M1 Trilogy: Phenix's M1 MX-S72L Finesse Spinning Rod
Total Score: 8.17 -
If you hadn't already noticed, it's pretty easy to tell when a there's a series of rods that's caught our collective attention. Over the last several years, our big three areas of concentration for rod reviews has been swimbait rods, finesse, and of course, multi-purpose sticks as we continue our Search for One. Moving bait sticks also get a lot of attention but not all rod manufacturers include these in same series as their other rods. Many treat them as spinoffs and give them their own stand alone series. So take a new or popular series of rods like Phenix's revamped M1 series. In February of 2020, we presented their Search for One candidate; then in
August, we shared our thoughts on a stick from this series suitable for
big baits. All that's left to complete the trilogy is a spinning rod, right? Well, what-the-finesse, here's a look at Phenix's M1 MX-S72L spinning rod.
Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L
||36-Ton Toray Carbon Fiber w/ K-woven Scrim & Nanolite Resin
||7+tip SS/SiC Essex
|Rear Handle Length
||Made in China
Introducing Phenix's M1 MX-S72L spinning rod
The MX-S72L by Phenix Rods is a seven foot, two inch (7'-2") spinning rod made from a blank rolled with 36-ton Toray Carbon fiber using a K-woven scrim and nanolite resin. Like the other sticks from this series, it features a minimal rear grip made of cork, then the blank flutes out at the end of that cork to form the rear portion of the handle. On the other side, Phenix caps the reel seat with a very minimal piece of cork to signal the end of the handle assembly.
The MX-S72L's blank is made with a nanolite resin
The reel seat is a very simple design and split in the middle with the locking mechanism is towards the back of the handle as found on about half of all spinning rods today. The rod's guides are stainless steel framed with SiC inserts made by Essex, a proprietary Phenix rod component brand. The rod's hook keeper is located on the topside of the rod above the handle assembly.
The reel seat is a split design
Real World Tests:
I matched the MX-S72L up with my Shimano Sustain 2500FG spinning reel spooled with 20lb Berkley X9 braid and a topshot of 6lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon. I know, I'm a model or two back since the this reel was updated in 2018 and actually won 2017 ICAST honors for best saltwater reel, but for some reason, the Sustain FI hasn't really beckoned me. I must be the only one disappointed Shimano abandoned the kickstand during the reel's update.
Rigged and ready to go...
Casting: I have, what I consider, an unconventional casting motion with spinning rods. Most people I see have a pretty big back swing when casting with a spinning rod in a kind of long windup motion. I usually snap cast with my spinning gear same as I would a baitcaster moving down the bank. Because of this, I'm pretty picky when it comes to choosing a spinning rod I can rely upon. Longer sticks tend to load too slowly for this casting motion which is why most of my go-to spinning rods are under seven feet in length.
Hooked up already?
The MX-S72L is longer than I typically prefer, but to my surprise, it performs perfectly fine with my snap cast motion. It also performs fine with a standard, long windup but all fishing rods do in that situation. I found this stick surprisingly crisp and responsive in helping me place my baits where I wanted.
This fish tried to bury itself in the weeds, but the MX-S72L
would have none of that. Not bad for a light powered spinning rod!
Sensitivity: Being the third stick that I fished in this series, I kind of already knew what to expect in terms of sensitivity for the MX-S72L and it did not do anything to upset to those expectations. Phenix's new M1 series definitely performs better than the previous generation in this department and is very commensurate with what I expect from a stick in this price range. The MX-S72L gave me good feel for my bait while fishing both drop shot and Ned rig techniques.
Fig 1 : The chart
above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods M1 MX-S72L
the historical averages of
similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years
Power: Another idiosyncrasy I have with spinning rods is I typically like them lighter in power than other anglers. Case in point, Zander really likes Loomis's 2-power spinning rods for his drop shot technique. I prefer the 0-power. This comes from my years fishing finesse worms on a split shot rig with ultra-light equipment during my formative bass fishing years. You can't get any better feel with a split shot than when fishing six pound line on an ultra-light rod.
Checking out that
This preference translates well to a drop shot rig, my finesse presentation of choice, but not so great with a Ned or shaky head rig where you need a stick with more backbone to set that jig style hook more effectively.
The Phenix MX-S72L has good power to make that set with those finesse, jig style hooks and has a really nice, smooth power curve so critical when fishing light line.
Guides are stainless steel framed with SiC inserts made by Essex
Next Section: Design and Ergonomics...