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Having a Look at Fly Rod Blanks and Components From Batson Enterprises

 

Date: 5/11/15
Tackle Type: Fly
Manufacturer: Batson
Reviewer: Wolbugger







 

Introduction: As one of the largest OEM blank and component manufacturers in the United States, Batson Enterprises supplies a huge amount of products to both large-scale rod manufacturers as well as private builders and hobbyists. Our very own Cal first brought you a sampling of a fully-built REVELATION bass rod in our April 2014 product insight piece, and we followed that up by showcasing Batson's latest offerings a few months later at ICAST. Recently, the crew at Batson sent us a couple of fully built fly rods adorned with components from their RainShadow, ALPS, and Forecast labels to get our impressions and give an overview from the fly side of things!

 

REVELATION Fly Rod Blank Specifications

Length

9 feet

Line Weight

6 weight

Pieces

4

Action

Fast

Guides

ALPS Light XN Black Stainless Steel Stripper Guides / Forecast Light Wire Snake Guides / Forecast Large Loop Light Wire Tip Top

Blank Weight

1.8 ounces (advertised)

Origin

Asia

MSRP

$145.30


The REVELATION blanks represent worthy yet affordable options.

REVELATION fly rod blanks from RainShadow feature smooth satin-black finishes that won't send bonefish scurrying for the nearest channel. Infused with features, these sticks are constructed using RX7 Toray graphite and a host of proprietary technologies including High-Density SC (HDSC), Optimized Resin Content (ORC), and Dynamic Modulus Positioning (DMP). RainShadow boasts that each rod is tested with the rated fly line to ensure optimum performance within the designated specs.


The ALPS Centra-Lock reel seat features a logo on the top....


...and porting with woven texalium inserts on the sides and where the reel slots in.

In addition to the aforementioned guide setup on our sample rod, it also came equipped with a reversed full-wells grip, a nearly 1.5-inch fighting butt, and a black ALPS Centra-Lock reel seat with recessed hood. The reel seat in particular really grabbed my attention. Not only did it look pretty darn sweet, but it functioned very smoothly and locked down tightly enough to hold your most coveted reel.


Both rods were equipped with blemish-free ALPS stripping guides and a large-loop tip top.

The REVELATION 6-weight blank is smooth and easy to cast. It performs well at close to medium range with its rated line, but doesn't feel as crisp or pinpoint as the name may lead you to expect. When reaching out to distant targets the power feels decent, but it's far more enjoyable when casting within the “average” fishing distances of, say, 20–60 feet.


Some anglers will appreciate the softer, more forgiving action of the REVELATION 6-weight.

The taper is rated as fast, but to me it felt like it dipped more into the medium-fast side. The REVELATION actually threw a 5-weight line quite well, yet still felt decent within modest ranges even when up-lined to a WF7F. It has been a long time since I've thrown one, but the smooth, easy-going feel reminded me very much of the old school GL3 fly rods I used to fish as a teenager.


The ferules all fit snugly.

Eternity2 Fly Rod Blank Specifications

Length

9 feet

Line Weight

8 weight

Pieces

4

Action

Fast

Guides

ALPS Medium XN titanium stripping guides / ALPS Standard Wire snake guides / ALPS Standard Wire Large Loop tip top

Blank Weight

1.9 ounces (advertised)

Origin

Asia

MSRP

$192.15


Eternity2 blanks all feature an eye-popping blue color scheme.

The most unmistakable visual attribute of any Eternity2 blank is the vibrant color. Sporting a sexy shade of cobalt blue, our 8-weight test model was what I called “distractingly beautiful.” It was often hard not to stop and admire the finish when lit up by the sun's rays. Even if the blank didn't perform very well (thankfully, that's not the case), I'd still think about purchasing one simply because of the awesome looks!


The outstanding ALPS Triangle seat features a logo on the bottom that's hidden with a reel attached.

Moving past the gorgeous cosmetics, RainShadow has loaded these blanks with much of the same features as the REVELATION blanks, but adds Nano-Compound Technology (NCT) and Ultra-High Modulus Reinforcement (UHMR). For detailed explanations of all the technologies listed in this article, click http://www.rainshadowrodblanks.com/why-rainshadow/ and hit the “technology” tab.


I was not a huge fan of the grip size and shape on either stick, however the cork was very good quality.

Our sample was outfitted with the same grip/fighting butt as the REVELATION, but included extra luxuries from ALPS in the form of a non-recessed Triangle reel seat, Medium XN titanium stripping guides, standard wire snake guides, and large loop tip top. Wraps were matching blue with some silver trim for added enhancement.


The ALPS snake guides were finished in a sleek dark titanium-chrome color.

Much like the REVELATION, the Eternity2 feels slightly softer than its “extra fast” rating. I have thrown some truly extra-fast rods like the Sage TCX, Method, and Powell Edge, but this blank is not nearly as rigid—and that's a good thing for all-around use. It took a good amount of line in the air to really wake those rods up, but the Eternity2 maintained admirable feel even at very short range. I personally would give this blank a solid “fast” rating.


This blank had plenty of guts, but remained easy to work with.

Is this a tool for merely short range work? Heck no. It had excellent performance out further and plenty of reserve power to cast longer than what's usually necessary on the water. The rod didn't feel exceedingly light in hand, but it was definitely comfortable and a lot of fun to shoot out quick casts with plenty of line speed. Tight loops and solid distance was easily achievable with the rated WF8F line, and the rod exhibited good feel and felt like it tracked better than the REVELATION. I can see why this is the flagship blank!


I enjoyed both rods but you should be able to tell here which is my favorite!

Conclusion: Custom rod building has a large and devoted group of followers that grows every year. While most anglers are content with using off-the-shelf rods, custom builders seek more. Whether they want to build a rod for a specific purpose, for the sheer fun of it, or another reason, Batson Enterprises offers everything they will ever need to complete any project. While not a custom builder (yet!) myself,  it's a rare opportunity when I get to fish non-production rods. I thoroughly enjoyed comparing the REVELATION and Eternity2 fly rods and can see how both the blanks and component will easily fill niches with fly anglers worldwide. 


 

 

 

 

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