When I was growing up, I would voraciously read every and any fishing gear catalog that came my way, and do it over and over. One name that continually came up was the brand Fenwick. A lot has changed since those bygone days of the mail-order catalog, but one thing that has remained a constant: Fenwick's quality. One thing that always stood out to me about the Fenwick brand was the great look and the great logo, but it was the first graphite bass rod—the Lunkerstick—that caught my attention for good. There are many good brand name rods and matching reels that look good and perform well, but Fenwick consistently gives us stronger, more durable rods that don't compromise on sensitivity.
Fenwick offers a great line of saltwater and inshore rods for every taste, but it is their freshwater lineup that has us buzzing, and the new Elite rod family is looking more and more like a real winner. Here's a quick look at the brand and the new Elite series.
Fenwick and the New Elite Series Rods
When the Clock family purchased the Fenwick brand back in the 1960s, competitive bass fishing changed forever. Back in 1973, Fenwick became the first rod manufacturer to introduce an all-graphite fishing rod—the now world famous HMG (High Modulus Graphite) that became synonymous with quality and strength in a rod.
When the Fenwick Flippin' Stick was introduced, it was clear that the brand was on the cutting edge of all things bass fishing, and it became a badge of honor to own one. With so many good rod and reel manufacturers out there, keeping their name so focused as a top-line fishing gear brand has always been a part of who Fenwick really is. Today's anglers are more than average fisherman and now are species specialists. This requires a rod that can specifically target an angler's favorite fish. The Elite rods accomplish this well.
First Impressions of the Elite Series Rods
We all want a rod and reel combo that looks great, but without the performance, it's easy to be disappointed. The second that you hold these rods in you hand, you'll see that they not only look the part, but feel it as well. I received both the Elite Series 7' Medium Fast Action spinning rod, and the 7' Medium Heavy casting rod for review.
They both look terrific and feel completely different from one another in the hand, as they should. The MH action casting rod is a crankbait specific model with long casts, larger lures, and big fish fighting capability in mind. Even at that, this 7' casting rod has such a light feel in the hand that it will surprise you, especially upon casting with it.
The 7' MF spinning rod is incredibly light in the hands and has the look and feel of rods that cost three times as much. The sensitivity is remarkable for its size which you can tell as soon as you grab it. Either Elite Series reel seat grabs your choice of reels easily and locks it down with zero wiggle room, and that's a big plus for any rod.
The downsides are few, but nothing really Earth-shattering. For instance, as soon as both rods came out of the package I instantly noticed that they are one-piece items, and as many as I have, I don't always care for a one-piece rod. In truth, I went right to the Pure Fishing website to check it out and typed in what I wanted: 7' Elite Series Medium Fast Action Spinning Rod and they do offer it in both one and two-piece rods.
As for the Elite Series MH Casting Rod, they offer just about every rod power option that you can imagine—medium light, medium, medium heavy, heavy, and even extra heavy, but they only offer the casting rod in a one piece style. And in the it's-just-the-world-we-live-in department: both rods have an obvious sticker attached to the butt that clearly says that they were made in China.
Using the Elite Series Rods
As you can imagine, getting out to the water with a couple of new rods is as much fun as a $500 gift certificate and all day at the local Bass Pro Shops store. Both these rods handled like a dream between casting and the retrieve—so much so that I didn't want to switch, even with two rods at my disposal.
I attached my Shimano Citica to the Elite Bass Casting rod and went to work. This rod now "features the Powerlux 200 resin technology" which simply means that it is super light and super strong at the same time. The reel I was using is tailor made for ripping crankbaits through the water and by the look and feel of the rod tip, it was a luxury to hold while I was fishing.
It's certainly a rod (in combination with a quality reel) that is meant for bigger water applications—for hauling tank-sized largemouth bass out from the weed edges. In truth, this bass fishing specific combo would be great for any northern pike fishing, and if you are a walleye fisherman, the Fenwick Elite Series includes several walleye rods that are just begging for your attention.
As far as the spinning rod goes, I used my Shimano Stradic 4000 to see what it could do, but that reel is probably a bit of overkill for a medium-fast rod meant for finesse fishing. With the right line—6 to 12 pound fluorocarbon—this rod made using a shaky worm on a drop shot rig a walk in the park. It has a great feel and was easy to throw smaller crankbaits and spinnerbaits with.
Both of these rods should be in any angler's gear kit, especially since the price point is very reasonable for rods of this quality. We recently reviewed both the Toadfish Inshore and the Googan Squad Gold Series Finesse rod for quality, ease of use, and price, and the Fenwick Elite Series rods compare spot on with those two.
They're a little more pricey than the others, but that's to be expected when purchasing a well-made rod from a name brand company. You get what you pay for when it comes to fishing gear and as we all know, a brand that has stood the test of time such as Fenwick gets its good name for a reason.
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