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Rod Review

Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #11: Deps Joins the Frey With one of Their Sidewinder Sticks (continued)

Real World Test: Only one reel in our arsenal is really worthy of this stick and that is the Daiwa Deps ZDV Zillion. Spooled with twenty pound test Toray Bawo Polyamide Plus copolymer, this reel truly compliments the stout Dom Driver.

Checking out the rod's tip before making a cast

Complete Field Test Set-Up for Deps HGC-77XR Dom Driver

Daiwa Deps ZDV Zillion 100HL
20lb Toray Bawo Polyamide Plus

Pitching and Casting: Time to put it to the test. To get a feel for the casting abilities of the Dom Driver, I tied on a Huddleston Deluxe eight inch trout to the end of the line. This bait actually exceeds the rod's lure weight recommendation, but the Dom Driver handled it just fine.

Winding up, and...
The only downfall, ironically, is one of the features that makes this rod more attractive than its standard configuration counterpart - the shortened handle. It's difficult to gain any real two handed casting leverage since the rod's handle length is only eleven inches. Otherwise, the rod's tip loads quite well for casting duties thanks, no doubt due to its modestly tapered blank.

... letting her rip!

Since the rod is listed as a "Flipping Edition", I tried a few pitches and flips with the HGC-77XR too, but the heavy tip made it somewhat uncomfortable for this task. Realistically, this is probably another rod designed for true flipping and punching duties rather than casting or pitching baits of any sort.

Very surprising results. The HGC-77XR casts the Huddleston Deluxe 8" Trout quite respectably

Watching the bait on the bottom and seeing how well the Dom Driver transmits information to the hand

Sensitivity: Sensitivity is not a strong suit of this stick. Perhaps its the overly stout construction, or seemingly dense blank material, or gloss finish, or a combination of all these factors, but I'd rate the HGC-77XR as just okay in this department. Fishing a big bait like the Huddleston Deluxe (eight or six inch, take your pick) at the upper end of the rod's lure weight rating delivers better results than when fishing with baits at the lower end of the rod's rating spectrum. It just seems to take a lot to get a signal moving through the HGC-77XR's blank.

Almost unheard of in today's market, the Dom Driver comes with a non-exposed blank reel seat

The full length of the reel seats threads are left intact and actually add to the rod's aggressive looking grip assembly


Next Section: More test results and final ratings









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