Return of “Phenix,”
a first look at the company’s new line of bass rods
The original Phenix brand
found a devoted following among fans of the company’s boron graphite rods. The
brand all but disappeared a few seasons ago, and we were surprised to discover
at the recent Long Beach Fred hall show that the company was now under new
ownership and on its way back to introducing a whole new series of rods. We
hooked up with marketing and sales manager Robert Ip to preview the new lineup
of Phenix bass rods in advance of their hard re-launch.
Cal and Robert from Phenix rods
head out at sunrise to test the new line of rods
We first met Robert Ip of
Phenix at the Fred Hall Long Beach show where the company unveiled their return
to market with their own blank designs. Back in 2006 the company all but
disappeared and has now been resurrected by Jason Roberts. Jason was actually a
huge fan of Phenix and bought the company with the mission to not only keep the
brand alive but take it to the next level.
The first rods we test are the
Phenix Ultra MBX
At Fred hall Long Beach based
on the information at the show we reported that the rods would be wrapped in the
US, but we have confirmed the current plan is to now build the rods to exacting
standards overseas. The company had previously worked with G.Loomis, who built
proprietary blanks for Phenix per their unique spec and more recently with
Shikari. To ensure this time around that Phenix will be able to better control
their product supply they have decided to control the blanks in house.With the return of Phenix the
company hopes to not only build upon their original core audience but expand
with a much wider range of rod offerings that make use of premium design and
components and still preserve the brand’s existing custom quality look and feel.
One of the things that Phenix wanted to execute on the new rod series was an
increase in application specific models as well as a boost in sensitivity and a
decrease in overall rod weight. Phenix’s designers sought to
accomplish this task with an updated split grip design and a new IM-8 blank that
actually makes use of Toray scrim materials. That’s right, the very same Toray
that is known for their premium lines.
A look at the composite butt
Though the new rods are going
to be officially launched at or right before ICAST this year we were able to
field test the new lineup on the water and formulate our own opinions on whether
or not Phenix was ready for primetime.
Phenix rods will be available with
a choice of foregrip or no foregrip
(we prefer the latter)
We planned the trip with
Robert who drove up to the Bay Area from Phenix’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
It just so happened that yesterday during this preview test we were smack in the
middle of a heat wave that put us in triple digit temperatures. Though we were
not looking forward to getting roasted by the hot sun, we had hope that the heat
would bring the fish up and make for a quality topwater bite.
We put the Daiwa Steez on the
Ultra MB-X for a light and balanced combo
We met Robert at 3:30AM and
decided to head to Lake Pardee where we could test both the baitcasting and
spinning rods on both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Robert brought the rods
and we packed the reels, baits, and plenty of water and sunblock.
A look at the no foregrip design,
notice the Phenix logo reflecting in the sunlight...
a nice touch
How the new rods look and feel