I truly enjoy testing new fishing gear, but it's even more fun to work with companies that build high-tech products for other companies and build the components that go into products that many may not know exist.
Batson Enterprises is an industry leader in blanks, guides, reel seats and much more, and in the past year, I have been able to fish with their Rainshadow Eternity2 blank. The best part of this test was I got to work with their rod builders and designers to build the exact action and components that I was looking for in a 7-foot, 2-inch all-purpose rod. I got to blueprint my desires in a recipe that was built to my specifications.
The plan began a couple of years ago with Ryan McIntosh of Batson speaking to me at ICAST. We spoke about what differentiated their components from others and frankly why do rods today have such a wide range of pricing. I am sure if you are like me, it's a guessing game when one rod costs $500 and another one is $100.
Individual rod builders in the industry build rods as a custom item. They do not make any ugly babies so to speak. Volume rod builders on the other hand have to mass produce rods that will meet the most frequent and generalized demands of anglers. It's more about meeting as many people's similar demands than one individuals demands.
The devil is indeed in the details to me. I want the best of all at a price that I can afford. That is what most anglers want but to most it is very hard to see the differences. Unless you are a rod builder, most would not know a good reel seat from a so-so one or a titanium guide from one that is a lesser grade. For most, it's about balance, power and feel when choosing a rod.
Guide spacing is crucial element for rod builders and even though they don't weigh much they can influence the action of the rod significantly.
Batson gives rod makers the features to be custom while also doing some volume work as well. Here are some of the Batson RainShadow Eternity2 features that stood out to me:
- High Quality Blank with power and responsiveness
- Integrated reel seat with double locking rings
- Split Grip Length Choice for custom fit
- Great looking cosmetics
As a guy who has kicked a lot of tires in my life, when doing something like this, I want to be wowed. And wowed I was from the blueprinting to the finished product of a custom built rod on the Eternity2 blanks in the Rainshadow line from Batson. The minute I put my hands on that finished product, I knew this rod was something special. I chose the ETEC72MH as the blank I wanted. It is touted as an all-purpose rod. The rod is light, well balanced and powerful. The RainShadow Eternity2 is a rich looking cobalt blue and the blueprinting was exact to what I talked about with the builder.
Batson works hard on blueprinting accuracy and ultimately the product has to match perfectly. The rod uses RX9 materials with Nano Compound Technology that offer both sensitivity and durability in one light blank. It took Batson 36 months get the blank right.
I am not a rod builder, but I know what I want in feel. Performance and power were what I was looking for, and that is what I got.
I am still a believer in cork handles, I guess I am old school, and just about all of my longer rods are split gripped. No real reason other than I like the cork for feel, they seem to wear into your hand position for comfort and grip and they are a bit lighter with the split in the handles. I really like the balanced feel of the split grip over conventional full grips too.
GUIDES AND SEAT
Some of the other neat features I am glued to are the titanium guides, and I love the full carbon reel seat. The reel doesn't slip at all on the rod due to two knurled air-grade aluminum locking rings with Delrin washer. One makes the other lock and the tightness adds feel in my opinion. It feels as if the rod and reel are a single unit. We have all had rods where the reel seat was sloppy and squeaked, but that's not the case with the Eternity2. The aesthetics are perfect.
This rod casts better than any rod in my collection, and I have to think it's because of the numbers and spacing of the Dyna Tek coated premium titanium guides. I use this rod for a variety of techniques but have found it works exceptionally well as a pitching rod. The line just flows through the guides with minimal rod slap and it has plenty of power. This past fall I used it to punch heavy grass and it stroked them. So far this spring I have used it to fish wood and blowdowns and the sensitivity is the deal. I truly believe you could feel a fly land on this rod.
I gained a strong admiration for those that build rods while testing the Eternity 2, and the beauty of building your own is you get a quality rod at a more attractive price. I highly recommend finding a rod builder, getting a blueprint completed and then compare the pricing. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
Rod builders already know about Batson, but pro anglers like Keith Combs and Anthony Gagliardi do as well and have created their own rod lines using Batson Enterprises components. Combs under the Power Tackle brand and Gagliardi with Level Rods.