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Rod Review


 

Purple Reign : Phenix's Reinvigorated M1 is a Winner

 

Date: 2/23/20
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Phenix Rods
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.17 + EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction:
With many manufacturers refreshing their core lineups every three to five years, Phenix Rods has taken a more conservative route instead infusing their lineup with a Feather series here, a K2 series there. Case in point? It's been a good seven years or more since we took a look at the MX72H from their M1 series. Well, the wait is finally because Phenix Rods has unveiled a totally revamped, refreshed, and renewed M1 series with an updated look, feel, and appeal. We took the M1 MX72MH our for a test run.

 

Phenix Rods M1 MX72MH Specifications

Material 36-Ton Toray Carbon Fiber w/ K-woven Scrim & Nanolite Resin
Length 7'-2"
Line Wt. 8-17lb
Lure Wt. 1/4-3/4oz
Pieces One
Guides 11+Tip SS/SiC Essex
Rear Handle Length 11
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 4.2oz
Origin Made in China
MSRP $175


Phenix gives M1 a makeover for 2020!

Impressions: Never a rod company to shy away from aggressive styling even if the origins of those styling decisions are in question, the new M1 from Phenix Rods marks a new era for the company. I say this because when looking at the new M1s I'm not reminded of any series from another manufacturer. Their new "Vortex" blank design is vaguely reminiscent of past strategies where manufacturers have fashioned the end of the blank into the rod's handle, but Phenix veered away from incorporating this strategy just enough to include a traditional cork grip and split reel seat. It's a nice compromise that together with the color scheme in the last quarter of the blank gives the entire ensemble a unique character.

 

Here's the new look MX72MH

 

The MX72MH specifically, is a seven foot, two inch (7'-2") fishing rod built on a blank made from 36-ton Toray carbon fiber held together with a K-woven scrim and Nanolite resin. It is built with a stainless steel/SiC guide train from Essex with all eleven guides plus the tip in perfect alignment. The new look and super clean build give this stick a very enthusiast level appeal.


Paired with an Abu Garcia REVO EXD and ready for some serious action

Real World Tests: Given the rod's purple highlights, I knew just the reel with which to pair it - my brand new Abu Garcia REVO EXD. Spooled with 10lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon on the EXD's primary spool,


One of the bait choices du-jour, a Neko rigged Berkley Flute Worm

Casting: The MX72MH comes with the standard "medium-heavy" lure weight specification of one quarter to three quarters ounce (1/4-3/4oz). I threw a variety of bait offerings that I assumed were in this comfortable weight range including Catch Outdoor's Air Quake (1/2oz with a Berkley The Deal trailer), a Berkley Flute Worm 6.7 rigged with a 3/16 oz Neko weight, and a 1/2 oz Megabass Uoze Swimmer tipped with a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver.


The MX72MH paired nicely with this Air Quake and The Deal combo

I did not weigh these final bait combinations to verify they were within the MX72MH's ratings (I know, where's the dedication?) but regardless, the stick handled them surprisingly well. In fact, the combo of Abu Garcia's REVO EXD together with the MX72MH really surprised me at how well, and far I could cast these bait combos.


No wonder this stick felt so buttery during a cast, look how it loads

Sensitivity: One of my disappointments with the original M1 series was a lack of good sensitivity. I understood Phenix designed the series for durability, so the trade off was expected and understandable, but in my personal preference, I lean the other direction. This new gen M1 is a good compromise and is more inline what I'd expect a stick at this price point to feel like.


That new "Vortex" design in the blank is Phenix's claim as to why the new M1 is more sensitive than previous generations

With the Catch Outdoors Air Quake specifically, I had a really good feel for that bait on this combo and could tell when I needed to pop my rod tip to correct a fouled blade or rip the bait from a blade of grass. With the Neko rigged Flute worm, I could feel that mushroom head weight making contact with hard bottom. Phenix definitely stepped up the sensitivity in this series.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods M1 MX72MH against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: Phenix Rods rates this stick as a medium heavy. As you can see on the chart above, it started out aligned with our twenty year historical average for sticks with similar ratings but once we hit about twelve ounces of load, the rod softened up to something between a traditional medium heavy and medium.


This stick loads all the way through the blank during a cast, but actually has a pretty traditional taper

This is actually encouraging because the previous generation M1 we reviewed was specified as heavy power but charted out straight up as a medium heavy. Certainly every manufacturer has a different interpretation of all these powers, which is why we go through the effort of measuring and charting each stick we review. This helps you, our readers, with an idea of what you're getting when you purchase a stick sight unseen, but if you're not aware of this discrepancy when buying the stick, the discovery could lead to buyer's remorse.


Little flecks of color add interest to the blank.

Out on the water, the MX72MH handles very well and never gave me the impression it was underpowered. It did feel a little softer than what I'd expect from a rod with its rating, but I've come to expect that experience with Phenix anyway, and truthfully, kind of liked it when I had those reaction baits tied on. That slightly softer power makes for buttery casting performance.


Nice grade of cork.


The MX72MH is on the slightly softer side of medium heavy in power once loaded up with a fish.

Next Section: An all round purple performer...

 

   

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