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Rod Review


The Search For One : Phenix's Re-Imagined MAX-73MH


Date: 1/16/23
Tackle Type: Rod
Manufacturer: Phenix Rods
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.92 + BEST VALUE AWARD

 It's been over seven years since our introduction to Phenix's Maxim series of rods, and as we shared with our review of the MAXS-610L, the company revamped the series in 2020 updating both the series' look and components. Today, we take a look at the most likely stick within the series to be dubbed "the One" in our continual search for that singular stick to rule them all. Today, we take a look at the most likely stick within the series to be dubbed "the One" in our continual search for that singular stick to rule them all.


Phenix Rods Maxim MAX-73MH Specifications

Material 30-ton graphite w/ multi axis carbon fiber scrim & K-woven outer scrim
Length 7'-3"
Line Wt. 10-17lb
Lure Wt. 1/4-1oz
Pieces One
Guides 10+tip SS/SiC Essex
Rear Handle Length 9"
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 4.6
Origin Made in China
MSRP $118.99

Introducing Phenix's Maxim MAX-73MH

Impressions: Phenix's MAX-73MH is a seven foot, three inch (7'-3") fishing rod built on a blank rolled with 30-ton raw graphite material held together with a multi-axis carbon fiber inner and K-woven outer scrim. The handle is finished with a split rear grip of camo-patterned EVA foam, a custom split reel seat, and a very minimal foregrip made of the same camo-patterned EVA foam to cap off the entire assembly.


A close-up of the MAX-73MH's K-woven outer scrim


Like the previously reviewed MAXS-610L, the MAX-73MH is adorned with stainless steel guides featuring SiC inserts made by Essex. These are small enough to be considered micros. The rod comes with an open ended hook keeper mounted just above the reel seat on the underside of the rod. The reel seat itself is Phenix's own design. It's split in the middle and the locking mechanism is towards the back of the handle instead of the top similar to some spinning rod designs.

Phenix uses this colorful, decorative wrap to adorn this stick from the butt through the logo area - roughly the first third of the rod

Real World Tests: I matched the MAXS-610L up with an Abu Garcia RevoX spinning reelduring its tests and decided to continue the good mojo by matching the MAX-73MH up with the RevoX casting reel. I spooled the reel with some 10lb Sufix Advance FC choosing to go with a straight spool of line with no connection knot because the MAX-73MH comes with micro-sized guides and my connection knot game isn't up to the task when it comes to guides this small.

The handle assembly is capped by a nice, gunmetal colored winding check

Casting: Phenix's MAX-73MH comes with a recommended lure rating of one quarter to one full ounce (1/4 - 1 oz) and to my surprise handles baits in this range fairly well. There is a feeling of the rod being slightly overloaded when a bait in the three quarters to one ounce (3/4-1oz) range is hanging off the tip, but when you actually make a move to cast a bait in that range, the MAX-73MH loads up and releases that energy just fine. I was pleasantly surprised.

Guides are Phenix's own Essex brand featuring stainless steel frames with SiC inserts

Sensitivity: On the sensitivity side of the scale, the MAX-73MH is about average for what I'd expect a fishing rod in this price range to be. To expect anything earth shattering at this price range is unreasonable, yet this stick definitely gives you enough feel to detect those bites. If you're fishing a moving bait with a good amount of vibration like a squarebill crank or vibrating jig, you can feel the bait swimming in the water.

Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our Phenix Rods Maxim MAX-73MH against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: This is usually where we run into some questions with Phenix Rods. Their rating system tends to be on the heavy side meaning on average, their rods test out lighter in our lab than their ratings would suggest. It was actually mixed results with the MAX-73MH. This stick lines up well with our historical average for medium-heavy powered sticks up to about four to six ounces (4-6oz) of pressure, but then softens up to align more closely with our medium powered sticks above that range.

There's something about that taper

Out on the water, this translates to a stick that behaves as you expect while presenting your lure through hookset, but when the battle takes place, it softens up, bending through more of its length giving you a better chance of landing your fish. The MAX-73MH behaves like a dual taper rod. This behavior is usually more beneficial on heavier powered sticks and above where your concern is pulling that hook out of the fish's mouth. That concerned is lessened with medium-heavy and lower powered fishing rods, but what that does for the MAX-73MH is open it up to be fished with both vertical bait presentations (where you need that initial power for hookset) and moving baits with treble hooks (where you need the forgiveness through the rod's length to protect that hookup).

The reel seat is also Phenix's proprietary design manufactured by Essex

Next Section: Design and Ergonomics at a Great Price...









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