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Rod Review


 

Make No Bones About It, The New Z from Kistler

 

Date: 6/27/18
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Kistler Custom Rods
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.33 + EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction:
With so many fishing rod manufacturers out there today, in the eyes of the everyday angler, it's almost impossible to distinguish yourself from the competition. Most manufacturers rely on cosmetics to capture our attention, some follow this up with compelling components and blank technology, but really, how many consumers really pay attention to the tech in a fishing rod? Spiral wrapped rods, casting rods with triggerless reel seats, all these things serve a purpose, but not in the eyes of the general buying public.

 


With so many fishing rod manufacturers out there today, in the eyes of the everyday angler, it's almost impossible to distinguish yourself from the competition.

 

When we heard about a refreshed rod series being built on a new blank rolled without the traditional scrim material, our interest was peaked. When this series is coming from Kistler Custom Rods, you know we had to get our hands on one of these sticks to check out the benefits - or lack there of - for ourselves. Here's our look at the 2019 ZBone ZB3LMH73.

 

Kistler 2019 ZB3LMH73 Specifications

Material LMx-ray blank by NFC
Length 7'-3"
Line Wt. 12-14lb FC/Braid or 20lb Braid
Lure Wt. 1/8 - 3/4 oz
Pieces One
Guides 11 + Tip (stripper and tip top are Torzite, remainder are SiCs) Tangle free SS frames, micro guides
Rear Handle Length 11
Power Rating Light Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 3.4oz
Origin Made in USA
MSRP $539.95


There is no bigger name in the fishing industry than Loomis, and the blanks coming out of North Fork Composites simply extend his legacy.

Background: As has been the case since their introduction in 2010, Kistler Custom Rod's ZBone series are built on blanks manufactured by Gary Loomis's blank company North Fork Composites. There is no bigger name in the fishing industry than Loomis, and the blanks coming out of North Fork Composites simply extend his legacy. However, while NFC has been recreating Gary Loomis's secret sauce blank recipes since 2009, they haven't really come out with anything new. We're happy to report this has changed. NFC's new HMx-ray blank is rolled with the same high modulus graphite in their HM blanks, but with the x-factor of doing so without a scrim.

 


What's a scrim and why does it matter? In this photo, it's that white stuff on top of the dark grey (raw graphite).

 

What's a scrim and why does it matter? Well, as explained to us by Gary Loomis himself back in 2013, the scrim's purpose is to help hold the vertical running graphite fibers together when the blank is bending. Without the scrim, blanks would not stay round under tip load and eventually fail or crush in on themselves. The scrim provides what is referred to as hoop strength so a blank can bend without crushing.


Kistler Custom Rods is leveraging
new, scrimless blanks by NFC upon which to build their 2019 Zbone series.

By doing away with the scrim layer of material in the blank, NFC is producing a blank they claim is twenty percent (20%) lighter than their HM blank and ultimately more sensitive. Kistler Custom Rods is leveraging these new blanks upon which to build their 2019 Zbone series.


Here's our look at the 2019 ZBone ZB3LMH73.

Impressions: Our ZB3LHM73 is a seven foot, three inch (7'-3") casting rod built with a split rear grip of cork on an unsanded, and unfinished blank. It features Fuji, stainless steel framed SiC guides throughout except for the tip top and stripper guide which both feature Torzite inserts. Kistler uses Torzite in these strategic positions to reduce friction. The first thing I noticed about this rod? It has a very light and crisp feel.

 


Matched with a Daiwa Tatula SV TW.

Real World Tests: Of course, how a rod feels in your hand without a reel and your living room is way different than with a reel, on the deck of a boat that's in the water. To get a true feel for the ZB3LHM73 and this potentially revolutionary new blank, I paired it up with a Daiwa Tatula SV TW spooled with twelve pound Sunline Crank FC.


Gone is the composite cork and in is real cork.

Casting: In both casting and pitching duties, the ZB3LHM73 handles similar to the former LEXF-3MH-70 we reviewed in October of 2016. This stick carries a slightly wider lure rating (1/8-3/4oz), but the feel of the rod loading and unloading is very similar. While the micro-guides prove to be a challenge for my aging eyes while stringing the rod up, I didn't have any problems with them while presenting my baits. Keep in mind I was not using a leader and did not have a connection knot in the middle of my line.


The split rear grip stays.

Next Section: Sensitivity from the new Kistler build

 

 

   

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