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Rod Review

 

ARK Fishing Provides the Catalyst for Value (continued)

Thing is, if you don't care about the guides, the Catalyzer's sensitivity is right in line with those other series. Knowing the blank was of similar material, this didn't surprise me, but keeping its price point in mind did. If anything, I think those low-tech, no frills guides actually enhance sensitivity in a similar way the all metal Recoil guides from REC do. Without that ceramic insert, there are just fewer dissimilar materials for vibrations to travel through giving you better feel. This, of course, is an unscientific hypothesis.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our ARK Fishing Catalyzer CTL73MHFC against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: Where the CTL73MHFC falls a little short is in its power rating. That tip can handle the lure range specified, but once you hook into a fish, the rod is softer than I'd expect. This impression was reinforced by our RoD WRACK where the CTL73MHFC really softens from about eight ounces of load on up behaving more like a typical "medium" powered rod more so than a "medium heavy." What this really means to me is this stick is better suited for more open water situations than fishing in areas where you're casting or pitching in close to cover. Actual hooksets were still not a problem for me.


Checking out that tip

Design & Ergonomics: It's difficult to expect much from a $59.99 dollar stick and the Catalyzer doesn't give you much to think about. It's all black motif is very low key and unassuming. The grips are a good density EVA foam. The reel seat is custom designed by ARK and the same seat now found on the majority of their rods. The CTL73MHFC comes with an open ended hook keeper and the previously discussed guides are about as basic as it gets.


ARK Fishing is making their own reel seats

Lab Results for ARK Fishing Catalyzer CTL73MHFC

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
ARK Fishing Catalyzer CTL73MHFC
2.04
Fast
4.2
8.5
0.20
TSFO >100 Rod Avg
1.76
--
4.6

8.0

0.19
Medium Pwr Avg
2.19
--
4.2
7.9
0.18


The CTL73MHFC comes with an open ended hook keeper

I will say, normally sticks at this price range feel heavy and kind of dead in my hand due to the low grade blank material. The CTL73MHFC is none of that. As I expressed earlier, it feels every bit like a stick costing at least twice as much as its retail price. ARK Fishing really knows how to deliver value and this new Catalyzer series is just their latest flex.


Not the cleanest build I've seen. Then again, my own builds aren't much better

Price & Applications: At $59.99, ARK Fishing's Catalyzer series is a no brainer for aspiring anglers everywhere and anglers who are simply on a strict budget. The CTL73MHFC is a good candidate to handle a number of different techniques and there are three other models (one spinning, two more casting rods) in the series too if you need or want variety. It's not a super diverse lineup, but you can do a lot with the powers and lengths offered in this series, especially if you double up on models.


Ark Fishing offers rods, baits, and soon, fishing reels too

Ratings:

ARK Fishing Catalyzer CTL73MHFC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Not the cleanest build I've seen but certainly passable 7
Performance Good all around, just a little soft in the power department 7.5
Price I'm not sure there's a better value to be had 9
Features Good blank, components in line with price point 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) No frills, but a very good weight for this build 7.5
Application Very versatile power and taper 8

Total Score

7.75
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
+ Value is off the charts - Low-Tech, No frills guides
+ Excellent blank for the price point - For the Catalyzer series - only 4 models from which to choose
+ Not heavy and dead like most sticks at this price point  
+ Low-key design  


I'm not sure there's a better value out there than ARK Fishing's new Catalyzer

Conclusion: I find it a little curious that ARK Fishing, with all their different series of rods and the versatility within each of those lineups, that this new Catalyzer series only has four total models, two of which are a "medium-heavy" specification. It's almost as if they're just kind of testing the waters afraid to dominate the price point. Because make no mistake about it, at $59.99, Catalyzer is an unbelievable value. Who cares about the guides or the craftsmanship, for $180 - $240, you can have three to four totally fishable sticks to handle just about every conventional bass fishing technique you want. If you have an issue with one after the 90-day limited warranty period, the price of one stick is comparable to the expediter program for most other models. If you're on a budget, I'm not sure there's a better value out there than ARK Fishing's new Catalyzer.

 

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