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Rod Preview:

Return of “Phenix,” a first look at the company’s new line of bass rods (continued)


Ultra MB-X cont'd: Fishing the Ultra MBX series cemented the fact that the Phenix rods are lightweight, and it is easy to toss lures on them all day with little fatigue in your arm or wrist on the account of an overweight rod. The Ultra MBX baitcasting rods weigh in at 3.7-4.1 oz depending on length and the spinning rods weigh only 3-3.4oz. In total there are 13 rods to choose from in this series and the rods.


The spinning rods also feature a split grip with the same style composite cork butt

Crankbait Series: Mid way through our tests the temperature topped 103 degrees and instead of becoming more active the fish settled into a curious but unwilling to commit mode. We could easily get big fish in the 6 plus pound class to follow our lures but the minute we imparted any action other than a direct retrieve the fish would simply break chase. This was incredibly frustrating for Cal who had a few monster bass rise up to follow his swimbaits yet simply turn and disappear as the lure neared the boat.

Robert fishes a spinning MB-X rod paired with a Daiwa JDM Exist

We decided to go deeper with crankbaits since topwater wasn’t generating any strikes and test Phenix’s crankbait series rods at the same time. Unlike the Ultra MBX rods the Phenix X-10 crankbait rod features a more traditional solid cork grip and makes use of Fuji Alconite versus the SiC guides. The rod handles crankbaits from ¼-1oz. in weight and weighs in at 4.5oz. There is a longer 7’6” version for more casting distance but the lure ratings remain the same.

Next we move onto the Phenix crankbait rod which makes use of a glass tip

What is special about Phenix’s crankbait series is the use of a fiberglass tip with a graphite lower section. This results in a rod that still weighs very little and has good sensitivity while still having that soft buttery feel in the tip that only glass can provide. The tip rolls over nicely and when we found that when fish would hit the lure the tip would respond nicely by absorbing the shock and keeping the fish on the line.

The glass tip offers plenty of give while the graphite lower section reduces weight and improves sensitivity

Zander especially liked the Crankbait series and found it offered the best of both worlds when it came to weight and glass action in the tip. The only thing that he would have liked to see was the continued use of SiC guides and the split grip design, since the company had an attractive blueprint on the Ultra MBX line. Zander also remarked that he would like to see another version that exhibited slightly more robust specifications for casting and retrieving larger deep diving crankbaits.

The Super Flipper series is designed for exactly what its name implies, though we found it excellent for smaller swimbaits as well

Flipping: Phenix addresses flipping with east coast style telescopic rods they call the “Super Flipper” series. These rods are easily distinguishable in the rod locker as they feature an EVA butt knob. Like the Crankbait series these rods feature Fuji Alconite guides, and a Fuji reel seat. The Super Flipper rods are considerably heavier than the Ultra MBX line as you would expect from a flipping stick, and weigh in at around 6oz. each.

The Super flipper rods feature a EVA butt

Though designed for flipping the sticks proved to be quite good small swimbait rods in our tests, and we tossed lures over 2oz outside the 1 1/2oz maximum specification with little difficulty. We also found the Super Flipper rods outstanding for fishing paddletails.

These rods are telescopic...

Ultra Swimbait Rods: While Zander spent most of his time fishing the plastic and crankbait style rods Cal naturally gravitated towards the swimbait series. The Ultra Swimbait rods we tested were the furthest from mass production, and were still undergoing some final changes. Like the Ultra MBX rods these rods feature a clean split grip design and are still relatively light considering their ratings.

...and fold down to fit in smaller rod lockers

Next Section: Slinging the big baits on Phenix rods









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