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Rod Review

CB Rod Wars Part 11: Experience Half Graphite and Half Glass Crankbaitin' with the Fenwick Elite Tech Crankshaft (continued)

Field Tests: With the lab results completed it was time to take the Crankshaft on the water for some field trials. I paired the Elite Tech rod with the awesome Abu Garcia Winch, that is specially made for cranking, and the pair matched up perfectly. Off I went to test the rod at lakes such as Clear Lake and of course our famed California Delta waterways.


A hooked butt cap provided a secure double handed cast


Casting: Casting the Fenwick Crankshaft is smooth. You get the rigidity of a graphite rod at the lower half while the top half, which is glass, sends the lure out as it loads up. You wonít have to compensate much when casting this rod due to its moderate fast taper which is common in many types of rods.


A hard cast loading the rod with a medium diving crankbait


Another thing that is really nice about the Crankshaft crankbait rod is the rear handle. It has a secure trigger butt cap that allows you to not only makes better long casts because you have a better grip but improves the overall power as you go through the casting motion. The only downside I found is that the handle could be extended one more inch in length as it felt better to me when grasping for a two handed launch.


Glass upper half to the tip provided good cranking action


Sensitivity: Although itís a half graphite half glass rod, Iím surprised at the rodís sensitivity. Itís definitely not as sensitive as a graphite rod but much better than a glass rod. The vibrations are well transferred from the two materials directly to your hands. When retrieving medium-diving crankbaits I had no problems feeling the wobble of the crankbait and when it ran into tops of submerged trees and rocks.


Fenwick's own reel seat with exposed blank for greater sensitivity


Power: With 100-percent glass rods, even the E21 21-Carrot Gold, I had to set much harder than normal. With the Elite Tech Crankshaft it didnít disappoint me in this category as the lower half of the rod was graphite and provided plenty of hooksetting and lifting power when needed.


Check out the graphite and glass action when fighting a fish


The lab results show that this particular model has a RoD value of 2.28 with a moderate fast taper, thus we categorized it with our medium cranking sticks, and yes this rod performs well with crankbaits running in this range. The Fenwick ECC73MH-MF, on the other hand, is much better for deep cranking and provides even more power when you are going 15+ feet down.


Hook hanger


Durability: The Crankshaft rod can take much more abuse than say a complete graphite rod, especially the glass portion. During our field tests, I accidentally high sticked the rod a few times when landing fish but didnít have any breakage issues there. The trigger butt section is made of EVA foam and, depending on how you abuse the rod, can take on some wear. The overall components are good including the Fenwick proprietary reel seat and Pac Bay DPL frames with SiC guide inserts.


While cranking the Delta for black bass, I hook into this striper which gave it a good test as the fish ran much faster than a bass


Application: As already mentioned, the Fenwick Elite Tech Crankshaft rod is made for one thing and one type of lure only, crankbaits. The rod excels at tossing and retrieving crankbaits and from our lab and field tests we have validated the rod to have a sweet range for medium diving lures though it can handle smaller or larger baits.


Crankin' at Clear Lake


Fenwick Elite Tech Crankshaft (ECC70M-MF) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good overall construction making use of both graphite and glass portions 7
Performance Built for cranking, the rod does well on casts and power for this dual material rod. When it comes to sensitivity it leans more towards a graphite feel than glass 7.5
Price A fair competitive price with rods of this level 6.5
Features The rod has the basic features but has the added hooked butt cap that improves casts 7
Design (Ergonomics) When matched with the Winch the setup is well balanced. The hooked butt cap is a nice ergonomic feature though we would like the handle to be extended at least one more inch 7
Application This rod is designed specifically for cranking only. Best used with medium diving lures 7

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Graphite and Glass construction L Handle can be one inch longer
J Glass actions L Cranking only
J Graphite performance  
J Security hooked butt cap  

Conclusion: The Fenwick Elite Tech Crankshaft was designed for one thing, cranking. The construction of the rod made use a lower graphite section and a glass upper portion of the rod. The combination gives you the benefits of graphite and glass all in one rod. With the "50/50 Superdelay" action the glass portion of the rod provided good cranking performance from launching the crankbait far or taking the load off the angler when luring medium to deep diving baits. The rod has a hooked but cap which is great for double handed casts to ensure no slipping when you make that fast whipping motion. Overall a good crankin' rod for medium diving baits and does better than glass rods with some beneficial traits of a graphite blank.


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