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Rod Review


Hextek
™ technology puts a new spin on cranking, introducing the Cape Fear Technical Bass rod
 

Date: 4/25/05
Tackle type: Rods
Manufacturer: Cape Fear Rod Company
Reviewer: JIP






Total Score: 8.33 + INNOVATION AWARD

Introduction: Cape Fear is best known for their saltwater offerings, but the company has made a move into the freshwater game by introducing a whole new series of tournament grade bass rods. The new Technical Bass technique specific rods are truly pioneering, and feature Cape Fear's
own Hextek™ technology which provides several benefits over traditional tubular rods.
 

Cape Fear Technical Bass (TB168-68C) Specifications

Length 6'8"
Grip Length 9"
Line Weight 8-17 lb
Lure Weight 1/4-1 oz
Pieces 1
Power Medium-Heavy
Action Fast
Color Black
Weight (measured) 6.2 oz
Warranty Limited Lifetime
MSRP $299.95


About Cape Fear: The Cape Fear Rod Company might be a new name to several anglers, but the company has been in operation for over a decade, and was founded in 1994.  Cape Fear is headquartered on the coast of North Carolina and have years of experience producing quality saltwater rods ranging from big game to inshore using their patented
Hextek™ technology. Today the company lead by Raiford Trask has entered the freshwater arena, and their newest series of technique specific rods are made for the exclusive requirements of bass anglers.

 

Introducing Cape Fear's Technical Bass cranking and ripping stick

 

Impressions: Though some of our other editors have used Cape Fear rods before, this is my very first time seeing one of these rods up close. As I was unwrapping the rod from the packaging and one of my hands grasped the blank and I immediately knew this wasn't your run of the mill rod. I had heard of the Cape Fear's Hextek II™ technology, but I had previously thought that it was housed inside a round blank. The Cape Fear Technical Bass rod blanks are actually hexagonal in shape. Though this design veers away from the more popular round shaped blanks, the Technical Bass rod is a true piece of art in terms of design, and without doubt among the most original. This inventive rod makes use of nine quality Fuji Alconite guides plus the tip. From handle up it is obvious the company put plenty of effort into fabricating a fine rod. The only small gripe we had initially was the joining of the reel seat to cork grip where we found a slight space between the two. This won't affect your fishing, but we expected superior craftsmanship from a near 300 dollar rod.

 

Hextek™ technology not only produces a hexagonal shaped blank, but comes with many benefits tubular blanks do not

 

The Design: The Cape Fear Technical Bass rod is a truly innovative design. Employing the Hextek II™ technology Cape Fear is able to control the rod's characteristics even before production takes place. Hextek™ is the culmination of the highest fiber content of any rod laminate and two years of sophisticated production technique development. "With our technology we are able to put different materials on different planes which greatly increases our rod's performance," says Mabel Trask, Marketing Manager and National Sales Administrator of Cape Fear. Having the ability to select and put certain materials where they count will definitely benefit the overall rod. In the Technical Bass TB168-68C, the rod is constructed out of six T-shaped elements. Five of the T's are made of graphite while the sixth, on the bottom of the rod, is constructed out of fiberglass. Having a fiberglass T on the compression plane allows better strain absorption, allowing a thinner wall design on the overall rod. Other benefits of Hextek™ technology is an all uni-directional fiber construction and an engineered spine to further add to the rod's specific action and performance.

  

Complete Rig for Cape Fear Technical Bass Tests

Rod Cape Fear Technical Bass
(TB168-68C)
Reel Quantum Accurist PT
Quantum Energy PT
Line 20lb Sufix Superior
12lb Pline Floroclear

    

Field Tests: The TB168-68C is Cape Fear's cranking and ripping stick. From our initial inspection of this technique specific rod, the action and power is perfect for running crankbaits and ripping minnow baits for bass. We took this innovative rod into waterways around Central California targeting bass, and to take it one step further we went out for a couple of intensive days rippin' for stripers on the Oneil Forebay.

 

Field testing the Technical Bass TB168-68C

 
Casting: Casting lures or bait using this hexagonal rod is easy. Though you might think the shape of the rod will make it difficult to cast, it's actually not stiff at all. A gentle whip will translate into a smooth arc effectively propelling your lure. We conducted tests tossing crankbaits of all sizes at largemouth bass and also medium to large jerkbaits for stripers, and results were encouraging. The
unique Hextek™ construction allows for a uniquely engineered spine which prevents the Technical Bass rod from rolling, thus minimizing power loss and unwanted directional change on the swing, resulting in more accurate and further casts.

