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Rod Review

Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #5 : The Big Swimbait Special From Kistler

Date: 3/6/08
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Kistler Custom Rods
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 6.83
+ Editor's Choice!!!

Introduction: From TT's Best Value Award in the Okuma sticks, to Evergreen International's exotic Balista, to our reunion with Fenwick in the ECSWB79H-F, each representative thus far in our Swimbait Rod Wars has carried a unique theme. Today, we begin our journey into the knitty gritty with an unfamiliar offering from a very familiar to TackleTour manufacturer. Presenting Kistler Custom Rod's entry to our Rod Wars, the KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special.

Kistler KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special Specifications

Material IM7 Graphite
Length 8'-0"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 14"
Line Wt. 15 - 35lb Test
Lure Wt. 1-5 Ounces
Pieces one
Guides 11+Tip (SS framed hardloy inserts)
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Moderate
Rod Weight 7.2 ounces
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $180

Impressions: Why would a stick from Kistler Custom Rods seem to us so unfamiliar you ask? Because, quite frankly, the KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special has, of all things, a foregrip! This might not seem like a big deal to most, but given Kistler Custom Rods was the first to introduce us to the custom rod feature of removing the foregrip in a production model bass rod, it just seems odd they would go against the trend they helped to start. But such seems to be the preference of most big bait tossers - to have a foregrip, so Kistler has followed suit.


Introducing the Kistler KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special

Lab Tests: Once we got over how strangely conventional this rod was in appearance, it was off to the RoD WRACK to see how the KBSBS80 would be have with loads ranging from two to forty eight ounces.

Lab Results for Kistler KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special

Avg RoD (2-48 oz)
Rated Action
Measured Weight
Balance Point
Kistler KBSBS80
7.2 Ounces
Dobyns Rods 795ML
8.5 Ounces
Okuma 711MH
7 Ounces
Fenwick ECSWB79H-F
6.4 Ounces
Rate of Deflection (RoD): Of course, we've seen this chart before with the Fenwick ECSWB79H-F only this time, the KBSBS80 is highlighted in yellow where you can see, with load ranges up to about twenty eight ounces, the KBSBS80 is just a touch more powerful than the other three rods on the chart. However, above this range, it softens up a little probably demonstrating at which point the rod's moderate action kicks in.

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of the Kistler KBSBS80 Big SwimBait Special (yellow curve) against several similar sticks.

Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: The spine of our KBSBS80 was found at the top of the rod and its weight came in at a respectable 7.2 ounces. The balance point for this stick was relatively high at eleven inches above the centerline of the reel seat. Overall, the rod feels light in hand though a bit tip heavy as one might expect from those stats.

The KBSBS80 features 11 Hardloy guides - all double footed - plus the tip top


Real world tests









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