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Rod Review

What a Difference a Guide Makes: Kistler's Micro MG TS

Date: 4/13/10
Tackle type: Fishing Rod
Manufacturer: Kistler
Reviewer: Cal



Total Score: 8.33 - GREAT

Introduction: Back in July of 2009, we caught up with owner and CEO of Kistler Custom Fishing rods, Trey Kistler who showed us what he had cooking for 2010. One of the exciting new items he showed us was so big, it almost required a magnifying glass to see. Wait, did I state that correctly? A change so big, it almost required a magnifying glass to see. Yes I did. What kind of big change to a rod, could be presented in such a small package you ask? Well, don't think small, think smaller, and then, smaller still all the way down until you reach... micro.

Introducing Kistler's Micro MgTS McMag70MHC.

That's right, the race to come out with the first production run rod with the new Fuji Micro Guides and get that rod into the hands of the TackleTour editorial staff is over. Presenting our official review of Kistler Custom Rods Micro Magnesium TS McMag70MHC.

Kistler Micro MgTS McMag70MHC Specifications

Length 7'0"
Length of Rear Handle 19"
Line Weight Rating 12-17lb
Lure Weight Rating 1/8-1oz
Pieces One
Guides 8 + Tip (Fuji Micro SS/Aluminum Oxide)
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 4.5 oz
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $179.95

Impressions: Even though Trey showed us a similar rod in person several months ago, we could not help but be astonished at the size of these guides on our finished review specimen. The contrast from conventional sized guides is like staring into the sun versus being stuck at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss inside Captain Ahab's white whale. Our first thought? How are we going to string line through these guides with our failing eye sight? Our second thought? There's no way a setup with braided line and fluorocarbon leader tied on with any kind of knot is going to get through those guides on a cast. But more on that later.

The big deal about this rod? It's MICRO guides.

Sent in for official review were actually two rods, Kistler's MgTS McMag70MHC micro rod, and their MgTS MGSWSB70, a rod built on the same exact blank but with Fuji Hardloy guides instead of the micro guides so we could compare and contrast relative performance of the same blank wrapped with two different guide systems.

A closer look.

The Lab: First trip for the two sticks was to our lab and an appointment with our RoD WRACK so we could verify these two sticks are indeed built on the same blank. What we found verified this one data point and we can also see the deflection characteristics of this Kistler MgTS blank aligns nicely with our 2010 The Search For One (TSFO) baseline rod, G.Loomis's GLX 2000.

Fig 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of the two Kistler MgTS rods against our 2010 The Search For One baseline rod, the G.Loomis GLX2000. Note that the curves are almost identical.

A slightly more intensive side by side comparison of the two different builds on this Kistler MgTS blank reveals the rod with micro guides weighted in 0.2 ounces lighter than the standard MgTS rod (4.5 oz vs 4.7 oz) and the use of micro guides affected the balance point by moving it back 0.5 inches on the Micro-MgTS (11 inch balancing point for the Micro-MgTS vs 11.5 inches for the standard Mg rod). Relative tip-heaviness, or balancing torque as we've termed it, is 0.23 ftlbs for the Micro-MgTS and 0.31 for the standard MgTS Rod. All interesting data points to say the least but not entirely unexpected either considering the weight savings between the micro guides versus the hardloys.

Lab Results for Kistler McMag70MHC
Avg Rod (2-32oz)
Measured Weight
Balancing Point
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
4.5 oz
4.7 oz
G.Loomis GLX2000
4.8 oz

Realistically in hand? The Micro MgTS wrap of this blank feels just slightly more balanced and crisp, but this is only discernable with one rod in each hand. The differences are very slight right off the rack. Of course, the best way to evaluate any real difference is to get these sticks out on the water. To ensure this was an apples to apples comparison, I pulled out two Shimano Conquest 51 reels, spooled both with a fresh supply of 13lb Sunline Defier monofilament, mounted one on each rod, and prepped each combo with an identical bait, Megabass's Vision 110 jerkbait. Destination? The California Delta during the fall striper run.

Still don't believe how small these guides are? Neither do we.

Field Tests: Out on the water, the micro-guides look even smaller. Threading line through these guides is quite the experience and not recommended for those with failing eyesight! Fortunately, my borderline pupils still had enough in them for me to be able and thread the rod up with little difficulty and on the very first cast what did I notice? Nothing.

Out on the water, we test the same blank wrapped with two different guide systems using identical reels, line and lures.

Nothing meaning, the rod felt normal. We ran into a school of small striper right away that allowed me to test the traditional aspects of this rod from power to castability to sensitivity and the rod felt like any other - no discernable differences. After about half an hour and several schoolie striper, I figured I better perform my due diligence. I was really just going through the motions and did not expect anything to come of it. Nevertheless, I put the Micro-MgTS down, picked up the non-micro guide wrap of this stick that I had already outfitted with the same exact bait and cast away.

Recognize this bait? It's our 2005 Editor's Choice Award winning Megabass Vision 110!

On that very first cast, I noticed a difference. The standard rod was noticeably slower in response during a cast - almost akin to switching between a fast action blank to a moderate fast action blank. On the jerk-jerk-jerk-pause retrieve I was imparting to the Vision 110 bait at the end of the line, this standard rod was very noticeably slower in response to the point of feeling sloppy and non-precise.

Here's a better scale comparison of a standard Fuji SS/Hardloy guide against a Micro.

I thought I was imagining things so I switched rods back and forth again just to verify my findings. After two or three iterations, I stopped fishing and asked Zander, who was at the front of the boat, to try the Micro-MgTS wrap. He fished it for a couple of casts and noted the rod felt fine. I then handed him the standard guide wrap of the same blank and asked him to make a few casts with that rod too. His eyes lit up in amazement just as mine had and when I asked him if he felt anything different, he echoed my evaluation of the two rods. We were both, instantly sold on micro-guides.

Kistler makes use of the Fuji Micro guides built with stainless steel frames and aluminum oxide inserts for their Micro Mg series.

Next Section: Comparing the two rods side by side continued









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