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Enthusiast Review

Creature Fever Double Feature... Megabass! (continued)

Casting: The FX-711X is a flipping and pitching stick along the lines of the Daiwa Steez STZ802HFBA, a finesse flipping and pitching stick that's very easy and comfortable to handle all day long. In fact, the FX-711X is even more comfortable to wield all day long than the version of its Destroyer sibling we reviewed over eight years ago.

While the Black Python is adorned in a more traditional, "Megabass" fashion, these two sticks appear to be built on the same blank.

If you're familiar with that review, what really set the F7-711X apart from anything else I had fished up to that point in time was the uncanny casting ability of that stick. Sure all the rods mentioned in this article can be used for flipping and pitching, and they all support that presentation technique perfectly fine, but you can flip with just about any stick that's long enough – even a steel rod. To pitch, you do need a rod with a nice tip, but to be able and cast with accuracy using a stick that's almost eight feet long or even longer and to not give your cast a second thought as you're executing it takes a pretty special stick.

It's a fast tapered blank at that.

I'm happy to report, the both the FX-711X and FX-81X4 are very easy casting sticks very reminiscent of the original F7-711X we reviewed over eight years ago and because their tips load so easy, they are also very good pitching sticks.

Some differences? How about the Fuji ECS style reel seat on the Seven Eleven ...

In the FX-81X4's case, I fished this stick in the middle of the umbrella rig upswell early in 2012 and can report it handled this rig just fine. Total weight of the umbrella right I threw on this rod was right around two ounces, so I did not exceed the rod's recommended lure weight.

... and an ACS reel seat on the Black Python.

Both sticks have only ten and a half inch rear handles so they're obviously not intended for big bait duties, but paired with the right reel, either stick will handle the lighter end of the big bait spectrum well. I fished the FX-81X4 with a Megabass LIN10 and the FX-711X4 with a Daiwa Zillion TypeR.

The Seven Eleven's reel seat locking mechanism is disguised as a foregrip, while the Black Python's (shown here) is a separate piece.

Sensitivity: I fished the FX-81X4 as a reaction bait rod with Sunline's Defier nylon monofilament spooled on my LIN10 reel, but on the FX-711X4, I had spooled Daiwa's Samurai braid. So while they are the same blanks, my initial impressions for sensitivity are going to be slanted towards the FX-711X4 simply because of the way I fished the two sticks along with the line I had spooled on each reel.

We're already familiar with the X4 blank's sensitivity which is good, but not mind blowing.

Having said all that, I found the FX-711X4 to be sufficient in the sensitivity department, but not mind blowing. For those keeping tabs I'd say it falls somewhere between Daiwa's STZ802HFBA on the low end and G.Loomis's new NRX on the high end meaning the FX-711X4 is a little better than the Steez flipping stick but not as sensitive as an NRX. Granted, I've yet to fish an NRX flipping stick. Those wanting a more "enthusiast" assessment will want to know that from what I've fished in Evergreen's Kaleido series, the X4 does not match up there.

That looks like a nice spot to flip to, doesn't it?

Power: Understanding that these two sticks align more closely to the STZ802HFBA (a finesse flipping rod) but are actually even lighter in power than that stick, the FX-711X4 and FX-81X4 are not sticks you should be punching with. Further, while you can get away with it if you're conscious of this fact and battle your catch accordingly, they are also not traditional heavy cover flipping sticks either.

Professional tester at work here, don't try this at home with your X4 Seven Eleven!

If you flip and pitch into open pockets and give yourself a route through which to battle your catch, you'll be fine. These sticks have enough power to help you steer your fish in the direction you want them to swim, but I wouldn't make a habit of pulling your catch up and out of cover and flipping it into your boat with either of these sticks.

Obviously, the Seven Eleven works as a flipping stick, but it's more of a finesse flipping stick. Fortunately, this bass wasn't too huge.

Application: So for what applications would we recommend these sticks? Well, first we want to clearly state, as far as we can discern, they are indeed the same blank. The primary difference is one version is built with spiral wrapped guides, the other has conventional guides on top. Keep in mind, however, that the FX-81X4 is built to 8'-1" in length. If you fish any type of tournament circuit, be sure to check with rod length restrictions before investing in this rod.

Quick photo op and back into the water.

With a difference of two inches in built length, we'd expect the sticks to behave a little differently, but in our short time with them, I couldn't tell the difference. So, with all that in mind, pick your poison – spiral wrap or conventional, or purchase both!

The blank is soft enough to fish moving baits as well shown here with the Molix Supernato.

As for actual applications, I would consider these sticks as general purpose heavy powered rods. You can fish moving baits like spinnerbaits and buzzbaits on these rods very effectively, yet you can turn around and Texas or Carolina rig a worm, pitch a jig, or fish an unweighted senko. I wouldn't hesitate to fish a seven inch Triple Trout or six inch Bull Shad on these rods either. They are in fact, very versatile.

Do guides like this make you dizzy (from the FX-711X4).

Next Section: Spiral versus Conventional?









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