last few months I’ve been testing out both the 7-foot, medium-heavy action and the 7-foot, 6-inch extra-heavy action and both are comparably light rods when putting them up against similar actions from other brands.
The 7-foot, medium-heavy action is a great all-around rod for most anything. I’ve fished a Texas rig and a spinnerbait on it a good bit but you could also use it for a buzzbait, ChatterBait, squarebill, lipless crankbait, topwater and several other lures. This size rod in particular would be a great choice for an angler looking to invest in a bass fishing rod with which they could do a lot.
I’ve used the 7-foot, 6-inch extra-heavy action primarily for flipping and punching. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to tie into a big one with it yet, it has held its own with the ones I have caught. It’s also balanced fairly well for any weight up to about 1 1/2 ounce.
Halo went with stainless steel guides with zirconia inserts for this rod and they’ve held up nicely to both braid and fluorocarbon. Braided line can be a little rough on some guides but that’s what I’ve run through these the majority of the time and they’ve withstood the test.
I like that Halo went with a three-footed guide for the first guide and then stepped down to guides with single feet the rest of the way. That first guide being raised up a little higher off the blank helps the line travel through the guides smoother. The size of the guides suits my preference well, too. They’re not super small micro guides but they’re not the real big guides you see on some rods. To sum it up, it’s a nice set of mid-range guides that are durable.
I like what Halo did with the grips on these rods. I’m not going to say no other rod company does this, but this is the first I’ve paid any attention to a company using this kind of hybrid handle made with EVA foam and what they call Sensi-Touch rings, which appear to be some sort of cork composite-type material. I also reviewed Halo’s HFX Series Rods a few months ago and they use this same technology.
Halo’s reasoning is that it increases the sensitivity of the grip. I’m certainly not going to say it doesn’t, but I personally just like the way it looks and feels. The mixture of different materials has a nice look to it and it also enhances the grip in my opinion over just a straight EVA foam handle or a straight cork handle. Having the Sensi-Touch rings built into the EVA foam just gives the grip a nice feel.
As far as sensitivity goes, this rod is up there with some of the best of them. I believe that’s due to the exposed rod blank on the back of the reel seat. Being able to make direct contact with the rod blank definitely helps an angler detect more bites and is why you’ll often see an angler take his hand off the reel and put a finger or two on the blank just above the reel when he thinks he might have a bite on and wants to make sure.
But having this section of the rod blank exposed behind the reel allows an angler to maintain constant contact with the rod and better detect bites. There’s a good portion of the blank exposed on the XD III Pro Series rods, more so than many others I’d say that do have some of the blank exposed. There’s enough with this rod for two of your fingers that are holding the reel to wrap around and make contact with the blank, which is pretty impressive and makes it that much more sensitive.
It may be a small thing to some folks, but the bait keeper is always a big deal to me on a rod. I like a keeper that can be used one of two ways, to slip the bend of a hook under or the point of a hook through. The reason being, if the bait keeper is just a closed off loop attached to the rod on both ends, I have to pull the hook out of a soft plastic each time to hang my bait on the rod. But if it’s the kind that Halo used on this rod, I can just slip the bend of my hook underneath the keeper and leave my bait rigged and ready for the next time I need it.
On some baits with treble hooks like lipless crankbaits, topwaters and squarebills, however, I’ll actually run the hook point through the bait keeper since it’s a little more secure to store those baits that way. With this bait keeper, you can do both. It’s placed in the optimal area on top of the blank above the reel so that you run the least risk of hanging your line on it if you’re trying to pop a bait free, which happens if a bait keeper like this is on the back of the rod blank.
All in all, this is a really solid rod for a solid price. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find a better rod than this one at this particular price point. The Halo Fishing XD III Pro Series Casting Rod is lightweight and has some good actions. These rods have quality components in the rod guides Halo used and between the hybrid grips and exposed rod blank on the back of the reel seat, this is one sensitive rod with a sure and comfortable grip.
This is a bass fishing rod I’d recommend to someone just looking to walk the bank of a pond or fish competitively tournaments. I’ve done both with it and it’s performed flawlessly for me so far in both scenarios.
The Halo Fishing XD III Pro Series Casting Rod is available at Sportsman’s Outfitters and Tackle Warehouse.