When testing out fishing rods, I like to take my time before I formulate a hard opinion. I can usually tell with a bait pretty quickly if there’s much to it. You give me a few minutes with a lure, I can tell right off if the company used quality components, how good the paint job is and if there’s any kind of counterweight system in it to improve casting. Then give me a few hours or days with it and I can beat and bang it off a few docks to see if it’ll bust. I’m just naturally good at that part.
The point is, I can form an opinion with which I’m comfortable pretty quickly with a fishing lure. But with a fishing rod, I like to take a little more time. I like to stick a few big fish with it. I like to accidentally close a rod locker on it a couple times. I like to bend an eye or two, again accidentally. Basically, I just kind of like to put it through the paces of normal use and expected wear and tear.
I’ve done that now with the Halo HFX Casting Rods and I’m ready to share my thoughts.
Tangling with big ones right away
I thought it would be a good idea to hit a local pond for my first day of testing these rods. I figured the more bites I got, the better I’d be able to gauge what the rod was capable of. I didn’t end up getting many bites that day, but the ones I got were big. My first bite went around 4 pounds. My buddy with me asked if I wanted him to get the net, I kind of laughed and said, “Nah, let’s see what this rod can do,” as I boat flipped the fish.
I was using the 7-foot, 11-inch extra heavy with a Medlock Double Weedguard Jig. The rod swung the fish into the boat with no problem at all.
My next bite came about 45 minutes later and it was a toad. As I set the hook, I rolled a big one out of a tree and my buddy was like, “You gonna boat flip that one, too?” I was like, “Naaah, not this time. Get the net!”
Calling for a net in a pond is pretty comical but to be honest, I thought it was a 10-pounder during the fight. I have yet to break the double-digit mark, even in a pond. So he scooped her up and when we put her on the scales, she topped out a little over 8 1/2 pounds. About 30 minutes later, I boated my third fish of the day pushing 7 1/2 pounds. So the first three fish I caught on one of these rods went for about 20 pounds. I’d say it was a good day.
These three fish catches quickly showed me quite a bit as to what the Halo HFX is capable of. My initial thoughts on the 7-foot, 11-inch extra heavy is that it’s a lightweight and powerful rod. It doesn’t wear you out flipping with it for extended periods of time, so it’s balanced pretty well. It is probably a little stiff for my personal tastes when it comes to punching, but that being said, every angler is different. If you like a stiffer rod for punching, this one will be right up your alley. It has enough tip to make accurate pitches and a plenty of strength to haul big ones to the boat.
I also tested out another model in the HFX lineup, the 7-foot, medium-action cranking rod. This rod has a soft tip with a good bit of backbone starting about a third of the way back down from the tip. I’d recommend this rod more for medium-diving crankbaits. Maybe some will like it for a squarebill and lipless crank as well, though I’d prefer something like their 7-foot, medium-heavy for those two personally, but I like a little bit stiffer rod than some for squarebills and lipless cranks. If you like a soft-tip rod for any cranking short of a big, deep-diving plug, the Halo HFX 7-foot, medium-action cranking rod is worth a look.
Looking more at the specifics, I really like what Halo did with their guide selection on the HFX Series. I like the sizing in particular, not micro guides but not the big jumbo guides from back in the day that you could play corn hole with, either. It’s just a nice, mid-sized guide system.
The guides vary slightly in size as you make your way up the rod, but all are rugged and durable. They’re made of stainless steel with zirconia inserts, which makes for a really smooth guide. And the first two guides feature a three-foot design for added durability, since those guides need to stick up off the blank a little more, and single foot guides the rest of the way to the tip. Well thought out, in my opinion.
I like that Halo did a little something different with the handle on the HFX as well, mixing materials to create a cork and foam combination. I actually like both cork and foam grips and think each work better in certain environments, so having a combination of the two is appealing to me. I just like the look of it as well.
Halo also left a little of the blank exposed behind the reel seat, which increases the sensitivity of the rod a good bit. This allows you to place your fingers directly on the blank when holding the rod and takes away the deadening effect that a traditional reel seat has when it covers the blank.
Perfect bait keeper and location
This one won’t seem all that significant to some and honestly it’s not a make-or-break thing for me when it comes to purchasing a rod. But because this bait keeper is perfect in my opinion, I thought it was worth noting. For starters, this keeper allows you to easily secure an exposed hook bait, like a jig or spinnerbait, by simply running the hook point through the keeper.
But you can also secure a soft-plastic bait without having to remove the hook from the plastic by sliding the bend of the hook under the tip of the keeper and pulling up. This keeps you from having to re-rig a soft plastic every time you pick the rod back up. The positioning of the bait keeper on the front of the blank is also perfect, so your line isn’t constantly snagging the keeper when trying to pop a bait undone. This happens a lot with bait keepers like this that are on the back of a rod.
I’m a big fan of the Halo HFX Series. This is the first time in years that I have given Halo another look. Years ago, when Halo first hit the scene, I witnessed a few issues that put a questionable taste in my mouth and I haven’t tinkered with them since.
I can tell you personally, however, that a lot has changed since then. Not only is the company under new management but they also went all the way back to the drawing board and started over completely the best I can tell. That’s hard to do and I commend them for it.
The HFX rods are quality products with several design features I really like, all for a very reasonable price. Attention to little details with the exposed rod blanks and perfect bait keeper are proof that serious anglers were involved with the designing and refining of these rods. Featuring a strong Japanese Toray lightweight blank, solid components and innovative handle design, these are rods I’d certainly recommend if you’re in the market for one.
The Halo Fishing HFX Casting Rods are available at the following online retailers: