Evergreen International Defines "IT" Again : The Orion OCSC-71H+ Black Rose
Total Score: 8.00 +
ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST AWARD
After Megabass, and to some extent Evergreen International began producing fishing rods for the US market, I paused my almost exclusive pursuit of JDM fishing rods. The original allure of these sticks was the craftsmanship and detailing each manufacturer put into the product along with the high grade of components and rod blanks. Unfortunately, I grew a little leery of the shorter lengths and sometimes more moderate tapers. Certainly there were a few models that warranted continued attention and I did my best to sample what I could, but the USDM alternatives managed to satiate most of my enthusiast drive.
look at the Orion OCSC-71H+ Black Rose
With all that said, there's always been one spec JDM manufacturers, and really, specifically, Evergreen International flat out owned. That's the seven foot, one inch (7'-1") stick built to handle baits up to three ounces (3 oz) in weight. We're speaking, of course, of the legendary TKLC-71MHX Kaleido Super Stallion, but also the TKIC-71MH Kaleido Inspirare Super Stallion. The former is no longer being made and the latter is difficult, at best to source, but there is another. Evergreen International recently replaced their very popular Heracles series of rods with a new suite titled Orion. Within that constellation of stealthy new models sits a 7'-1" stick with similar specifications to the Super Stallion. Here's our look at the Orion OCSC-71H+ Black Rose.
Evergreen International Orion OCSC-71H+ Black Rose
||Unspecified Graphite/Carbon Fiber
||9+Tip (Fuji Ti/SiC)
|Rear Handle Length
||Made in Japan
71,000 JPY (~$675)
The Black Rose is designed for versatility allowing you to
fish in everything from tight cover situations to open water
As with most JDM product, information specifics are often difficult to come by, however, the Orion series is the work of legendary Evergreen designer Toshifumi Kikomoto.
The Black Rose, specifically, is designed for versatility allowing you to fish in everything from tight cover situations to open water environments. It is designed to do everything to flipping and punching soft plastics to casting and retrieving big swimbaits.
During the test phase, Evergreen International staffers continually used this stick for baits up to six ounces in weight. Note, the Black Rose is only officially specified at up to three ounces in lure weight.
Black Rose is a very stealthy looking rod finished in all black with little to
no fancy adornments
Out of its rod sleeve, the Black Rose is a very stealthy looking rod finished in all black with little to no fancy adornments. One thing is for certain, you can feel the stick's power the moment you hold it in your hand, yet it is relatively light and well balanced. Evergreen International rarely disappoints with their builds and the Black Rose is no exception.
The reel that felt most at home on this stick was the equally
stealthy Shimano 2020 Metanium XG
Real World Tests:
With a stick as versatile as the Black Rose, deciding on a reel to pair with it was no small task. I fished this rod with several different reels including a Calcutta Conquest 201HG and Ryoga 1520L, but finally settled on Shimano's 2020 Metanium XG (JDM equivalent of the Metanium B 151XG). This reel suits the Black Rose's motif well, but more importantly, it's light which helps give the entire combo a very spry and responsive feel. The downside is line capacity when using big baits. So to mitigate this measure, I spooled the Metanium with 40lb Power Pro Hollow Ace and adjusted my top shot depending on the intended application (generally fluoro for vertical bait presentations, heavy mono for big baits).
All the hype on this stick's versatility is real. It handles all
baits within its casting range impressively
Casting: All the hype on this stick's versatility is real. It handles all baits within its casting range impressively in all manner of presentation from pitching to sidearm roll casts to overhead casting. The lightest bait combo I employed was probably a quarter ounce Megabass Uoze swim jig matched with a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver, so this was more than the rod's low end, but this bait combo was so effective on this stick, I found it difficult to switch it up.
This sort of cross weave reinforcement extends from the grip up
to about the first third of the rod
On subsequent trips, when the reaction bite slowed, I tied on a punch rig with a one and a half ounce tungsten bullet weight and pitched a spicy beaver to visible clumps of weeds. The Black Rose was very adept at this presentation as well. In fact, I think this may where it is strongest.
Punching through dense patches of grass to find a hungry bass
However, my curiosity was really about how this stick suited in big bait applications. Evergreen International states the Black Rose was tested with up to six ounce swimbaits with the Balaam 300, but I was careful to stay within the rod's rated range. I didn't want to risk a break on such an exotic stick and I have plenty of rods that can handle baits over three ounces. So I pulled out some roughly three ounce baits like
the Green Leaf Lures Zig Zag glide and Toxic Baits Whippersnapper 2.0 wake/crankdown.
The Whippersnapper 2.0 is the perfect sized swimbait for the
These baits were right at home on this stick. I was concerned the Black Rose's shorter length would be a detriment when casting baits of this size, but actually, it felt very natural. In fact, the rod's shorter length was actually a benefit in tight quarters in and around docks or in spots where trees were overhanging the water. It's much easier to cast for accuracy when you're not using an eight foot long fishing rod!
I was pleasantly surprised how much feel the Black Rose delivers
Next: Black Rose Sensitivity,
Power, and Design...