 

Designed for bass, this rod is great for other species as well

 

Sensitivity: Being a cranking and ripping rod, sensitivity isn't as important as the other attributes such as the action of the rod. Though not the most important, Cape Fear's all uni-directional fiber layout transmit vibrations better. The signals are sent straight down the path instead of having to overcome fibers running in many different directions, dampening the vibrations. Though uni-directional material theoretically translates into better transmitters, there are other aspects of the entire rod that plays into the rod's sensitivity such as components, material of the rod, and the action. One of the first things we noticed on the TB168-68C is that the reel seat doesn't have a blank-through. Maybe it's not possible to implement it with the hexagonal shape, or maybe because it's a cranking stick. Whatever the reason we would like to see a blank-through reel seat for further sensitivity enhancement.

 

We all know graphite is more sensitive than fiberglass, especially when it comes to extremely high-modulus. The good thing about this rod is that it makes the use of both, thus getting the benefits of both worlds. You have the fiberglass to give it the properties of a good cranking rod, while you have five graphite T's to grasp the other characteristics and performance the material provides.

 

With a hexagonal blank, you can assure all guides are lined up straight

 

While running crankbaits and ripping minnows we did feel every hit, even the short strikes or the ones that just didn't connect. Having the ability to feel is still important, especially when you want to know exactly what your lure is doing. The side to side wobble created by the crankbaits are also felt along with the bills knocking into structure, rock bottoms, and more.

  
Power: We won't have to worry about the power especially when the rod is designed by a company that excels in saltwater rods. The power in the Technical Bass rod is brilliant. The hexagonal shape provides superb structural support for those extreme hauls and long fights, and the rod is muscular enough to horse the fish away from structure with a single pull. We found the rod to have magnificent power, and possessed the ability to control all but the biggest fish from start to finish.

 

The Technical Bass rod is very powerful and durable. It has the right actions for ripping jerkbaits and running crankbaits

 

Durability: A powerful rod is usually complimented by durability of the same level. The Cape Fear Technical Bass Hextek™ fishing rod shows, feels, and is absolutely solid by design. The innovative hexagonal blank is solidly constructed with supporting T's inside that's structurally sound, preventing the rod's outer shell from crushing under strain. The rod doesn't feel hollow like an ordinary blank, and we feel so confident about the durability of this particular rod that we believe it can make a great crossover rod for light saltwater applications as well.

 

Ripping for bass over submerged grass and weeds can be very rewarding

 

Ergonomics: Because of their powerful and durable design we imagined the rod would be on the heavier side, and it did indeed have a slightly greater mass than most rods in the same class. The trade of using more material in the construction of a more durable rod is slightly increased blank weight. Is the more durable construction on a ripping and cranking rod worth an extra 1.5oz? I think so. While the weight will add up after a long day of ripping, you always have confidence with the Cape Fear technical bass rod that no matter what size fish strikes your lure the rod is loaded and ready to rumble. On the ergonomic plus side the rod does make use of a soft foam butt cap which make your forearm more comfortable when aggressively casting and retrieving hardbaits.
  
Ratings:

Cape Fear Technical Bass (TB168-68C) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The rod uses quality components and a highly supportive rod structure that won't disappoint, making it a very durable rod. Craftsmanship can be improved at the grip end 8.5
Performance Performance is good and the Hextek™ construction that benefits the rod in power, durability, and sensitivity. The ability to engineer the rod's action gives it the right features per specific techniques. The rod has plenty of lifting power 9
Price Tournament grade and the only company that can produce rods using the patented Hextek™ technology, you can expect the price tag it carries 8
Features The rod features their own rod building technology like no other and supportive T's for greater performance 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Though the design is very sound, the weight makes the rod heavier than most graphite rods of the same class 7
Application Specifically designed for cranking and ripping for bass, this rod is powerful enough to tackle other larger freshwater and saltwater game 9

Total Score

8.33


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Innovative design L Heavier than some rods
J Durable  
J Powerful  
J Good cranking action  


Conclusion: Innovative, powerful, and durable are a few words that describe Cape Fear's latest freshwater lineup of rods. The Technical Bass series are made for tournament anglers and are built for technique specific applications. The
Hextek II™ technology allows Cape Fear to finely engineer the cranking and ripping stick to specific actions that tubular blanks just cannot attain. The hexagonal shaped graphite plus fiberglass rod generate great action for cranking and ripping for bass, and with its attributes it can handle a lot more than what the pure specifications call for. Though a slightly reduced weight would make this rod even better, the Cape Fear Technical Bass TB168-68C rod is quite impressive as it is. Bass anglers finally get to take advantage of Cape Fear's proven technology, and as the company continues to refine their proprietary Hextek technology it is really nice to see a manufacturer that isn't afraid to take chances, innovate, and create a rod that isn't just another "me-too" product. The Technical Bass from Cape Fear Rods is a quality rod and we award it TT's Innovation Award for their realization of Hextek II™ technology in a true bassin' stick.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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