I’ve been testing a lot of tackle this spring and summer. One rod line I’ve been fishing with has been a very pleasant surprise. The No. 8 Tackle Company Blackout rods debuted a couple years ago at ICAST. The No. 8 Tackle Company focuses on manufacturing fishing rods and reels and other accessories at very low price points for anglers on a budget that want good gear.
That sounds easy, but a lot of the rods and reels at really low price points don’t live up to the standards of avid anglers.
Here are several reasons that make the Blackout rods special:
- Price vs quality
- Application crossover
- Impressive sensitivity
- Actions are right
Price and quality?
The sport fishing industry is full of buzzwords, many of which don’t have much substance behind them. There are, however, a lot of companies making really good products these days. That’s a testament to angler demand, angler feedback, and manufacturers pursuing better materials and better processes.
But I’ve said for a long time that innovation is about improving processes and materials handling to provide lower price points with better quality. That’s innovation. Innovation does not mean finding the most expensive materials on earth to make things lighter at astronomical prices. As such, I’ve gravitated to more lower price point blanks in my fishing rods.
I find it funny that some serious anglers will say that a $200 rod is too pricey but then not give a $70 rod a fair shot because they think a rod at that price is just a toy or will just be junk. I’m probably guilty to an extent as well. A lot of the cheap rods I’ve used were cheaply made as well and didn’t last long or actually made fishing more difficult.
The No. 8 Tackle Co. Blackout rods are a good blend of quality and performance at a very reasonable price. But they are very good rods. They are not expensive blanks. They don’t have expensive guides or handles. They are no-nonsense rods with the right action and power to handle a lot of different fishing applications.
I’ve used a 7-foot, 3-inch medium-heavy, extra-fast Blackout rod now for several months. I’ve used that particular rod for fishing a frog under and around wood cover and sparse bank grass as well as fishing swimbaits in 20 feet of water. I’ve thrown a jig and fished a worm with it. I’ve fished 65-pound braid and 12-pound fluorocarbon on it.
I say these rods are as surprising to me as any I’ve tested. I too was guilty of not expecting much for a lower end price point rod. But these rods have sensitive blanks, very comfortable grips and were a joy to fish with on long days on the water.
I was skipping a frog under trees this spring and catching some great fish with that 7-foot, 3-inch rod. I then took it out deep during the post spawn and caught fish on football jigs, big worms, and some swimbaits.
The rod has a great backbone with 80/20 blank. But that 20 percent at the tip gives me great control of my lures to roll cast them into tight places as well as load on a bombing cast out deep. I’ve swung a couple fish close to 5 pounds over the gunwale with the rod without issue.
My biggest fear with an $80 rod was it would turn my sensitivity to mush. A poor blank dampens the transmissions of bites from the line to your hand. So you often only feel weight. You never feel that telltale “tick” of a bite. But these rods have been a joy to fish with. I’ve felt bites in 25 feet of water, dragging baits over the rocks. I’ve been able to tell when my lure was in grass or on a piece of wood.
The grips are super dense EVA. The blanks are actually a blend of 30-ton and 24-ton fibers with No. 8’s proprietary resins. It gives the rods a great feel, great sensitivity without being too heavy to fish all day. They are balanced well with any of the 13 Fishing reels I’ve paired on them.
But I was really impressed with the actions on these rods. I fished a couple other ones with another angler and they all fish great. FLW Tour pro Brandon Hunter uses his No. 8 Tackle Co. Blackout rods to fish professional tournaments. A testament to what you are getting for $80.
If you’re looking for a rod well under the $100 mark that performs like a lot more, this is one you should check out. The No. 8 Tackle Co. got it right when they designed the Blackout rods. Performance at a price that makes sense for a lot more anglers.
These rods retail for $80 and come a lot of good actions and powers. You can find them online at TackleWarehouse.com as well as more and more local retailers every week. More pictures of the rod in action below.