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Rod Review

Lipper's new Evolution Rods apply a solid "Neo-Carbon" blank for more fish moving muscle (continued)

Sensitivity: Like bigger bass rods and flipping sticks the C701M has a thick composite reel seat devoid of a blank through. This reduces sensitivity to the angler but increases the overall durability of the rod. The C701M was sensitive, but in a very different way than the vast majority of all rods. The rod translates strikes quite well, but ďticksĒ feel a bit more like ďthumps.Ē We noticed something interesting about the rods, the more weight the better the sensitivity. With many rods if the rod is overloaded there is so much stress put on the upper portion of the rod that all you feel is stress on the blank rather than strikes. Because the C701M is solid it has a very predictable and strong feel to the rod. While the rod was not as sensitive as competing high modulus graphite rods when tossing bass plastics it exhibited a wider range of capabilities once we went inshore fishing. In our tests we fished for Lingcod and rockfish with hefty jigs, and Flounder with mid-sized swimbaits. In both cases with the rod loaded up we could feel everything on the oceans bottom. Sensitivity on this rod is better suited for heavier applications, and matches the requirements that most light saltwater anglers desire in an inshore rod.


A soft hypalon butt cap is comfortable against your arm

Power: Up to this point in our tests the solid ďNeo-CarbonĒ construction had yielded interesting results, but the benefits hadnít yet translated into real world performance. That was all about to change when we conducted our power tests. To test the rodís power we fished heavy metal in pursuit of big lingcod. The blank diameter on the C701M is only 10mm, and yet the rod felt strong and muscular as we dunked our 4oz test jigs. Once we had a fish on the rod arched aggressively but unlike many other rods we tested the rod bent in a smooth consistent arch spreading the load further down the spine of the rod. The backbone of this rod is amazingly robust, and landing 15lb+ Lingcod was easy, not once was the rod outmatched. But the real test came in the middle of our flounder tests.


A convenient hook hanger holds lures during transport


While dragging swimbaits over sand bars we could catch Sandabs and varying sized Flounders. These fish were no match for the C701M as I could manhandle them up to the surface and into the boat. About two hours into the test I hooked into something I knew at once was no ordinary Flounder. Once I started lifting the rod bent to an extent I hadnít witnessed before, and yet it never once felt like it would snap under the pressure. I wasnít sure exactly what I had on but with the C701Mís help whatever was at the end of my line was coming up fighting. When we finally got sight of the fish we saw a huge flat shadow, a Halibut had taken my swimbait!


During our tests the Evolution hauled in plenty of Sandabs and Flounder


I positioned the fish and JIP tried to net it only to yell ďhold on, its too big for the net!Ē Our rockfish netís hoop was too small for the Halibut, and unfortunately at this point I had lifted the head of the fish out of the water while trying to get it into the netÖ.big mistake! The fish freaked, and shook violently bouncing across the surface skittering over 10feet of water before it took the drag and dove back down. I should have lost that fish, but the combination of the Evolution C701Mís powerful backbone and the Daiwa Coastalís smooth drag kept the Halibut hooked. I worked the fish back to the surface and this time JIP gaffed the 28lb Halibut. It was then and there that I was sold on the Evolutionís very capable loading power.


Though I didn't realize it at the time there was a 28lb Halibut on the end of the line and the Evolution responded nicely to the unexpected battle

The power tests proved that the Evolutionís solid carbon design offered advantages to anglers in more rigorous fishing applications and this was echoed when it came to the durability. In the past solid design was once used in rod design, but was replaced with hollow blanks in an effort to reduce weight. While extremely sensitive the downside of todayís high modulus hollow rod blanks are that the tightly interwoven graphite can explode under acute pressure, especially if the surface is nicked. This isnít a problem with the C701M which can shoulder shock and weight equally well throughout the solid blank.


The C701M may be designed for freshwater and light inshore but it handled this 28lb Halibut with confidence


Price & Applications: After all our tests we were pleased with the wide range of capabilities the C701M exhibited. While we feel like this rod is better suited for inshore fishing than bass fishing where a lighter rod helps reduce casting fatigue it is impressive that this rod can be used for both freshwater and saltwater species. It is when fishing heavier lures for bigger species that the Lipper Evolution C701M really shines. This is a fantastic rod for East Coast anglers to fish the magroves with, or West Coast anglers to use for targeting inshore species. Iíd feel confident landing salmon or sturgeon on this slender rod, knowing the Evolutionís solid backbone can really step it up when push comes to shove. Anglers looking for a reliable rod with some unique characteristics will be more likely to consider the Lipper when they see the aggressive price tag on these rods. At only 119.95 this rod is a great value, especially if you enjoy fishing both fresh and saltwater species.


Lipper Evolution (C701M) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality There are no Fuji components here, and while would love to see blank through reel seats on the lighter models the proprietary components did hold up to Spectra braid in all our field tests. The solid blank is bulletproof. 8
Performance The rod is a bit heavy for tossing bass lures all day but it makes up for it when a fish is on the line. The power of this rod is excellent and would be great for pulling bass out of weeds or hauling a Redfish out of the mangroves. This thin rod even took on a 28lb Halibut in our tests! 8.5
Price A solid rod for a great price, the Lipper Evolution is priced aggressively and should attract anglers looking for a balance of performance and value 9
Features The Evolution's number one feature is the solid carbon blank construction which gives the rod it's unique attributes. Because the rod is solid carbon it is able to be very thin in diameter and still offer up plenty of power 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Lipper Evolution makes use of quality cork grips and features a convenient hook hanger. The reel seat could be a bit more ergonomic, but overall the rod is well designed and easy to use, especially when something big has hold of your lure 8
Application This is a flexible performer, able to be used in many freshwater applications as well as light to medium inshore applications as well. With this kind of power no matter how big the fish the blank can handle it 9.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Unique implementation on rod design L Solid Carbon blank is heavier than traditional hollow blanks
J Able to be used for multiple applications  
J Power, Power, and more Power  
J Excellent durability  
J Great price, great overall value  

This rod isnít quite like any rod I have tested before, and the solid carbon construction does offer some noticeable benefits when it comes to power and durability. While the rod does weigh a bit more than a normal bass stick, the emphasis on the design is on power. The Evolution C701M is all muscle, and with the solid backbone this rod moves even big fish without fear of ever overstressing the blank. The Evolutionís design really shines when used in inshore saltwater applications, where the angler can really appreciate the smooth consistent performance the blank delivers. Lipper is bucking the trend with the release of the Evolution series of rods, but then sometimes change is a good thing. In the case of the C701M we praise Lipper for taking a chance, and jumping into the rod market with a solution that isnít just a me too product. It looks like landing tools isnít the only thing that Lipper is about anymore. If you are looking for an aggressively priced rod that can be used for anything from pulling snook and redfish out of the mangroves to hauling in a 30lb Halibut, the Evolution represents a great value for the multi-species angler.











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