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Looking to Recapture the "Lighter Than Air" Magic : Kistler's New Helium 3

 

Date: 11/3/13
Tackle Type: Rods
Manufacturer: Kistler Custom Rods
Reviewer: Cal






 

 

Introduction: Ten years ago TackleTour was celebrating its third year of existence amidst an information age that was just beginning to take root in the fishing industry. Anglers were hungry for news and reviews about the hottest fishing tackle. Products that excited burgeoning enthusiasts included a little burgundy reel from Shimano, the Scorpion 1000, Daiwa's flagship TDZ baitcasters, and soon, the first of Megabass's specially tuned reels, the TD-Ito family. Domestically, G.Loomis and St. Croix dominated the rod market but one small rod manufacturer out of Texas was pushing to the forefront by making available to the general angling public fishing rods with designs and aesthetics normally reserved for custom rods.

 

It's been 10 years since the original Helium LTA and to celebrate, Kistler refreshes the entire line. Introducing Helium 3.

Do you remember the first time you saw a bass rod with no foregrip? Custom rod builders had been recommending this for years, but on a production rod? The angling public is conservative by nature, so even something as benign as removing unneeded material on a fishing rod can be touted as revolutionary.

Helium 3 rods will feature a Fuji ECS reel seat capped by Kistler's Smart Grip lockdown device.

Kistler Custom Rods out of Magnolia Texas was the first manufacturer we recall offering this feature on a full suite of production rods. The first generation Helium LTA sticks were indeed something special and for the most part it was for the simple fact they came, off the rack, with the absence of a foregrip. Certainly there were other factors that contributed to the line's success including Kistler's motto that a lighter fishing rod helps you feel more bites, the rods' aggressive styling featuring guides with bright blue inserts, a very responsive blank, and the fact every rod in the lineup was made in the USA – something that was taken for granted at the time. But the feature that caught everyone's attention right off the rack was the absence of that foregrip.

The blanks are unfinished.

Since the introduction of their first Helium series of rods, the Kistler camp, along with everyone else, has had to endure a very dynamic manufacturing climate brought about by the global economic crisis. There have been unexpected changes in blank suppliers, a shift to overseas production to stay competitive, and even plans (since abandoned) to start up their own blank manufacturing plant.

The guides aren't the old blue Zirconia, but they do feature electric blue thread wraps. These are Fuji K-Series Alconite micros with stainless steel frames.

Now, in an age when the majority rod manufacturers have their products built overseas to minimize production costs and maximize profit margins, Kistler Custom Rods is once again bucking the trend. With the introduction of their Z-Bone series roughly three years ago, followed by KLX last year, Kistler has slowly been moving production of their rods back to the United States. Thanks to a solid relationship with North Fork Composites, Kistler is able to offer rods assembled domestically on a blank manufactured in the US.

The original Helium debuted with a new, open ended hook keeper. This series debuts with a new hook keeper by Kigan.

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