I’m a student of bass fishing as much as some would like to believe I’m a teacher. Part of that is being a student of the tools we have at our disposal. Several of the pros using iROD fishing rods for bass had been telling me about them last year, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on several of the iROD Genesis II rods for bass fishing from owner Matt Newman for review.
Newman is an accomplished angler in his own right, but more importantly he’s a student of the game. He’s spent countless hours on the water perfecting big bait fishing for the giant bass that inhabit California waters. He’s been instrumental in the design and modification of many of the swimbaits on the market today.
Now he’s running a very popular rod company among the swimbait crowd that is gaining a lot of attention from anglers all over the country, thanks in large part to a pro staff that features Andy “The GOAT” Morgan, Fred “Boom Boom” Roumbanis, punching expert Bub Tosh, as well as Andy Morgan, Harold Allen, noted swimbait expert Shaun Bailey and Newman himself all designing rods for every bass fishing situation.
I wanted to review some swimbait rods initially, but my interest quickly turned to a flipping stick designed by Morgan, then a vibrating jig rod designed by Marty Stone and a crankbait launching stick designed by Boom Boom.
Here is a quick run down of the things I found compelling about these rods from an up-and-coming rod maker:
- Quality but affordable blanks
- Actions matched very well to applications
- Good ergonomics
Good but Durable Blanks
What makes for a good bass fishing blank varies among anglers. I’ve talked with rod makers for decades on the design of bass rods and what makes for a good blank. You can make the most expensive blank known to man, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate well to bass fishing. The more sensitive you make a rod the more you take away from it’s durability. So rod makers have been seeking to strike that perfect balance in a hundred different ways to find the best blanks for the job for decades.
Over the last few years I’ve come to realize that some of the more affordable rod blanks are better suited to bass fishing because they are sensitive enough to detect subtle bites but more importantly they can handle the wear and tear that we big lumbering anglers like me can doll out. And, they load correctly on the cast and the fight.
I’ve had extremely sensitive blanks that didn’t load well at all on the cast or while fighting a bass. So I’ve found myself leaning towards these “middle of the road” blanks more and more.
I was very pleased with not only the sensitivity in the iRODs but how well they handled big baits on the swimbait rods and small soft plastics on rods like the Lonestar Special, an all-purpose short rod for everything from light Texas rigs and Senkos to skipping small jigs around docks. The rods load well, balance well with a reel in the seat and cast extremely well.
Actions for applications
The iROD Genesis II rods were designed in conjunction with several top-tier anglers who worked back and forth with Newman and the blank suppliers to create the exact right actions for various applications.
Fred’s Crankbait Launcher has enough backbone to handle big deep diving crankbaits, but it loads so well that it launches a big crankbait like a medieval catapult. The handle lengths are perfect for the various situations. A big handle on the deep crankbait rod, and the various swimbait rods allows you to make a good strong fulcrum to get maximum distance and the rods handles the extreme weight of large swimbaits and crankbaits with ease.
Some rods can easily get overpowered by larger baits. It’s apparent that the Genesis II series went through many iterations to develop an array of rods that can handle very light baits all the way up to 10-ounce hard swimbaits.
Comfort and cosmetics
The EVA grips, accents and PacBay Minima guides with zirconia inserts blend nicely with the rod to produce a great looking, great feeling rod that you’re not only proud to have on the deck of your boat, but fish comfortably with for long 10 and 12 hour days without hand fatigue. Even chunking big crankbaits with arthritis in my hands, I found the rods comfortable to fish with all day.
I like the hook hanger he uses that is hinged so it’s out of the way and less likely to catch your line. Likewise the guides are not micro guides, and I’m thankful for that as I’m not a fan of microguides. But they are very small which reduces the overall weight in the rod.
The butt cap is comfortable, even jammed in your ribs, wrestling fish out of cover.
Strong and durable
I’ve thrown the rods in the back of my truck, let em ride on the deck and in compartments of my boat and put them in the corner in the garage. Essentially I wanted to see them stand up to the same stuff all other fishermen put them through. The rods still look brand new after several months. In fact all the rods in the first photo were shot after months of use.
They have held up very well on top of being very strong rods capable of handling giant loads from heavy baits and big bass. I’ve taken a few bass over 6 pounds on them already this winter and spring and look forward to catching several more.
You can find iRODs at more and more local retailers as he builds up his network, and online at this link to tacklewarehouse.com. The iROD Genesis II rod line retails for $149 and comes in 21 models.