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Rod Review

 

ARK Rod's New Series Delivers Reinforcements for Your Enthusiast Soul (continued)

Sensitivity: That crisp feeling blank translates to a stick with very good sensitivity. I'm not sure if it's due to the 46 ton graphite blank or the rather generic, all metal guides, but I was actually surprised by how well this stick performed in this area. I found the will to separate this rod and reel combo for a brief bit so I could test this stick out with a different reel spooled with straight fluorocarbon, just to get a feel with different line and the RFC76MHFC did not disappoint.


The RFC76MHFC has a nice tip

I primarily fished this rod with different sized Megabass Uoze Swimmers tipped with Reaction Innovation's Spicy Beavers and you can feel the swimming motion of that lure setup on this rod using both straight braid and fluoro and with a braid/fluoro leader combo. Resting that bait on the bottom and fishing it like a jig, the RFC76MHFC gives you a good sense of the bottom, weeds, an subtle takes.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our ARK Rods RFC76MHFC Casting Rod against the averages of our general purpose rods separated by power

Power: Rated as a medium heavy powered stick, the RFC76MHFC falls right in line with our historical RoD WRACK average in this category. The 7'6" length gives you really good leverage when you hook a fish not to mention all the line you can pick up with that extra length during a hookset. This stick's power curve and performance is right in line with a "one rod to do it all" goal.


The rod's cork grip is of very good quality and accented with the company's name

Design & Ergonomics: My initial thought when filling out the specification table for this stick at the beginning of this article was that its weight, at five point one ounces (5.1oz) seems heavy. The rod's length might have something to do with that, but the extra material on its blank might also contribute to its heft. However, in hand, the RFC76MHFC is far from cumbersome. It has a run of the mill balance point and balancing torque number for a 7'6" stick.


Top of the reel seat detailing

I might add that my choice in reel was far from super-light itself, but the overall combo balanced extremely well perhaps contributing to my overall impression that this stick is not what I'd consider heavy in weight. The Fuji PTS reel seat is super comfortable and the rod's cork grip held up well during the Fall review season. I question the long term viability of the metal guides, but I can't complain about the sensitivity they deliver.

Lab Results for ARK Rods RFC76MHFC Casting Rod

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ft lbs)
ARK Rods RFC76MHFC Casting Rod
1.65
Fast
5.1
7.5
0.24
2017 MBR843C GLX
1.75
Fast
4.5
6
0.15
TSFO >100 Rod Avg
1.76
--
4.6

8.0

0.19


Another look at that Fuji PTS reel seat

Price & Applications: Priced at a cool $350, ARK Rod's Reinforcer series comes in slightly above Megabass's Orochi XX lineup and kind of inline with G.Loomis's IMX and St. Croix's Legend Tournament. That's some heavy weight competition right there. On pure performance alone, I'd say this stick holds up, but again, I question the guide train. They perform, it's just difficult to have faith in something different and new at such a critical place on your fishing rod.


The RFC76MHFC features an open ended hook keeper

All that aside, the RFC76MHFC is certainly a viable Search for One contender. Honestly, with all the specialty sizes between seven feet and this rod's length, I tend to stick to either end of that spectrum.

 

This particular ARK Reinforcer would make an excellent candidate for pitching soft plastic stick baits in and around docks, tulles, and that trough between shore and weeds in the California Delta.

 


ARK Rods's RFC76MHFC is a viable Search for One contender

 

Ratings:

ARK Rods RFC76MHFC Casting Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean assembly though a little sloppy on the guide epoxy here an there 8.5
Performance More sensitive than I expected and very capable in both pitching and casting 9.5
Price Flagship models are never value priced 7
Features Quality blank, grip material, and reel seat. Guides perform well, they're just not a comfortable name brand 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) ARK knows how to adorn a rod... weight and balance, statistically are a little high, but out on the water, perfectly fine 8
Application If you're looking for one Reinforcer to do it all, this one should be at the top of your list 9

Total Score

8.25
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
+ Crisp, sensitive blank - Unproven guide train
+ Super comfortable reel seat - Though it fishes lighter than it measures, it still measures a tad more than I would have expected
+ Very good sensitivity  
+ Power is what you expect when thinking "medium heavy"  
+ This stick fishes lighter than it measures  

 

Conclusion: When ARK Rods shared with us early images of what they were working on with this series, I was intrigued. That patterned wrap around the blank is a fun and interesting approach. In your hands, these sticks are even more intriguing.

 

I know statistically speaking, the weight on the RFC76MHFC is not very impressive, but it honestly feels lighter than that in hand and course matched with my reel of choice, turned out to be an incredible combo. The rod's performance honestly surprised me.

 


Not perfect, but this rod definitely inspires my enthusiasm and is worthy of this Editor's Choice Award

 

Once I got a close-up look at the guide train, the skeptic in me took over. I'm still not one hundred percent convinced the guides will hold up long term (mostly against the abrasive nature of braided lines), however, in the short term, they don't get in the way and probably enhance the stick's sensitivity. Bottom line is the overall package here is impressive and just different enough to make it fun and even a little bit controversial. I'm usually overly critical when a rod company introduces a new flagship, and while the RFC76MHFC isn't perfect, it certainly did fuel my enthusiasm whenever I had it in my hands. It most definitely will not be the last stick from this lineup I fish, and inspired me enough to win this Editor's Choice Award.

 

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