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Rod Review


What the Finesse?!? Phenix's Sub 3oz Feather Series Spinning Rod (continued)

Sensitivity: Custom rod builders and customers know that the most efficient and sensitive state of any fishing rod is when it is merely a blank. The moment you add any weight to that blank be that a single guide or a sticker, that component burdens the blank and makes it less efficient at transmitting vibration. This is why the majority of custom rod builds are so minimalistic and this where the entire split rear grip, no fore grip movement on bass rods originated.

The FTX-S 71L is among the most minimalist builds I've seen on a production rod and the result is a built stick with very good sensitivity. I imaging this stick would be outstanding fished with braid, fluorocarbon, or some combination of the two, but even with nylon monofilament, sensitivity was above average.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our
Phenix FTX-S 71L against our baseline WTF fishing rods.

Power: The FTX-S 71L has a smooth power curve and feels every bit the fast action taper it's rated to be. I only fished this stick on a drop shot so the majority of fish I caught were landed by simply lifting the tip and applying pressure letting those Gamakatsu GFinesse TWG hooks do their thing. Phenix makes use of their proprietary Nanolite resin in the blank of their Feather sticks increasing the stability of material to deliver dependable power and performance.

The FTX-S 71L is a light powered spinning rod with a fast taper.

Design & Ergonomics: The first thing you notice when picking the FTX-S 71L off the rod rack is how light this stick is. A sub 3oz production rod is practically unheard of and usually only reserved for a custom build. The first thing that actually catches one's eyes with this stick is that distinctive reel seat. Manufacturers across the board have all kinds of liberties to take and have taken all kinds of liberties with casting reel seats, but for some reason, spinning reel seats are rarely as appealing.

The rod's hook keeper is right at the back end of the rod and a good spot to hold drop shot weights in place when the combo is not in use.

That changes with Phenix's Feather Series. The seats the team designed and implemented for this series are very eye catching with smooth lines and a very elegant integration with the locking mechanism. However, that bulge on the back side of the reel seat that is so attractive to view, can be a bit intrusive over the course of the day fishing. I think this design will go much the same way as Fuji's ACS casting reel seat - some will love it, some will hate it. It is very much a personal thing.

Lab Results for Phenix FTX-S 71L

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Phenix FTX-S 71L

Guides are by a new and upcoming company, Essex.

Price & Applications: So what does all this minimalist, light weight, solid performing build coupled with an eye catching design equate to in price? Phenix shows they can deliver all of this in the FTX-S 71L for the value price of $149. What more needs to be said? I used this stick as a drop shot rod and it performed very well. I can envision its use with light jigs for panfish and other finesse presentations for black bass. I didn't get the chance to hit some of our smallie waters with this stick, but it'd make a really fun choice in pursuit of those hard pulling, acrobatic fish as well.

In addition to your usual finesse techniques I can envision using this rod with light jigs for panfish.


Phenix FTX-S 71L Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Super clean build 9
Performance Did just about everything I wanted it to do 9
Price Phenix shows it remains a solid contender in the value department 8.5
Features Solid blank technology and components throughout 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) If you like minimalist, light weight builds, you need to check this stick or others in the series out 8
Application Really good choice for finesse applications 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Super light weight build - That reel seat - either you'll love it or you'll hate it. It didn't bother me at first, but the longer I fished it, the more intrusive it became.
+ Solid performance all around  
+ Seemingly good grade of components  

Phenix Custom Rods delivers yet another solid performing, value driven product.

Conclusion: After ten years fishing, testing, reviewing their product line, it should come as no surprise to us Phenix Rods's ability to deliver solid performing fishing rods - and it doesn't. What does surprise me in general, is their ability to do so with components that contradict the rod's price point. Reading the spec sheet of this series, I'd expect the FTX-S 71L to fall somewhere around $200 give or take $10-$20. Having now spent some time on the water with this stick and to know it's retailing for only $149 is incredible. It has the look and feel of a custom stick but has the security of being backed by a manufacturer warranty and won't break your bank account like a custom rod can. Next up for us is a casting stick in this same series. In the meantime, Phenix Rods's FTX-S 71L easily wins our Best Value Award!


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