Although I spend quite a bit of time in a bass boat, bank fishing has always held a special place in my heart. If Iâd have never sat on the tailgate of my dadâs truck and watched bobbers as a child, I seriously doubt Iâd have such a big passion for the sport of bass fishing.
Whenever my schedule allows, I still enjoy bank fishing with my friends and family. For the past several months, Iâve had an opportunity to test the new Shakespeare Bank Stik combo and for the life of me, I canât figure out why I never thought of this cool concept. It has proven to be an excellent system for those lazy Sunday afternoons on the bank.
It has several features that are particularly noteworthy.
- Built-in rod holder
- Breaks down for easy toting
- Comfortable grips
- Surprisingly smooth drag system
- Hard to break
Built-in rod holder is an excellent idea
The Shakespeare Bank Stik has a fiberglass rod holder that stores in the blank of the rod. When I first heard about it, I was a bit confused as to how it would work, but after using it for several fishing trips, I think itâs an awesome idea for the casual bank angler.
When you first see this rod, youâll immediately notice an orange cap on the end of the rod butt. By simply unscrewing this cap, youâll gain access to the rod holder inside of the blank. This rod holder is designed to stick into the ground and provide a convenient prop for the rod and reel combo.
Iâve been very impressed by the rod holderâs ability to keep the rod in place, especially when a fish bites. It has a forked plastic piece that securely nestles the rod without worry of a big catfish or bass ripping your investment into the water. I found this especially useful because bank fishing is often a social event for meâ whenever Iâm not paying attention, the rod stays safely in-place when a fish hits.
The spiked end of the rod holder has also been very easy to penetrate into all types of soil. Whether Iâm bank fishing on top of dried red clay during a drought or wet grass after a rainstorm, I have yet to have an issue when setting up the Bank Stik for a fishing trip.
The forked plastic piece I mentioned is also very smooth which is very important with this setup. If a fish pulls any drag while the combo is mounted in the rod holder, you donât have to worry about any line fraying. Iâve had a few big catfish make the drag scream and Iâve yet to notice any line damage from the rod holder whatsoever.
To be quite honest, the Shakespeare Bank Stik is a pretty heavy combo but it doesnât really matter in my opinion. This system wasnât developed for repeatedly casting soft plastics or moving luresâ instead, itâs designed to sit in one place when fishing with live or cut bait. Because of this, I havenât had any arm or hand fatigue after fishing with it.
Breaks down for easy storage
When Iâm strictly bass fishing, I tend to avoid two-piece rods because I feel like the thousands of casts I make each day put too much pressure on that connection point. But for bank fishing purposes, however, I actually prefer them. I always like to keep a few small combos in the toolbox of my truck because letâs face itâ you never know when youâll run across a sexy-looking pond!
Because the Shakespeare Bank Stik is a two-piece rod, Iâm able to quickly break it down and store it in a relatively small space. Even if you donât have a truck or a big toolbox, you can easily keep it in the trunk of your car or under the backseat. Sure, itâs a small feature, but I believe itâs a very practical one.
Comfortable grips that aid in fish fights
Iâve always liked EVA foam grips because they give me a little something âextraâ to grab ahold of while fighting a fish. Not to mention, they seem to offer a bit more control whenever my hands are wet.
The Bank Stik features these EVA foam grips and I really like them. Iâve been using this combo primarily for catfish and smaller panfishâ which can get your hands dirty in a hurry. After hours of hooking live worms, chicken livers or crickets, I donât have to worry about getting the grips disgusting and dirty. Furthermore, if I rinse âem off in the water between re-rigging, I donât have to pat them dry before grabbing the Bank Stik and setting the hook.
The drag is smoother than I expected
This entire combo is priced at just $39.99, so I had pretty realistic expectations as I began my testing. I didnât expect it to be a world-class rod or reel, but rather a solid combo that can help anglers of all income levels catch some fish. As it turns out, Iâm pretty darn impressed by this reelâs drag system.
When a fish makes a last-minute surge right at the bank, it doesnât take much for the drag to âkick inâ on the Bank Stikâs reel. It seems to handle these runs easily which has lead to a pretty high catch ratio for me. Whenever Iâm catfishing, I like to set the drag fairly loose while the combo is propped against the rod holder so I can give the fish some time to hook itself. Iâve noticed that the drag doesnât âsurgeâ very much which is a great feature in my opinionâ the more the drag pumps before the initial hookset, the better the chances of that big, ugly catfish realizing itâs hooked and spitting the bait.
After years of experience with the Shakespeare line, Iâve come to expect outstanding durability and the Bank Stik hasnât let me down in any way whatsoever.
The rod has stainless steel eyes that have held up excellently to my abuse. I donât really âbabyâ my bank fishing gear like I do my guiding and tournament gearâ Iâm usually tossing it into the bed of my truck or banging it around in a small jon boat. I havenât noticed any separation, cracking or chipping with these guides.
And of course, the rod itself is also very durable. Whenever I set the hook on a fish, I donât hear any popping noises or feel any unwanted flex throughout the reel seat or butt of the rod. You can pretty much bend this rod every direction imaginable without any loss of structural integrity.
If youâre someone who enjoys drowning worms, crickets or any type of cut bait while bank fishing, I think youâll find the Shakespeare Bank Stik to be a very convenient and practical tool for your fishing endeavors. It has played a major role for me in many lazy afternoons with family and friends.