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Rod Review

 

Bub's Punch Rod Levels Up : iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H (continued)

Sensitivity: But better than this stick's ability to help you place baits where you want is the blank material's sensitivity. The Air series is made with a crisper blank material (40ton graphite vs 30ton) than the Genesis II and though it's been quite some time since I've fished the original IRG744C-MH, I feel the IRA7104PRG-H is a definite upgrade in sensitivity. Additionally, while spiral wrapping guides doesn't affect how a rod transmits vibrations through its length, something about watching that tip, with the guides on the underside of the rod gives you the impression you're able to actually feel more than you would otherwise.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H against the averages of our big bait sticks since 2000

Power: This character of the rod was the least of my concerns. Having shared the boat several times with Bub Tosh and witnessing what he puts into his hooksets and ensuing battles with a fish, I knew any punch rod with his name on it is going to be able to handle more damage than I can impart. During the rod's tests, I also didn't run into any situations where the IRA710PRG-H true power was remotely tested. Biggest fish I managed during its tests was maybe a little over four pounds and this stick handled that battle quite effortlessly.


Checking out the rod's tip

Design & Ergonomics: As you can see in the table below, the iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H compares quite favorably to the original Bub's Punch Rod in the Genesis II series in terms of weight and balance. With an average RoD of 1.23 versus 1.40 for the Genesis II version, this new interpretation is also slightly more powerful.

If there is an area of concern, however, it's in iRod's choice of hook keeper. I'm not a fan. Also Fuji's ACS reel seat is polarizing with many bass anglers totally against any stick with this component. It doesn't bother me.


We are not a fan, however, of this hook keeper

Where this rod wins points with me is in the afore mentioned spiral wrapped guides. This guide arrangement makes a casting rod more efficient and eliminates any twisting tendencies that transpire during your fight with a fish.

Some will argue most bass can't pull hard enough for you to feel that twist in the blank, but proponents say why even call it into question when the solution is so simple. The only real downside to spiral wrapped guides is that they still look odd to many anglers.

Lab Results for iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H
1.23
Mod-Fast
5.8
12.5
0.38
iRod IRG7114P-H Bub's Punch Rod
1.40
Mod-Fast
5.4
12
0.34
Flipping Rod Avg
1.38
---
6.3
8
0.27
Finesse SB Rod Avg
1.65
--
6.0
9.5
0.29
All Purpose SB Rod Avg
1.28
--
6.8
8.5
0.29
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.95
--
7.7
10.2
0.44


iRod's AIR IRA7104PRG-H retails for $249.99

Price & Applications: iRod's AIR IRA7104PRG-H retails for $249.99 and honestly is suitable for more than just punching. After I was satisfied with its performance fishing Texas rigged soft plastic baits, I tied on some smaller swimbaits like Megabass's Vatalion and Bull Shad's Wake bait. The IRA7104PRG-H handled these baits just fine and aside from the shorter rear handle (because it's a flipping rod not a swimbait rod), serves really well as a stick for smaller big baits. In fact, because of that smooth, moderate taper, this stick would make a good choice for deep diving cranks, wake baits, or a bait I haven't thrown in a few years, Black Dog Bait Company's Lunker Punker.

Ratings:

iRod AIR IRA7104PRG-H Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Very clean build 9
Performance Excellent casting/pitching/flipping performance, good sensitivity and excellent power 9
Price As you step up in blank material, so goes the price of the rod 7
Features Name brand components 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Good weight and balance numbers 7.5
Application More than just a punch rod 8

Total Score

8.00

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
+ This stick can handle baits heavier than for which it is rated - Some people still won't be able to wrap their heads around the guide arrangement
+ Very good sensitivity - Could use a more refined hook keeper
+ Tip responds well for pitching and flipping presentations as well as casting - Some will not care for the Fuji ACS reel seat
+ Spiral wrapped guides  


How can you tell if a stick really resonates with us? When it moves onto secondary duty with a new reel. Congrats iRod on winning this Editor's Choice Award

Conclusion: It's been five long years since we've held a product from iRod in our hands, so it was good to get re-acquainted with the product line. Back in September of 2014, the Genesis II IRG711P-H Bub's Punch Rod, scored a 7.94 - just on the verge of an 8. Five years later, its sibling and the subject of today's review, the AIR IRA7104PRG-H crested that mark and scored an even 8.0 in our ratings system. An upgrade in blank material and components had something to do with that but so did the arrangement of the guides and overall performance of the finished rod itself. In fact, I'm so enthused to see a mainstream production rod with spiral wrapped guides and one that can handle such a wide variety of techniques that iRod's AIR IRA7104PRG-H has earned this Editor's Choice Award.

 

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