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Rod Review


Fenwick’s Carbon Veil Technology is the key component to the HMG rods (continued)

Field Tests: From our initial inspection and lab tests we surmised that our Fenwick HMG GT66M would make a great crankbait stick. It has the right attributes to successfully run a variety of hardbaits and the 6’6” length makes it easy to achieve controlled casts with precise placement. We proceeded to load up the HMG with a number of Daiwa and Quantum reels and head out to the California Delta and two local lakes to target largemouth bass for all of our tests.

 

Casting crankbaits with the HMG GT66M is smooth and accurate

   

Casting: Our crankbait arsenal included Luhr Jensen Speed Trap in 1/4 ounce, River2Sea USA V-Crank in 1/2 ounce, and Norman Deep Little N in 3/8 ounce, and we tossed in a 1/4 ounce spinnerbait to further our tests. Paired with our Fenwick rod in the initial tests was the Quantum Accurist 2 casting reel spooled with 12 pound Sufix Elite. Rigged and ready we headed out to the fishing grounds but not before conducting a couple tests on the casting abilities of the GT66M. On the backswing of an overhead cast the rod arcs nicely producing a spring-like action to project crankbaits. On a calm day with barely any wind we were able to cast nearly 100 feet with any of the crankbaits mentioned above.

 

Bringing the Fenwick HMG into the field and casting at targets, I was able to cast accurately each and every time, placing my baits between dock columns, tules, and other structures, enabling me to fish my lure in key target zones to entice strikes. The HMG graphite blank makes no use of fiberglass yet it still has the attributes of a forgivable cranking stick with the benefit of more controllable casts.

 

Fenwick's exclusive soft-touch reel seat has a longer trigger support that makes it great for people who enjoy palming the reel when fishing

 

Sensitivity: Because of its designed attributes, the Fenwick GT66M is sensitive enough for running crankbaits and other moving lures, but not really our first choice for finesse plastic applications. The Fenwick HMG GT66M transmits the vibration of a crankbait to your fingers, and everything from each bump and bounce into structure to every strike by an aggressive fish is felt while using this stick.

 

Power: With a medium power rating, I didn’t expect to be able and horse in my catch like I might with a heavier rated rod. Despite this fact, the HMG rod displayed respectable power and I was easily able to control many of the black bass that I caught during our tests. The real test came when I hooked into a feisty six pounder that hit like a freight train! No horsing here, in fact all I could do was slowly turn the fish’s head when needed, but the important point here is that I was able to do this and still maintain control of even this heavy and hard fighting fish. In the end, the battle was still won with the HMG. The GT66M medium powered rod has the perfect power for everyday anglers tossing cranks, but if you’re fishing for bigger prey like Muskie then you should opt for a heavier rated rod.

 

The rod under load

 
Durability: Though the rod felt a bit under powered when battling a significant sized fish, I never felt that the rod would snap on me. It did arc nicely with the six pound black bass, but like I said, I was still able to control her. Not once during the field test did the rod feel near breaking point thanks to the Carbon Veil Technology used throughout the HMG blank. The HMG blank is pure graphite but has the feel and durability of a graphite-fiberglass composite rod, which again, makes this rod a pleasure to fish for even deep running crankbaits.

 

In terms of components, we experienced no issues. The soft-touch coated reel seat didn’t wear off after months of field testing, but we’re still skeptical as to what one or two years of heavy use may reveal. The guides on the rod are marvelous. They are Berkley’s SS304 stainless steel guide frames with titanium coated inserts. The inserts are well mated with the frame and will not pop out as easy as some competitor offerings. These guides are a solid design and we’re now seeing other manufacturers making use of these components in their builds.

 

Check out the Berkley SS304 tip guide. These guide inserts are designed so as not to accidentally pop out even under duress

 

Ergonomics: The rod weighs in at a light 4.2 ounces and felt quite balanced at the hands. Fenwick’s exclusive soft-touch coated reel seat was comfortable and provides a solid grip even when wet. In addition, as we mentioned earlier, I really like the extended seat especially when palming the reel as it really helped to support my hands – an added bonus when fighting a fish or ripping jerkbaits.

 

Fenwick's HMG GT66M makes a great cranking stick, as these two Delta bass discovered firsthand

 

Application: Though the Fenwick HMG GT66M can be used for almost any bass fishing technique, it excels at working crankbaits and spinnerbaits. It has the right characteristics of a cranking stick, almost feeling like a fiberglass rod but still lighter and more sensitive than glass.

 

Zander's Take: Its been a long time since we have taken a look at a Fenwick offering, and after fishing with this rod...probably too long. The company has a lot to offer anglers, and with all the recent competition from overseas rod companies I think we ought to take a step back and once again take a serious look at what Fenwick has to offer. The HMG is a excellent mainstream rod, one that delivers on its promises, and unlike so many rods out there these days, won't break the bank to own. My favorite thing about this particular product is the soft forgiving feel the rod exhibits when jerking Pointers. The rod makes it easy to deliver instant feedback to slack lines, and when fish hit the lures they stay on as the rod isn't so stiff that it rips the lures out of their mouths prematurely. All in all a quality rod, one that certainly deserves consideration by anglers looking for a cranking stick at the 100 dollar price point. Perhaps best of all is that this rod is readily available at major sports superstores like Sports Authority and Oshmans, where anglers can take advantages of seasonal sales to pocket this rod for even less.  

  
Ratings:

Fenwick HMG (GT66M) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good overall construction of the rod using technology to improve performance but at the same time increasing durability 9
Performance The rod casts crankbaits and spinnerbaits with ease, has good sensitivity for a cranking stick, and decent power for an everyday angler unless you’re only targeting lunker sized fish, then a heavier power would be better 9
Price A decent price for a rod of this level and we’ve found it cheaper than MSRP online and at local stores 8.5
Features The rod features a unique rod technology, solid components in Berkley’s SS304 guides and Fenwick’s exclusive soft-touch reel seat 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) A nicely balanced rod paired with the soft-touch reel seat makes it comfortable to fish all day 9
Application Bass anglers will like this rod for tossing crankbaits and spinnerbaits though it can be used for other applications as well 8

Total Score

8.66


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great for casting crankbaits L Might lack power for fish over 6 pounds
J Well balanced L Undetermined long-term durability of the soft-touch reel seat
J Reasonable price and value  
J Carbon Veil Technology  
J Soft-Touch reel seat  


Conclusion:
Ideal crankbait rods aren’t only made out of fiberglass. Graphite and graphite-composite rods can also make a great cranking stick, and the Fenwick HMG proves this fact. The Carbon Veil Technology improves the graphite blank and makes for a superior casting rod perfect for tossing crankbaits. Our HMG GT66M was a medium powered stick that exhibited plenty of power for everyday bass anglers. During all the tests it was able to cast lures a good distance, and always under control. The overall components of the rod are solid thanks to the Berkley’s SS304 guides and with the unique graphite layering of the Carbon Veil Technology this rod is durable yet lighter than a traditional fiberglass rod. The Fenwick HMG is a fine rod that comes with a reasonable price tag, and once anglers give it a chance and start tossing cranks they might very well find themselves "hooked" on the rod's excellent casting attributes.

 

                                        


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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