Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Product Review of AKRods Custom Magnum Crankbait Rod

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Every fisherman in the world has different ideas on how a rod should feel and act. That's why the average bass fisherman owns dozens of different rods. What works for one fisherman won't work for the next. The issue is, when fishermen go shopping, they are all shopping for the exact same rods though each man is different. 

Take me, for example. I am a very short guy with fairly short arms. I love to throw crankbaits, specifically those deep diving plugs. The mass produced options that I could find that would give me the balance of castability, retrievability, and fish-fighting power were far and few in between. For years I had relied on the Wright & McGill Skeet Reese magnum cranking rod. It could certainly cast those big cranks but I had some issues with it, namely that the butt length was too long for a short armed guy, the rod had no accuracy, and the weight was ridiculously high. After even 30 minutes of casting, my forearm would be burning. Furthermore, if I could make the exact cast I needed and could find the fish, my side would be rubbed raw from the butt. And, of course, yellow and black aren't my colors, but I digress. 

I wanted something that had the length I needed to make long casts yet had a versatile loading profile to allow me to make accurate short casts on top of those long ledge busting ones. In addition, I wanted a handle and a butt that fit me, not the average guy. Most importantly, I wanted the weight to be trimmed way down. Also, a little customization never hurt anyone, right? 

I contacted Anthony at AKRods, whom I had bought several custom rods from in the past. While he had built me custom, hand built rods with quality components, I had never special ordered a rod built to my specification. I told him what I wanted, everything from the handle and butt length to the quality of the components I wanted to the very colors of the wrappings. A month later, my custom cranking rod arrived. 

Here are the specifics on the rod:
  • Mudhole MHX CB906 Crankbait blank
    • 7'6" | 10-17 lb. | 3/8 - 1 1/4 oz. | Mod-Fast Action | Medium-Heavy Power | 1 Piece | 5.5 Tip | 0.573 Butt | Slate Finish
  • Custom Orange and Blue wrappings
  • Custom orange and blue EVA grips
  • Fuji FCS reel seat
  • Fuji Alconite micro guides

The rod weighed in at just 4.3 ounces, a ridiculously low weight for a rod meant for magnum crankbaits. I paired this with an Ardent Elite 5.3:1 reel. I was simply blown away with the low weight which made a day on the water a lot easier, especially for someone who relies on big cranks as much as I do. 

However, what I was truly blown away with was the loading of the rod. Unlike some of the other magnum cranking rods which would not load up unless you really heaved them, which made short accurate casting impossible, this rod would easily load for short, precise casts. Being able to roll cast to laydowns on bluff walls from 10 yards away was just as important as casting all of the line out to cover a ledge for me and this rod did that perfectly. 

When it came to needing to make those long casts, I didn't have to really exert a lot of force to make the rod load up, which is particularly important when casting into the wind. That prevented me from having the bird's nest or the associated snapping off of those expensive cranks. I could easily make those long casts thanks to the ease of loading of the rod. 

That didn't come at a cost to fish fighting, either. I really put this rod through its paces in its first tournament. Our biggest fish of the day came off this rod including some nice magnum spots on Smith Lake. 

Obviously the customization is important to most people, whether that is color matching it to your boat or to your own body, but the ability to have high end components shouldn't be overlooked, nor should the benefits of a hand-built rod be ignored. For example, each hand-built rod has its spine identified, marked, and incorporated so that it  maximizes its internal strength. 

I am incredibly happy with this rod and the fact that it is customized to my demands makes it even better. It isn't a $75 rod that you went to your local sports store and bought. This is a $300 dollar rod that took a month to build and, as such, I received a far, far superior product than I could go to any store and purchase. I am typically a very cheap guy, but these rods, which have specific uses, are worth every penny. 

Not only do I highly recommend AKRods, but I would highly recommend this particular rods as good crankbait rods are all but impossible to find. Contact me for more information at best5zach@yahoo.com