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Rod Review

 

Abu Garcia and Ike Help You Take Your Show On the Road (continued)

Sensitivity: The big deal with a multi-piece stick is, of course, sensitivity. Once you break that one-piece transmission of vibration, there's no way a two piece, let alone three piece or more, stick can be as sensitive. True? There was a time I believed so, but not any longer. Once upon a time, at the joint of multi-piece rods, builders used metal ferrule. I think this change in materials may have caused the loss in sensitivity and is probably the culprit behind all the other perceived disadvantages of multi-piece sticks. Like the majority of today's manufacturers, for the MIKES70ML-3, Abu Garcia uses the blank's natural material for these connection points delivering a multi-piece stick that performs just like the original. The MIKES70ML-3 has good sensitivity.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Abu Garcia IKE Travel Spinning Rod in both Medium Lite (red) and Medium (orange) power configurations against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: The feature with this stick that was most intriguing for me, was the that it came with two tips giving you two distinct powers to choose from. I had always assumed heavier powered rods were distinguished from one another not just in the tip, but through the mid section to the butt end so it's intriguing to me that you can achieve this effect by simply swapping out the top third of the fishing rod.


I mostly fished the medium light powered tip

As mentioned earlier, I primarily fished the medium light tip on this stick, but if you refer back to Figure 1, the results of our RoD WRACK deflection curve for this stick, you'll see that the progression curves, though at different heights, are very closely aligned and then as soon as the force applied to each stick reaches twelve ounces (12oz) there's a distinct hic-cup in the curve signifying more resistance from the blank. It's pretty clear the first half of that curve up to 12oz is all tip, while the back portion of that curve is where the last two thirds of the rod is kicking in. Out at thirty two ounces of applied force, the curves even almost align with one another.


Fully assembled, you can't tell it's a multi-piece stick

This tells me that there's a point where blanks that are adjacent to one another in power, likely share similar characteristics from their bases up to about two thirds their length - depending on taper. This is how Abu Garcia is able to deliver a multi-piece stick with two power options simply by swapping out the tip sections. It's probably not possible to do this skipping powers, but with adjacent powers, a happy compromise can be reached at the rod's base giving the angler some versatility in a single package.


The purple paint that covers the blank actually changes color depending on the angle at which the light hits it

Design & Ergonomics: If you're looking for a travel rod, there's not much to dislike about the MIKES70M/ML-3. However, we did find one little annoyance. I really like this stick's travel case. It's small yet rigid making it easy to take on a plane and stash in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you with little fear the rod will be crushed. That little pouch for the reel is a really nice touch. Trouble is, for the MIKES70M/ML-3, this pouch does not line up with where the reel sits when mounted on the handle portion of the rod.


A minor annoyance, the case's reel pouch doesn't line up correctly to allow you to stow the handle portion with reel attached. Either the tube is too short on one configuration...

I'm stopping short of calling this an outright flaw because maybe, just maybe this rod was mistakenly packaged in the casting rod's case at the factory. Additionally, it's easy enough to take the reel off the rod and stash it in your clothes bag. I do this with all my reels after a trip back at home anyway. There is no denying, however, that this is an unfortunate oversight.


.... or the pouch is in the wrong spot in the other

Otherwise, the rod itself, when fully assembled with either tip configuration measures out heavier and more tip heavy than the four inch longer MIKES74-4 rod we previously tested. The price for having the convenience of a multi-piece stick has to come somewhere and apparently its right here with weight and balance (see comparison table below).

Lab Results for Abu Garcia IKE Travel Spinning Rod

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ft lbs)
Abu Garcia IKE Travel Spinning Rod Medium Lite Power Tip
2.64
Fast
4.6
10
0.23
What the Finesse Avg
2.94
--
3.9
7.3
0.15
Abu Garcia IKE Travel Spinning Rod Medium Power Tip
2.19
Fast
4.8
10.25
0.23
Medium Pwr Avg
2.19
--
4.2
7.9
0.18
Abu Garcia IKE Finesse Series MIKES74-4
2.89
Med-Fast
4.2
9.5
0.20


The MIKES70M/ML-3, two tips, carrying case and all retails for the same price as the standard IKE Signature Series Finesse Spinning rods - $149.99

Price & Applications: So the standard, one-piece IKE Signature Series Finesse Spinning Rods retail for $149.99. You'd expect there to be a slight up-tick in price for a multi-piece travel rod with two tips and a carrying case, wouldn't you? Afterall, you're almost getting two rods in this deal - almost. Abu Garcia offers their IKE Signature Series Travel Rods at the same retail price as their one-piece counterparts. Yes, the MIKES70M/ML-3, two tips, carrying case and all retails for just $149.99.

Ratings:

Abu Garcia IKE Travel Spinning Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Aside from a mis-aligned reel pouch in the carrying case, everything is top notch 8.0
Performance Once fully assembled, behaves like a one-piece 8
Price Tough to beat! 8
Features Multi-piece portability, two tips, solid carrying case 8
Design (Ergonomics) You have to pay the price somewhere. Assembled rod is heavier and more tip heavy than its one-piece counterparts 6
Application One stick, two tips, really good versatility if you're traveling or even on the backseat of someone's boat 8

Total Score

7.67
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Two tips for added versatility - Reel pouch on the case is not properly aligned
+ True travel size  
+ Rigid carrying case  
+ For the most part, performs like a one-piece stick  

 

Conclusion: Being the avid traveler that I am, it always excites me to come across a stick designed for this purpose. By this I mean not just a stick that can break down into two-pieces, but one that is designed with the traveler in mind. Give me something compact, that comes in a carrying case you can easily stow on an airplane. They've been doing this in the fly fishing industry for decades - with super high quality, enthusiast level fishing rods - why can't we have something similar for conventional fishermen?

 


Thank you Abu Garcia, and Mike Iaconelli for giving us travelers an option and helping me not learn to fly fish for at least one more year

 

The answer, of course, comes down to sales and numbers and not enough demand. Sort of like left hand retrieve casting reels. I can't be the only one making noise about sensible things like this. I guess traveling fisher-people are just fine with oversized rod tubes and exorbitant extra baggage fees because it makes sense I should pay the same amount to bring my fishing rod on board an airplane as someone trying to fly with their surf board or bicycle. Thank you Abu Garcia, and Mike Iaconelli for giving us travelers an option and helping me not learn to fly fish for at least one more year.

 

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