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Rod Review


A Dominating Combination - Ish Monroe's Tatula Elite AGS Equipped Frog Rod (continued)


Hooksets are lightning fast with this blank and after fishing it for the last twelve months I can say without a doubt that this one of the most crisp and accurate feeling frog rods that I have ever fished. This is well and good but all of this means little if the rod wasn't able to handle the application it was designed for, and when it comes to the required strength and sheer lifting power that frog fishing demands this rod, simply put, dominates.


AGS guides plus braid? No problem.


Sensitivity: I wish that I had the same rod with both Alconite guides and AGS guides to do an apples to apples comparison on sensitivity but I have had the benefit of fishing a variety of Tatula Elite rods equipped with both guide options and am confident that the AGS guides are not only better at transmitting vibration but give the rod a unique character that makes you feel even more connected to the bait, and ultimately whatever is happening at the end of your line.


The AGS guides change the character of the rod, making an already sensitive blank feel even more connected and refined


The AGS guides are constructed out of carbon and while they are very light they also possess a higher rigidity than even titanium, making them both durable and excellent transmitters of energy. When fishing with braid you can detect every single bump with hard or soft cover clearly.


Time to pound the shoreline, golf cart fishing to be exact


Durability: So how well did the AGS guides on our test rod hold up? Very well. I didn't experience a single break on any of our guides and I didn't play nice with this rod at all. I fished Ish's rod hard on the boat and even used it at length while pounding the shore with my golf cart. I even accidentally, and not so accidentally, stepped on the guides a few times and never did the guides shatter or snap off the blank. I am sure that you can break these guides but chances are that whatever assault that would cause one of these AGS guides to fail would likely have a similar effect on traditional guides, minus flexible Recoils of course.


My biggest question going into these tests was just how well these lightweight AGS guides would hold up to frog fishing, and continued use with braided lines, but after the first month of fishing those concerns all but disappeared. One year in and Ish's Tatula Elite Frog rod is still performing superbly. 


I fished a variety of different frogs and topwater style baits with Ish's signature rod


Price, Ergonomics, and Applications: The Daiwa Tatula Elite AGS rods retail for about a hundred more than the more standard Elite rods which come equipped with more traditional Fuji guides and alconite inserts. While the standard Tatula Elite rods fish just fine, especially the rods designed for cranking applications, don't even think about picking up one of the AGS rods unless you want to open the floodgates. The difference in weight, sensitivity, and overall handling with the AGS models is significant, and after fishing the AGS models I had a lot less desire to fish the standard models in applications that place a premium on a crisp feeling rod or enhanced sensitivity.


The more I fished the rod the more I felt it capable of so much more than just frogging


This frog rod is an exceptional stick, and makes frog fishing not only easy but more fun. Equipped with the AGS guides the rod feels like a precision weapon, and you can feel every bit of contact, and sets are quick and responsive. The blank is designed for baits up to 1 1/2oz. but I found it was capable for so much more and was able to fish swimbaits up to 2oz. and even tried spinner-rigs, like Live Target's Baitball, with this stick. In both applications the rod was more than up to the challenge, and never broke a sweat when casting heavy baits or fighting fish out and away from structure.


Time to tie on the Live Target Baitball


Ish's Tatula Elite rod is just about as multi-talented as frog rods come, and the crisp feel and the excellent sensitivity afforded angles through the use of X45 Bias graphite combined with the AGS carbon guides makes for one of the most effortless casting and most exciting rods to fish, all at the same time.


This rod proved to be quite a multi-talented performer


Since I started fishing the Ish Monroe Frog Rod over a year ago I have personally purchased three more Tatula Elite rods. While I think the reaction bait and cranking oriented rods are just fine with the Fuji Alconite combo I personally find the AGS models significantly more sensitive and refined feeling, and thus find myself reaching for them on the deck more. There a few of the new models that I still would like to try and I'm prioritizing the AGS models. Like I said once you fish them it is hard to go back. At a price of $299 dollars the Tatula Elite AGS rods, and especially Ish's Frog rod, are not only good rods but a good value as well. There was a time that anglers had to shell out a lot more coin to fish a Steez equipped with AGS guides, and while the Tatula rods are not up to Steez grade in refinement or sensitivity they are surprisingly close, and let's not forget that they are half of the cost! 



Daiwa Tatula Elite TAEL741HFB-AGS Ish Monroe Frog Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Built with excellent graphite materials and high tech X45 BIAS construction that makes the rod not only more durable but offers performance benefits as well including enhanced strength and sensitivity as well as more hook setting power. The AGS guides are truly enthusiast grade 9.5
Performance Handles like a sports car when casting and like a truck when winching. This rod delivers on both sides of the spectrum and the AGS guides help make it all possible 9.5
Price Though still not a cheap rod this stick is a very reasonable price for a rod equipped with AGS guides, a technology once reserved for much higher end rod offerings 8
Features Quality blank materials, a comfortable reel seat and excellent guides, this rod delivers in spades 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Excellent overall ergonomics including comfortable handles  and low overall weight 9
Application Great for frogging and the guides held up well to abuse for this power fishing application as well as fishing smaller swimbaits and spinner rigs. Truly multi-talented 9.5

Total Score

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:


+ The use of the SVF nano-plus material with X45 BIAS construction add up to a powerful yet light and sensitive blank - No lifetime warranty on this rod , just five years, but the good news is that the AGS guides seem to be holding up well
+ The AGS guides are the real deal, if you haven't fished them you need to, they change the entire character of the rod - Color of the blanks is still a little polarizing, unless you love silver and grey
+ Takes frog rods to another level in terms of refinement  
+ Extremely sensitive for a power stick  
+ Reasonable price when you consider the AGS guides  


Conclusion: I'm sold on Daiwa's Tatula Elite Series rods, and especially Ish's Frog Rod, which is now among my favorite frogging sticks. though designed specifically for frogging I found this stick to be incredibly multi-talented and capable of tossing big reaction baits, small swimbaits like the Jackall Gantarel Jr. or Megabass Vatalion, and even spinner-rigs and compact A-Rigs. When it comes time to set the hook this rod is lightning quick and then delivers some really unexpected muscle when lifting fish or pulling them out from structure. While I am sure that this blank would perform well with Fuji Alconite guides it is the use of those lightweight and sensitive AGS guides that really puts this rod over the top.


The Tatula Elite Series, especially the AGS equipped rods, offer a lot of performance at a reasonable price. Daiwa has gone all in on Tatula Series reels and with rods like this it is easy to fish a 100% Tatula combo


Most frog rods put an emphasis on power over refinement, but the Tatula Elite AGS puts a priority on both, and with the AGS guides this rod feels lightweight and incredibly sensitive and refined for such a power oriented rod.


This rod also makes AGS guides "affordable" for the first time, and while not cheap the $299 dollar price point is certainly much more accessible than a $600 dollar Steez AGS rod. In fact I'd recommend this rod over a Steez when you consider the price to performance ratio offered by this rod, yes... it is that good! The Daiwa Tatula Elite Is Monroe Frog Rod is so good that it is the first Frog Rod to ever take home our Editor's Choice Award, and while there are a whole lot more Tatula rods to sample, including the new and more affordable Tatula Casting Series it is this Frog Rod that has set the bar. SVF Nano-Plus carbon fiber with X45 construction plus AGS carbon guides... truly a dominating combo. 

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