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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 

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Ready for Battle, a First Look on the Water with Phenix's M1 Series (continued)

Ranging from $174.99 to $184.99 dollars on the casting rods (10-15 dollars more for the swimbait models), these sticks are quite aggressively priced, maybe even too aggressively priced. Targeting the mainstream to entry-premium space these rods are priced almost at parity with the Recon Series ($169-$189) so cannibalization may be a concern. But nobody can complain that Phenix doesn’t give their customers plenty of options. So just who should consider one of these new rods? Time to find out.

Phenix M1 Casting Rods

Model Length Line Rating Pieces Taper Action Lure Weight Guides Reel Seat / Handle MSRP
MX-69ML 6'9" 6-12 1 Fast 1/4 - 5/8 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $168
MX-72ML 7'2" 6-12 1 Fast 1/4 - 5/8 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $170
MX-72MH 7'2" 8-17 1 Fast 1/2 - 3/4 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $175
MX-72H 7'2" 10-25 1 Extra Fast 1/2 - 1 1/4 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $178
MX-78MH 7'8" 8-17 1 Fast 1/2 - 3/4 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $180
MX-78H 7'8" 10-25 1 Extra Fast 1/2 - 2 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $185

 

While we are in process of a complete review of these rods we wanted to see what the entire line felt like in comparison to not only the Recon Series but other rods at the price point, and to better understand the applications where this rod series really makes sense. Vince Borges, Prostaffer for Phenix, was happy to showcase the entire line to us on the water, and we met him and two more of his prostaffers out at Clear Lake for some winter fishing. Time to bust out that spreader rig and tie on those spoons!

 

The spinning rods make use of as little material as possible when it comes to the seat and EVA grips

Sometimes Clear Lake can be a tough lake to fish in the winter, and while you can absolutely catch quality fish this time of year, you have to not only work harder to find them but also brave the elements long enough to catch the fish. When we met Vince at Clear Lake we had the feeling we were in for a long tough day as the fog was thick, so thick that visibility was no more than 20 feet. This moisture coupled with near freezing temperatures made for a very slow morning where we basically crept around on the trolling motor.

Vince lands a fish with the M1 casting rods using a R2S S-Waver

Since the fishing was so slow it did give us plenty of time to check out the new rods and cast a range of baits, just to see how they felt on the new sticks. We were also were able to drag jigs and get a better feel for the rod’s overall sensitivity. It was clear that Phenix was trying to go for weight balance on a lot of the rods and while the standard casting and spinning models all featured split grip designs the swimbait sticks all feature long rear handles with full grips and additional inserts near the enlarged butt cap.

Phenix M1 Spinning Rods

Model Length Line Rating Pieces Taper Action Lure Weight Guides Reel Seat / Handle MSRP
MX-S69L spinning 6'9" 4-10 1 Fast 1/8 - 3/8 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $168
MX-S72L spinning 7'2" 4-10 1 Fast 1/8 - 3/8 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $170
MX-S72M spinning 7'2" 6-12 1 Extra Fast 1/8 - 3/4 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $175
MX-S78M spinning 8'0" 6-12 1 Extra Fast 1/8 - 3/4 SIC Phenix custom reel seat, cork and EVA $178

 

The ergonomics of the rods are quite good and the sculpted EVA is dense and comfortable to hold (even on cold wet days like we were dealing with) and the transition between the black and brown colors is seamless. I actually quite like the brown EVA inserts as they give the rod a unique differentiated look. On the other hand I have never been a fan of soft touch reel seats as they do not tend to wear well over time, and I am also typically turned off by faux carbon finishes.

 


Soft touch reel seat finishes are not my cup of tea but on the M1 the finish is tastefully done to match the brown EVA highlight

That said, the implementation on the M1 is tastefully done, though a straight unfinished seat would still be my personal preference. The actual seat designs vary depending on the rods and the M1 swimbait sticks shave away more of the seat material to expose the blank, while the casting rods provide a more complete grip for palming and the spinning rods go for as little material as possible.

A closer look at the blank under the sun reveals the carbon fibers

 

Next Section: Balancing Sensitivity and Power


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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