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Rod Review

 

Going Big with Phenix's M1 : The MX-UR80H (continued)

Design & Ergonomics: As I mentioned earlier, the more I fish with these refreshed M1 series sticks from Phenix, the more I appreciate their aesthetic. From the proprietary reel seat to the minimal grip material to the non-intrusive guide train and wraps, Phenix really gets it right with this series. Ergonomically, the MX-UR80H compares very favorably to our historical average of swimbait rods we'd classify in our all purpose category. The only statistic where it wavers in comparison is balance, but that's to be expected given the rod's length and minimal handle design.


It's all about those details

Lab Results for Phenix Rods M1 MX-UR80H

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Phenix Rods M1 MX-UR80H
1.21
Medium Fast
6.8
10
0.33
Finesse SB Rod Avg
1.65
--
6.0
9.5
0.29
All Purpose SB Rod Avg
1.28
--
6.8
8.5
0.29
Heavy Hitters SB Rod Avg
0.95
--
7.7
10.2
0.44


This hook keeper is a little out of place on a stick like this

If I were to be critical of anything on this stick, it's the placement of that hook hangar. I'm not a fan of placing that element behind the grip. On a stick where the need for an open ended hook keeper is minimal (unless you use it for flipping and punching), a closed loop hook hanger on the underside of the rod, just above the reel seat would have been preferred.


Elegant in design, a little awkward in actual use, especially with big baits

 

Some people might find the bare graphite rear handle too slick for their liking for a big bait stick. This came to light when I handed the rod to Zander for a few casts. That smooth, slick surface on the back of the rod didn't provide as firm a grip as traditional rear grips with a knob or additional grip material, yet I found it perfectly fine. He agreed the design looked very cool but felt that on big bait sticks he had to squeeze even harder to compensate for the lack of a knob or tactile grip during launches. So while it is certainly a cool styling element, it looks like it might be one of those elements that has a polarizing effect on people.

 


Guides are stainless steel framed, SiC inserts by Essex

Price & Applications: This is because it's very difficult to be critical of a $195 swimbait stick that delivers on both performance and aesthetic. This is a hotly contested price point defined as the gateway to high end tackle for enthusiasts that are just beginning their journey to higher end tackle, or beater gear for enthusiasts looking for something worthy of their attention to fill an immediate hole. Whichever scenario best describes you, know the MX-UR80H is a very worthy and capable stick to handle a variety of big baits from the top to bottom of the water column.


The MX-UR80H is a very worthy and capable stick to handle a variety of big baits from the top to bottom of the water column.

 

Ratings:

Phenix Rods M1 MX-UR80H Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean, competent build 9
Performance Somehow fishes lighter than it measures out to be in the lab 8.5
Price Right at that junction between budget and high end 8
Features Modest list of specs, the styling of the stick is the main feature. The rear grip, or lack of a rear grip material or knob may be polarizing for some anglers, and the hook hanger layout isn't great for keeping big bait hooks at bay 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Aesthetics that give the rod a pricier look and feel. While the rear grip is not an issue with lighter rods on a swimbait stick where there is a lot of two handed casting the slicker surface may be an issue for some. The stick does handle very well and feels nice and light overall 8
Application An excellent choice for those looking for one swimbait stick to fish a variety of bait types or something a little more out of the box 8

Total Score

8.17
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:

Plus

Minus
+ An 8'-0" stick that's more versatile than you might think. - Not a fan of the hook keeper options
+ Fun, aggressive styling - Lack of a rear grip knob or grip material may be slick for some anglers preferring a more traditional rear grip fro two handed casting
+ Handles really well  
+ Reasonably priced  

 

Conclusion: If you read our review of Phenix's M1 MX72MH, there wasn't much mystery going into this review. The only thing I needed to do, really, was verify if the MX-UR80H was as fishable as its smaller sibling. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is this stick has even more potential than the MX72MH. If you're looking for a bigger, more powerful stick in the M1 lineup to handle a variety of applications, the MX-UR80H is more than just a stick for big baits. It is an 8'-0" stick with a medium-fast, or moderate bend. That means you can use it for any type of moving bait - not just a swimbait. I'm talking crankbaits, large spinnerbaits, even buzzbaits. Imagine how far you can cast a double bladed buzzbait like Picasso's BuzzSaw on this stick.

 


Phenix's M1 MX-UR80H is yet another quality rod from Phenix, a company that continues to move forward with rods that stand out from the competition in styling and performance

 

What's more, the MX-UR80H's power curve is so nice and smooth, I wouldn't hesitate to use it to punch some mats or thick weed beds either. The only thing making it less than ideal for this situation is the length of its rear handle, but this stick can more than handle the demands of that technique too. So whether you're looking to step up or down into that ~$200 range for a fishing rod, if you have your sights set on a big bait stick that can handle a variety of responsibilities, and like the minimalist styling of the rear grip design, add Phenix's M1 MX-UR80H to your shortlist of sticks to consider.

 

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